2019 SOTA trips Underway.

With the long hot summer this year I have done a lot of my SOTA chasing from the back yard using several antennas so I decided to revisit the 52 foot end fed random wire. The MT1 You Kits LC tuner tunes this combination easily and it seems to work very well on bands above 40m with the FT 817. Just using my shortest 5m squid pole as a support it makes a very light weight combination for portable work. I set up with about 15 feet vertical up from the ground and the other 37 feet horizontal across the yard in an inverted L config. Straight into the MT1 and the tuner works nicely with the FT 817 combo giving good results chasing VK ZL and JA activators from 40m to 15m, and the rig seems happy to give full power on all bands. I even worked Tom M1EYP on a summit in UK on 30m cw with this antenna during the EU SOTA Party.


Set up in the Yard to chase SOTA and VKFF Parks.

My first solo SOTA was for the VK S2S QSO Party organised by some of the VK1 activators so it was a good opportunity to score some S2S points. Tothill Range vk5/se-010 was my choice for the activation, not far to drive there and about a 1 km hike to the summit. My time on the summit was limited but I scored 5 S2S qso and several other chasers on 3.6 ssb 7 ssb and cw, best qso was with Wade vk1mic on 3.6 mhz ssb during the afternoon.


Views from Tothill Range.

Next SOTA trip was to Brown Hill Range vk5/se-004.

During my cycling or walking on the Riesling Trail I have got to know some of the regular walkers who use the trail. I have come to know M&M or Michael and Margret who are regular walkers and of course I tell them of my SOTA exploits, so they came with me to Brown Hill Range to see what’s involved in a SOTA activation. It was quite cold at the summit and we spent some time behind the rocks out of the wind and M&M enjoyed the views from up there and I was able to point out the surrounding distant summits.

Another S2S with JP1QEC on 18 mhz which is proving to be a good band to Japan during the mornings, then lots of regular chasers on 80/40m ssb or cw.


View to the north and hard at work on cw.

Hogshead vk5/ne-051 and Coomaroo vk5/ne-088 were the next two summit trip and this time Ian vk5is joined me for the joint activation for both summits. Ian went first before utc roll over that way we could count both activation’s as separate days on the hill enabling the chasers to score us both. We both made  an S2S qso with Glen vk3yy on vk3/ve-004 before roll over then after Ian finished working everyone it was the new utc day so I worked them again. No dx this time but a good score on 80/40m. Hogshead is a tough climb to get to the top even though it is only about 1 km to hike up it’s a good to test our form on our summit climbs.


Ian vk5is at work, very dry up north still.

After a nice coffee and lunch break in Orroroo we headed for the afternoon activation at Coomaroo vk5/ne-088. This summit is a steady 2km hike to the top but not too hard so good to have some quality hiking instead of a slog to the top.

We only managed a few qso’s in the afternoon but enough to qualify then hike back to the SOTA transporter to meet a dead line invitation for coffee and Cake at The Fullerville Coffee and Radio Store.

Down out of the wind on Comaroo.

I had a STOP!! to my SOTA activities for a while as I needed to go to Hospital and get a Pace Maker fitted, I have been in denial for some time over my dizzy spells and really low heart rate. But now all fixed so next thing to do is test myself out on a steep climb to see how I go. First activation was only a 1km hike easy to vk5/ne-058 Mt Nadjuri. While I was having coffee before I headed off on the hike I checked SOTAWatch2 to see if Mot was on his summit and found JP3DGT out on a summit and I was able to work him from my Ute radio and the whip on 20m. Did not score a S2S if you’re wondering. Seeing Mot was on 20m I had the pressure on to hike over and set up antennas in time to catch him. The wind was very strong so I set up behind a rock shelf and got the antenna on top. Mot was a very good signal on 17m again and I worked him with the Accidental OCF antenna I discovered one other time which works very well on 17m.


SOTA Flag flying in the wind, Good qso with JP1QEC S2S again.


Rain Clouds first in a while.

