My SOTA Link Dipole.

My favorite antenna for SOTA is a home brew 40/20 link Dipole with Extensions for 80 metres. I carry a 7 metre Squid Pole to the summit as well for support, and set it up with the end strings right to the ground to get the best inverted V config with a good degree angle for the dipole. Loops on the end of the strings are used to tie off to rocks mostly, saves carrying tent pegs on summits where the ground is usually too hard to use pegs any how.

 

This is the rolled up Dipole and 80m Extensions

10m of RG 174 feed line wound through a toroide type 43 to limit common mode on the coax. I made the winding first then fitted the BNC line socket after the Choke was wound. 6 turns one way cross over 6 turns back the other way. The Loop on the string ends are used to make a slip knot type loop around a rock to hold the ends of the dipole in place. Plus it comes in handy for when you want to wind up the antenna.

To fit the antenna to my Squid Pole I came up with a grey plastic wall plug that fits nicely in the end of my pole, it has never failed in all the time I have used it. Drill out the wall plug, poke the string through and tie a knot. When it fits in the top the string is slightly compressed and it holds in place nicely.

The reason for the yellow zip tie around the top section serves a good purpose. When the squid pole is fully collapsed the smallest section would always fall down inside the other sections. The zip tie leaves some of the smallest section sitting inside but above all the other sections so I can get a hand on it to fit up the antenna. Now if you bungee up your squid pole to a post or stump with out first pulling out the top section you have to undo every thing to get it out wasting time. With the zip tie on top its just sitting nicely in the top of the pole waiting for you.

 

Time to explore my link methods and reasons. On most summits I visit there are lots of rocks and short prickly bush or grasses to tangle or break things if you are impatient. The antenna is most vulnerable when putting it up, when I made my antenna I only used one Alligator Clip per link. On the Highest frequency end I cut an inch off the outer case and tinned the wire with solder then tightly wrapped it around the outer case on the yellow wire. This give a good connection for the clip to grip on when closing the link and one less thing to hook on stuff causing a fail if I had used two clips per link.

This is the 80m extension hook up point on the very end of the 40m section of the dipole. I chose Bullet connectors for this job and a plastic fitting to give extra support to the extension wire. The small knot tied in the 40m end string is there as strain relief for the extension wire when the antenna is up. Plug the bullet connector into place then place this green fitting behind the knot on the string then run out you extension wire.

With an 80m antenna on a summit it becomes a big span of wire so in my case I set up the 40/20 inverted V like normal then add the extensions to the already supported dipole leaving all support strings hooked up to rocks or what ever is my end support. When you finish on 80m you can just unplug the extension and leave it in place until you roll up the antenna at the end of the activation. I usually roll up my extensions first then the rest of the antenna last leaving less chance to get thing caught up on the floor of the summit.

Activation done lots of chasers and S2S its time to roll up the antenna and head to the next summit.

   

Start with extensions first with the loop on the end of the string over your Pinky finger and roll in figure of 8 pattern around Finger and Thumb.

 

 

With the 40/20 dipole start with the support string first and roll until a couple turns of the dipole end is on your hand as well, this is where I tie a simple knot around the first part.

  

Take the wound up string section off you fingers and place it between your fingers at the back of your hand then continue rolling the rest of the antenna on in the same figure of 8 pattern.

  When both bundles are rolled up then I place the tie through the green fitting. Now my main reason for rolling it this way is again to help with erecting the antenna on the next summit, it is tangle free and less likely to snag on the way up and you can visually monitor for snags.

My coax is rolled up by the same method I roll up all coax that is on the ground at the radio end and tie it off then when the Squid pole is lowered I roll up the rest and tie it off with a different tie. It helps to keep it safe from big feet stepping on it when putting up the antenna. Yes of course I am speaking from learned experiences when it comes to SOTA antennas on a summit I have the tee shirt remember.

  Nice and Compact for my SOTA bag.

Hope this helps someone in their Quest for Mountain Goat.

Thanks to George KX0R for showing me this method of rolling up an antenna.

Regards

Ian vk5cz

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Longer Hikes 8 and 6 Pointers.

Hikes to three 8 point and one 6 point summits on my list are all 12 plus km round trips with Mt Bryan the exception its only about a 2 km hike up with 100 m gain for the first kilometre then 230 m gain for the last km its an ankle burner for sure. On checking on Google Earth I was surprised to see the car park is at 600 m ASL.

I digress.

For 300 summits I hiked solo to Mt Remarkable as a special visit for that occasion, Ian VK5IS joined me on my next hike to Mt Brown. We made good progress leaving the Ute at 9 am giving a window of about 2 hours to make the Alert time on top. Fantastic weather on this day hardly any wind we headed up the creek for 3 km before the track ramped up the angle and the pain.

Mount Brown VK5/NE-014.

   

This spot is where the puff is about to really start so we had a drink and took off some clothing.

   Great Views out to the north you can see 4 other summits to the north from here, still about 1.5 km to the top, 1 hour done.

   

The 2 Ian’s hard at work taking turns giving out points VK5IS on 80/40m ssb and VK5CZ on 80m ssb/cw then 40m cw. Doesn’t seem to be the same amount of chasers on 40m ssb anymore, Ian only had one qso i think from memory.

   

This trail post is ideal for setting up the link dipole and much easier here than on the pile of rocks above us. We both had a good number of locals on 80m then a small pile up on 40m cw of faithful chasers but no ZL this time. Walk time was 1hr 39 min for 6.3 km so a good pace and probably my least painful experience on this summit. Being mid SOTA season for me I guess we should be fitter than normal.

Thanks chasers on Mt Brown the 2 Ian’s ..

Mt Bryan VK5/SE-001

I headed out of Clare early in the morning in nice sunshine and very little wind which is the ideal weather to visit Mt Bryan, it can be really windy on that summit from past experiences. I take a few dirt roads over The Camels Hump range and exit near Mt Bryan Township to cut some kilometres off my trip.

