Arthur’s Seat – VK3/VC-031

by vk3arr

You know you’ve got things sorted out well when your wife suggests that we visit the Mornington Peninsula just before New Year’s, so that, “if we forget something, we can come in the New Year, and you can get more mountain points for that radio stuff”. Those mountain points (all one of them) come from Arthur’s Seat, VK3’s VC region’s smallest qualifying summit.

After a tour around Heronswood gardens at the foot of Arthur’s Seat, we went up to the summit and had lunch, before I dropped the family at a nearby nursery, while I activated the summit.

The shack

The shack

I set up on a picnic table near the top, with a reasonable amount of local noise, but away from the crowds. I used the Buddistick as the linked dipole was still in a tangled mess after I cracked it on W4C/EM-058. I strung the counterpoise out to a tree, and tried tuning up.

I didn’t have a lot of success on 40m, with an SWR around 2.5, but I cranked the power (it was only going to be a short activation), and got 4 contacts in the log. I decided I’d have a better chance of tuning the antenna up on 20m, so I adjusted the tuning coil, and went over to adjust my counterpoise. I was about to grab it from the tree when I got a big shock.

One curious Kookaburra

One curious Kookaburra

In the tree was a very tame Kookaburra. He was quite interested in what I was doing, only slightly wary as I got closer, but he had no problem with me taking photos and shortening the counterpoise, all within 2 metres of where he was. 20m tuned up a little better, but I only got one contact, Nev VK5WG.

I jumped back on 40m when I saw Andrew VK1NAM was on SM-065 in VK2, and I managed to work him, although difficult for the S2S. I then packed up, noticing, as I put the antenna bag away, that the cat had found a new place to sleep in our shed. I think the tuning problems were due to the steel frame of the picnic table – the Buddistick instructions are quite clear that nearby metal can dramatically affect tuning, something I noticed on G/TW-004 earlier in the year.

Don't let cats sleep on your antenna bag

Don’t let cats sleep on your antenna bag