I headed to Jamestown for a lunch break then off to hike to New Mount Campbell my test for the heart rate. Lots of sheep lambing in the pine forest so I made a detour around them as best I could before getting back on track. Now this Forest area has been split in half and sold I need permission from the new land owner who was good and granted permission to hike my similar track to the summit. Because the land has been split the new fence is hard to cross so I needed to hike up the fence line to a gate right on top of the ridge. This was the test for me but with lots of recovery stops I made it and did not seem to feel so much pain in my legs as usual. I had a chance also to test and use my new Man bag as I can’t have a back pack strap over my left shoulder where the pace maker is until it heals up more. I need to modify the wrap around strap as it seems to be in the wrong place to stop the bag from sliding around to the hip side of my body. More experimenting. I managed to fit enough gear in my bag for the activation but need to cut down on some spares and a smaller water bottle to fit. Coax and wire winders do not fit very well so I wrapped coax and antennas up differently to pack without the winders. I only took 1 battery, no rest board and a separate clock for timing, cw key and leads and mic in a bag of their own. It all fits nicely with these changes so once I get this strap issue worked out it should be good. I found out it is not really water proof as it rained when I was hiking back to my Ute but nothing got wet inside the bag.


This is the Steepest part and that’s the goal along the stone wall to top.

Rain clouds building and I just managed to get some qso’s in the log then quickly pack up, sorry to any chasers I missed I did not want to get my gear too wet. I had a heavy shower of rain to walk back to the Ute, can’t remember the last time it has rained me out, this drought has been so long.


R&D on the perfect SOTA Man Bag goes on. She’s right not guna rain.

This Summit is a great place to visit but I recon next time I will do it later in the year when all the sheep have finished lambing so they are not disturbed by me walking through the paddock. The Farmer made a visit to fill there feeders while I was there so they are used to having people around them but I would feel better not to disturb them while they are doing it tough in this drought.

Thanks to the land owners and chasers, thanks for reading my Blog.

Ian vk5cz ..







SOTA Start for 2019

Running out of cliche’s for SOTA Blogs but here goes, getting year 2019 off to some sort of start and yes still on the original quest for Mountain Goat. As I write today I am only about 14 more summits from the ultimate Award running at my 3.8 points per activation. I am still excited about achieving the goal and keeping my body in good order to take up the challenge for this year. Did a lot more cycling over the off season from SOTA and with the help of Mot JP1QEC developed a new style of end fed antenna which seems to work quite well. Mot made and sent me a version to try as a link end fed half wave  with a transformer to reduce the high impedance of the end fed half wave. He wound the transformer on a snap on ferrite of all things then fed some coax on the second turn of the winding and a counter poise on winding one joined with a short run of coax back to the rig. The ft 817 is happy to load to full power with no VSWR to register, as does the kx3.


This is My Version.                                          Mot’s version.

Mot’s SOFT antenna, the acronym is Snap On Ferrite Transformer with a counterpoise and a Link Endfed Dipole from 15 metres to 40 metres. I have used this antenna several times testing in my usual yard site under the big gum tree. I hung it as an inverted L with the vertical part bending off after the 20m link so all of the high bands were vertically polarized and the 30/40m section being horizontal across to a 6m end support. My version was made differently with out any band links starting out with 16m of wire hung in the tree in a similar IVL config. Using a similar counterpoise and coax feed I found after trimming the radiator I could achieve a good swr on 7mhz and a reasonable swr on 14mhz and another low swr point in 20 mhz  which gave a 3 t 1 swr in 21 mhz. The test is, will the FT 817 load to full power without a tuner which it did easily on 7/14 mhz and reduced power back to about 3 watts on 21mhz, good enough in a pinch. No issues with the kx3 off course having an atu I decided to take this antenna on an activation and give it a try. I need to work the local chasers on 80m still as there is no short skip on 40m still so I hatched a plan to add onto the antenna with one of my link wires I use to extend my 40/20m link dipole to work on 80m. This is an add on of about 9.3 metres of wire to get the link dipole on 80m, well to my surprise the kx3 tuned it easily and I made 4 qso’s on 80m during the morning activation the furtherest chaser was about 200km from the summit. I consider this antenna a keeper. Getting back to Mot we have managed to make a qso several times over summer using the SOFT antennas with Mot on SOTA and Me either chasing from my Yard or S2S contacts mostly on 20m or 17m even in these low times of propagation.


This was the activation on South Hummocks vk5/se-017 using the SOFT antenna.