   

On the road just near Hill Town the fog was starting to get thicker as I went and could only drive quite slowly all the way until Mt Bryan township.

   

Razor Back Hill on the southern side of the summit covered in fog and my view of Mt Bryan as I left the SOTA transporter.

   

Fog bank over Caroona Creek Mt Bryan East area.

   

Slowly gaining altitude as the fog lifts.

   

View out west to the Brown Hill wind farm and SOTA summit and my shirt drying in the breeze.

I saw another hiker on the way up he was just ahead of me but I had to wait until the top to talk to him I could not gain on him enough on the climb. He was interested in what I was doing and took a few photos of me on CW, which seems to amaze most non ham folks that see me operate cw.

Had a nice group on 80m ssb first then 11 cw contacts on 40m with a pile up to work through to start off, always good to get them. No answer at all on 40m ssb, having plenty of time I spotted on 20m to find 2 ZL’s waiting for me and VK4DBJ on cw, a nice surprise and new contact for me.

Walk time up was 53 minutes walking, pretty slow going with some steep gain percentages but a good track as part of The Heysen Trail.

Thanks chasers on Mt Bryan VK5/SE-001

The Dutchmans Stern. VK5/NE-028

Leaving Clare at 6 am and minus 2c it was a frosty drive all the way until after sunrise north of Wilmington, I met Ian VK5IS in Laura again for another SOTA with the 2 Ian’s.

After a quick Coffee break and feed at The Dutchman’s Stern car park we hit the walking trail at 9 am allowing 2 hours to make the summit. Lots of female Kangaroos grazing on the side of the track with a small head sticking out of the pouch was a nice greeting to their world. The way to the summit is via the South Track which is about 6.2 km to the top, not as much gain in the ground to the top of this one as it is only around 200 metres of gain from the car park. We made our usual 4 km in the first hour then stopped for a drink and take off any warmer clothes etc.

   

Lower part of the track wanders around the sides of the gullies on a gradual climb for the first 5 km until we reach the spot to turn off the trail and head bush for the last 1.5 km of bush bash. The first time I visited here there were a lot of Goats and they made a track to follow but now it is all over grown again.

   

We are having a spell and checking the views out to the East,the Sheoaks seem to only grow after a certain height on the sides of the hills with lots of Spinifex, Yacka Bush and rocks as the under story.

   

Devils Peak, Richman Hill and Mount Brown  off to the south from here some other summits I visit in this area. It is also always good to see the other side of the range out to the West it means we are nearly there.

   

Summit in sight and after setting up, hard at work on 80m ssb working the local chasers. Ian and I had a turn at working the 80m ssb callers then Ian went on 40m ssb to get a couple more scores to qualify then I had a go on 40m cw. Made 4 more contacts on 40m cw to VK3PF VK2IO ZL2IFB and ZL1BYZ, but no answer to my cq on 20m cw. I have made a Flower Pot antenna out of coax for 2m and had it hanging in a bush, we made a test QSO to VK5WE and VK5GY several km south of where we were. I tested the path to VK5RLH repeater and got it back at half scale on my VX8 handheld, it was 173 km as a straight line on Google earth. Interesting thing was the straight line path was West of the Flinders in line almost with Highway 1 and Mambray Creek. That is probably why it was an unexpected good signal to me having none of the Flinders Ranges south of us in the way.

Back to the best cafe in the Flinders the Quondong Cafe for a quick Covid-19 coffee out side the shop then back to Laura to drop Ian off.

The walk was 12.6 km took 3 hrs 40 minutes on the move and we arrived back to the SOTA transporter a bit sore but I think feeling better than other times we have done this hike.

Thanks Ian for your company once again.

Thanks to the Chasers on Dutchmans Stern VK5/NE-028.

Thanks for reading My Blog.

Regards Ian vk5cz ..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

300 Summits and Beyond

Mount Remarkable VK5/NE-010 was my choice for summit number 300.

It’s a good hike of 6.2 km with about 580 metres of gain from the car park for a worthy hike and my personal achievement in the SOTA program.

   

Coffee break and feed and a quick sked on 3.680 with the locals before I leave the SOTA Transporter it was a nice cool morning probably 8c, My goal to make the top in 2 hrs.

   

The walking track has had a lot of clean out type work with fire rakes by the look getting rid of a lot of the loose rocks that normally kill your feet on this hike. I took my jumper off at Cathedral Rock noticing the valley below was fogged in but a really nice sunny day to look forward too on the mountain

Checking the E trex 30 I was on time walking the first 2 km in 28 minutes but that was about to change as the angles ramped up a bit more. Stopping at 4km was my next major pause at 1 hour to have a drink and snack I got some nice pictures near the plane crash site on the screed slopes.

   

Melrose and all the area around was still blanketed with fog, nice to see some green crops below for a change.

   

Screed slopes are always interesting and provide a good open view off the mountain, I made it here to this point in 1 hour.

     

Then more screed slopes with 1.5 km to go and now under pressure to make my Alert time.

The new monument at the top mentioning how Edward John Eyre named the Mountain Mount Remarkable as he had seen it from many places on his exploration trips around the State in 1840.

The Parks people have cleaned out the very large pile of rocks that was there before and made it a lot easier to set up my antenna.

   

Shots of the larger area now set up with tables ideal for resting my Squid Pole on to put up the antenna.

   

Once I was set up and on air a group of about 30 school boys reached the summit on a school hike, in no time I had them all sitting on these benches giving them an impromptu lecture on Amateur Radio the original social media. Then had them all wondering what all the beep beep was about as I was working some chasers on CW, ideal I thought to my self show them what a dinosaur I am.

School Boys rounded up by their teachers who thanked me for the free lesson and an interesting diversion, off they went on the rest of their hike. Several other hikers came along also that day it’s probably the most people I have ever exposed to the hobby on any summit.

