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










2 comments on “SOTA In The Drought

  1. isutty says:

    Excellent blog as always Ian.. Grand effort too, with all those kilometers you traveled.. best VK5IS

  2. VK4FR/VK5FR says:

    Even in the current conditions some stunning vistas out there Ian.


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