After six and half years roughly I have accumulated 1000 activating points in the SOTA program to make Mountain Goat the top Award in the program. Starting out in October 2012 I was very keen and excited to take part in this great activity. First things to get right in SOTA is access permission from the owner of the Hill or Mountain which is the designated summit, some are in Parks or Forest department lands but most are on private property. As I went around working out these issues I had a couple unfortunate experiences of not asking the right person for access and was challenged by a land owner who ended up happy with me being on his property once I explained the mistake. Only 4 land owners of the 50 summits I have visited have decided maybe its not a good idea to grant access again for SOTA, the rest of the farmers I deal with are very good and always grant permission, but I phone them every time before heading out. Another issue is land ownership can change and I have to ask the new owners for access permission all over again, two such properties have differing circumstances and access in no longer available to me or anyone else. To make Mountain Goat in South Australia access to low scoring summits is normal because the summits are not really that high in altitude in the general areas within 200 km from my home. Expect to do lots of travelling and lots of hiking as there are not many summits with access roads to the top. As a rough idea in year 2018 I drove to 43 summits with a total of 7,800 km of travel and total hike distance of 160 km with only 10 summits I could drive to the activation zone. Several over nights accommodation was required either at Quorn, Orroroo or Bendelby Ranges to save even more travel time and distances. My final activation points average was 3.8 points per activation making a total of 263 summits visited and roughly 43 summits per year depending on my time available,access and the seasonal conditions.
The Mountain Goat activation finally became reality on 24/05/2019, I thought it appropriate to make Mt Horrocks the summit to achieve the award. Coincidentally I only needed 2 more points to qualify so it was great to be able to visit Mt Horrocks for the special occasion. Starting out at 23.09 for my first contact with Dale VK5LD and John VK5MJC who called me here on the first ever SOTA activation in VK5 back in October 2012, it was nice to work them again. Another couple faithful chasers were Adrian VK5FANA then Nev VK5WG who was contact number 4 to qualify the activation for me, Nev is the highest scoring VK5 Chaser and rarely misses calling me on a SOTA activation. The small group of local chasers who always make the effort to work me especially now 80m is the more local band to use really help me qualify most summits before I need to change to 40m ssb or cw. They are VK5WG VK5WE VK5IS VK5MJC VK5WY VK5LD VK5FANA and on this occasion Hugh VK5NHG went to Tothill Range Summit for an S2S qso as well. Hugh has helped a lot with finding property owners to gain access to summits for us both and we often activate together on trips away.
Even though the wx was windy and very cold, it was nice to get the rain.
Thanks to all the chasers on 40m ssb and cw before and after UTC roll over making my day a great success on this special occasion.
Next SOTA post MG was the trip with Hugh to Yunta, we did hope to do 7 summits but could only get permission for access to 5 summits. The Yunta Pub is open for accommodation again so that became head quarters for this trip. On the way to Yunta we were able to activate Nackara Hill before heading out to Tetalpa Station to get the other two summits for the day. Hugh and I again relying on the morning 80m group to give us enough qso’s to qualify put us under pressure to make the Alert time when they would be able to chase us.
View south from the summit and very cold in the early morning we made 6 qso’s each set up behind a rock shelf out of the wind then hiked back to the vehicle for a quick breakfast before heading to the next summit.
Hike views to Waroonee Hill the second summit for this day, this area needs lots of rain.
A very nicely built stone cairn on this summit with an Eagle cruising near by, and Hugh working the small pile up as it was very close to lunch time. We both made contacts on 80m ssb and I worked VK3PF and VK3BYD on 40m cw.
Off Waroonee Hill and more dry bull dusty tracks to Karkala Ridge summit for the late afternoon activation.
This cairn has collapsed to about half size. A quick photo of Me operating on 80m ssb.
We did not stay long on the last summit for the day as we still had about 40 km of tracks to drive to get back to the Yunta Pub and take up our booked accommodation, plus it was quite late in the afternoon by the time we got off the third summit for the day.
Day 2 leaving Yunta was quite cold again and overcast as we headed out Southeast from the town in a reverse direction to our usual trip to Pualco Range the first summit for today. Another long dusty station track drive with several gate to open and close before we reached the Pualco Range area to start the climb.
Great hike this one but very hard to get warmed up as you go straight into the steep part from leaving the vehicle.
Hugh leading the way on the climb and this stone cairn has collapsed.
Hugh and I both had a nice pile up on 80m ssb and Hugh worked some chasers on 40m ssb then I made some qso’s on 40m cw as well with 2 S2S qso’s VK1MCW and VK1AD/2 conditions seemed quite good. Once again we got a small amount of rain on Pualco Range which happened last time we were there. Down off the summit as best we could and heading for Pitcairn Station for the last summit for the day. We had about 40km of tracks again to drive a new way for us to traverse, the roads we in very good order this time and several gates to negotiate. Final lunch break at the halfway point on the track then a really rough last 10km to make the park spot before probably the toughest hike for the trip. We made the summit quite late in the afternoon with maybe one hour of daylight left we got set up and worked some chasers. Nev VK5WG was the only chaser on 80m this time so I spotted on 40m ssb for Hugh finding quite a pile up of chasers waiting for him. Once Hugh run out of chasers I made 8 qso on 40m cw plus Nev on 80m ssb,so great activation pity we had to pack up quickly and get down while it was still light.
Twilight views out to the west from Waite Hill heading down.
Almost dark on eastern side on the way down, then a slow rattle on the rough old track for about 10 km in the dark before making better made roads.
Really nice to get these summits in the log once again and we did 5 solid hikes to get them, not big distances but every summit is straight into the steep parts from leaving the vehicle. Does wonders for the heart rate.
Thanks to the land owners and chasers, thanks to Hugh for the SOTA transporter this time.
Thanks for reading my Blog.
Ian vk5cz ..