SOTA HQ Quorn 2017

Work in Progress

Grape Harvest is now finished and all Blocks picked and into the winery.

It’s time to get among some SOTA summits in the NE region, Quorn is one of my favourite places to stay while activating. First Summit will be Mt Remarkable VK5/NE-010 an 8 pointer so worth the effort to make the 6 km hike to the summit. I was looking forward to try the newly made trail which is shorter to the top but it is closed for some reason so I had to do the long hike again.

Wot The !! this amazing critter welcomes you at the start of the trail, believe it or not that face is made from a piece of tree knot and the body is also wood, the wings are made from a wind mill propeller .

Getting under way nice and early it takes a good 2 hours to make the summit and I made it right on track with 2 hours walking time and  about 20 minutes of spell and photo shots.

Cathedral Rock is a popular place to visit if you are not on a mission, it is a very large Rock with a hollow cave like centre.

Looking out east about half way to the top,cloud is slowly lifting.

You cross several of these Screed Slopes on the way, this is around 700 m asl and by now I am well and truly

warmed up.

This was the last photo I was able to take because my New F#####g camera battery died again just like on my last activation. I only charged it the night before so it must be crook and needs replacing Halima is on the case for me.

Well my activation started well I set up at the large pile of rocks on the Summit hoping to hear Mot JP1QEC whom I know was activating at the same time. I put up the 15/17m dipole and sure enough lots of Japanese stations were on the bands but no Mot to be found. I worked 3 other JA S2S stations and 4 JA Home stations on 15m CW then           ZL1BYZ  ZL2RX  K0RS and VK5IS . Still no Mot, even though I saw his spots on SOTA watch so not sure why we never crossed paths because he said on FB he worked some DX chasers. It was time to move to 40m to find no NVIS to anywhere so I changed to 3.6 mhz to try to find my local chasers who were having trouble to hear me in their high noise levels on 7 mhz. No room and lots of short bushes on the summit I could just set up the 40/20m dipole.  Just for the hell or in desperation I run the 80m extensions out across the top of some of the low bushes no more than a metre off the ground and there they all were at really surprising signal levels. I worked VK5WG VK5IS VK5MBD and VK5NWE with great signal levels.  After 15 Qso’s and only one chaser VK3CTM on 40m ssb I packed up and made my way back down to the Ute and headed for Quorn to Recharge everything ready for the next day .

Thanks for reading my Blog


Ian vk5cz ..

History Making Activation VK5/SE-010

We have had some early autumn rain so it is safe to start on my list of SOTA summits for 2017.

Tothill Range vk5/se-010 is not far from home and access is quite easy with just a phone call to the land owner to check if it’s ok to go there.

It’s a steady climb along the ridge heading south as long as you gradually gain some altitude as you go along the  path made by the Kangaroos and Sheep, it only takes about 40 minutes to make the summit.

Once you get up through the rocks for the last part of the accent it’s a good view out to the north and Porters Lagoon is full of water off in the distance.

These two Sheoaks have grown considerably since my first visit to this summit, that is Lagoon Hill off to the south the only other summit in the Tothill Range.

This is my shack for the Activation . I started out on 15/17 metres with the link dipole hoping to contact my Japanese friend JP1QEC who was also activating but a mix up in the time difference made me miss Mot this time. I did get a surprise when Peter VK3PF/4 called me on 15m CW for a S2S QSO from  VK4/SE-045 my first of many S2S for the day.