Well once I got set up and on air there was a steady flow of chasers on 80m ssb and cw then the same on 40m ssb and cw topping of with a few qso on 20m cw as well. VK1MCW,VK1DA and ZL1BYZ made the effort of working me from a summit, 3 S2S in the log, thanks to you folks for that. After a few double ups of contacts on other bands and modes my score was soon up to 30 qso so I decided to try to qualify the VKFF award as well. As the SOTAwatch3 site is linked to Parks and Peaks I set about gaining a score of 44 qso. It took a while to get the last 3 or 4 but they came through giving me 1 activation towards the Boomerang Award in VKFF.

   

Great day on the mountain and a good walk back to the car park, I got a couple photos now the fog had lifted. 300 summits is a mile stone for me its taken 7 years to get to this stage of my SOTA experience and I still want to go on and do a lot more summits in the future.

Thanks to all the chasers and summit to summit activators who gave me a contact on this day on Mount Remarkable.

Thanks for reading my Blog.

Regards

Ian vk5cz ..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some Mid North Summits

Seeing there is a lot more rainfall this Winter so far and most of the local sheep have all finished lambing it was time to get out into the farmland summits for some more SOTA. Leaving Clare in the frosty minus 2c mornings always ends up a nice sunny day out on the hills a bit later in the day.

Most of these summits are a shorter trip and a couple are drive ups so no need to rush out too early I planned to get my Activations under way around UTC 00:00 or roll over. Saves messing up the logging process in the data base although it probably would be good to give my chasers some double points for the first activation. Then again quite often its harder to make a second QSO after roll over with everyone you can normally work first time round.

Hallett Hill was first for this day then over to Brown Hill Range for the afternoon. The old track the back way to Hallett Hill from Booborowie was in good order and had been graded recently, the reason I have found this way to get to the summit is only one gate to open to enter the wind farm.

   

Never disappoints if you like the look of these big machines churning out the big Watt.

When I arrived at the summit it was still quite windy so My first set up was behind a native bush that conveniently grows among the rocks right on top and I can use the blue trig markers to hold up the Squidy. Reasonably comfortable in this spot with some flat rocks set up to place the radio on and of course my cushion for a seat.

   

Hallett Hill vk5/se-003 a 4 pointer yielded quite a pile up of locals on 80m ssb to get started and this time I even made 4 qso on 80m cw which I think is the first time I have qualified on 80m with cw. But before I started to call on 80m I noticed JP1QEC had a Spot on SW3 Alerting an activation on a summit in Japan JA/ST-014. Oh well give it a go I tuned the 80m dipole with the kx3 and worked Mot on 17m cw with a bit of difficulty but we eventually got the swap done and S2S in the log. After working the locals on 80m I tried 40m cw and made several VK and ZL qso on that band and ZL2ATH on 20m cw to end my activation 1 hour later. Time to pack up and head to Brown Hill Range about 40km away. The road to my next summit was an experiment and lots of gates to open on the northern side of the wind farm but a nice drive across to Willalow then on to Brown Hill Range wind farm for more gates.

The north wind was quite strong on this summit so I set up just below the trig point on the western side behind the stone wall there.

   

As you can see the Squidy had quite a bend holding up the link dipole in the wind and this wind turbine always creates lots of noise in the kx3 on this summit.

Brown Hill Range vk5/se-004 was a bit less active for chasers I only made 3 qso on 80m ssb but got a good score of VK chasers on 40m cw with 2 ZL’s as well this time. A pleasant surprise on 40m ssb, I was able to qso with VK5AYL with some shorter skip conditions for a change and ending up with VK3SQ and VK2LX on 40m ssb.

   

Always a pleasure to visit these summits and see the farm land below nice and green not so drought stricken as they have been in the last few years. A great day out on the summits and I took another scenic drive back to Spalding via Canowie over Brown Hill Range and down the western valley on some nice winding tracks into Spalding. I did notice a lot of the cereal crops in the lower parts were frosted so I hope the next rain will help pick them up again and settle the dusty roads.

My next Mid North SOTA day out was a week later taking in New Mount Campbell and the Bluff as my afternoon summit. Both of these summits are 3 km hike ups and I did a few dog walk hikes and a bit less bike riding to prepare for the inevitable pain. The Bluff in particular is relentless as far as pain goes for me 240 odd metres of gain in 3 km and it hurts right to the top from the parking spot.

Now that Bundaleer Forest has been sold off to local farmers and I was granted permission to access the summit by the new land owner I was able to hike there via the shortest possible route. Checking and a measure on Google Earth put the shortest path of about 3 km off Springs Road on the eastern side of the last pine plantations left. When I arrived I was a bit confused but my way point was correct and there is a lot more pine plantations there than the satellite photo shows on GE. I set off fully loaded and not long after the first small climb I can across some Heysen Trail signs on the fence posts which was reassuring that I was in the right area. I could see the summit up ahead and after crossing the old stone wall I ended up on a fire track that went right to the top.

   

   

This forest was almost completely destroyed by fire a few years ago and it was the first forest planted in South Australia in the 1800’s.

The hike is hard but if you have a few rests along the way it took me about 1 hour to get to the summit.

   

   

At last arrived at the trig point and got my station set up for 80m first to qso with the local chasers all waiting for me. I made several ssb qso again on 80m and 2 cw qso on 80m this time, checking SW3 I noticed ZL1BYZ had just spotted on 17m on his summit so the kx3 tuner was used again tuning the 80m dipole to 17m. Much to my surprise John gave me rst 559 so the 80m dipole radiates pretty good on 17m but the kx3 tunes it easier as an OCF dipole by unclipping an 80m extension on one leg, but not wanting to miss the S2S chance with John I did not bother with that configuration. S2S in the log time to swap links for 40m cw working only 3 chasers this mode and 4 callers on 40m ssb. Being morning SW3 was Spotting a few USA stations on summits so I tried 20m cw as well and after a few cq calls W6JP and ZL1TM answered me, my first USA dx for a long time.

