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..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Lagoon Hill and Tothill Range

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

            

Packed up and headed to Tothill Range.

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

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

 

My station on Tothill Range.

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

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

      

Thanks to the land owners and chasers.

Thanks for reading my Blog.

Ian vk5cz ..

 

 

 

8 Summits Kicks Off My 2018 Season.

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

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

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

Illawarra Hill shack.

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

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

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

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

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

      

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      

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

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

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

    

New Mount Campbell vk5/se-007

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

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

    

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

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

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

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

Regards

Ian vk5cz ..

 

 

 

 

 

 

2017 My Year Of SOTA

My SOTA season for 2017 started on New Years Day, Hugh and I were lucky that they had 40 mil of rain at Orroroo a couple days before New Years Day and the farmer who owns the land agreed it would be safe to go to Black Rock to activated  for the new years S2S SOTA party. We made an early start from Clare to arrive before UTC roll over to make it a double activation for the one visit. On the way home we called into Mount Nadjuri to get that summit in the log also as the weather was still cool but a bit windy from what I remember.

My next activation would be Mt Gawler while the Tour Down Under Bike race was here that way I can watch the bike race as well as it passed by.

With grape harvest in full swing for a couple months, I was next able to activate The Battery in March and Ian VK5IS came along for his first SOTA. It is an 11 km hike in then out to the Battery  so a good long hike to build the km in the legs for what is to come for the rest of the season. Through the months of April May I worked on activating another 9 summits solo around Melrose and Quorn. Roger vk5WE came with me on a couple drive up summits to get a start on activating also, I remember Mt Jay South was freezing cold in the morning and Maurice Hill being great conditions in the afternoon.

More solo summits with my most exciting drive up with some steady as she goes 4×4 driving to make Stokes Hill summit as a single day trip this time and a very frosty start at the bottom as I was airing down my tyres. The other exciting activation for me was Tothill Range where I made my First S2S QSO to USA NJ7V was worked under trying conditions on 17 m CW using my 40/20 m Link dipole as an OCF very lucky to score that one.

Ian VK5IS came on another activation to Mount Bryan and Brown Hill Range with me and Roger VK5WE followed up with our visit to Hallett Hill and Mount Cone,probably the windiest summit I have ever done.

Hugh’s work load was starting to slow down so in June we made a start on the summits off The Barrier Highway with an overnight stay in Yunta to get 4 summits there over the weekend and Pualco Range on the way up on the Friday.

The next major event was a day trip to Mount Arden to help VK5RAE repeater group lower and fix their antenna so Ian Roger and I went along to help them and get the SOTA summit while we were there.

The next SOTA trip with Hugh was to the Bendalby Ranges to activate Price Hill  Marchant Hill and Eke Hill with Peaked Hill as a Sunday activation on the way home.  A big dust storm in July blew in and I abandoned to come home but was able to get back to Peaked Hill later in the season.

I was able to activate Black Hill,  Dutchmans Stern and Mount Benjamin over a weekend trip solo, then Ian VK5IS and I did Mount Brown on a day trip another 12 km hike, leaving just another day trip to Nackara Hill and Waite Hill with Hugh.

I did the rest on my list solo picking some nice days as the weather was warming up ending with another double activation for the 2017/18 new year S2S SOTA party at Black Bull Hill. It is a 4 hour trip there south of Adelaide so Hugh and I will be leaving early in the morning to make sure we can qualify before and after UTC roll over.

This season I had to drive 7500 km to activate 44 summits, I can drive to 12 of those with a short hike and I hiked 163 km measured on my Garmin to the other 32 summits at an average walking speed of 3.8 km per hour.

To think about the 62 more summits I have to visit to score 1000 activating points is a bit daunting with the down turn in propagation and adjusting to try lower frequencies on HF is making my task even harder.

But I must persevere on the Quest to Mountain Goat for another 2 years.

     

     

    

    

This is the most fun you can have with Ham Radio I recon.

Thanks to the property owners for access Hugh Roger and Ian for some company and last but never least the Chasers.

Regards

Ian vk5cz ..

 

 

 

SOTA at Mt Bryan

Roger and I met at Mt Bryan township early on Saturday morning to activate the two local summits near by.

Mt Cone vk5/se-002 in the morning then Hallett Hill vk5/se-003 after smoko.

The wind was blowing quite hard when we first headed for the hills and by the time we arrived at Mt Cone it was extremely strong, and we had to hide behind the comms hut to shelter and make it at least possible to even activate.

The antenna was only put up to 6 metres as it was bending badly and I remember Paul breaking his squid pole a few years ago on Hallett Hill in similar conditions.

   

Roger vk5we worked the pile up on 80m first then it was vk5cz turn, then Roger went back onto 40m ssb to hand out a few more points for our regular band of faithful chasers. I went onto 40m cw but only made 3 cw contacts but I managed 6 ssb qso’s before on 80m ssb, it sure is worth using that band these days to give the local chasers and us a chance to qualify.

After a battering from the wind we packed up and descended back to the farm yard for smoko and a chat before heading across to Hallett Hill only a few kilometres away.

I think by the time we got onto the Hallett Hill range the wind was even stronger and we took the road through the wind farm to get to the actual summit. There are a few gates on this property to open and close so this time we took Rogers car so I could take a turn opening the gates. Well we stopped at the first set of gates and I was on the windward side in the car and I could not open the door, firstly I though maybe it was locked but no it was the wind holding it firmly shut. Roger had to turn his car around so my side was out of the wind to get out and open the set of double gates, then once I was ready to get back in he had to park the same on the other side of the shut gates.

