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.





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.


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.


Ian vk5cz ..



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 . .