A quick activation as I run out of chasers in about 40 minutes so I packed up and headed back off the summit this time via a slightly different path which should be an easier way to access the high contoured fire track to the summit for next year. I got back to the SOTA transporter had a coffee break then headed off towards Wirrabara Forest the parking spot for The Bluff summit.

This one hurts even though it is a sealed road to the top it is very steep and just keeps going up for 3 km. I was running a bit late to meet my Alert time I did not allow enough travel time between summits as I have never done these two summits together before. I had the pressure on to get to the activation zone so I hiked it in 43 minutes man it hurt.

   

One phot look much like the other up here as this area is also recovering from bushfire and drought so the bigger trees are over taken by under story at the moment and it is really thick. This is my view to the East as I walk up once the road heads south along the top of the range.

This is that steep road which doesn’t look that hard in the photo but with 240 metres of gain over 3 km it is a steady grade of at least 10% if not more in places. Sorry a senior moment I forgot to take a photo of my radio set up on this one but it consisted of a kx3 and link dipole on a 7m Sqid Pole on a burnt out post about 1 km further on up this road from here.

This activation was done in about 30 minutes of air time there were 5 80m ssb chasers 6 40m cw and 3 40m ssb chasers ZL2ATH being my last contact for the day. I did get the opportunity to show case Ham Radio as a bush walker came along and wondered what I was doing, lucky I was on my last qso with ZL2ATH so he could see for himself. We had a chat for a while as he was heading for his camp I packed up and headed back down to the Ute and off to Laura for a cuppa and catch up with Gordon VK5GY.

Watch this space this Bluff activation was summit 299 for me so hope to Blog about Summit 300 very soon. Thanks to all the chasers over this period of Mid North Summits and thanks to the land owners for access to the summits.

Thanks for reading my Blog.

Regards

Ian vk5cz ..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7 Summits Bendleby Ranges Base for 3 Days.

Hugh VK5NHG and Ian VK5CZ finally got some freedom of movement from the unmentionable virus going around so it was time to hit some summits up north again for the 2020 year.

We had a VHF  sked arranged with some of our local chasers for the first summit all we had to do was be on the hill by 7:30 local time to meet the sked time. Armed with my VX8 Yaesu Handy and an AREG half wave vertical we had good signals all round working the 6 chasers from Mt Nadguri.

   

Great morning scene as we arrived just after sunrise.

   

Great to be on time but extremely cold Hugh and I hit and run on this summit with 6 contacts each on VHF and got back in the SOTA transporter with the heater on full bore.

Next summit was Black Rock Peak about 70 km away from this spot with a 4×4 climb up the Mountain track when we got there. No issues on the climb as there is still hardly any grass growing and the track is very visible, we just had to shift a couple diff bangers out of the way on the way up. The Colorado made it in 2nd low range easily with the Isuzu engine pulling down low all the way well in control of the terrain.

   

SOTA Transporter parked and the hike under way we picked our way to the northern edge of Black Rock Peak to try to get some relief from the strong cold Southerly wind with misty rain on the way as well.

   

We set up behind this rock reef out of the wind and went to work on making contacts Hugh went first on 80m ssb and we both made 6 qso on that band then while Hugh rolled up parts of my antenna I made some more qso on 40m cw vk4tj vk3pf vk1da S2S vk2io vk3hn and zl1byz.

Time to get off this one and make way to Orroroo for lunch dropping off a bottle of wine to the land owner along the way.

Hugh and I had lunch in a cafe in town and we were their first sit down customers after opening up the virus shut down. Nice meal and coffee, refuel ute and off to Peaked Hill.

By the time we got to Peaked Hill the rain was getting quite heavy so we hit and run again on this summit with 7 locals on 80m who were waiting for us as we were running a bit late by this time.

We could 4×4 quite a way but it is a tricky place to get too as the track is hardly used anymore and bit over grown with low trees. We made another quick score getting a bit wet from the persistent misty rain, packed up and headed for Bendleby Ranges our accommodation stay.

Up very early Saturday and in the SOTA Transporter by 6:45 am we hit the station tracks for 72 km on the way to Holowiliena South where we parked up to start our 3 km hike to Hill NE-031 the summit with no name by 08:30 am.  The rain was quite heavy on the way there and it was very cold and foggy something I have never seen in this area before. The range of hills before the summit range is a real hard start out from cold on the hike but once over the first hill the rest is not as bad. There is a 4×4 track we hike along but I don’t have permission from the land owner to tackle it in the Colorado so we walk, he is happy to let us do that.

   

Fog in the valley below and Hugh making his way up in a lot of pain as an old knee injury gave him trouble.

   

View of NE-031 in the fog about 1 km to go and probably the only Yacka bush we saw here just Spinefex and Roo Do.

Sorry about the pictures something happened to my phone camera and I can’t work out how to put it back to normal.

   

Hill ne-031 on Worumba Station is where the antenna problems started, we did not discover until rolling up the antenna that a link had worked lose on the 80m leg. Hugh managed to work 4 of the stronger receiving stations and I only made 3 80m qso’s, due to the break the antenna was not radiating very well at all. The KX3 tuner was looking after the rig but not much RF was being radiated, first I suspected the rg 174 coax but once we tested the antenna on the 20m section before the first link I soon saw the problem was further down the antenna legs. With all this going on and the rain getting heavier and all our gear wet we quickly left the summit. Once packed up and my gear back in my Backpack Hugh went on ahead and then gave me a quick 2m contact so I could get my 4 qso’s, first time I have ever had to do that. Once back at the Ute we had some lunch and put the antenna back up again to test it properly and fix any faults, coming to the conclusion that the 80m link was the problem. All good again we headed for Price Hill the afternoon summit about 60 km away but on the way back to The Bendleby Ranges accoms.

The hike to Price Hill is probably the hardest hike for the weekend its very difficult, there is no real method other than slog to find the right saddle that takes you to the top of the range. We have been there several times now and I recon every time we have made the top via a different way trying to find the elusive “easy” way that does not exist. Probably the waterway we followed last year ends up being the best way to get to the top of the range then follow south for a kilometre to the trig.