  

We set up on the northern fence line across the top of the summit as best we could to get some protection from the wind, we did not have much luck with 80m so Roger and I both used 40m with quite good results. He had several chasers on 40m ssb and I had a nice pile up on cw then it was pack up and get out of this raging gale. No hats or inhibitions with hair styles worn on this summit. I remember the first time Paul and I went there the wind was not quite as strong but it broke Paul’s squid pole in two places and it was 4 degrees extremely cold.

That will be the last summit Roger or the two Ian’s will do for this season so I hope they can do more summits and work you all again next year. I have 7 more on my list for this year but I think the early summer will beat me on the Hawker summits.

Thanks to the chasers and land owners for access.

Regards from

Ian vk5cz.

 

 

 

5 years of SOTA in vk5

Getting close to 5 years of SOTA in vk5, this time back then I was busy getting the summit list organised and finalised with the SOTA Management Team in the UK . It was an exciting time but also some nervous tension involved hoping and making sure I had all the relevant information for the MT to upload to the SOTA database, and the ARM written properly as I was to take on the role of Association Manager for vk5. My new KX3 had arrived and I was keen to get out on a summit and be ready to go when the first day of October rolled around.

This weekend I was a couple weeks earlier for the anniversary but today was my chance to get back to Mt Horrocks again. I now have to ask a new land owner for permission but he was very good and allowed access for me to make a hike in from the western side of the summit which is right on 3 km from where I parked my ute. I probably could have driven closer as the gate was not locked but it was a good easy hike at this end of my SOTA season and I only asked permission to hike in anyhow.

   

Really nice green rolling hills this time of year in The Clare Valley

  

With great all around views from the top.

It was quite windy on top so I set up down a bit on the southern side this time using the 20/40 link dipole with extensions for 80 run out to use first.

  

I made contact with VK5WG  VK5MBD VK5MJC on 3.6 Mhz  but soon run out of chasers on that band so with a spot I was able to find some chasers on 7 Mhz ssb to boost my score followed by some cw chasers on 7 Mhz as well.

After it died down I went to 14 Mhz to find ZL1BYZ waiting for me on cw and he asked me to try ssb and I found ZL1WA on ssb who had a nice signal as well.

A nice way to spend the morning without having to travel very far from home is a nice change for me.

Thanks to Ben the very helpful land owner and all the chasers today doing a good job under poor band conditions. Thanks for reading my Blog.

Regards from

Ian vk5cz ..

 

 

Last of the Orroroo Summits for 2017

Finally got my last summit for around Orroroo done this weekend with a couple others as well.

I left home early Saturday morning to head for Quorn and activate Mt Benjamin vk5/ne-083. This is a medium hike as the Wakefield  family let me access from the eastern side of the hill and they even drove out to unlock the gate for me. After a steady hike to the summit I was set up and on the air on my Alert time to find The Crystal Brook boys all waiting to work me on 80m ssb . After that I changed to 40m ssb and made 3 contacts into vk3 then some vk3’s on 40m cw. No answer on 20 or 15 m cw to my cq.

          

Summit is not far from the parking spot about 2.5 km, with a great view towards Warren Gorge and Mount Arden.

        

I set up using the 40/20 link dipole with extensions for 80, bands were very quiet but still working ok.

After the activation I headed back to Quorn to refuel for Sunday then head to Orroroo where I stayed overnight. Before Saturday was done I headed out to Peaked Hill vk5/ne-098 to activate there and found my way to the summit on an old 4×4 track which was hard to find at first then about a 1.5 km hike from the parking spot.

By the afternoon 80m was still good to make contact with Nev and Ian and vk5ma/m, then onto 40m cw first as the RD contest was full bore on ssb. A mixture of contacts with vk2 3 4 5 and ZL1BYZ on 40m this time.

       

Lots of salt bush and smaller trees out this side of the Goyder Line but a great little summit to view Black Rock peak and Depot Hill off to the south from here.

Back  to the park and rest up for Sunday.

Sunday Morning up for a 5 am start time, I need to head 66 km up the Hawker Road to the turn off to Black Hill summit vk5/ne-062. It is another 70km of dirt roads to make the parking spot for Black Hill which is west of Willipa Station near their southern boundary fence, I have permission to park my ute on Holowiliena  Station at the boundary fence then start my hike from there. This is  probably a hard hike  but I have been there 3 times so I have worked out the best way to tackle the climb. There are 6 main rock uplifts running across the saddle  you take to make a way to the top but the goats know the way so it is best to follow were they go and bush bash the rest. It turned out to be 3 km to the top and I spent just over 1 hour walking and 20 minutes puffing and taking a few photos.

          

Sun up at the turn off, lots of Kangaroos and Sheep in this first property I crossed, that is Black Hill waiting for me.

          

Mulga scrub Spinifex grass Rocks and Roo shit is all you will find here , Wilpena Pound off in the distance.

       

It’s always rewarding to see the other side of the summit or range of hills you have climbed.

       

Packing up after the activation I forgot to take a photo and my Squidy and antenna set up with lots of snags in the bush for my antenna. Only two chasers on 80m ssb this time then onto 40m ssb with a steady flow of contacts some still chasing points for the RD contest but when you are trying to qualify a summit i don’t mind slumming it in a contest. On 40m cw I made several contacts and 2 S2S qso’s as well so worth the effort to come out to this remote summit probably the further-est north i travel for SOTA . After I made my way back down to the Ute I called by Holowiliena to bribe them with a bottle of nice wine and say thanks then the long 260 km straight through drive back to Clare. Once again really nice helpful folk live out here and very pleased I first asked permission and told them what I had intended doing on my visit. Thanks to Mick from Hawker the cattle legend who owns Black Hill for giving access to the summit. Thanks to all the chasers.

Another 800 km weekend .

Regards

Ian vk5cz ..