Good SOTA Season 2018

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

     

Waite 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 ..

 

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Last Two Days Up North.

It just goes to show how many kilometers I need to travel to take part in SOTA here in South Australia, just to get on with my Quest and do 4 summits over two days, I traveled 975 kilometers.

I had a hick up with land access and accommodation on the first day and had to travel back to home then head out again the next day. It worked out good in the end as I was able to make contact again with the land owner and reassure myself of access to their property. It went a bit like “i will call you if it’s not ok to go there” and I read that a bit differently to be I will get back to you if it’s ok to go there which did not happen. That is why I came back to Clare after the first day only doing one summit.

Day One.

I headed out early for Price Hill vk5/ne-056 on Pamatta Station quite early about 5.00 am wanting to be north of Orroroo after daylight because of Kangaroos on the road. Had my porridge at 7.30 am about 40 km north of Orroroo with the 3.680 group sked using the mobile rig and Hustler antenna to report my progress. Sometime later I left my vehicle parked at a windmill and tank at 9.00 am to start the hike to Price Hill which is about 3.5 km on the map but taking into account the gain of the hill it turns out to be 3.7 km following a couple way points I had saved in the E trex 30 to keep on track. Its a rocky climb and mostly Spinifex Grass as the only ground cover. There must have been some rain because I noticed a small pool of water in the creek I walked along to start out.

     

When there is a Drought it exposes how many rocks are really here.

     

My path is up that valley with a gradual climb all the way, the small tree is the Ridge top.

     

Always good to look back and see how far you have come, and the last ridge before the top.

     

Nothing in the way on this Summit. Solar Powered uhf cb repeater no beer in the fridge.

     

I set up behind this rock ledge and only put the squidy up 5 metres it was very windy.

Amazing band conditions on 80m even though the extensions were almost on the ground I was able to make 6 ssb and 2 cw 80m qso before changing to 40m.

Made 4 ssb and 3 cw qso on 40m then did some vhf experimenting with vk5we on 2m who was probably 80km south of me. I had the vx8 handy rig and he had  his yagi pointed at me to give the contact a good chance. I got a readable 5 report and he was full scale to me .

Walking back to the Ute I saw this old Sleepy Lizard getting some sun.

     

Great day out on Price Hill thanks to the chasers and land owner for access.

Day Two.

Heading out from Clare this time at 4.00 am the next day I was on track to Yunta for 2 summits on Teetalpa Station. I had a tentative plan to fit Nackara Hill in at some time during the day also now I had permission sorted and if I had time. Well after 2 hours on the road and not hitting any Kangaroos I saw the sign to Nackara and a light bulb moment made me wonder if I could get on top of Nackara Hill summit before 7.30. to catch the 80m sked. It was a bit hard to find the summit gate in the dark as I had only been there during the day, I had a walk up ahead at the property to check out a creek crossing before going any further. It tuned out to be ok so I was on the property track and driving as close as possible to the hike point. Loaded a banana and Snickers in my back pack and did a swift “fasting” hike to the summit which took about half an hour of mostly puff and ankle pain with no warm up. It it less than a kilometre to hike but the gain is pretty much the summit’s prominence plus some .

However some times it pays to have faith, I was on top hiding behind a rock reef with 15 minutes to spare for sked time. I made contact with Ian vk5is first off who thought I was mobile naturally as that was our original plan, I usually drive until 7.30 then call in from the mobile at what I call porridge time.

The big gamble was at least 4 people were going to call in and I was in luck 5 called in to make the activation.

     

This was my veiw as I left the Ute and my set up behind the rock reef as the wind was cold.

 Kangaroo Breakfast time on my way back to the Ute.

Bonus Nackara Hill in the log I got back on the road to try to get to Waroonee Hill vk5/ne-102 on Alert time. This Summit is on the southern part of Teetalpa Station which is probably 15 km of tracks once you leave the Arkaroola Road 10k west of Yunta. 4X4 is not really needed on these tracks but you need to exercise care on the rocky parts to avoid punctures and belting your suspension too much.

  

This monster is always watching, an amazing uplift .

     

Always enjoy this hike along the bottom of the Rock ledge the up around the end to the top.

     

What a great work of art and skill these cairns are surviving here for many years. Notice the Lichen only grows on the side any rain hits which is not much.

