Now that my SOTA season is coming to an end I must say my Quest to make Mountain Goat is getting shorter.
After this last season I should be able to make Old Goat with 75 more activating points.My average is 3.8 points so 20 more summits should be enough next year.
I kept a travel and hiking log this year as I was activating without Hugh who was over seas for five months and there was no one to share the travel to summits. Travel distance for the year to and from Summits was 8723 km and I hiked 157 km from the parked SOTA Transporter. I remember the longest trip was 975 km over two days because of an access misunderstanding and with no accommodation at Yunta anymore I had to drive home to sleep then start out early for the next day. A good thing did come from all the driving that trip I was able to catch up an extra summit on the way to Yunta by being near by the summit early enough to quickly hike up and be ready for the early morning group who are on 80 metres at 7.30 am. The gamble was if at least 4 ops would be on air and as it turned out 5 came on that morning so I could qualify, then hike back down for breakfast and get on with the rest of my trip to Yunta. Most times when I am planning my trips away I need to contact land owners and it is always a nervous time for me ringing around pestering then for permission. I must say they always say yes and sometimes help me with further information about other property owners I may be looking to contact about different access or new summits. Because Hugh was away I had to ask several land owners on his access list as well so I did meet some nice new people Hugh normally deals with.
The sad part about this season is the on going drought up north with every property in trouble with no rain or feed for their animals and the badly stressed wildlife made me feel sad every time I went out activating. I was on Mt Stokes in the middle of winter season and I picked up a rock to hook my antenna support strings to run out the dipole. Nothing living under the rocks hardly any birds singing like you usually hear no small lizards that you would normally see. On the way home from Waite Hill I unhooked a full grown Kangaroo out of the fence and to try and help her get going again I had to pick her up so she could try to stand, I recon she might have weighed 25 to 30 kg just skin and bones. I gave her a drink of water from a bottle and she drank the lot which would have been a first time experience for her to drink like that. I did all I could for her and left hoping she would survive a bit longer.
My activating scores this year were probably less contacts than other years especially DX although I did make some DX S2S to ZL and JA this year. I am lucky to have a group of faithful chasers who I can contact on 80m and thanks to them I always qualified the summits. Ian VK5IS and Roger VK5WE came with me on a few trips this year again to do some activating and keep me company so I was not totally alone for every trip. After I worked the few chasers on 80m I could always count on regular chasers from other vk zl states to find me on 40 ssb and cw and sometimes on 20m cw as well. I should mention the owners of Quorn and Orroroo Caravan Parks who always provide good accommodation with discount mind you so I can sleep well and feed myself when away from home. A special mention to The Bendelby Ranges too as they provide good accommodation at the Sheering Quarters and let me use the 4×4 tracks for free to travel out to the summits.
This October Long weekend as I write this Blog is 6 years now since SOTA started in vk5, its been a long journey and still more to go to make old goat . This year I made more day trips from home early starts and late back home again as now I know how long the trip will be and the hike up to be ready for my Alert times. Mostly I stuck to the plan with no issues, lots of Kangaroos to miss on the sides of the roads in the early hours, then weary times driving home again.
Mt Plantagenet shack. Hill VK5/NE-031 shack.
View from hike to hill NE-031 new found way to access via Holowiliena South.
The Greenest Summits for the year Mt Horrocks and Hallett Hill
4X4 fun on Mt Arden.
Hugh is home from Europe and Luxury first chair on a summit.
Thanks to the chasers and land owners for season 2018 of SOTA .
Thanks for reading my Blog.
Ian vk5cz ..