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 hole 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 ..

 

 

A Day Of One Pointers

After Grape harvest and the first rains for Autumn it is considered safe to go to the Lochiel Repeater site to do a battery check and kick out any mice who make the hut home. The repeater was in good order with the sealed lead acid battery these days there is no need to be testing it and top it up with water. I just swept out the mouse doings and found 4 mice asleep on top of the Icom power supply keeping warm, so they got a rude shock to be shunted out the door into the cold. The door is opened by the power company every so often and the contractor does not set up the bottom seal on the door properly to stop the mice getting in.

Bumbunga Hill is SOTA summit VK5/SE-015 so Hugh and I decided to get a couple 1 pointers done while we were there.

Setting up on the western side of the summit by this log was a good place to activate and get some protection from the wind.

It’s almost normal now to start the activation on 3.6 mhz first so we can work the locals more easily then progress to higher frequencies . I only managed 5 qso’s for the activation and Hugh made about the same number on 80/40 m ssb. I did try to work my Japanese friend again S2S but we could not make the swap as signal levels were too low on 15m although I could hear him some of the time but the qsb made it fail.

Hugh working through his small pile up then pack up and off to

South Hummocks VK5/SE-017

Hugh and I had a short walk through the scrub for this one and got set up and the next activation under way.

Even at 02.00 UTC it is still possible to QSO locally on 80m, Hugh made contact with Paul VK5PAS/Mobile and the other VK states were much stronger on 40m by the second activation.

I was able to work some chasers on ssb and cw this activation with good signals into vk2 3 4 5 6 7 and a S2S with VK2NU on VK2/HU-047 in the Hunter Valley zone. VK2NU is a new activator for me to work and we had two QSO on ssb and then on cw later.

Thanks to the farmers  for access to their land .

thanks for reading my Blog.

Regards

Ian vk5cz ..

 

Battery VK5/NE-055 With Ian VK5IS

I had the good fortune of company on the first long hike for SOTA season 2017.

Ian VK5IS decided it was about time to do his first activation, we met at Laura early in the morning to make the rest of the trip in 1 vehicle. The Battery is about a 4.5 km hike with a short uphill to the top of the ridge from Stony Creek head water. After a nice egg and bacon toasty sanger and coffee we set off in good time to make the summit before UTC roll over. We were strolling along in good spirits swapping chatter and it suddenly occurred to me I did not have my Go Pro camera with me although I remembered I had taken it out of the Ute.  We were about 1.5 km into the hike and after thinking about the said cameras whereabouts I remembered putting it on the running board at the back of my Ute while I locked the canopy. So the decision for me to unload my back pack and get back to the Ute asap before maybe a passing opportunistic thief may see it and score a $500 Go Pro added to the urgency. Ian made himself comfortable in the shade and I made the round trip back to find the camera where I had left it and we were able to get on with the hike to the summit.

Once the Summit was reached and gear set up We made contact on 80 m first with some of the local chasers even enough to qualify the summit . I used the 80 m extensions clipped onto the usual SB link 40/20 m dipole and had good comms on 80 m locally .

Ian checking the path to VK5NWE on 2 m simplex before trying 40 m.

The 40 m band did not disappoint this time conditions were good to the Eastern states and Tassie and once Col VK3LED got a spot up for us Ian was in a pile up for his first activation.

In the action .

Ian’s many years of operating and his relaxed style made it a nice experience for the chasers and I am sure he enjoyed doing his first activation and I hope he does some more in the future.  The weather was warming up and the shade had gone from our spot on the ground so I made 5 quick cw qso on 40m cw and made a couple calls on 20m to no answer so we packed up and headed back to the Ute. For some reason on that summit the mobile phone won’t connect to the internet even though it seems to have plenty of signal, so we could not spot for 20 m . I just called on the usual frequency anyhow.

Cheers and thanks for reading my Blog

Ian vk5cz ..

 

Marchant Hill and Eke Hill 2016

Met Hugh at Bendleby this morning to head out to the first summit along the station tracks.Hugh had a plan to drive another track to save some walking but unfortunately one creek crossing was washed out and too deep to get across so we set out from the same place as last year. This is a hard hike with lots of smaller hills and gullies to make it hard to head straight to the summit.

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Sheering quarters holiday cabins at Bendleby Range property the owners kindly let us 4 wheel drive on their tracks for no charge. We gave my Colorado a run today, tracks are easy going nothing to hard except one creek crossing that stopped us.

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Hugh with his trusty GPS setting the pace again .