Lots of chasers here on vk5/ne-102 with 3 stations I have not worked before on SOTA making it 5 qso on 80m and 9 on 40m ssb and cw. When I got back to my Ute it seemed like mid afternoon to me not midday, probably because I had been on the go since 3 am. But can’t hang around I still had another 30 km of Station tracks to reach the last summit for the day vk5/ne104. Being by myself for the first time on these summits I did not have my gate opener who is still swanning off on his European trip, it takes a bit longer to get anywhere. Lucky me because of the drought most gates on the property were already open probably to allow stock an easier path to water. The track was very dusty and dry but taking it steady where necessary I made the parking spot at about 1.30 pm and I made that porridge time, only 5 hours late.  Snickers are great SOTA hike food to keep you going. It only takes about 20 minutes to hike to the summit from the Ute so no pressure really nearly on Alert time.

     

Very windy summit this one another uhf repeater site, my set up off the eastern side out of wind.

     

Very harsh landscape made worse by Drought.

     

One picture blends into the other, I try not to think how wildlife, stock and the people are hammered to death by this environment during drought and this is winter time not summer. To say you gota be tough out here is an understatement.

3 ssb and 2 cw qso on 80m and 3 ssb and 4 cw qso on 40m . Good to hear vk5we giving cw a go on 80m and nice to work zl1byz on 40m cw and all the other faithful chasers who worked me on every summit for the trip . Thanks to all my chasers I am now at 899 points towards old goat.

Back to Teetalpa Home stead to say thanks for the access to the summits then off on the road journey home for 240 km. Got a nice surprise when on the road home south of Yunta to pass 27 road trains a convoy of truck/trailers loaded with medium bales of hay heading out to drought stricken areas of this great land. I heard later on the news that they came from Western Australia WoW.

Get out and do a rain dance please.

Thanks for reading my Blog.

Regards Ian vk5cz . .

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mid Season Summits

I have had a couple busy weeks again working through my list of summits I need to visit this year.

Mt Jay South is one of the drive up summits I visit near Wilmington in the morning then a hike in the afternoon to The Bluff near Wirrabara Forest.

     

     

Great views to the west looking over Spencer Gulf from up here.

S2S to JP1QEC on 18 mhz all other chasers were on 40m ssb and cw.

Next Summit for the day was The Bluff later in the afternoon which is a 3 km ankle burning hike to the top.

     

This is the view to the east from my set up spot, the summit is behind me on other side of the road but after the bush fire the growth is so thick it is really difficult to set up in the bush. I was able to work the Crystal Brook group of chasers on 2m simplex from here so did not bother to set up on 80m. Rest of my chasers were on 40m ssb and cw .

Ian vk5is was keen to do a longer hike to Dutchman’s Stern Summit with me this time so it was a very early morning start for me from Clare to try to meet the Alert time for the activation.

     

Great sunrise on the way to Quorn                 That is the top of the range.

     

We hiked for 5 km on the walking trail to a way point then bush bash for 1.5 km to the Summit.

     

Looking to the south you can see several other summits. That’s our goal.

     

The Two Ian’s hard at work.

Great day out with company and we managed the 13 km hike, got back to Quorn for a late lunch.

A very frosty minus 2 c in Clare when I left to head to Brown Hill Range. This time I went via Spalding then across the Range north of Booborowie,  I had to deliver a bottle of wine to the farmer who grants permission to the summit.

     

Lots of fog on the range this morning.

     

My shack and set up in the cold and fog.

Made another S2S with Mot JP1QEC on 18 mhz using the 20/40 dipole as an OCF antenna which works very well on 18 mhz. Once I got the activation under way I had lots of vk chasers on 80 and 40m with very good band conditions.

Worked  ZL1BYZ on 40m cw and several other vk stations on cw again after UTC roll over.

Packed up still in the persisting fog with all my gear wet and headed for Jamestown for an early lunch on my way to Black Rock Peak.

I can drive up a couple km in 4×4 then park and hike the rest to the summit. It was a very nice sunny afternoon on Black Rock Peak this time with great views as far as the eye can see. I counted 7 Wedge Tail Eagles all flying at once around the summit, never seen that many of these birds in the one place before.

     

That’s the hike from the ute.                            Birds eye view for this bird.

     

     

Good collection of chasers on 80m to get the activation underway, not many ssb chasers on 40m but a nice group of chasers on 40m cw. I need to do a mod on my 80m extension wires, the alligator clip broke again so I am trying to work on something more robust. I was lucky to find the clip on the ground when it flew off into the grass and I was able to set up the antenna for the activation. I gently rolled down off the summit in low range then head out to meet the land owner for the first time and give out more Clare Valley wine.