We made it a bit later than Alert time and the same Southerly was roaring so we set up in a Kangaroo dig along side a rock reef to get some shelter. This was another hit and run activation I am sorry to say as we could see the next rain front coming across from the Southwest.

   

We both worked the small pile up waiting for us on 80m and got off the hill as a big black cloud came across. We made it back to the Ute trying to work out a better line to the top for next time. I had the windscreen wipers on some of the way back to camp I recon its the most rain I have ever driven in up there.

Well fed and off to bed early as we had been getting up 05:45 every morning we did the same again Sunday , but the two summits Marchant Hill and Eke Hill are on Bendleby Ranges Properties so the driving to and from is not as far.

 

   

Hugh underway on the 3 km hike to Marchant Hill.

   

Always good to see the trig point believe me it’s in the photo. Hugh got to work on 80m working chasers on Marchant Hill, We set up on the northwestern side of the summit and again the wind was roaring but at least the rain had gone. I worked all of the 80m chasers and vk5et on 80m cw which was my first qso with him from a summit. While Hugh rolled up parts of the antenna I made 3 40m qso this time before heading back to the Ute for lunch and off to Eke Hill.

   

SOTA Transporter parked and Hugh and I on way to Eke Hill our last summit for this trip. Weather finally settled down and sun came out to make it very pleasant conditions for us.

   

Fine views of the previous summits we had visited on this trip way off in the distance.

   

Hugh had lots of 80m qso this time then I worked everyone on 80m as well then with the much better weather I got to work on 40m to give some of my faithful chasers some points they had mostly missed out on for the other summits. vk5bjf on 80m cw then on 40m cw vk3byd vk3pf vk4tj zl1byz zl2ath vk2io/p vk4qc vk3hn zl1tm vk5haa vk2mg vk3cat vk1mic. A very enjoyable afternoons work in the nice sunshine.

   

View out east past the nice stone Cairn and antenna set up on Eke Hill.

   

Both of us at work on the summit.

We ended up traveling 700 km for this trip hiked about 18km, would liked to have lingered longer on most of the summits but the rain is certainly needed and more important for the area than SOTA.

Lessons learnt put some rain protection cover in the SOTA backpack for my radio.

Thanks to Bendleby Ranges for Accomms and use of their tracks and summits and the other land owners for use of their tracks and summits as well this makes it all possible.

See you on the next one.

Thanks for reading my Blog.

Regards Ian vk5cz ..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My SOTA start to 2020

Well it was a nice cool morning on New Years Day so Hugh and I made it to Mt Lofty to activate before and after UTC roll over and get double points for the one visit. It was great that lots of other activators have made a tradition of the New Year morning SOTA activation as we had 8 Summit 2 Summit qso with a smaller group of home chasers in the log. Had a few low signal contacts on 80m locally as the band seemed a bit depressed but conditions was quite good on 40m but really low noise levels as if it was a higher frequency in use. Sorry did not take any photos on Mt Lofty that I can find anywhere on my devices but a nice area to set up east of the car park near the walking trail although this day there seemed to be more bike riders than hikers. One group of cyclists stopped and asked if we were doing comms for a bike ride and thanked us for helping out, don’t think they under stood really what SOTA was about but did my best to set them right.

My next SOTA activity was Illawarra Hill VK5/SE-014 in early March it was a nice cool evening activation this time Starting out with local chasers on 80m at 07.00 utc. After qualifying the summit on SSB and CW on 80/40m it was time to give some Digital modes a go. As Illawarra Hill is a drive up summit it was not far to carry heavier kit to my activating spot behind a lonely tree I was able to use my FT 891 and Laptop for this activation. I had the Parks link dipole and 8m squid pole as well so it is probably my best set up to use.

   

   

This is JS8call mode it works as good as FT8 and was a very successful activation as far as contacts I managed to work 12 stations on 40m vk and zl and 1 station in The Philippines on JS8 and 3 JA stations on FT8. FT8 is a good mode to use but much harder to send the right macro files related to SOTA whereas JS8 is more flexible with what info can be sent relevant to SOTA.

Talk about luxury table and chairs higher powered rig and coffee on hand I stayed on the summit until quite late 10.30 utc.

Next SOTA trip was early March on Tothill Range VK5/SE-010 near Black Springs in the Julia Ranges a very nice summit to visit with a gradual 1km hike to the summit as a good one to start off the season. Problem for me was this was another late afternoon activation and my legs were sore from the morning 40km Mountain Bike ride. But with lots of little rests on the way up I made it to the top on Alert Time to get on with it. Five local chasers on 80m is a great way to start the activation as its qualified before the hard work starts.

    

Using my light weight system for this activation and the KX3 at 8 watts I made 4 easy qso on 40m ssb and 7 qso on 40m cw with a QRP 2 QRP with VK6EA was a great contact on 40m cw. Still like using my Man Bag to cart the gear it is nice and compact and lighter than my normal back pack only down side is I can’t take a lot of water but on shorter hikes its perfect.

     

Unfortunately its still very dry out here and rain is really needed to recover from the drought.

Last summit for this Blog was The Battery VK5/NE-055 near Wilmington in the Flinders Ranges.

I tried during the week to activate but when I arrived there the park was closed for Feral animal shooting with a helicopter. To save something from the wasted trip I found this nice place to set up outside the park and chase JP1QEC who was on a summit in Japan. I had lots of qsb problems to hear him on 20m cw but he was a great signal on 17m cw which seems to work very well in our morning time to Japan.

   

So I left home on the next Sunday to try again as the park had re opened. To hike to the Battery Summit its 4 km distance along the Rim Road then cross over a gully to Battery Track for the other 1.5 km to the summit.