I set up the 40/20 m link dipole with 80 m extensions added and worked the local VK5’s MBD WG FMJC NWE on 3.6 mhz. Back to 40 m and lots of VK QSO’s followed on 40m SSB and S2S with VK1AD/2 VK3ANL VK1FWBD/2 and VK2IO on 4o m CW.  VK5BJE/3 VK3TUN were activating VKFF Parks . Changed band to 20 m CW to work a group of vk4 ops and another surprise was a call from Fred KT5X. I was checking my phone for spots and noticed NJ7V on 18 mhz CW activating W7A/AW-040 Arizona West,  sure enough I could hear him on 18.085 cw .  I had already taken down the 15/17 m dipole so just to give it a go the kx3 tuned the 20m dipole and I started calling him. Once I heard a pause then a  ..–.. from him I knew maybe he heard me. I may have confused him by including S2S with my  first call, so I went to work just sending my call sign only but it was not really working. I never had time to re deploy the 15/17 m  antenna so I joined up one of the 40 m links on the northern leg of the link dipole to make it an OCF. Much to my surprise he was able to get my call sign so then we went to work on the RST swap, he was 519 with QSB , I was hearing him quite well and he finally ended up sending  229 report back to me . That’s an almost impossible signal level, so I was glad he must be a very experienced cw operator and did not give up on my chance at a first VK5 to USA S2S CW QSO.

Yes !! that feels good.

Packed up ready to leave Tothill Range a memorable activation this time.

Thanks for reading and see you on the next one.

Ian VK5CZ . .


New Mount Campbell VK5/SE-007

Today was a special day as it is one year ago today my Mother died from Parkinson’s Disease and I was out on SE-007 that day activating so I thought it appropriate to be out there again today. It was a great day to be out, weather was really nice with a gentle southerly breeze at the summit just enough to fill the flags. 

After parking the SOTA transporter at the main gate it is about 2.5 km to the top from the entrance to Forest Departments land.

I find walking straight along the creek line once off the road the easiest path to take and you soon are in the old forest that is left after a big bush fire that destroyed probably 75 % of the forest a few years ago.

There is a dam at the end of a plantation of hardwoods and that is where you pick up another boundary track around the plantation of pines. This is where the pain begins as you make lots of gain heading up to the saddle of the range before heading south to the summit.

This time I must have been feeling a bit fitter as I made the gate in the old stone wall without too much puff and pain but stopped for a rest anyhow.

I got a photo looking north towards Jamestown from here and what a great view of the remaining forest that is left.

This time I activated south of the trig point because there was some shade from a few of the remaining pines right on the top and the old fence gave support to my squidy . Other times I have been on this summit it was really windy so I set up behind the stone wall out of the wind.

The Fire destroyed all of the pines on the eastern slope of the summit apart from just a few right on top so that was my shack for the day in the shade.

Used the KX3 and 20/40m Sotabeams link dipole and I made some local contacts with VK5WG and VK5NWE on the VX8G on 2 metres.

The SSB contacts were all on 40m and I got through to vk2 vk3 vk6 and vk7 then made some qso’s on 40m cw and got a nice surprise to get a call from ZL1BYZ on 20m cw near the end of my activation.

Total of 14 qso’s  with some double up qso’s on ssb and cw.

Thanks to all the chasers for the QSO’s today .

Vale Valery Joan McRae

thanks for reading my blog.

Regards from Ian VK5CZ ..

Mount Nadjuri SOTA 2017

After the SOTA frenzy on Black Rock Hugh and I enjoyed a coffee break in Orroroo then took the scenic drive past Hogs Head summit to show Hugh the access gate to that summit. We turned off at Hornsdale Corner and headed up through the very new wind farm on the Nadjuri Range for the last activation on our way home.


Sorry about these photos my poor old camera is really hard to keep going it now has a fault opening the lens at times and I really must get a new one before I go activating again.

It is a short hike from the ute probably one kilometre of so and not a big climb to the summit. We did not stay long as it was quite hot by now and very windy, we managed a short score of contacts each with only one S2S this time as most of the morning activators had moved on too.


Black Rock is Off in the distance from here this summit is about 20 km north from Jamestown.

It was nice to get some new chasers this time on 40m and I even made contact with VK5NWE and VK5IS on 2m with my hand held rig.


We used Hugh’s KX2 for this activation and went tag team on the mic working the chasers quickly and getting under way home. It was a great day out with lots of activity for SOTA and the unseasonal cold weather made it possible to get to a couple summits we may not normally access during summer. Probably run up another 300 km on the Colorado for the day in the quest for Old Goat. I am now 607 activating points .