Back to mid summer M1EYP has been promoting FT8 digital mode for SOTA in UK so just for fun I went to Illawara Hill vk5/se-014 to try a digital activation. Being an easy drive up summits I took my ic7200 and a good battery to run it and my laptop link dipole all the usual kit. The temperature was 37c very hot but there is one small tree on the summit so at least some shade. Well once I was set up and all the Alerts put out I realised sitting under the tree I could not read my Laptop screen very well. The solution was my rain coat over my head the irony was sitting on a summit in a drought on a 37c summers day under my rain coat. I did manage to make 4 qso’s on ft8 and topped up my activation with some of the usual chasers I work in more normal times and modes. It was interesting to give it a try and it did work very well as I got a FT8 S2S with JI3BAP.

The next activation was a joint SOTA and VK5RLH repeater trip to inspect the hut and replace a power supply for APRS which Grant VK5AMC kindly loaned for the job. Another S2S with Mot on 14 mhz this time and just a few other vk chasers as it was Tuesday again. We were happy to find at the repeater hut this time no mouse invasion and Dale’s door fix stopped them getting in so a quick sweep out was all required this time.

I visited Hallet Hill next with a big plan to set up two antennas this time and try for another S2S with Mot on his usual activation. It was quite cold and windy giving some relief to the usual summer we have had this time.


Hallet Hill vk5/se-003 two link dipoles 40/20 and 15/17 and shack behind the rocks out of the wind.


This poor old land needs a good rain.

Very poor conditions on Hallet Hill but I did managed to make a S2S with Mot on 17m this time with a big surprise qso with AL7JX on  17m cw. Good qso’s on 80m ssb and 40m cw/ ssb to end up with 14 qso’s.

Time to crank up the hike distance to build that base for what is to come Ian vk5is and I went to Mt Remarkable next for SOTA. Taking the North walking trail to the summit it was a gentle 2 hour hike early in the morning to make our Alert times and to be there to work Mot again for a S2S.


What a great team.


Dust Inversion on Willowie Plains.                  A great day to Hike.


Screed Slopes at 4km into hike.

Set up on the Summit vk5/ne-010 995 m asl 5 metres short of a 10 pointer.

Checking the bands we Found Mot JP1QEC on ja/gm-039 on 18.081 on cw

We had already set up the dipole with all extensions to be on 80m first to work the local chasers. To save time resetting the antenna I tuned it with the kx3 to see if the 80m dipole would hit Mot for the S2S as he had a loud signal with me. I had a good signal and reference swap on 17m so I decided to go up the band and call cq myself. To my surprise K0RS and K5CM called me giving good reports up to 559 which were both great contacts and a S2S with ZL4DVG on zl3/wc-575 then  ZL1BYZ VK3PF VK4TJ. With UTC roll over approaching it was time to go to 80m and work my local chasers waiting there. When i call VK5WE on 80m he said he could hardly hear me which surprised me as we had the 80m dipole set up and we could work him on a 2m hand held.  On closer inspection I noticed a link for 20m was still open giving the problem for 80m, but it surely made a great OCF for 17m which was probably my best “accidental antenna” ever. Reset the link and the locals VK5WE VK5WG and VK5MJC were nice strong signals on 80m and I just got everyone worked before roll over.


Ian VK5IS Activated once UTC roll over to the next day took place, having good local contacts on 80m ssb and 40m ssb and made a score of 7 qso’s and I did a few calls on 40m cw as well after roll over but only got 1 qso with Gerard VK2IO.

Time to pack up and try the decent on the South Trail for a change.


The South Trail is 7.5 km so 1 km further than the North Trail and gives nice views to the south on the way down but it is a much harder trail to walk due to the rough rocky surface. We took 10 minutes extra time to walk down so made a good time but had to be careful not to slip or trip on the rocky surface. The hike total was 14 km distance and we averaged 16 minute kilometers for the hike.

Both of us were sore and tired by the time we made the SOTA transporter and enjoyed a nice lunch and coffee break at The Fullerville Coffee and Radio Shop. Thanks Roger.

Regards thanks for reading my Blog.

Ian vk5cz ..





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 ..


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 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.


Ian vk5cz ..