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 ..

 

 

Yunta 2017 SOTA trip

Hugh and I took Friday off work to have enough time to activate 5 summits near Yunta, about half of the summits along the Barrier Highway. We headed off quite early about 6 am from Farrel Flat and took the road via Mt Bryan East this time as it was dry. It took over 3 hours to make the parking spot at the base of Pualco Hill so we were a bit behind the Spot time on SOTA watch but did our best to be there asap.

One of the many gates to open along the way, with only about 10 km to go .

That’s the summit about 40 minutes to hike with a rock scramble up near the top .

Biggest Yacka bushes I have ever seen, very healthy specimens .

The stone cairn has fallen down at the top.

Hugh made some 80 and 40 metres ssb contacts then I took over and made some good contacts on 40m cw .

Heading back down off the summit we stumbled across an Emu nesting in the Spinifex grass, lucky He took off in fright and did not attack us.

Over night in Yunta Pub we left quite early to head to vk5/ne-095 known as the Bluff by the locals, the first summit for Saturday .

A really nice sun rise before we hit the dirt road to the first summit.

Part way up to the summit which is about 1 hour to hike .

We set up behind this ledge out of the cool southerly wind.

Made some good contacts on 80 and 40m again this time working VK2UH on his brand new MTR rig, much excitement as it was the first qso with this rig, Andrew had a great signal at 3 watts of out put.

Not many contacts on this hill as we were quite early but we both made the score and qualified.

After the hike back down we headed off on station tracks to Oulina Park homestead to meet up with Michael and head to the next summit Oulina Hill. This summit is a drive up with a 4×4 track to the top which Mitsi did easily now we have the right line worked out for a rock ledge on the way up.

I only got a couple photos as the battery in my camera gave up again although I suspect it has a fault somewhere else because it has failed several time since I bought it.

We both worked vk5is and vk5wg on 80m even though it was after lunch by the time we made the summit with a small number of chasers on 40m ssb and cw. This time we gave Hugh’s KX2 a run which worked fine with his link dipole .

Hugh working the pile up on 40m ssb

KX2 is a great rig amazing how much smaller than My KX3 it is.

Was intending to take a shot of Mitsi dropping of the famous rock ledge on the way down but camera had other ideas.

We headed back to Yunta via Oulina Park property travelling about 80km of station tracks and some better made roads  nearer to Yunta.

We headed out Early again Sunday Morning to Teetulpa Station this time west of Yunta our first summit was Waroonee Hill. This is a great summit about 10 km south from the main road west of Yunta so we have some station tracks again.

We need to hike about 3 km along the bottom edge to this rock uplift to make the summit on the northern end, it is a stony path made by goats but a nice easy hike once you get up on the path.

The way to the summit is at the end of this rock face.

Some scrub on the top and Spinefex Grass, looking out to the East.

Top of the ledge looking Southeast .

Hugh working chasers on 80 40  ssb then I took over to make some contacts on 80 ssb and 40 cw .

Back to Mitsi for the drive back to Teetulpa Homestead to meet the manager then we went north along station tracks heading for Karkala Ridge summit.

There are several gates on this trip and about 20 km of tracks to get there. We had a 2 km walk from the parking spot after some lunch.

Gradual hike along the ridge to the top.

Baron treeless place.

Even though it was middle of the day we both made enough qso’s on 80 m to qualify. Hugh worked a pile up on 40 ssb and I made 12 cw qso’s on 40 m and some double ups and other qso’s on 20 m cw this time. Got to work Andrew again with his new MTR this time on 20 m with great 2 way signals. We used the KX3 this time and my 20/40 link dipole with 80m extensions. This antenna has been the best for me so far .

We had well over 600 km on the speedo by the time we got home Sunday night with 5 summits crossed off the list for this year.

Thanks to all the property managers and thanks to the chasers.

Thanks for reading my Blog

Ian vk5cz ..

 

 

Nice Day for Two More Summits

Ian VK5IS and Ian VK5CZ met at Hallett early on Saturday morning so we could get to Mount Bryan SOTA summit before UTC rollover and give the chasers double points for the activation. The land management has changed for this summit if you want to use the access track to Mount Bryan as the gate is locked these days. Farmer Tony was very helpful to me over the last three years that I have been driving to this summit and always gave me access to the key to unlock the gate. Not sure what the new arrangement is going to be about access as Tony’s lease has expired and the original owners have taken charge of the property again. The summit can still be accessed via the Heysen trail but it means about 1 hour hike to reach the summit which I will still do if need be, its just nice to have a drive up summit every now and then.

We reached the summit in good time and the weather was really nice sunny and calm with a bit of a chilly breeze at times.

Ian took a rest in the Kings Throne at the trig point after our short hike to the top then it was on with setting up the antennas. We started on 80m to work the locals first and Ian qualified the summit on 80m ssb first up before UTC roll over then gave out some contacts on 40m ssb as well after roll over.

Ian VK5IS hard at work on 40m ssb with a nice pile up running and he managed a couple S2S as well with Hugh VK5NHG who was on Lagoon Hill at the same time. We both made a S2S QSO with Hugh on the 2 m hand held probably over a 40 km distance, we had good line of site and could see Lagoon Hill off in the distance.

