This was my first activation of a summit that had no walking track to the top. The area around the mountain had suffered through heavy rain about a year ago, so in driving up, I was unable to even reach the car park. The car bottomed out in the erosion on the road, so I turned the car around and left it on the side of the road. This proved to be about 400m from the car park.
From there, the track heads out to the east side of the mountain, and climbs about 250m in height, but tops out about 150m vertical metres below the summit. There is a rock cairn marking a spot to leave the track and head up the side. The going was reasonably easy with a bit of a pad warn into the grass. Good footwear is needed as much of it is walking up the side of large boulders.
I was worried about being able to peg the antenna in near the summit, but I found a spot nearly right at the top where I was able to setup.
Most of my time was spent on 20m where I was able to get into Europe quite easily. It was not so good for VK3 chasers, as I think that the skip zone covered most of Victoria. I dropped down to 40 for a few VK3 operators, and with time getting late, I would have a little go at CW on 20.
Given SSB was getting into Europe, clearly CW was going to be able too, so I should have expected a pile up. My CW is still in the early stages of development. I can copy 20wpm in simulated QSOs at home, but it is harder in the summit environment.
Given that if I can get into Europe, a pile up is a certainty, in future I think I have to work split, otherwise with 10 or even more operators coming back, it simply becomes a wall. I tried split today, and G4SSH picked it up and logged the QSO. I was getting cold and my hand was starting to shake on the paddle, so it was time to pack up. I still had to get down to the track about 1km from the summit, and I didn’t want to do that without a proper torch.
Next time, I’ll try operating split, listening up 1 or 2, but I think that I will at least have a better chance of working the pile-up.