 

I really enjoy this longer hike as its good training for the rest of the season and puts some base km in the old legs for what is to come during the rest of the SOTA season. Really nice cool breeze from the east kept me cool and it did not hurt as much on the climb up out of Stoney Creek Gully as I thought it might. So the great summer of cycling and hikes is paying off.

   

This is the pile of rocks at the summit on top of the Battery the cold burn last season cleared it out a lot more than how it was last time I was there.

    

This is the full 9 kg back pack kit as I need to carry more water on this hike, KX3 at 8 watts was plenty to work the group on 80m ssb some old friends gave chase as well as regular chasers on 80m, only 1 ssb qso on 40m then a nice pile up of 7 on 40m cw with a S2S with Peter VK3PF on VK3/VE-257.

I did not get any answer on 20m cw so re Spotted to give 17m a try.

    

Not really having a 17m antenna but knowing from past experience my 20/40m link dipole can be turned into an Off Centre Fed Dipole antenna. Leaving one 20/40m link closed and the other open for 20m it becomes an OCF that firstly the KX3 tunes easily and it works very well on 17m. Magic. The spot did the trick I first worked ZL1BYZ with a good report then 4 JA stations called with good reports both ways, I seem to remember a couple of the Japanese guys are SOTA activators/ chasers too. To end the day ZL2ATH was worked as well with a bit lower signal than the rest but as the longest side of the antenna was run out to the north maybe it radiates better to JA than ZL.

After a nice walk back to the Colorado taking slightly longer than heading to the summit I was foot sore but pleased with the pleasant hike and SOTA activation

Strava Result.

10.73 km Hike 2.5 hrs walking  4.3 km avg speed  117w avg pwr  202m elevation gain 1,167 Calories, I had a big Pasty at the Wirrabara Bakery to replace those Calories.

Thanks to the chasers and thanks for reading my Blog

vk5cz ..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trip to Leura Garden Festival.

Thanks to Joy, Eric and Darren from Greenock Creek Charter, Halima and I sent the Hounds to my sister’s for a few days and hit the road early on the 8th of October heading for Leura in the Blue Mountains New South Wales for the Open Garden Festival.

Long old road trip across the drought stricken lands from South Australia was pretty sad to see the old place in such a state of drought.

We made Leura by Wednesday afternoon quite late and a totally different scene of very busy roads climbing up into The Blue Mountains area, Darren had a good GPS system to find a way.

 

We were staying in a very nice Hotel in Leura very close to most of the open gardens we intend to visit over the next few days.

   

   

 

 

First day here started with a local historian as our tour guide showing the properties and houses of the rich politician’s and business folk who set up their summer or holiday houses in Leura from the early 1920s. After the Guided tour and a lunch break at Everglades Historic House we went to the Blue Mountain Botanical Gardens to wander among nicely landscaped gardens there.

     

     

Some amazing Stone walls and buildings here and of course gardens too.

     

     

Day two at Leura was a bus trip to Scenic World and everyone enjoyed a ride on the steepest rail system in the world descending to Jamison Valley into the cool climate forest below the sandstone cliffs, a great experience as some of the journey goes under ground then rejoins the daylight to a fantastic view out into the Valley below.

    

View inside the Rail Car descending sometimes underground.

    

Views from the cliff top hike after crossing this valley in the Skyway cable car, Halima and I walked for about 2 km along the cliff edge and down into the forest below.

    

View of the valley below from the Skyway and another crossing for others in the Skyway cable car.

Saturday finally arrived as the first day of the Leura Open Gardens, Halima and I were ready to go to work on the 10 gardens open on the list. It was cold with a few showers of rain on the day but we had some wet weather gear plus a simple plastic poncho that did a good job keeping us dry.

   

Really spectacular gardens in such a great cool climate environment, nice garden walls and borders everywhere.

Flowing water in the middle of a drought I suspect it was pumped around the garden but the rain added to the amount of water. Nicely made stone walls and steps joining the terraced paths in these gardens.

Looking out from the out doors area of this house into Jamison Valley below, and another terraced path leading to a grotto type water feature flowing from above.

This was our last garden for Saturday we managed to get around to 9 gardens and hiked about 7 km in the process. We missed a visit to two gardens as we run out of time but managed to visit one the next afternoon after the bus trip to visit a museum on Sunday morning.

Monday morning early we left Leura to start the road trip for home, via Oberon where we visited Mayfield Gardens a magnificent 70 hectar garden established on what was part of a cattle property some years ago and is being added to all the time.

Mayfield Gardens are in a rural setting so on arrival for the first time and not knowing what to expect you only see the Reception area and Restaurant area first. You take a short walk through an avenue of existing trees to arrive at the unassuming path leading into the first section of a spectacular garden.

Water features Lakes and Bridges link the gardens together, there is a spectacular Grotto water fall as well.

Along a path leading back to the Reception area is another water feature and water fall, you can use the stepping stones to cross the stream.

A truly special place is Mayfield Gardens it would be good to visit again with more time to see more of what is already there and being developed for the future.

Our over night destination was Cowra then a visit to The Cowra Japanese Garden the next Morning before a 5 hour drive to Hay our last overnight stay for the trip.

Central Lake and large bell if you want to wake Old Buddha before you start your walk.

Views from the higher advantage points in the Garden.

Some of the very tame lizards and a snake who cruised by while I was taking a rest on a bench. He did not seem afraid of people who were watching him and taking photos as he went about his day.

Weethalle Silos painted with a theme of the area somewhere between West Wyalong and Hay I suspect not much grain will be stored here this season.

After another over night stay at Hay we headed for The Barossa Valley then on home to Clare in our own vehicle. A great holiday for our first time Bus trip met some really nice people on the bus and along the way.

One very important thing I will say is to commend Joy from Greenock Creek Bus Tours for coordinating a very successful trip. Accommodation, Meals, Garden tours not only at Leura but along our journey there and back. Darren for all the driving and making sure our drop off and pick up points were as close as possible to the venue we were visiting at the time and loading and unloading our luggage as we went from place to place. The accommodation staff and food venues we frequented were all very helpful and professional at the hospitality trade. Also the 24 other participants on the tour were all very nice friendly folk making it a great experience I say thanks you one and all.

