Last Two Days Up North.

It just goes to show how many kilometers I need to travel to take part in SOTA here in South Australia, just to get on with my Quest and do 4 summits over two days, I traveled 975 kilometers.

I had a hick up with land access and accommodation on the first day and had to travel back to home then head out again the next day. It worked out good in the end as I was able to make contact again with the land owner and reassure myself of access to their property. It went a bit like “i will call you if it’s not ok to go there” and I read that a bit differently to be I will get back to you if it’s ok to go there which did not happen. That is why I came back to Clare after the first day only doing one summit.

Day One.

I headed out early for Price Hill vk5/ne-056 on Pamatta Station quite early about 5.00 am wanting to be north of Orroroo after daylight because of Kangaroos on the road. Had my porridge at 7.30 am about 40 km north of Orroroo with the 3.680 group sked using the mobile rig and Hustler antenna to report my progress. Sometime later I left my vehicle parked at a windmill and tank at 9.00 am to start the hike to Price Hill which is about 3.5 km on the map but taking into account the gain of the hill it turns out to be 3.7 km following a couple way points I had saved in the E trex 30 to keep on track. Its a rocky climb and mostly Spinifex Grass as the only ground cover. There must have been some rain because I noticed a small pool of water in the creek I walked along to start out.

     

When there is a Drought it exposes how many rocks are really here.

     

My path is up that valley with a gradual climb all the way, the small tree is the Ridge top.

     

Always good to look back and see how far you have come, and the last ridge before the top.

     

Nothing in the way on this Summit. Solar Powered uhf cb repeater no beer in the fridge.

     

I set up behind this rock ledge and only put the squidy up 5 metres it was very windy.

Amazing band conditions on 80m even though the extensions were almost on the ground I was able to make 6 ssb and 2 cw 80m qso before changing to 40m.

Made 4 ssb and 3 cw qso on 40m then did some vhf experimenting with vk5we on 2m who was probably 80km south of me. I had the vx8 handy rig and he had  his yagi pointed at me to give the contact a good chance. I got a readable 5 report and he was full scale to me .

Walking back to the Ute I saw this old Sleepy Lizard getting some sun.

     

Great day out on Price Hill thanks to the chasers and land owner for access.

Day Two.

Heading out from Clare this time at 4.00 am the next day I was on track to Yunta for 2 summits on Teetalpa Station. I had a tentative plan to fit Nackara Hill in at some time during the day also now I had permission sorted and if I had time. Well after 2 hours on the road and not hitting any Kangaroos I saw the sign to Nackara and a light bulb moment made me wonder if I could get on top of Nackara Hill summit before 7.30. to catch the 80m sked. It was a bit hard to find the summit gate in the dark as I had only been there during the day, I had a walk up ahead at the property to check out a creek crossing before going any further. It tuned out to be ok so I was on the property track and driving as close as possible to the hike point. Loaded a banana and Snickers in my back pack and did a swift “fasting” hike to the summit which took about half an hour of mostly puff and ankle pain with no warm up. It it less than a kilometre to hike but the gain is pretty much the summit’s prominence plus some .

However some times it pays to have faith, I was on top hiding behind a rock reef with 15 minutes to spare for sked time. I made contact with Ian vk5is first off who thought I was mobile naturally as that was our original plan, I usually drive until 7.30 then call in from the mobile at what I call porridge time.

The big gamble was at least 4 people were going to call in and I was in luck 5 called in to make the activation.

     

This was my veiw as I left the Ute and my set up behind the rock reef as the wind was cold.

 Kangaroo Breakfast time on my way back to the Ute.

Bonus Nackara Hill in the log I got back on the road to try to get to Waroonee Hill vk5/ne-102 on Alert time. This Summit is on the southern part of Teetalpa Station which is probably 15 km of tracks once you leave the Arkaroola Road 10k west of Yunta. 4X4 is not really needed on these tracks but you need to exercise care on the rocky parts to avoid punctures and belting your suspension too much.

  

This monster is always watching, an amazing uplift .

     

Always enjoy this hike along the bottom of the Rock ledge the up around the end to the top.

     

What a great work of art and skill these cairns are surviving here for many years. Notice the Lichen only grows on the side any rain hits which is not much.

Lots of chasers here on vk5/ne-102 with 3 stations I have not worked before on SOTA making it 5 qso on 80m and 9 on 40m ssb and cw. When I got back to my Ute it seemed like mid afternoon to me not midday, probably because I had been on the go since 3 am. But can’t hang around I still had another 30 km of Station tracks to reach the last summit for the day vk5/ne104. Being by myself for the first time on these summits I did not have my gate opener who is still swanning off on his European trip, it takes a bit longer to get anywhere. Lucky me because of the drought most gates on the property were already open probably to allow stock an easier path to water. The track was very dusty and dry but taking it steady where necessary I made the parking spot at about 1.30 pm and I made that porridge time, only 5 hours late.  Snickers are great SOTA hike food to keep you going. It only takes about 20 minutes to hike to the summit from the Ute so no pressure really nearly on Alert time.

     

Very windy summit this one another uhf repeater site, my set up off the eastern side out of wind.

