Bendleby Ranges 3 Summits

Hugh finally got free of his work so we took the opportunity to hit the summits in the Bendleby Ranges.

We stayed this time at the Bendleby property which has accommodation for bush camping or cabins, we stayed in the shearers quarters with all the facilities to sleep and feed ourselves.

First summit was west of Bendleby on Pamatta Station a large pastoral lease and Price Hill VK5/NE-056 is the summit. We met James the owner at his homestead when we arrived and discussed our intentions to hike to the summit. He was busy installing new water troughs for his sheep as it is the driest winter on record and their reliance on ground water is all they can do to keep their animals alive in these really hard times. We were able to find a way to cross a washed out creek this time and got about a kilometre closer to the summit to start our hike. Price Hill is a bald range of hills with hardly any trees at all mostly rocks and spinifex grass on the top edge with a healthy population of Kangaroos . This time we found a better ridge line to get to the top but it’s still a medium to hard hike and we work on finding a better way every time we go to a summit but often you just have to slog till you get there. I recon it was about 3 km to the top this time taking about 1 hour.

This washed out creek stopped us driving any further .

 

View looking east and the CH 1 UHF CB repeater Fridge no beer. Irony is repeater is in a Fridge and the batteries are in an Esky.

SOTA station set up Hugh and I just made enough contacts to qualify this summit as it was Friday and not many chasers.

After making our way back to the sota transporter we headed 50 km back to the Bendelby’s to climb Eke Hill VK5/NE-069 a summit in the southern range of hills. More dusty tracks with a short distance in 4×4 this time to make the parking spot and tackle the next hike. Now that Hugh and I have been to this summit a few times we have the track worked out and made the summit in about 40 minutes.

 

Very nice hike up the waterfall type creek then follow the ridge line to the top, medium hike.

 

Customary pictures at the stone cairn then on with the activation great views out east from here.

Band conditions were slightly better in the afternoon and I managed to make 5 qso’s and Hugh had the pile up with 7 qso’s on ssb .  We had a really low output on ssb on the kx3 but it seemed to work to the power setting on cw and the chasers were telling us we were very low down even though some of them were over  S 9 . After some checking of the rig I discovered that over time the mic gain had been turned off to almost zero. It is the same control as for cw and power settings but when on ssb it becomes the mic gain. So problem found and much to my relief nothing wrong with the rig just operator error. At last by the time Hugh was taking his turn on 40m ssb we had a great signal again,and the rig must have been running at 1 watt or even less before we discovered the problem, and I wonder how long it has been like that.

Back to camp for a feed and cleanup ready for bed to tackle two more summits on Saturday, there is no internet or tv here so not many distractions, I did manage an 80m mobile qso with Ian VK5IS a couple times while we were in down time.

Marchant Hill VK5NE-043 was the first summit for the day which entails a drive to the Northern end of the property this time and it is a 6 pointer and this hike usually hurts. We were told by the property owners that a walking trail had been marked now for bush walkers so Hugh and I wanted to try it and see if it was easier. I must say the trail to get to the trig point was probably the best way to get there and we walked over two high saddles before we could see the summit. They marked the trail with red ribbons on the bushes and apparently the goats like to eat the ribbon so we got off line a few times but managed to be in the general area most of the time and took the obvious lines. On the way back I recorded several way points on the Etrex 30 and will pass on the information to Jane so others using GPS can find the trail and wear it in a bit.

 

No trees here either and mostly low salt bush and rocks not as much Spinifex grass.

 

The very old style Trig Point on this summit and Hugh getting ready to operate.

The wind was really strong so we found a spot on the eastern side as best we could out of most of the raging wind.

We only set the Squid Pole at 7 metres and the 80m extensions were not very high off the bushes but we managed some contacts with the locals on 80m ssb before changing to 40m . Hugh made a small score on ssb and a S2S with VK1DA then I had a go on cw making an S2S with Andrew also but on cw. Good signals on 40m cw to vk1 2 3 but the wind was so bad and we could see the dust storm building so we made haste back to the sota transporter.

After we got back to the camp ground the dust storm in the middle of winter was raging so we decided not to attempt the other summit after lunch and I loaded up and headed for home. We had originally planned to do 5 summits but access to Depot Hill was not possible that weekend and we abandoned the plans for Peaked Hill because of the weather, but 14 points out of a possible 21 is ok and they will be there for another trip.

Thanks to all the chasers and the property owners for the use of the hills and tracks.

Thanks for reading My Blog.

Ian vk5cz ..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Mt Arden Repeater with SOTA vk5/ne-034

Peter VK5BWH had been trying to get a team of helpers to Mt Arden for quite a while and last weekend it all came together. For myself  vk5cz Ian vk5is and Roger vk5we it was a good opportunity to do the SOTA summit while we were there. We arrived at Argadells early so the property manager said we could head up to the Mountain before the other team had arrived. It is about a 40 minute trip to the top from the homestead with a rocky steep climb for the last couple kilometres. The track was a lot more eroded this time than it was last year but we made it without any problems keeping the Colorado in second gear low range to give enough momentum for the obstacle on the track.

