This winter 2022 SOTA has been the coldest time Hugh and I have had activating summits. The only saving thing has been the very dry winter and we have not been caught in rain at all so far.
When Hugh and I arrived at Mt Cone early in the morning for our first activation of 3 for the day we parked the Ute behind the comms building up there and the wind was raging from the Southwest.
We had arranged with our local group of chasers to join in on the 80m SSB net and quickly get a score before heading off to our next summit. We could not find much shelter at this site as the other building at the top of the summit has been removed. I was lucky enough to hear some chatter on my 2m radio so decided to make 4 QSO on 2m FM instead. Ian vk5is was a very clear signal and as soon as we called out on the 2m simplex frequency we had enough QSO’s to make a score. The hand held was passed between Hugh and I and a quick activation was scored in about 10 minute and we could get back in my Ute and turn on the heater. It was 5c that morning with a strong wind.
The next summit in mid morning was Brown Hill Range.
By this time it was nearly 10:30 am so at least the sun had come out and it had warmed up a little. Travelling to this summit among the wind towers we got mobbed by about 300 Ewes and lambs thinking we were the farmer bringing out some grain for their breakfast. Hugh had to walk in front of my Ute to stop them crowding around. We set up behind this stone wall on top and went about making contacts, Hugh getting a score on 40m ssb first them I got my score on 40 CW then some DX on 15m CW to ZL JA and KT5X whom I had not heard for quite a few years.
The last activation was New Mount Campbell in the afternoon so Jamestown Bakery became the obvious stop over for lunch before the hike up. Its a reasonable hike of about 2 km with a graded fire road to the top and a couple gates to get through. This was our first Hike after Covid 19 so we took it easy but did it without too much puffing. The wind was still quite strong but the sun was out and we set up behind yet another stone wall to get out of the wind. This summit was a bit harder to get a score Hugh just managed to get a few on 40m SSB and I made 4 CW and one 2m FM contact but a score none the less.
Thanks to our chasers and property owners 3 more done from the list. Because of Covid 19 we have lost almost 2 months of activating time so the pressure is on to get out and complete the projected list of 46 summits we normally visit each year.
Yunta Trip 5 Summits.
Now that we can get accommodation at the Yunta Pub again Hugh organised the next lot of property access and we set about getting 5 summits with an over night stay in Yunta.
First stop over was Nackara Hill with another quick fire activation on the 80m morning net and this time we both made 7 QSO’s and continued on our way to Yunta.
The second summit is Waroonee Hill on the southern end of the pastoral lease which is about 10km in from the road but good tracks to drive out here and a nice hike up. As we had arrived at almost lunch time it can be a bit tricky to get contacts so 40m SSB for Hugh netted a few and I got 7 on CW.
We had a quick lunch break back at Mitsi this time and headed about 30km north on station tracks to the next summit. This summit is a 1 km hike up but Hugh wanted to try a different way to get there which was a bit difficult because a lot of the lower track was washed away. But with some walking out and some shovel work we got around the wash outs and made a 4×4 climb to the top instead. Mitsi handled it with ease in low range and we got on with the activation.
The band to use this time was 40m Hugh had some really good SSB contacts with vk5’s or locals as well as interstate contacts. Its always nice to get both sorts of propagation on 40m at times. A stand out QSO was with Grant VK5AMC / tractor mobile. Unfortunately he was too busy driving his spray rig to work me on CW but Hugh and I had a quick chat on SSB with him. That was Karkala Ridge done and back to Yunta to refuel and a nice pub meal and sleep.
More logistical problems to deal with. The land owners out east of Pitcairn Station did not want us crossing their property during lambing time so Hugh had organised another way to Pualco Range. This was quite involved and we needed to visit another property and pick up then return a key to a remote gate then drive back to Yunta and start our journey to Waite Hill summit. This would have involved about 100km of extra driving, gates and station tracks. To get to Pualco normally is about a 40km drive across from Pitcairn so much easier then head down a shorter 4×4 track to Waite hill.
I had a brain storm once again and we decided to not go to Pualco for 2 points but call by Mt Nadguri on the way home and get 4 points. A quick TxT to the land owner sorted permission so we had a plan for the day.
After an ankle burner Hike up we got to Waite Hill is good time but too late for 80m contacts 40m was still in good shape and we both got a good score of contacts. Hugh on SSB then me after on CW.
We spotted these emu eggs and nest right on the edge of the track the Old Man Emu run out and startled us as we drove by.
That’s my view of Waite hill summit on the way up.
We got off Waite Hill then headed west for about 100 km to Mt Nadguri arriving late in the afternoon but still in good time to do the quick hike to the summit.
Hugh operating on Mt Nadguri behind this Box Thorn bush trying to get out of the freezing wind. This time we used my End Fed Half Wave for 40m and was able to set it up between the two bushes.
By this time of the trip Hugh’s second flu was raging so he made a score and headed back to his Ute to get warm. I stayed a bit longer and made some 40m CW and 20m DX contacts this time. The antenna worked very well even this close to the ground so it is a keeper for certain circumstances on SOTA.
This is my view from the pole end of the antenna.
All packed up 5 more summits in the log, heading back to the Ute.
Nice evening at sunset hiking back to the Ute ending a great trip to get 5 summits.
We headed home in the dark as usual and it was 600km for the trip to Yunta, if we never dropped off Pualco it would have been further and well dark before we got off the last summit.
Great brain storm.
Thanks to Chasers and Land Owners
Thanks for reading my Blog
Ian vk5cz ..