I take no responsibility for not knowing the names of any of the plants or trees featured in these gardens.

Thanks for reading my Blog.

Ian vk5cz ..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last Summits for 2019

Hugh and I tried to get to Wilpena Pound and tackle some of the higher scoring summits on the Rim but due to a couple health issues it never happened.

The next best option was cram 6 summits into 3 days before it gets too hot to be doing SOTA in the northern areas. Making Bendleby Ranges our proven accommodation somewhere closer to the summits we headed off early on Friday morning in our own vehicles and met up for a quick coffee at the Jamestown Bakery. This trip the sheering quarters was all booked out but we liked the cabin that was available with better amenities in the one house.

Hugh and I continued on to Bendleby property making the park spot by about 8.30 am where I left the Colorado and jumped in the Mitsi to go out to the first summit Eke Hill. It’s a straight forward trip out to this summit with 1.5 km hike to the top up along a nice creek line then once on the rock ledge you just puff to the top.

   

Great Views from up here just needs rain and it would be better.

    

Hugh on the air on 80 and 40 metres, I made some cw qso’s after Hugh.

   

Off Eke Hill and back to Bendleby Ranges camp ground and after booking in and have some lunch we headed out to the northern property to activate on Marchant Hill.

   

It was extremely windy on Marchant Hill we needed a guy rope on the squid pole as it fell down once as we were trying to get the antenna up. We only made a few contacts on this summit but enough to qualify before hiking back to the Mitsi parked at dinner time springs.  The morning hike was 3 km and the afternoon hike was 7 km a warm up for the next two days.

Up early on Saturday morning Hugh and I headed off to Hill vk5/ne-031 out on Worumba Station 75 km from Bendleby on station tracks and quite good roads through Pamata Station.

We park on Hollowelina South Station property and hike up from the creek to the summit which makes it easier to access from the east.

   

These shots are looking back Northeast and Southeast from about halfway up the first range we cross over on way to Hill 031.

   

Views From top of Hill 031 looks pretty flogged out from the drought.

   

Hugh and I went tag team on 80m ssb to work our local chasers and this time, they did not disappoint we had 4 waiting for us this time. Then after we made some 40m qso as well to give our farther away chasers some points. This summit I was able to qso with Ian vk5is/3 on 40m cw, you may see the size of the big rock we hook the squidy on it’s the only support on the hill and we need lots of bungy cords to hook it all in place. Being Grand Final day we got off the hill and headed for Pamata Station and had a lunch stop under a tree once we arrived. It’s always a worry on this day if we are going to make enough qso to qualify but the chasers came through.

   

The first photo is looking back to the creek where the Mitsi is parked and Hugh discussing the best line from here on. I found this waterway the best way to get to Price Hill. its about 3.5 km to hike with a lot of gain near the top, but its a big hill so we have to expect some hard work to get there.

   

This was our shack on Price Hill behind this rocky outcrop to keep out of the wind and the temperature was probably 30c out in the sun. We both had to work hard to make a score, we got 3 locals on 80m quite quickly then Hugh spent another 20 minutes on 40m ssb to round up a couple more as it was right on kick off as we finished with the 80m group. Eventually after another spot on SW3 we started to get some chasers. I made a nice score of CW chasers at the end of the activation and we headed back to the Mitsi via another waterway to test another line from the hill. Back to the Ute another 7km round hike then 40 odd km back to Bendleby Ranges camp for the night and get those logs in csv form at least.

Sunday Morning a bit sore footed we had a drive up summit as the first one today Maurice Hill, I had already been to today’s summits this year but it was Hugh’s first visit. I forgot to take some photos on this summit but we had a good roll up of chasers on 80m ssb this early in the morning. VK5BJF was there trying out his new FT 818 he intends to use on some of his bicycle trips around at some time. We had to move on early as we were heading home and we rolled down off Maurice hill and went across the valley to Hogshead Summit a few kilometres away.

   

Hugh’s first visit to Hogshead, things look bit greener here inside Goyder’s Line.

   

Views to the the North and South.

  

Me standing by a very tall Cairn and Hugh enjoying some shade with green grass luxury.

Being a bit later in the morning not as many chasers on 80m this time but Hugh got some extra qso on 40m ssb then I made 7 qso on 40m cw to top off a great 6 summit trip.

We had a few rig problems this trip with a blown fuse to start off and filter problems turned on in the kx2. We had to swap out the kx2 on Marchant hill because the Noise reduction and Passband filters were closed down to about 30 hz and made it impossible to receive ssb signals.  We think these filters were inadvertently turned on when the antenna tune button was pushed. Quite difficult to trouble shoot out in the elements with out the hand book and not easy to see the screen in the dust and bright sunlight. On Hogshead I discovered on cw that the rf power of the kx2 was set at 4 watts which may have been like that for a couple of the activation’s as well. These things are sent to test our skills.

Thanks to all the chasers and land owners for access to the summits and Bendleby Ranges for a great place to stay.

Regards Ian vk5cz Hugh vk5nhg ..

 

 

 

 

SOTA Peaks and VKFF Parks

Now the Mountain Goat Award is on my shack wall and the Trophy is proudly on display on the shelf in my shack I can relax a bit on all the travel to Summits and activate some parks in the World Wide Flora and Fauna award VKFF and SOTA as well.

Now some of Woods and Forests have been sold off by the previous Government and the Pine forests are farmed out some of the hardwood sections have become conservation parks. Two such new parks are in the Wirrabara Forest area so I thought it appropriate to be the first to activate these parks as one of the new parks Spaniards Gully CP is the neighboring property to Emu Springs which was my family’s property for many years.

   

Operating from Spaniards Gully and Wirrabara Forest Range parks on the same trip, making 44 qso’s for each park is the biggest challenge for VKFF but I managed to make the score in both parks.