Thanks to all the chasers and land owners.

Thanks for reading my Blogs.

Ian vk5cz ..

 

 

 

SOTA in June 2018

Really great we finally got some rain to green things up again and help the Farmers get a start to their new season, and give the wildlife some relief.

The first summit this time was Mt Bryan vk5/se-001, this time I decided to walk there along the Heysen Trail as a training walk for some of the longer hikes ahead in my season.

     

View from the car park about 2.4 km to hike.  This is where the pain and puff kicks in.

     

Then it really hurts.                                           View from the top looking east.

    

The Wind was kind today up here                   This old Roo was sleeping behind this bush.

    

My shack for the day on the western side out of the wind.

After working the locals on 80m I managed to get 4 contacts qualifying the summit before changing to 40m.

3 Stations on 40m ssb and 8 Stations on 40m cw, it’s really great to have so many cw chasers these days.

While I was working on cw a hiker came across and spoke to me and was surprised to come across someone sending Morse Code on a hill top. We had a nice chat and I was able to continue working more stations while he was there. He is doing a hike from Blinman to Cape Jervis the entire length of the Heysen Trail. He started in Blinman in May and some of his hike distances every day were by far further than I have ever hiked. We descended the summit together back to my SOTA transporter, shared my egg and bacon sanger with a cup of coffee before parting company. Great experience to meet such a nice fella with a tough commitment.

Leaving Mt Bryan I had plenty of time left in my day out so I called Simon the land owner of Mt Cone to ask permission to get vk5/se-002 off my list for this year. Turning up at the front gate some time after I found the farmer setting up some new fences so permission was good to go. I get to the 4×4 part of the track and find the track is nicely redone with some grey rubble making it a smooth climb to the top.

Wind was still a stiff breeze so I set up on the northern side of the hut at the top.

    

SOTA Flag flying nicely on the trig point.              View of Mt Bryan to the north.

    

Easy Drive up summit and a 50 m hike.                      My shack out of the wind.

Without a chance to Alert my intentions to activate a second summit Peter VK3PF heard my cq on 40m ssb and put up a spot for me. This time there was some shorter skip on 40m making it possible to work some vk5 stations for a change, good signals to vk2 vk3 vk5 and zl on 40m ssb, vk3 and vk7 on cw. Swapping back to 80m I found Nev VK5WG waiting for me to appear so I worked nearly the whole team of faithful chasers.

The rain moved on and wind speed was to be low so I decided to go to Mount Remarkable vk5/ne-010 the next day. Being a 6.7 km hike up I had to leave before sun up to make the drive to Melrose plus hike up to make the Alert time. Nothing major on the hike up had a couple stops to drink and take photos.

    

Typical of the old well worn track.                   On the screed parts its nicely benched.

    

Nice views to the East on the way up.

    

My shack at the top rock pile and the old shot up trig point. View from the top is not good, too many trees making it hard to set up my 80m dipole but it still seems to work laying on the bushes near the ends.

Made 3 contacts on 80m ssb but my signal was quite low to start with then I discovered a fault with an alligator clip at the 20m section on the link dipole making the antenna way too short for 80m. Swapping to 40m and a new Spot netted several chasers from vk4 vk3 vk2 on ssb and once again even more cw chasers this time on 40m vk2 vk3 vk6 vk7.

A really nice surprise to receive a call from VK5PF John, ZL1TM and finally another S2S with ZL1BYZ on  40m cw.

No answer to my cq on 15 or 20m but I was getting cold sitting in the rock pile and packed up to leave.

On the way down I decided to try the new walking track called the Southern Loop Trail, claimed distance was 6.5 km but according to my eTrex 30 it was more like 7.8 km by the time I reached the SOTA transporter. Had a senior moment at the 3 km mark, I forgot to pick up my hiking pole when I stopped for a drink and resumed my hike without it. I realised after a km or more that I had forgotten it and I had to back track and retrieve it which gave me an opportunity to see how hard it would be to ascend to the summit on this path.  It has great views from the South end of the mountain and you can see as far south to the hills on the northern end of the Clare area. I could easily spot the Grain Silo at Gulnare about 100km to the South.

    

This is typical of the Southern part of the trail an easier hike along the ridge top before you start to descend on the eastern side of the Mountain.

    

Great views to the South as I start to descend more rapidly now.

