Mt Alexander VK3/VN-016 and Mt Tarrengower VK3/VN-023

by vk3arr

My wife’s desire to head up to Daylesford would normally be tied in with a visit to VK3/VC-032, the nearby unnamed summit in the Wombat State Forest. But, I’d activated that already, and my wife only wanted to spend a small amount of time in Daylesford. She had bigger plans – Clunes, Maldon, The World! – and that meant I cast my net a little wider. I found Mt Alexander (VK3/VN-016) past Castlemaine, and the plan was to have lunch around there, and then I’d tackle Mt Tarrengower (VK3/VN-023) while leaving the family in Maldon.

As it happened, the market in Daylesford was easily dealt with, as were the op shops, and the kids were hungry, so we had lunch ahead of schedule in Daylesford. While waiting for my wife to finalise a commercial transaction, I loaded the children in the car and pulled out a map, noting that we had to drive through Castlemaine. This is another favourite haunt of my wife, so I hatched a plan to have a child-free activation on Mt Alexander. She got to explore Castlemaine, I got to play radio. Perfect, and she jumped at it.

I dropped them off and headed the twenty odd minutes to Mt Alexander, setting up near the old trig point cairn (similar to the one on Mt Macedon). I worked 40m first, qualifying the summit in two minutes, with Andrew VK1NAM, Peter VK3PF, Allen VK3HRA and Amanda VK3FQSO. Allen was curious to find out how much longer I’d be on the summit, as he was going to activate it later that day too. I, of course, had an appointment to keep. S2S’ were had with Adam VK2YK on VK2/HU-054, Matt VK1MA on VK2/SW-026 and, on 20m, Andrew VK1MBE/2 on VK2/NR-044. I tried 15m for all of 5 minutes, before deciding I’d better head back.

The Mt Alexander trig point

The Mt Alexander trig point. I need to take more photos

Back in Castlemaine, I picked up the family, and then we headed off to Maldon, at the foot of Mt Tarrengower. This time, the children wanted to spend the time with me, so I dragged them to the top of the mountain, sat them on a picnic table in plain sight, and headed off down the hill to clear the activation zone. The summit area is a fairly busy place, particularly on a weekend. I set up on a bench seat looking towards Maldon. During the process, I managed to pull the linked dipole down when tying off one of the ends, which result in the whole get-up dropping to the ground. The case surrounding the 1:1 balun I use ended up cracking, but superglue at home dealt with that.

I qualified the summit quickly again, and worked S2S with Andrew VK1DA on VK2/ST-001, John VK2YW on VK2/RI-016 and Bernard VK2IB on VK2/RI-001. The kids amused themselves sorting out piles of quartz from the carpark while I worked 25 QSOs in total. I was then rudely interrupted by Main Child who informed me that as Number 1 child, she needed to do Number 2s. Rather urgently. I went QRT, dropped the squid pole and shoved everything into the boot of the car, and drove back to Maldon. (And not one joke about laying cable…) Needless to say, I got no photos of the set up in the rush to pack up, and to rub salt into the wounds, she lasted the whole way home – 2 hours worth. Hardly urgent.