The next goal for me in SOTA was to reach 400 activations and celebrate 10 years of SOTA in VK5 on 1st of October 2022.
I had a plan to visit Hawker on the 30th of September and activate summit 399 Yourubulla Ridge VK5/NE-093, a popular tourist hike and lookout west of Hawker. I had accomms booked at the Cradock Hotel so it was a good chance to drive around and investigate who owns 4 other summits in the area. I got some information from a guy digging post holes on the side of the road and he pointed me to a place he thought I might find access permission to visit Black Jack range. After a nice chat with the lady who was home it turns out the summit is on her neighbour’s property. But without hesitation she gave me a couple phone numbers to call when I get home. I then drove north of Hawker 15 km to Wonoca Station to see about Wonaca Hill to be met at the gate by a workman who told me no one was home but gave me yet another phone number to call.
The time was ticking by and I was due to be on the Yourubulla Ridge summit so I gave up on logistics and headed for the summit. This hike is quite an easy one about 1.5 km from the car park and is on the Heysen trail so well sign posted.
Once on the Summit I deployed the EFHW again inverted L config this time and gave my FT817 a run. I did take my laptop and interface to the summit as well for digital modes but run out of time to give it a go. I did however make lots of contacts from the summit with first a simplex 2m QSO with Hugh VK5NHG who was in the area with our hand held rigs. Once my Spot went out I made 3 SSB 40m QSO then a good tally of 40m CW as well. The band gave very good coverage this day and I was able to work VK5 VK3 and VK2 with 5 watts nicely. Changing to 20m CW I made 8 QSO 3 VK and the rest into Europe with a bit of a pile up to start but worked through them in the end. Ed DD1LP had emailed me a few days before my trip and was waiting for me on his local summit to try a long path SSB contact. I checked for his Spot on SW3 and found him calling on 20m SSB and we made an easy contact for the S2S with DD1LP on DL/AM-180. I called CQ on SSB as well and made contact with Andrew VK1AD/M on his way from work. Then Gerard VK2IO called me as we could not make contact on 40m CW so that worked out well. After my chat with Gerard OH1MM,DJ2MX and DJ5AV called me for a score. It was good to hear some of these DX guys again after many years of no DX to Europe from Summits.
With all the contacts in the log and packed up I quietly hiked back to the Ute trying APRS with my VX8 and getting a few hits with Mt Arden repeater. Being a duel watch Handy rig VK5KLV came on the voice repeater and he kept me company on the walk back down.
On to Cradock for tea and accomms, I had a very nice visit with other tourists in the pub filling them full of SOTA stories, funny none of them had even heard of SOTA which I find unusual. HI .
Sitting opposite to me under the veranda a fellow heard me talking about what I do and joined in the chat, I asked him if he knew the owner of Windy Hill a summit near Hawker turns out he said “I do”. I nearly fell off my chair but promptly shook his hand and asked his permission to climb Windy Hill. Phone numbers exchanged and more chat ensued until closing time.
Thanks for reading my Blog.
Ian vk5cz ..