April SOTA trip 2016

With Grape Harvest 2016 finished and some nice weather for this week it was a good opportunity to get a few summits in my legs and log. I decided to activate 5 summits over 3 days and made Orroroo my overnight destination as it has a nice caravan park with great cabins and a friendly pub for PR work and night meals. I left Clare quite early on Monday morning and drove for a couple hours to Wilmington where the turn off is for The Battery summit in the National Park there. I parked the SOTA transporter at the start of the hike and after a coffee and feed I hit the trail for a round hike of 11km.

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This parking area is near the Rangers house which is now a B and B, a park pass is required to visit here and I have a full year subscription type pass as you need to pay on line these days if you want to day visit any parks. Probably explains why they are mostly unvisited or people don’t pay they just turn up.

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This entrance is across the road and heads in to the northwest direction along the top of the saddle so it is an easy walk for the distance. The 4.5km sign is the distance to the turn off to the Battery lookout and the summit is another 1km from there once you cross over the valley head which is a puff to get up but not as bad as some walks I do.

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This is a shot of the other range across the valley with Mt Cavern  in the distance it is the hardest summit I do so maybe later in the season I will tackle it again if I get desperate for 4 points.

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This is my shack set up by the box section in a fence on the summit the 2m vertical has become standard equipment to take these days and I can usually round up enough locals on 2m and in this case I made 4 qso’s on 2m.

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It’s a great location to set up out in the clear on he fire trail and I made several qso on 40m ssb 40m cw and 20m cw with a S2S with VK5BJE/3 on 40m ssb. The walk back to the Colorado was a bit tiring as it was my first long hike for the season, but a good base training walk with nothing too difficult.  For the last few weeks I have been walking in a vineyard with some gear in my back pack with the two dogs, so I was glad I did some training before hitting the trail.

Thanks to my band of chasers for helping me qualify, I set off for Orroroo via Gummy’s place to shore up some permission for the next day and of course leave some bootleg for him and family.

Next morning after a restless night I was on the road by 5 am heading back out to find Coomooroo Hill in the dark which proved a bit hard. I had never been to this summit from Orroroo side before and there was a very thick fog and I could not make out exactly where I was in the dark. After a rest on the side of the road waiting for picininni daylight to arrive I was able to see an outline up ahead and I found the gate to enter the paddock. This summit is quite easy as I can get half way up in the ute then walk the rest.

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The Fog was lifting down here but still some on the summit  made it  very pleasant for walking and I decided to have jeans on for this one because  the low bush will scratch your legs . After making the top I had my wind jacket on to keep out the cool breeze, I got set up and using the 2m vertical into the top of my VX8 handheld I was able to make contacts into Whyalla at good signal levels and worked several of the Crystal Brook gang as well on simplex. I saw some spots from US stations and tried to make a couple S2S contacts, one station sent a ..–.. but then said sri no cpi. There went my chance for a USA S2S something I am yet to achieve. I did however get a call from KD8WTI who gave me a good report for my 8 watts and dipole on 20m. Then KT5X called me and was pleased to have worked his first vk on a summit so that made his day. I worked a few vk’s on 40m ssb to start then saw Mot my JA mate spot on 15m so I worked him S2S on 15m cw just using my 40m dipole tuned with the KX3, VK4RF came through on 15m too but then the contacts dried up so I packed up to head to the next summit.

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Foggy morning with the sun out on the Flinders to the west.

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My antenna is there somewhere I need a better camera.

Hogs Head summit was my next destination so it gave me a good opportunity to explore more back roads in the area for future trips. There are lots of roads going everywhere out there I could see Mt Robert up ahead so I just kept heading for it knowing the bitumen road was there somewhere.

It was about smoko when I arrived at Hogs Head so another coffee and snack this time before heading off up the side of the hill. It is quite steep and I had lots of spells to try to relieve my burning legs and ankles which seem to affect me mostly when walking up these hills.

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As you can see its a ankle burner .

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This was my shack for Hogs Head a very nice view to the south with a steady flow of chasers on 40m ssb my highlight for this summit was a call from VK6NU using 1 watt on 20m cw . No locals on 2m this time as they were all busy doing stuff but I made plenty of hf qsos then headed down to the ute for lunch and get ready for Maurice Hill.

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Nice stone Cairn on this hill, there are lots of them on various summits we visit .

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Great view out to Black Rock and Depot Hill a couple summits we should visit later on, the poor old land could do with some rain it is very dry .

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Off to Maurice Hill across the Valley.

Maurice Hill is a good summit to do as it is a nice steady 4×4 climb to the top from the western side. I noticed a new track up the eastern side but it might be a bit too steep for an inexperienced off roader like me. No doubt the Colorado would handle it just not sure about the driver.

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Nice area to park and walk the last 50 metres or so and great views from here this hill is right out on its own and slightly higher than the previous summits although still a 4 pointer.

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Great view to the south with nothing in the way for a long way that is the Bluff way off to the south . I started on 40m with a good amount of chasers on cw and ssb and some dx on 20m cw long path to Europe which I was expecting at this time of the day. Once again another nice surprise to see HB9AFI on the spot on a summit and better still we made a S2S qso again as I have worked him before. A nice mixture of dx and vk stations on 20m cw this time so I was happy with my day.

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Better show the flags flying it was a very pleasant day, so thanks to all the chasers who followed my progress.

Time to hit low range first and trickle down this hill.

I went back to Orroroo for another night of PR at the pub and a nice meal then off to bed early to recover for the next days activation.

I called by the Laura Hospital for a couple hours visit with my mother then I went to Bundaleer Forest to climb New Mount Campbell my last summit for the trip. I thought a shorter walk would be better than a longer walk to Mount Remarkable that I had planned to do.

Its about 3 km to the top and the first half is a nice stroll along a well made road and then you end up in the hard wood section before the forest of old pines start on the slopes.

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Its about to start hurting, this is where it kicks up in altitude along the forest track through these pines behind me.

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Those trees are about 20m tall and the gain off that track is cruel and I am only half way to the ridge yet so keep hurting.

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Others have suffered more than me on this hill building miles of these stone walls .

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Miles of stone wall and farmers preparing for next year grain crops.

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My shack for the afternoon

I had some good contacts on 40m ssb this time with my highlight for today being a S2S with ZL2AJ on a summit in ZL on 40m ssb. I was surprised at how clear his signal was it was mid afternoon here but probably later over there.

I tried 20m cw but only managed a few vk stations on there with no dx at all even though my spots were out and I did lots of calling. That was the end of my time away gaining an extra 18 activating points for my trouble.

Thanks to all the chasers and thanks for reading.

cu next time

CZ ee










This entry was posted in SOTA.

2 comments on “April SOTA trip 2016

  1. MOT says:

    Thank you for sharing your lovely memories. I am very happy that you have been appeared me. The vk’s summits are really large. I can’t believe large space of the summit. If my wife became to healthy, I absolutely visit and hope to look there by just my eyes! I am looking forward to the report of your next trip!

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