    

Some of the lower screed benched trail still at a reasonable height on the side of the mountain.

Well I made it back to the SOTA transporter in reasonable condition a bit foot sore and hungry, it was 14.30 local time and I left at 08.30 am on the hike. The senior moment cost me more than 2 km extra hike so by the time I had finished the eTrex 30 was showing 16.5 km on the trip meter, 6.7 km was the hike up distance. Taking into account my back track to get my hiking pole, my guess would be it’s more like 7.5 km distance on the Southern Trail.

Great day out of adventure, discovering new trails and some great SOTA in the mix.

Thanks to all the chasers and thanks for reading my Blog.

Ian vk5cz..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lagoon Hill and Tothill Range

My drive to Lagoon Hill was a very foggy trip in the SOTA transporter, and I missed a turn off at one of the back roads on the way there. No rush as I had plenty of time it was just getting daylight when I reached the farm gate to enter the summit property. Quick coffee and snack before starting my hike, off I set on this ankle burner. On the way up made some contacts with the vx8 hand held rig via vk5rlh repeater. Its about 40 minutes of pain and a very rocky assent to the top but now I have been there a few times the slog is getting easier.

Completely fogged in on the top with very wet dripping trees and bush left me a bit wet and cold but once I got the wind jacket on I was comfortable setting up.  This activation was a bit different as I was hoping to work JP1QEC who was on a summit in Japan, so I set up the high band link dipole first to try my luck with Mot. 

Checking the Spots on my phone I saw Mot was already working on 15m cw so I got in line once I found him on the band. We made the S2S swap with low signal reports but made the QSO none the less. I noticed when checking my phone ZL1BYZ was on 17m cw as well so I quickly swapped the links in my dipole and worked John for another S2S and a stronger signal than Mot on 15m.

Then another nice DX surprise from K0RS on 17m as well .

Called CQ on 20m for a while but got no answer before I started setting up the other link dipole to work the VK chasers on 80/40m. Stumbling through the slippery rocks setting up the 80m extensions was a challenge on this summit but in the end I qualified the summit with VK5WG and VK5IS on 80m and VK3XDM, VK3EQ S2S from vk3.

After UTC roll over VK3XDM and VK3EQ again S2S on 40m before all the faithful group of chasers called in on ssb and cw with another S2S with ZL1BYZ on 40m cw this time.

Fog cleared it was a very pleasant mornings SOTA for sure.

            

Packed up and headed to Tothill Range.

Tothill Range is a much easier hike probably 1.5 km from the ute gradually gaining height from the start.

This time I shot some Go Pro for the land owner as they are quite elderly now and don’t think they will ever climb the hill again. Made a small video showing the views, my station set up and making a few ssb and cw qso’s just to give them a better idea of what SOTA is about.

 

My station on Tothill Range.

I worked only 40m ssb and cw to start but Adrian VK5FANA Roger VK5WE then Nev VK5WG came on 80m near the end of the activation. Lots of QSB on 40m ssb this time of the day I made a few repeats on the signal reports but got it qualified with 12 QSO’s.

Great Day out on some local summits very dry and we surely need lots of rain so I hope that happens soon.

      

Thanks to the land owners and chasers.

Thanks for reading my Blog.

Ian vk5cz ..

 

 

 

8 Summits Kicks Off My 2018 Season.

Now I am trying Retirement from work I have more spare time to get some SOTA Summits done.

My Activating points at the end of 2017 was 761 gaining by 1 point after New Years Day SOTA party when Hugh and I went to Black Bull Hill vk5/se-016. We had a great activation either side of UTC roll over and had a visit from VK5RJ Bruce who came out to visit us on the Summit as his holiday house is near by.

Just to give all my SOTA gear a run I started with a local summit Illawarra Hill vk5/se-014. It was nice to work a lot of my faithful chasers again after several months absents from activating. The 40 metre band was working well being a twilight activation with both ssb and cw contacts a far away as New Zealand. When I changed to 20 metres I worked vk4tj and some DX to on4fi  dj5av and a S2S with hb9bcb who was activating hb/be-156 summit in Europe.

Illawarra Hill shack.

The first Summit for the 6 summit trip was Coomaroo Hill vk5/ne-088. Lots of chasers again on 3.6 ssb 7 ssb and the most cw chasers I have ever worked from memory. VK5IS Ian went for a hike himself to his local high spot with his Military backpack radio to work me on CW.