We had to set up on the southern side of the hill as it was very windy right on top but a very nice sunny cold day . We had a couple contacts on 80m first with vk5wg and vk5mbd to get the activation under way. Roger went first on 40m ssb to find not many chasers to start out and after another spot he started to get some callers. Ian went second on 40m ssb and just managed to get the two more contacts to qualify. I went last on 40m cw and just made two more contacts as well to get 4 the chasers we all needed.

Coats and woolly hats standard kit in this weather, Roger working his pile up, I think he made six contacts the most of all.

Ian looking for two more on 40m to qualify, it’s always hard to find contacts going second.

Working Nev and Bill on 80m ssb then hoping to find the rest on 40m cw to qualify. The band conditions on 40m were good enough to make contacts there just weren’t many chasers this time.

By the time we all qualified the SOTA summit Peter and the repeater repair team had made it to the top as well and we could get on with helping lower the antenna tower.

A rope and pulley team ready to lower the pipe tower to fix the feed line. We were a bit worried about the strong wind but in the end it all went smoothly.

A complete new feed line was installed and refitted to the tower then we were able to pull it back up and into place.

View inside the Box.

I am not sure what went wrong to put the repeater off the air in the first place but it will be better for the new run of feed line and a reset in the box.

         

Great views from Mount Arden.

Thanks Peter for organising the trip so we could slot in an activation and for fixing the repeater.

Thanks to the chasers and land owners for access to the summit.

Two Ian’s and Roger.

vk5cz vk5is vk5we.

Thanks for reading my blog

Ian CZ ..

 

 

Yunta 2017 SOTA trip

Hugh and I took Friday off work to have enough time to activate 5 summits near Yunta, about half of the summits along the Barrier Highway. We headed off quite early about 6 am from Farrel Flat and took the road via Mt Bryan East this time as it was dry. It took over 3 hours to make the parking spot at the base of Pualco Hill so we were a bit behind the Spot time on SOTA watch but did our best to be there asap.

One of the many gates to open along the way, with only about 10 km to go .

That’s the summit about 40 minutes to hike with a rock scramble up near the top .

Biggest Yacka bushes I have ever seen, very healthy specimens .

The stone cairn has fallen down at the top.

Hugh made some 80 and 40 metres ssb contacts then I took over and made some good contacts on 40m cw .

Heading back down off the summit we stumbled across an Emu nesting in the Spinifex grass, lucky He took off in fright and did not attack us.

Over night in Yunta Pub we left quite early to head to vk5/ne-095 known as the Bluff by the locals, the first summit for Saturday .

A really nice sun rise before we hit the dirt road to the first summit.

Part way up to the summit which is about 1 hour to hike .

We set up behind this ledge out of the cool southerly wind.

Made some good contacts on 80 and 40m again this time working VK2UH on his brand new MTR rig, much excitement as it was the first qso with this rig, Andrew had a great signal at 3 watts of out put.

Not many contacts on this hill as we were quite early but we both made the score and qualified.

After the hike back down we headed off on station tracks to Oulina Park homestead to meet up with Michael and head to the next summit Oulina Hill. This summit is a drive up with a 4×4 track to the top which Mitsi did easily now we have the right line worked out for a rock ledge on the way up.

I only got a couple photos as the battery in my camera gave up again although I suspect it has a fault somewhere else because it has failed several time since I bought it.

We both worked vk5is and vk5wg on 80m even though it was after lunch by the time we made the summit with a small number of chasers on 40m ssb and cw. This time we gave Hugh’s KX2 a run which worked fine with his link dipole .

Hugh working the pile up on 40m ssb

KX2 is a great rig amazing how much smaller than My KX3 it is.

Was intending to take a shot of Mitsi dropping of the famous rock ledge on the way down but camera had other ideas.

We headed back to Yunta via Oulina Park property travelling about 80km of station tracks and some better made roads  nearer to Yunta.

We headed out Early again Sunday Morning to Teetulpa Station this time west of Yunta our first summit was Waroonee Hill. This is a great summit about 10 km south from the main road west of Yunta so we have some station tracks again.

We need to hike about 3 km along the bottom edge to this rock uplift to make the summit on the northern end, it is a stony path made by goats but a nice easy hike once you get up on the path.

The way to the summit is at the end of this rock face.

Some scrub on the top and Spinefex Grass, looking out to the East.

Top of the ledge looking Southeast .

Hugh working chasers on 80 40  ssb then I took over to make some contacts on 80 ssb and 40 cw .

Back to Mitsi for the drive back to Teetulpa Homestead to meet the manager then we went north along station tracks heading for Karkala Ridge summit.

There are several gates on this trip and about 20 km of tracks to get there. We had a 2 km walk from the parking spot after some lunch.

Gradual hike along the ridge to the top.

Baron treeless place.

Even though it was middle of the day we both made enough qso’s on 80 m to qualify. Hugh worked a pile up on 40 ssb and I made 12 cw qso’s on 40 m and some double ups and other qso’s on 20 m cw this time. Got to work Andrew again with his new MTR this time on 20 m with great 2 way signals. We used the KX3 this time and my 20/40 link dipole with 80m extensions. This antenna has been the best for me so far .

We had well over 600 km on the speedo by the time we got home Sunday night with 5 summits crossed off the list for this year.

Thanks to all the property managers and thanks to the chasers.

Thanks for reading my Blog

Ian vk5cz ..