SOTA Start for 2019

Running out of cliche’s for SOTA Blogs but here goes, getting year 2019 off to some sort of start and yes still on the original quest for Mountain Goat. As I write today I am only about 14 more summits from the ultimate Award running at my 3.8 points per activation. I am still excited about achieving the goal and keeping my body in good order to take up the challenge for this year. Did a lot more cycling over the off season from SOTA and with the help of Mot JP1QEC developed a new style of end fed antenna which seems to work quite well. Mot made and sent me a version to try as a link end fed half wave  with a transformer to reduce the high impedance of the end fed half wave. He wound the transformer on a snap on ferrite of all things then fed some coax on the second turn of the winding and a counter poise on winding one joined with a short run of coax back to the rig. The ft 817 is happy to load to full power with no VSWR to register, as does the kx3.

 

This is My Version.                                          Mot’s version.

Mot’s SOFT antenna, the acronym is Snap On Ferrite Transformer with a counterpoise and a Link Endfed Dipole from 15 metres to 40 metres. I have used this antenna several times testing in my usual yard site under the big gum tree. I hung it as an inverted L with the vertical part bending off after the 20m link so all of the high bands were vertically polarized and the 30/40m section being horizontal across to a 6m end support. My version was made differently with out any band links starting out with 16m of wire hung in the tree in a similar IVL config. Using a similar counterpoise and coax feed I found after trimming the radiator I could achieve a good swr on 7mhz and a reasonable swr on 14mhz and another low swr point in 20 mhz  which gave a 3 t 1 swr in 21 mhz. The test is, will the FT 817 load to full power without a tuner which it did easily on 7/14 mhz and reduced power back to about 3 watts on 21mhz, good enough in a pinch. No issues with the kx3 off course having an atu I decided to take this antenna on an activation and give it a try. I need to work the local chasers on 80m still as there is no short skip on 40m still so I hatched a plan to add onto the antenna with one of my link wires I use to extend my 40/20m link dipole to work on 80m. This is an add on of about 9.3 metres of wire to get the link dipole on 80m, well to my surprise the kx3 tuned it easily and I made 4 qso’s on 80m during the morning activation the furtherest chaser was about 200km from the summit. I consider this antenna a keeper. Getting back to Mot we have managed to make a qso several times over summer using the SOFT antennas with Mot on SOTA and Me either chasing from my Yard or S2S contacts mostly on 20m or 17m even in these low times of propagation.

   

This was the activation on South Hummocks vk5/se-017 using the SOFT antenna.

Back to mid summer M1EYP has been promoting FT8 digital mode for SOTA in UK so just for fun I went to Illawara Hill vk5/se-014 to try a digital activation. Being an easy drive up summits I took my ic7200 and a good battery to run it and my laptop link dipole all the usual kit. The temperature was 37c very hot but there is one small tree on the summit so at least some shade. Well once I was set up and all the Alerts put out I realised sitting under the tree I could not read my Laptop screen very well. The solution was my rain coat over my head the irony was sitting on a summit in a drought on a 37c summers day under my rain coat. I did manage to make 4 qso’s on ft8 and topped up my activation with some of the usual chasers I work in more normal times and modes. It was interesting to give it a try and it did work very well as I got a FT8 S2S with JI3BAP.

The next activation was a joint SOTA and VK5RLH repeater trip to inspect the hut and replace a power supply for APRS which Grant VK5AMC kindly loaned for the job. Another S2S with Mot on 14 mhz this time and just a few other vk chasers as it was Tuesday again. We were happy to find at the repeater hut this time no mouse invasion and Dale’s door fix stopped them getting in so a quick sweep out was all required this time.

I visited Hallet Hill next with a big plan to set up two antennas this time and try for another S2S with Mot on his usual activation. It was quite cold and windy giving some relief to the usual summer we have had this time.

  

Hallet Hill vk5/se-003 two link dipoles 40/20 and 15/17 and shack behind the rocks out of the wind.

 

This poor old land needs a good rain.

Very poor conditions on Hallet Hill but I did managed to make a S2S with Mot on 17m this time with a big surprise qso with AL7JX on  17m cw. Good qso’s on 80m ssb and 40m cw/ ssb to end up with 14 qso’s.

Time to crank up the hike distance to build that base for what is to come Ian vk5is and I went to Mt Remarkable next for SOTA. Taking the North walking trail to the summit it was a gentle 2 hour hike early in the morning to make our Alert times and to be there to work Mot again for a S2S.

 

What a great team.

  

Dust Inversion on Willowie Plains.                  A great day to Hike.

 

Screed Slopes at 4km into hike.

Set up on the Summit vk5/ne-010 995 m asl 5 metres short of a 10 pointer.

Checking the bands we Found Mot JP1QEC on ja/gm-039 on 18.081 on cw

We had already set up the dipole with all extensions to be on 80m first to work the local chasers. To save time resetting the antenna I tuned it with the kx3 to see if the 80m dipole would hit Mot for the S2S as he had a loud signal with me. I had a good signal and reference swap on 17m so I decided to go up the band and call cq myself. To my surprise K0RS and K5CM called me giving good reports up to 559 which were both great contacts and a S2S with ZL4DVG on zl3/wc-575 then  ZL1BYZ VK3PF VK4TJ. With UTC roll over approaching it was time to go to 80m and work my local chasers waiting there. When i call VK5WE on 80m he said he could hardly hear me which surprised me as we had the 80m dipole set up and we could work him on a 2m hand held.  On closer inspection I noticed a link for 20m was still open giving the problem for 80m, but it surely made a great OCF for 17m which was probably my best “accidental antenna” ever. Reset the link and the locals VK5WE VK5WG and VK5MJC were nice strong signals on 80m and I just got everyone worked before roll over.

  

Ian VK5IS Activated once UTC roll over to the next day took place, having good local contacts on 80m ssb and 40m ssb and made a score of 7 qso’s and I did a few calls on 40m cw as well after roll over but only got 1 qso with Gerard VK2IO.

Time to pack up and try the decent on the South Trail for a change.

  

The South Trail is 7.5 km so 1 km further than the North Trail and gives nice views to the south on the way down but it is a much harder trail to walk due to the rough rocky surface. We took 10 minutes extra time to walk down so made a good time but had to be careful not to slip or trip on the rocky surface. The hike total was 14 km distance and we averaged 16 minute kilometers for the hike.

Both of us were sore and tired by the time we made the SOTA transporter and enjoyed a nice lunch and coffee break at The Fullerville Coffee and Radio Shop. Thanks Roger.

Regards thanks for reading my Blog.

Ian vk5cz ..

 

 

 

 

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