For reasons unknown, my KX3 was giving trouble on this Summit which was not resolved as it worked fine the next time I used it. For the next 3 summits I used My ft 817 for the first time on SOTA which worked great and I even gave a smaller military hand key some use on CW, this made me exercise caution hand keying Morse after using paddles for so long .

After lunch I headed to Peaked Hill out east of Orroroo for another late afternoon activation. It’s possible to drive on the Station tracks to the western side of the range and after about 1.5 km hike with a steep rocky ascent you are on the top. I activate on the southern side of the ridge as it is very rocky right on top and not much room for antennas.

Twelve mixed ssb and cw qso’s on 3.6 and 7 mhz, no answer to my cq on 14 mhz but it was around 0430 utc so probably too early for Europe. It was pleasant hiking back to my SOTA transporter in the evening and I headed for Orroroo Caravan Park for the over night stay. Most of my evening was spent going for a training walk around the town boundary, sorting media, photos and uploading SOTA logs.

Next morning I headed to Hogshead vk5/ne-051. Driving towards the summit I noticed the new land owner has made a road to the top. I looked a bit too steep for me to 4×4 up so I decided to hike up anyhow to check out the new track. After closer inspection I recon I could drive it but if it erodes too much after a wet winter I think I will be walking.

      

Hogshead shack, some Critter tried to eat my UHF cb I lost a couple year ago on this summit.

Good signals on 7 mhz ssb and cw, two s2s vk3byz/2 on vk2/mn-081 and zl1byz on zl1/ak-016.

Testing skills again on this summit I was trying to qso with vk5wg while he was mobile, and we ended up making the qso on 21 mhz ssb to his mobile.

After arriving back at the Ute I had plenty of time to head back to Orroroo for lunch in the park before heading to Maurice Hill vk5/ne-049.

This summit is a drive up needing 4×4 to get there, a very rocky steep climb for some of the track to the top nothing the Colorado can’t handle in second gear low range.

Took this photo after the activation on the way down, as I was exploring on foot another track.

View to the North from Maurice Hill it is very dry here and rain would be good.

Thanks to all the chasers for looking out for me on the afternoon activation on Maurice Hill all qso’s were on 7 mhz ssb and cw with a 2m simplex qso with Roger vk5we who came to this summit with me last year. No answer to my cq calls on 21 or 14 mhz.

The next morning it was raining so I did not activate the planned summits for day three but did get to go back to Jamestown on Sunday to catch up.

      

Mount Nadjuri vk5/ne-058 was the summit for my next activation, about a 1 km hike from the parking spot.

Lots more wind turbines on the range of hills now good revenue for the farmers.

This activation was very good qualifying on 3.6 mhz first before having some fun working chasers on 7 mhz and 14 mhz ssb and cw.

    

New Mount Campbell vk5/se-007

This summit is about a 7 km hike in and out from the parking spot. It turns out the government has sold off the forested area so my past hikes are now no longer open to me unless I re negotiate with the farmer who has the land. I have done some research on the Heysen Trail and should be able to hike to the summit from the south in future.

The activation was on a very nice day hardly any wind on the summit, chasers on 3.6 mhz ssb and a s2s with vk3il on vk3/vt-023 on 7 mhz ssb. A good number of Chasers on 7 mhz ssb and cw and z1byz on 14 mhz cw.

    

Great weather Tuesday morning and Dale vk5ld was still on holiday so we decided to make a trip to Bumbunga Hill to vk5rlh 2 metre repeater site. We need to visit this site a few times per year to check the battery and repeater hut for mice who love living in the warm shack. As usual there was plenty of mouse doings to clean off everything and Dale made up a new door seal to try to keep them out. This is SOTA summit vk5/se-015 so a good opportunity to activate the summit on the same trip.

My SOTA shack for the activation, I qualified on 3.6 mhz this time so it was nice to relax and work some chasers on 7 mhz and 14 mhz ssb and cw. Ian vk5is alerted me on 2 metres to Mot JP1QEC on summit ja/gm-047 in Japan. We worked s2s on 21 mhz cw with a good rst both ways even though I was using a 20m dipole at the time.

The kx3 is back working as good a new still don’t know why it was acting up on Coomaroo the other day, it was fun using the ft817 for some of my activating and I probably will give it a run more often. Lucky I took it with me on my trip as a back up and it will be coming on my trips away from now on.

Thanks to the chasers for the qso and land owners for access to the summits.

Regards

Ian vk5cz ..