Table and chairs and a bigger heavy battery can all be taken in the vehicle as long as it is set up inside the park boundary. Using my new FT 891 at 30 watts is quite adequate power with my 8m squid pole to hold up the link dipole.

Some time later Ian VK5IS and I had a chance mid week to head to Quorn and do two summits to get back to SOTA activating after the Mountain Goat Summit a few weeks before.

   

VK5CZ on Richmond Hill and my view to Mt Brown.

   

VK5IS on the climb to Devils Peak and the view out north from the summit.

We both made a conservative score on these summits it had been a while since we were out and about plus being a work day some of our regular chasers were not around or doing other things.

Back to parks again I found a couple more parks that had not been activated up northeast from Orroroo, this time the wife and dogs came for a trip to get these parks in the log.

   

Set up at Yalpara CP in the shade and Halima is organising the hounds to go walking on the roadway along the boundary fence. Really nice wx that day and being a new park in 1 hr 40 min I had my 44 qso’s so it was quite a busy air time for me. Pack up and head to Black Rock CP about 30 km away.

   

Sorry about all these park signs and me sitting at a table out in the middle of nowhere but that’s what it is, Black Rock Peak off in the distance.

   

Red Banks CP was the next park east of Burra.

   

More cw and ssb at coffee time in Caroona Creek CP.

I like the rule in vkff where working a station on a different mode or band can be a score instead of just one qso per activation. It is good to be able to work Hunters on cw and ssb to help with the qso tally, then score them again on a different band makes 44 qso’s more achievable. So far the quickest time to qualify a park is 1 hr 20 minutes.

Hugh made a plan to go to Wilpena Pound and get some of the summits up there, he planned 2×10 pointers and an 8 pointer on the Wilpena Rim and another 2 point summit near Hawker over 3 days.

I decided maybe I should do some hiking as training for this trip and did lots of gym work and some hikes around home with the hounds. The weekend before Wilpena I went to Dutchman’s Stern summit a return of 13 km which was perfect training for this event coming up.

   

Some views off the walking track heading back down from the summit. I had only 9 qso’s this time with a couple new cw ops on 40m cw I had not worked before on SOTA and only 3 on 80m ssb, no answer to my cq on 40m ssb but a great hike all the same one of my favourite summits to visit.

The Training was good gym work done, all fit ready for Wilpena and a couple days before we went the old heart problem turned up again and miss fired a few times again. This time the new pace maker did it’s job but it left me wondering if I should do such strenuous climbs later that same weekend. I am usually very tired after such events and just need to sleep a bit more so I think not going was the right thing to do.

Not wanting to lose any SOTA opportunities Hugh and I decided to do some of our drive up summits with shorter hikes instead. Black Rock Peak in the morning then Mt Nadguri on the way home.

   

View of Depot Hill to the South and view to the Northwest on the way up to the summit.

   

Hugh’s new 3 band link dipole and 6m collapsible pole. Hugh working 80m ssb.

   

Me working some 40m cw not many chasers today. Trig point photos.

   

That is the hard way to the top.                        This is the easy way down just be careful.

We had plenty of spare time so once off the summit we went to Orroroo for lunch and tried to catch up with a owner of another summit but was unsuccessful so headed for Mount Nadguri along a back road tour to kill some time.

   

Mt Nadguri is a wind farm summit and this turbine right here makes lots of noise on the kx2 it was quite hard to hear the few chasers on 40m. My Sqid pole fell over once from the wind and we had to set up two antennas as Hugh’s seemed to be a failure on its second outing. Turns out the bnc antenna plug was loose at the chassis nut inside the radio. Hugh made three 40 m ssb qso and I made two 40 m cw qso, Nev vk5wg and Ian vk5is were chatting on 2m fm and we were able to work them to top up the scores with my hand held on 2m simplex otherwise it may have been a fail.

Back home for the Saturday and Hugh had a chance to work out his antenna or rig problems we went separate ways on the Sunday. Hugh went to Lagoon Hill and I went north again to do two more drive up summits Mt Jay South them Maurice Hill in the afternoon.

   

Slowly making my way to Mt Jay South with 5 gates to deal with I was pleasantly surprised at how green it was in the hills. Still needs a good rain but greener than last year for sure.

   

My shack for this summit, lots of call signs worked on 80m ssb this time and an S2S with vk5flea on 80m cw from vk5/se-005. Only 3 qso on 40m ssb and a few more on 40m cw with a S2S with zl3x on zl3/cb-574 so conditions were quite good.

   

Great views all around from up here and good to see Spencer Gulf for a change. Colorado runs well in this terrain, the track is quite stony and steep in a few places needing steady slow gears to keep things in order. It takes about 40 minutes to get off this summit with all the gates and rough track but a great place to visit for SOTA.

   

Maurice Hill summit. Steady 4×4 climb up quite stony and very dry of course I think it has forgotten how to rain in these parts. The wind was very strong and lots of loose dust and dirt flying in the wind getting my gear dirty, so I got on with it as quick as I could get set up.

   

Shack behind this rock shelf was ok but my squidy was only up at 6m as it was bending in the wind and it fell down soon after i put it up. More rocks and reset my bunji straps helped hold it firm for the activation. Nev and Ian were the only chasers on 80m this time as I was able to lias via 2m to let them know I was ready to go. Most qso was on 40m cw this time and again made it to zl and I heard a 9a calling me but he did not respond to my answer. Worked Rob vk4aac/2 a famous parks operator and a very nice surprise call from Amanda vk3fqso whom I have not heard for a long time. Keith vk3mke was my final caller who also hunts park operators and was my first qso with him from a summit.

Glad to be able to catch up these summits while missing out on the Wilpena trip but that’s how it goes and I hope to keep going as long as possible at this great activity.

Thanks to the land owners and all the chasers/hunters out there.

Thanks for reading my blog

Regards Ian vk5cz ..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SOTA Mountain Goat and Beyond

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 ..