One of my Favourite views from the top is looking out east, you can see the curvature of the earth.

VK5CZ took a turn to work some cw chasers with great contacts around VK and ZL again on 40 m cw.

This summit well and truly activated we packed up and headed to Brown Hill Range summit.

This summit is another of the drive ups that we can do north of Booborowie on Brown Hill Range, this is also private property so permission is required.

Ian VK5IS among the chasers again this time on 40m ssb and his first S2S with VK3BYD on cw, he also had a QSO with ZL1BYZ and ZL1WA on 20 m ssb.

A great view to the north if you like wind turbines and a 100 year old very well built stone wall .

The shack for the afternoon right at the trig point.

Ian VK5CZ among the chasers on 40 m CW with good contacts around VK ZL and an extra surprise call from EA8TL from Spain later in the afternoon on 20 m cw. Needed the ear buds on this summit as the wind generator is right near the summit and was turning rather fast in the stiff breeze at the time.

These things are quite a sight and sound show when spinning around in a strong wind .

We had a great day out on the summits with nice weather and lots of chasers .

73 from the two Ian’s and thanks to all the chasers and land owners.

VK5IS VK5CZ ..

 

 

 

Two Local Summits

The plan to go to Mt Arden this weekend to do some repeater repairs was called off until next week so I decided to do some closer in summits. I still managed to drive 220 kilometres on Saturday visiting Lagoon Hill vk5/se-008 in the Tothill Ranges then drive out west to Illawarra Hill vk5/se-014 for the afternoon activation.  When I arrived at Lagoon Hill, farmer Jeff gave permission to drive a bit closer than I normally do around the edge of his cropping paddock which was only sown on Friday and was a long way from sprouting. This makes it about a 2 km hike up and back with a hat on backwards climb up through the rocks and Yacka bushes that grow on this really steep slope. 

SOTA transporter parked I follow this fence line to the “marked public easement” which consists of two large stones.

How ever I have to comply with this land owners wishes that is a private conservation group who are the owners of a lot of land in the Tothill Ranges. The trig point and easement to the summit is not owned by them and the public access easement is still open to the trig point. Bit political but it gives me access to an other wise access denied summit and they are happy for me to go there if I follow the rules. The easement being a line on a map does not mean it is the easiest path to the top thus the hard slog straight up the side of the hill but nothing I can’t handle.

Very foggy  but no rain made it a nice cool morning for the hike to the top .

Nearly walked into this spider web up in the trees .

This is the clearest spot to set up although my antenna with the 80m extensions still run out across the bushes.

No problems to make contacts with it .

My shack, KX3 and 20/40 link dipole with extensions for 80m.

So after working the locals on 80m ssb I worked some vk2 and vk3 chasers on 40m ssb, I found Paul and Marija up the band in a conservation park  VKFF 1690 and had a contact with them. VK7CW was my first QSO on 40m cw, with some other chasers from vk2 and ZL1BYZ on 15m cw and ZL3CC on 20m cw. I saw some spots for a couple JA stations on 15m cw but I could not hear them so I packed up and made my way back down to head off to the next summit.

Illawarra Hill VK5/se-014

This summit is only a one pointer but a score none the less taking me to 660 activating points now. Its probably 80 odd kilometres to drive between summits with some dirt roads to fill in between the major roads .

But I made it with enough time for lunch and a coffee break before the long 100m hike from the Ute. This summit has a wind farm so there is a well made road to the top of the treeless hill.

Last tree standing makes for a good spot to set up.

Once set up I made two QSO on 80m this time before heading to 40m ssb to find my group of faithful chasers from vk3 and vk2 ready to work me. Then vk 7 2 3 6 and ZL1 BYZ again this time on 40 m cw. Being such a nice afternoon I decided to try 30 m using my 20/40m link dipole as an OCF by unclipping one of the 40m links. The kx3 had no trouble to tune it, and at a guess the feedline loss would not be too bad as it displayed a 3 t 1 swr before tuning on the kx3. Well the results were quite good I got good reports from vk4rf, vk2io/m and zl3cc and I could hear some EU dx as well but did not work any. It was cooling off quite rapidly so a short CQ on 20m netted HB9AFI to top off a great day of activating.

That’s not my antenna in the back ground.

Thanks to all the chasers on both summits .

Thanks to the land owners for access to your land

Thanks for reading my blog.

Regards Ian vk5cz ..

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stokes Hill, Adventure with SOTA added

Had a chance to get to Stokes Hill VK5/NE-050 this weekend and decided to drive up from Clare this time, seeing I only had one summit to do this trip. Still have some summits at Quorn but the couple left to do are big hikes and I never booked any accommodation this week, had some bills to pay  and work has been a bit quiet since grape harvest ended.