     

Very harsh landscape made worse by Drought.

     

One picture blends into the other, I try not to think how wildlife, stock and the people are hammered to death by this environment during drought and this is winter time not summer. To say you gota be tough out here is an understatement.

3 ssb and 2 cw qso on 80m and 3 ssb and 4 cw qso on 40m . Good to hear vk5we giving cw a go on 80m and nice to work zl1byz on 40m cw and all the other faithful chasers who worked me on every summit for the trip . Thanks to all my chasers I am now at 899 points towards old goat.

Back to Teetalpa Home stead to say thanks for the access to the summits then off on the road journey home for 240 km. Got a nice surprise when on the road home south of Yunta to pass 27 road trains a convoy of truck/trailers loaded with medium bales of hay heading out to drought stricken areas of this great land. I heard later on the news that they came from Western Australia WoW.

Get out and do a rain dance please.

Thanks for reading my Blog.

Regards Ian vk5cz . .

 

 

 

 

 

 

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SOTA In The Drought

Quite sad and upsetting to travel out to some of my regular summits this last trip to see this poor old land and it’s wildlife and stock in such trouble from the Drought gripping many parts of Australia this year. We know that all these areas are very remote and marginal areas to carry on any type of agriculture but these hardy people and their live stock struggle on trying to survive until the next good season.

     

Carefully making my way along the dirt tracks avoiding Kangaroos who like to jump out in front of you I paused to get these photos of the only source of water for quite a way in these parts on my way to my first summit Black Hill vk5/ne-062. This summit is a very rugged range on hills with some trees and bush with spinifex grass as the only ground cover very prickly as it sticks through your jeans and socks if you step on it.

     

As you can see very rugged country.

     

This is my portable station on Black Hill lots of bush to tangle my antenna and rocks to stumble on when erecting it too if you are not careful. I had a nice group of chasers waiting for me this time and vk5is vk5we and vk5mjc made the effort to go out portable with their FT 817 s to make the chase on 3.6 mhz.  Nice to see John vk5pf chasing on cw only these days.

     

Just out of interest and with the rest of my morning to kill I decided to head back to my vehicle a different way which took me longer but it was mostly down hill but still very rugged.

I wonder how long ago it was wet enough to cause this great erosion event half of the side of the hill is missing. It made a great echo chamber as I sung out a couple E OR KEE like Porky from Lassie on the old TV program. Lassie did not hear me of course nor anyone else for that matter ! pretty dang lonely out here. I heard one bird singing they seem to be attracted to the sound of my cw and two pure white goats across the valley from the summit.

After 95 km of Station Tracks I arrived at my nights’ Accommodation to rest up for two more Summits

The Bendleby Ranges my nights’ Accommodation at the Sheering Quarters

Jane and Warren are very helpful to grant permission to hike to the two summits on their property every year. Marchant Hill vk5/ne-043 is an easy 4×4 drive to the parking place near Dinner Time Springs then a 3 km hike along the sides of the hills gradually gaining altitude all the way.

     

The walking track follows up the gully until you reach this saddle then it is easier along the sides of the hills until the final climb to the summit. The track was marked with pink ribbon but I think the goats chewed on them and some are missing or have been eaten.

     

First photo is my view to the west and second photo is my view to the south and a goat pruned Native Pine in the foreground.

     

View out to the east and that Native Pine came in handy to hold up my antenna pole for my portable radio station on Marchant Hill. I had a lot of Chasing Stations this morning with 7 stations worked on 3.6 mhz ssb and 1 on 3.6 mhz cw [morse]. 3 stations from vk3 on 7 mhz ssb and vk 2 3 4 7 on 7 mhz cw.

After a nice walk back to my Ute I had a total of 6 km for the hike taking about 2 hours walking time.

Lunch in the shade of a tree then off down south via The Springs Homestead to the next summit Eke Hill.

     

The 4×4 track is not hard to Eke Hill just a bit of ground clearance needed in places on a couple rocky parts before the parking place. You are greeted by this nice walking trail along the bed of the creek to start off. Summit of Eke Hill is about 1 km from the parking area so my Etrex 30 GPS said.

     

The adventure gets better all the time once you get into this part of the creek.

     

Out of the creek now and onto a natural path along this rock ledge, and a view back to the north which is about to get better as you get higher.

     

View with Marchant Hill in the haze to the North, and what a work of art is this Cairn.

My hike time from the Ute to the summit was 16 minutes for 1 km distance 140 m vertical gain.

     

Looking South to Black Rock Peak and a view across to the hills North East direction and hazy plains below.

     

A very convenient tree to hold up my 7m fishing pole and dipole antenna and my portable radio station set up.

Eke Hill vk5/ne-069

I was greeted once again by lots of Chasing Stations firstly on 3.6 mhz working 4 stations from vk5 on ssb and 2 on cw. Then I changed to 7 mhz ssb and worked vk2 3 5 on ssb then vk2 3 4 on cw .

Another successful time away activating SOTA summits my hike distance for the 3 summits 16 km.

Thanks to the land owners for access to the summits and the Chasers for the contacts.

Regards cheers

Ian vk5cz..

Thanks for reading my Blog