Mt Arden SOTA

After more Lemon Meringue pie at Quorn while I wrote up my previous Blog for Mt Jay South I headed off up to The Argadels where I was booked to stay for the night and 4×4 to Mt Arden the next morning. After a nice greeting from Judy she showed me the cabin I was to stay in which was very nice and even had rain water for the shower which was great. Once I unpacked I decided to go have a look at the track to Mount Arden as a trial run because it was my first serious 4×4 climb in my own vehicle. I must say I was not let down it is a steep and rocky climb with many loose stones on the track which have been dug up and spat out by previous travellers on this hill. Its funny when the pressure is on I seem to grip the steering wheel really tight and get sweaty palms under pressure , it was working I had all of the above symptoms.  I made the mistake of thinking maybe 1st low range would be a good gear but it turned out to be too low and the Colorado was revving like mad just to keep the momentum up for the obstacles I encountered but we made it to the top. The transfer box had that hot oily smell.

Once I turned around to come down it did not seem as steep but I was careful all the same. At a water way half way down I stopped and did some track repairs by picking up the large boulders and filling in some wash outs to help preserve the track.

Arden 4x4 run 007 It don’t look much but it gains about 150m asl in 500m distance. There is a 15 m high comms tower up there but you can’t see it from here.

Arden 4x4 run 011 Great Views all around.

On Sunday morning I tried 2cnd low range on the climb and with all the boulders shifted the Colorado made the climb without all the revving and was much easier to control the wheel slip, the torque e 3 litre   D Max  did the rest, a lesson learnt by me.

Arden 4x4 run 002

I said before how bad 40m band conditions were yesterday on Mt Jay South, well for something to do after evening meal I set up my 53 foot EFRW at the cabin and had a 30 minute QSO with JA1NUT on 40m cw with 8 watts. He had a big signal he was beaming to Russia when I called him but he heard me and turned his 3 el 40m yagi to me and gave me 579 , not bad for 8 w and efrw to JA on 40m.

How ever back to my activation today band conditions were pretty poor again on the short skip but I did manage several vk1 vk2 vk3 vk4 and several S2S contacts on cw and ssb modes.  But today I had to leave the summit with out working Nev vk5wg, I just could not hear him nor he hear me . No short skip on 40m and too far for 2m simplex on the handy rig.

Mt Arden 2015 009 Did the old walk out, walk into activation zone today just to keep it honest.

Mt Arden 2015 010 Great take off point all around from here used my 53 foot EFRW with 9 foot counter poise very convenient sign for sticking up my Squidy.

Mt Arden 2015 011 My shack for the activation these rocks were dug out of the footings holes for the comms towers. KX3 tunes 53 foot wire easily on 15 17 20 40 m with 9 feet cp.

Mt Arden 2015 004 One of the great views from up here, 3 summits in view, Dutchmans, Mount Brown and of course Mount Remarkable way off to the south in the haze.

OK well thanks to the many who chased me today under trying conditions and I managed 26 qso’s with another 5 S2S contacts to log. three qso’s were after UTC roll over so I will make mention in my log when I enter the days scores.

Mt Arden 2015 012 This lazy sod was in middle of the road and I had to stop and shift him he was enjoying some of his first spring sunshine for this year. He was pretty docile so maybe he has not been awake for long.

Thanks to Judy and Malcolm for a great place to stay and a big hill to climb .

cheers  Ian vk5cz ..


Mount Jay SOTA

Got on the road quite early this morning and it was minus 1 c in Clare as I drove through the main street.

Finally made contact on 2m simplex with vk5is near Appila as the road from Clare to Jamestown is on the eastern side of the hills and simplex 2m is a bit difficult. Once near Booleroo I tried 6m fm and found Roger vk5nwe listening there so had a chat with him for a while along the road.

I arranged to meet Michael at 9.30 as he was shearing sheep and I found him hard at it but he hardly stopped to chat he just kept on sheering and gave me instructions at the same time . He seemed to get a sheep shorn in no time at all and grab another out of the catch pen.

Mt Jay 5015 001

After a few creek crossings I finally got the Colorado in 4×4 to tackle the track ahead. Much to my surprise the etrex found the first way point to be pretty close which was the gate at the top of the range where I turned left along the ridge.

Mt Jay 5015 005

That’s the Summit up there, I walked that ridge line from the western side last time I was here that is why I found a way in to the summit on the eastern side which is much more user friendly.  The track was a bit rocky and needed low 4×4 to make this ridge line but nothing to fear or worry about.

Mt Jay 5015 006

This is the view to the west out through Spear Creek with Mount Jay on the right and Mount Jay South is a little out of picture further south.

Mt Jay 5015 007

Just to make a hike I parked here and walked  along that track to the summit, it was a good place to park and I could turn around easier there.

Mt Jay 5015 008

That’s the summit ahead and Mount Brown off to the north so I did walk a kilometre or so to get there but it was a nice day for a stroll .