Thanks Mike for the access to this summit .

Thanks to the chasers and S2S contacts

Thanks for reading my Blog.

73 Ian vk5cz ..


Black Rock 16/17 Double Activation

Seeing there were thunderstorms around Orroroo last week and after consulting with the owner of Black Rock property, he granted permission to go to the summit. I picked Hugh up early Sunday morning and we headed off to the summit arriving about 8 am. It was still nice and cool with high humidity as we were going to drive through some very long grass as the track to the summit has not been used very much lately.

Low range in the Colorado we gently made our way to the parking area near the peak and never found any surprises in the long grass on the stony track to the top .


That is Depot Hill across the Valley, we missed doing that summit in 2016 on the last trip


SOTA transporter parked and after a feed and think about where to set up, it was very windy and cold for middle of summer.


We decided the best place out of the wind would be under the rock ledge up near the top on the North Eastern side of the summit. It was about 30 minutes to hike around the side of the Summit on a goat track and slowly make it to the top. It was extremely windy so we never bothered to go to the actual trig just for a photo opportunity as it was time to set up and get the activation underway before UTC roll over and try to stick to the Alert Time we set.


View out North West at some of the summits we activated early in the year We are very lucky to have access to all summits around Orroroo but one which I hope to do some sweet talking to the land owner and get it back on our list. On the first year of SOTA in 2013 we accidentally entered his property after gaining permission from the wrong land owner and got sternly asked to FO and not come back. Might ring him and ask him for next year might not.

Well the reason to get a summit in the log New Years Morning is we have a time window that we can turn one visit into two Activations before and after the calendar year changes in UTC time. Many VK Activators do the same every New Year as we are in a prime time zone for such an activity. Its also a great way to get a double score and get two Activations into the one visit to a summit.


Hugh is ready to start logging as many as He can work, I am not sure how many Activators were out on summits but we made 9 S2S before role over and 5 after. We never had time to search around the band because it was very busy working S2S and chasers who came to the frequency we used for the whole activation.


Used the KX3 this time and my link dipole with the 80m extensions to start out and glad we did because Nev VK5WG could not hear us on 40m .


Perched up on the ledge it turned out to be quite warm out of the wind. For a change 40m was working well to the Eastern States making it possible to work lots of S2S and chasers and catch up with everyone for the end of the season.


Birds eye View of the Squidy and SOTA beams link dipole and our ledge for the morning below out of the wind ,

Thanks every one for all the contacts and it was quite a job to upload the csv logs, sort out the S2S part of logging, edit the video for Facebook and get a Blog written up. Judging by all the SOTA activity over the day I bet lots of others have been busy logging too.

Thanks to Peter for permission to enter his property we hope to get there in a better part of the season next time.

Thanks to all the chasers and activators for the contacts.

Thanks for reading my Blog .

Regards Ian vk5cz ..



Peaked Hill


Morning drive out this morning to meet Hugh again to finish off our weekend of SOTA around Orroroo one of my favourite places to stay . As you can see the grass this year is very high and extremely dried out now so we decided not to go to Black Rock for the afternoon activation. The temperature was rising all the time as we started to walk to Peaked Hill and was it 33 c by the time we got off that summit .

Peaked Hill is only a 2 point summit but a tough climb through the rocks near the top and it took about 45 minutes to walk in from the Ute. We found an old track which will take us further next time in the winter but it was hard to find and overgrown for this time of year.


This is about half way up looking back to the west at the Olladie Hills another summit we don’t have access too.


This is my view from the top looking at Black Rock and Depot Hill summits we had to let them go this year but hope to get to activate there next year in a better part of the season.


Great summit to activate but not a lot of room for the antennas, my 80m extention wires were almost running along the ground but we managed to make contacts.


My KX3 had a baby !! no not really its Hugh’s KX2 which I like very much, we just have to spend a bit more time with the hand book and sort out some SOTA frequencies in memory and learn a bit more about it’s functions.

