8 Summits Kicks Off My 2018 Season.

Now I am trying Retirement from work I have more spare time to get some SOTA Summits done.

My Activating points at the end of 2017 was 761 gaining by 1 point after New Years Day SOTA party when Hugh and I went to Black Bull Hill vk5/se-016. We had a great activation either side of UTC roll over and had a visit from VK5RJ Bruce who came out to visit us on the Summit as his holiday house is near by.

Just to give all my SOTA gear a run I started with a local summit Illawarra Hill vk5/se-014. It was nice to work a lot of my faithful chasers again after several months absents from activating. The 40 metre band was working well being a twilight activation with both ssb and cw contacts a far away as New Zealand. When I changed to 20 metres I worked vk4tj and some DX to on4fi  dj5av and a S2S with hb9bcb who was activating hb/be-156 summit in Europe.

Illawarra Hill shack.

The first Summit for the 6 summit trip was Coomaroo Hill vk5/ne-088. Lots of chasers again on 3.6 ssb 7 ssb and the most cw chasers I have ever worked from memory. VK5IS Ian went for a hike himself to his local high spot with his Military backpack radio to work me on CW.

For reasons unknown, my KX3 was giving trouble on this Summit which was not resolved as it worked fine the next time I used it. For the next 3 summits I used My ft 817 for the first time on SOTA which worked great and I even gave a smaller military hand key some use on CW, this made me exercise caution hand keying Morse after using paddles for so long .

After lunch I headed to Peaked Hill out east of Orroroo for another late afternoon activation. It’s possible to drive on the Station tracks to the western side of the range and after about 1.5 km hike with a steep rocky ascent you are on the top. I activate on the southern side of the ridge as it is very rocky right on top and not much room for antennas.

Twelve mixed ssb and cw qso’s on 3.6 and 7 mhz, no answer to my cq on 14 mhz but it was around 0430 utc so probably too early for Europe. It was pleasant hiking back to my SOTA transporter in the evening and I headed for Orroroo Caravan Park for the over night stay. Most of my evening was spent going for a training walk around the town boundary, sorting media, photos and uploading SOTA logs.

Next morning I headed to Hogshead vk5/ne-051. Driving towards the summit I noticed the new land owner has made a road to the top. I looked a bit too steep for me to 4×4 up so I decided to hike up anyhow to check out the new track. After closer inspection I recon I could drive it but if it erodes too much after a wet winter I think I will be walking.


Hogshead shack, some Critter tried to eat my UHF cb I lost a couple year ago on this summit.

Good signals on 7 mhz ssb and cw, two s2s vk3byz/2 on vk2/mn-081 and zl1byz on zl1/ak-016.

Testing skills again on this summit I was trying to qso with vk5wg while he was mobile, and we ended up making the qso on 21 mhz ssb to his mobile.

After arriving back at the Ute I had plenty of time to head back to Orroroo for lunch in the park before heading to Maurice Hill vk5/ne-049.

This summit is a drive up needing 4×4 to get there, a very rocky steep climb for some of the track to the top nothing the Colorado can’t handle in second gear low range.

Took this photo after the activation on the way down, as I was exploring on foot another track.

View to the North from Maurice Hill it is very dry here and rain would be good.

Thanks to all the chasers for looking out for me on the afternoon activation on Maurice Hill all qso’s were on 7 mhz ssb and cw with a 2m simplex qso with Roger vk5we who came to this summit with me last year. No answer to my cq calls on 21 or 14 mhz.

The next morning it was raining so I did not activate the planned summits for day three but did get to go back to Jamestown on Sunday to catch up.


Mount Nadjuri vk5/ne-058 was the summit for my next activation, about a 1 km hike from the parking spot.

Lots more wind turbines on the range of hills now good revenue for the farmers.

This activation was very good qualifying on 3.6 mhz first before having some fun working chasers on 7 mhz and 14 mhz ssb and cw.


New Mount Campbell vk5/se-007

This summit is about a 7 km hike in and out from the parking spot. It turns out the government has sold off the forested area so my past hikes are now no longer open to me unless I re negotiate with the farmer who has the land. I have done some research on the Heysen Trail and should be able to hike to the summit from the south in future.

The activation was on a very nice day hardly any wind on the summit, chasers on 3.6 mhz ssb and a s2s with vk3il on vk3/vt-023 on 7 mhz ssb. A good number of Chasers on 7 mhz ssb and cw and z1byz on 14 mhz cw.


Great weather Tuesday morning and Dale vk5ld was still on holiday so we decided to make a trip to Bumbunga Hill to vk5rlh 2 metre repeater site. We need to visit this site a few times per year to check the battery and repeater hut for mice who love living in the warm shack. As usual there was plenty of mouse doings to clean off everything and Dale made up a new door seal to try to keep them out. This is SOTA summit vk5/se-015 so a good opportunity to activate the summit on the same trip.

My SOTA shack for the activation, I qualified on 3.6 mhz this time so it was nice to relax and work some chasers on 7 mhz and 14 mhz ssb and cw. Ian vk5is alerted me on 2 metres to Mot JP1QEC on summit ja/gm-047 in Japan. We worked s2s on 21 mhz cw with a good rst both ways even though I was using a 20m dipole at the time.

The kx3 is back working as good a new still don’t know why it was acting up on Coomaroo the other day, it was fun using the ft817 for some of my activating and I probably will give it a run more often. Lucky I took it with me on my trip as a back up and it will be coming on my trips away from now on.

Thanks to the chasers for the qso and land owners for access to the summits.


Ian vk5cz ..