Mt Jay 5015 009

The shack with squidy on the fence strut . Hugh was out on se -003 and we managed to hook up on 2m via vk5rmn and work out a strategy because 40m was a total wipe out for short contacts . I called cq and started to get a few from the eastern states and act but signals were hard work . I had Nev qsy to 30m and we managed to work on low signal levels but got the reports done. All of a sudden Hugh was 5/7 on 40m again so the band did pick up locally so I could get a few more in the log. On 40m cw I worked about 6 stations and a couple on 20m cw then went back to 40m ssb to work John vk5bje at really strong signals but by then my page was full and I ended up with more than I thought I would get when I first started out.

So thanks to all the chasers and 5 S2S qso’s so plenty to add to my  log.

Mt Jay 5015 011

I walked up from down on the plain last year about 6 kilometres but today I walked only about 1 and my knee lives to go again tomorrow.

Mt Jay 5015 012

View to the south with Mount Remarkable in the back ground, The Battery summit is there also .

Mt Jay 5015 015

Another one done so off back to the ute and on to Quorn to the Quondong Café for the best Lemon Meringue pie in South Australia.

cheers see you on the next one

Ian vk5cz..

My Ute For SOTA

I finally got around to getting an ARB canopy to finish off my SOTA truck . The Colorado seems great on fuel I get at least 100km/10 litres of diesel and it seems to go along the road nicely at 2000 rpm on the speed limit. With the heavy duty springs in the rear it gets a pogo up on bumpy whoops but luckily there are not many of those to travers. It’s an x police paddy wagon so I am not sure how much work it has done hopefully it was mostly use to get coffee for the team at the station.

My Ute 2015 002

The ARB canopy is a great addition and will be handy to store a few things in for my trips away with the lift up side and rear windows  making it easier to stick stuff in or get it out.

My Ute 2015 001  Just another angle while it’s still shiny.

I was able to fit my HF spring mount on the bull bar and the independent to ground vhf antenna on the mud guard, I am working on a spot for a UHF CB rig as well with remote head.

When I go in my shed I can hold back the stainless steel tip on the VHF antenna so it does not scrape on the door way and roller door, but I take the HF whip off of course . That HF whip is a home made 40m helical whip about 1.8 m long and it works very well. I have another whip for 30m home made as well but slightly shorter in length but it works well I have made dx qso’s to USA on 30m cw when I was mobile. My 80m antenna is an old Hustler Loading coil type that attaches to a longer home made Hustler shaft which works extremely well but I don’t go mobile with it, it is pretty long.

My Ute 2015 006

The rigs in my Ute are both Icoms the old “pager swamper” ic 2720 Bloody useless within 10km of a pager but it has duel watch vfo or memory screens so it is handy when mobile to watch a simplex and repeater frequency at the same time.

The  HF rig is an Icom ic 706 2 G with a IT 100 tuner just to nip up the vswr between cw and ssb modes.

Both rigs are remote head so the body of the radio is under the seats and nicely bolted down in the same holes SAPOL used to mount their gear. I only had to remake 1 hole in my bracket to suit fitting my rigs . I was able to run the HF coax under the vehicle rather than under the floor liner and come up through a grommet in the floor but the power cables and remote cable are under the floor liner. My main power comes direct from the battery to a large Anderson Pole plug so it can all disconnect if need be quite easily.

My Ute 2015 004

This is the ic 2720 and large extension speaker under the drivers seat.

My Ute 2015 005

This is the ic 706 under the rear passenger seat with all jacks facing out so it’s easier to plug in or out gear and power, the IT 100 is along side zip tied in place with a large extension speaker facing out which works well.

My Ute 2015 003

This is where the remote heads fitted the best and the cw paddle is handy for some mobile cw, using my left hand  I can rest my palm on the plastic cover on the key for support and sit it on my knee when driving along. The heads are mounted on a flat aluminium plate I made up from a plastic tem plate I made from an ice cream container which was easy to work with to find the best angle and fit. I put part of the plate in the sliders for the ash tray making a tight fit. The bend in the plate down wards is enough to see the heads nicely when driving and the bottom of the plate clips in behind the fitting for the gear lever cover. I used two existing holes in my dash where SAPOL had stuff mounted for my microphones . The mic cord on the 2720 could be a bit shorter and it is made form a cheap flexible lead which gets tangled at times. Icom mics are not really very robust IMHO and the micro PTT switches give out easily I have had 3 Icom mics pack up at the PTT switch over the years. Just a thing about the cw paddle lead I platted it from 3 pieces of light gauge wire as I was sick of trying to find some multi core wire that was robust enough to do the job. So far it has held up well, pretty clever don’t you think.

wire 001

That is my SOTA ute and Rigs I just need to get it dirty now.

thanks for reading cheers

Ian vk5cz  ..