I do like the larger internal speaker it is much better than the KX3 speaker which rattles around in the tin box if you are not careful on the AF control or a really loud station calls unexpectantly. So I am still raving about this KX2 rig, still like my KX3 and won’t be buying one just yet, but of course leaving my options open.


A sign from above I think its telling me it’s too hot today.

We only had 4 qso’s each on 80m and did not stay on the hill for long due to the rising temperature.

I had trouble with the internet on my phone as well it was losing the internet connection, I had to drive south of Orroroo on the way home before I could get access to cancel the afternoon activation.


Happy smiling red faced KX2 owner , we did get some sun burn on this trip.

This is my last trip up north until next year so time to concentrate on some other activity for a few months, I can feel withdrawals for SOTA already.

Thanks everyone for you interest in my blogs and I hope to be back soon.


Ian vk5cz ..




Black Hill VK5/NE-062

This weekend in October was my last chance to get to Black Hill before the weather starts to get too hot.

It ended up being a 596 km trip but I started out on Friday after work and drove to Orroroo for another overnight stay in my favourite caravan park. Up early Saturday morning for the rest of My journey to Black Hill which is about 130 km from Orroroo. I found a short cut half way between Carrieton and Cradock which turned out to be a well maintained road across a pastrol lease property. Lots of Kangaroo activity in the early hours of the morning, I had to slow down several times to let them get out of my way and avoid hitting any. The road then enters Holowillena Station and winds through the hills for several kilometres before Black Hill becomes into view.


I am north of Holowillena Homestead now and it if time to make a sked contact with Ian VK5IS on 3680 kc . I use a Hustler loading coil on this extra long aluminium shaft which works very well. I don’t drive along with this antenna on it’s a bit too long but I needed a stop any how as my Porridge was ready to consume for a bit of carbo loading before the walk I was about to do.


A well used track by the look with Black Hill off in the distance .


This mob of Emu’s were standing around as I went by it’s the best photo I could get they did not wait for me to get a closer photo .


Well into the Hike by now very rocky with lots of low bush and spinifex grass the SOTA transporter is down below parked off the road in a creek bed. I think where I park, the land is leased by another station further north, so I hope it’s ok I did leave a note at the Ute but I did not see another person at any time out there.


Stony up lifts running at a differing angle to the saddle makes it tricky as they get higher on the ends and before you know it is too high to get off back on track. lucky the goats know where to go and I could follow their path mostly.


This part is quite steep and slow picking through the bush and rocks but the summit is now in sight and I think I arrived very close to my Alert time but there is no Phone out here so once again I asked Ian and Nev to listen for me on 3680 kc . These days with low propagation on 40m locally I have been starting my activation’s on 80m so I set up right from the start then unclip the extensions and get on with 40m later . VK5IS VK5NWE and VK5WG called me on 80m  the band was very quiet none of the usual static crash you might experience on 80m. But they all had very good signals and my log was under way.


My set up in the bush was ok but there are not many places to hang up a dipole in clear space, part of the antenna broke from getting caught on something when I was swapping things around.

It was quite pleasant to start with but the wind was building and I had to deploy another bungy to help hold the squidy in place.

When I started on 40m I was unsure what would happen with no phone coverage to Spot but Ian VK5IS set up a Spot for me and I had 5 quick QSO’s waiting in line for me which was great. I made a S2S with Andrew VK1DA/2 and Matt VK1MA/2 chased me up for another S2S . Then VK3PF,VK3CAT and VK3SQ were soon in my log. After a few CQ calls on 15m with no signals even heard I did a swap to 20m with no respons to my CQ calls. In that situation sometimes the RB network will pick up a CQ SOTA on CW and Spot you on SOTAwatch but nobody answered me so  I decided to pack up and head down.


On the way down I noticed Wilpena Pound and the ABC Range off to the north .

Got back to the Ute ok and found todays walk a bit easier than the first time Hugh and I came here and tried a different way to make the top . Now for the 300 tired kms home .

Thanks for the contacts everyone

Thanks for reading and taking an interest in this obsession SOTA .


CZ e e