I hit the road at 5.00 am to make the trip and arrived at Horseshoe Range gate by 7.30 am it was very cold and word is about it was one of the heaviest frosts for many years. The main issue I was going to have was 4×4 driving up to Stokes Hill with the sun in the east making it hard for me to see the track with sun glare. I headed up to the start of the serious 4×4 part which is close to 5 km distance to the top in low 1st or 2nd in the Colorado. I wasted some more time lowering the air pressure in my tyres and mounting the Go Pro on the Ute to shoot some video. I headed off a little nervous as I was there by myself and totally alone for this trip, but I have done this climb before and I  know my vehicle is able to do the job. Thinking hope I don’t stake a tyre or crunch underneath on a rock I did not see in the sun glare, but no need to worry just be careful and keep alert. The track was in good order really for what it is, I had to stop a couple times to shift a couple big rocks someone else had rumbled under their vehicle, It’s interesting seeing the crunch marks on rocks others have left.

Typical of this country rock and Spinafex Grass

Made the journey in good time which took about 50 minutes to the top .

Making my way along these tracks is much easier since Ben got his big bulldozer up there and improved the approach to the last hill climb, there was good traction and I have new tyres on my Ute set at 35 psi.

SOTA transporter parked at the top

That is the track below that I took ending up at the summit.

Trig Point on this summit.

40/20m link dipole set up with 80m extensions, thought about giving the FT 857 a run but ended up using the KX3

Hard at work in the pile ups only 2 QSO on 3.6 mhz but made several ssb QSO on 7 mhz and several on cw as well.

Got one dx to ZL1BYZ on 40 cw the rest were all vk 2 3 5 7 this time and a few repeat QSO on ssb and cw.

No answer to my cq on 15m cw this time and I think band conditions are not that good but still able to qualify the summit with 18 qso’s. Thanks to all the chasers.

Some of the down track was just as challenging as the up track .

I came down from up there .

The final decent to the flat lands and the end of the adventure with some SOTA thrown in.

Thanks to Ben and Sue for access to your property.

Thanks for reading my Blog.

Regards from Ian

CZ ..

Sutty’s SOTA On the Hogshead

Today Ian VK5IS and I met at Appila in the midnorth to head out to Hogshead VK5/NE-051 for another SOTA day of activating. We decided on the day to call by Mount Nadjuri VK5/NE-058 in the afternoon on the way home while we were close by. Hogshead  is a hard walk from the parking spot as far up as we can drive and ends up being about 2.4 km round trip. We noticed the new owner of the property is making a track up to the top which will be a steep 4×4 track once it is finished. Looks like the bulldozer driver may have chickened out up near the end of the track as it gets pretty steep and a big slope angle across the hill to make the rest of the way to the top tricky unless they can bench it some how .

A nice stone Cairn on this one built many years ago on top of the huge rock slab that makes the top area .

Ian into the pile up of locals on 80m first off with really good signals using the extensions again on the antenna. It was quite windy so we set up behind this rock ledge on the eastern side which was very comfortable in out of the wind. Had problems with the dipole later in the activation as some of the vk3’s on 40m ssb could detect a fault with our antenna. We even lowered it down to check but found nothing obvious until I got home and had a closer look finding the link alligator clip hanging on by maybe 2 strands of wire and in the wind, it may have been losing continuity .

Ian had a good pile up of chasers on 40m ssb and we both qualified with plenty of chasers gathering points.

I made several ssb contacts on 80 and 40 then worked some cw stations on 40 and managed to get a nice contact with ZL1BYZ on 20 cw.

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Hogshead is a great summit to visit as it is out on its own in the landscape and you get good views all round and I was able to point out to Ian the other summits in the area.

Thanks to all the chasers and the farmer for easy access to the summit.

regards from the Ian’s

CZ . .

 

 

 

 

 

VK5WE Roger’s first SOTA Activation

Well first of all Roger has upgraded his licence to VK5WE and was keen to try some of the SOTA action going on locally as he has been a chaser now for a few years. I got permission from Michael and Tony to do two summits on the same day and to prevent any long hike burn out on His first try we activated a couple “drive ups”. Well we did walk about 100 metres to each summit but nothing too strenuous, summits were vk5/ne-047 Mt Jay South in the morning and vk5/ne-049 Maurice Hill in the afternoon.  The band conditions being how they are we started out on 3.6 mhz first on both summits to work the locals who were lined up to give Roger his first contacts and make sure he qualified.

It was very windy and cold on this exposed hill top but great views across Spencer Gulf to the west and some great open plains views out east.

We both made lots of contacts on 3.6 and 7 mhz and I had some chasers on cw as well as ssb.

The summit off to the north is Mount Brown .

We finished up and headed to the next Summit after a slow 4×4 trip back down and a coffee on the road side after the last gate.

Maurice Hill is also quite exposed with great views all the way around and a steeper 4×4 climb to get to the top.

Neat summit this one with an old hut left to the elements so we made good use of the star picket to hold up the antenna.

Nice spot to settle into the pile ups as the wind had dropped out and it was a very enjoyable stay on Maurice Hill this time. We worked the usual crowd on 3.6 mhz and we both had a good pile up of chasers on ssb and cw on 7 mhz.

On behalf of Roger and Myself thanks to all the chasers for the nice activation’s.

Thanks to the farmers for the use of the tracks and hills

Thanks for reading my Blog.

Regards

Ian vk5cz ..