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After many smaller hills and gullies the trig point is in sight it took us nearly 2 hours to hike about 4 km so it’s pretty hard going.

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Finally though we made it to this old trip point the wind was strong but nice and cool with full cloud cover helping to keep the flies away.

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Hugh hard at work trying to find a chaser who were a bit slow to start with but we finally got some contacts on 80 and 40 to both qualify. I was able to give the KX2 a run on cw this time and I must say it is great.

On the way back to the Ute we made a different path making it shorter back to the flat lands the hiked along a fence line on the track we could not access . It proved if we could drive that track to the end the summit is about half the walk but still hard slog.

After lunch we headed to Eke Hill on the southern side of the property so we had to drive about 30 km of more tracks to get there. I only engaged 4 x 4 for a short while on a rough section near the parking spot.

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I always enjoy this part of the hike to Eke Hill up to the top of this water way is about half way.

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Looking back from where we started we are now on the shelf above the water way.

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Amazing views to the south.

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and the north

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Hugh working the pile up on 40m

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I got to work some cw and ssb today. Good conditions on 40m with lots of chasers.

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Good bye to Eke Hill until next time

Thanks to the chasers and the Luckcraft Family for the use of their tracks and hills.

Thanks to Hugh for more ground work following up permission and access .

Thanks for reading

Ian

CZ e e

Price Hill 2016 VK5/NE-056

This week in November Hugh and I finally got the chance to get back up north and finish off these out standing summits on our list. I have a cabin in the Orroroo Caravan park and the air conditioner was very nice when I got back this afternoon. Early this morning I went to The Bendleby Ranges property to meet up with Hugh as he was staying there in the sheering Quarters accomodation. Its about 50km extra for me to travel but I like this cabin here and it can be a good escape from hay fever that has been bothering me for about 6 weeks this year.

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While I was waiting for Hugh I had a chat with Ian VK5IS on 3.680 mhz using my trusty old Hustler set up with good signals on the band this morning . Hugh came along and we headed for Price Hill about 30 km further up the track and met the station manager who was busy fencing when we turned up. He was a very nice fellow and he knew about Amateur Radio from when he was a boy scout as he had taken part in several JOTA camps. After a rather long chat and showing him my KX3 he agreed it was a lot smaller than the big Valve radios he remembered from his scouting days.

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As you can see the grass is very thick long and dry, we were very careful not to park the hot vehicle in the long grass and seeing the track was completely over grown we decided to walk from here.

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Hugh was setting a great pace and we were still not sure how far it was, but Hugh’s GPS said about 3 km so we just had to head in the general direction as long as we gained height as we went. The summit is further south from the hill in the back ground of the picture so finding the best way there is always a bit tricky on a first time visit.

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Break through at last the summit range is in the back ground and Hugh is on a Goat track now so that should take us up into the higher parts of the range . Typical stony rough terrain for the Flinders with low trees and native grasses and lots of Spinafex Grass to stick in you through your jeans.

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Its a nice feeling when you finally reach the top of a range and you can see even further beyond the sight of a steep climb in front of you , This is my view towards West and Quorn is way off in the blue hills, my other favourite SOTA destination. We then had to walk about 1 more Kilometre along the top of the range to arrive at the old fallen down Trig that is now used as a Roo shelter on a windy day.

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Had the shirt undone , as it was not cold but we did have a nice breeze from the south east direction causing us to find a spot on the western side to set up as it was probably too windy right on top.

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The Solar Panel runs a UHF CB repeater on channel 1 which was quite active and very handy for the local land owners to keep in touch on their daily jobs around these large Pastoral properties.

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Hugh is the proud owner of a KX2 which we were able to give a run this activation . As we got to the summit a bit later than we thought the gang of chasers on 80m were all doing other things so we made no qso on that band.

But after much calling we finally attracted some chasers but not many, Hugh just making 4 qso’s and I made 6 after him. That is a bit too close for comfort .

I must say I like the KX2 it works just like my KX3 in lots of ways but it has a better speaker that can handle higher output or volume levels so even with quite a strong wind it was easy to hear everyone. Getting a few of the function buttons worked out and turning off a few unnecessary settings was achieved without the hand book . One thing with the Tune button being used for a second function it can take you into a menu if you push and hold instead of tapping it for a short period of time. I think the KX3 with two fold out legs makes it more stable when perched on a rock too as the KX2 only has one fold out leg and the stiff mic cord can make it easy to pull the radio off its footing if you are not careful.

On the hike back down we took a different way trying to find a track that might give more chances to drive in a bit closer but we found the track was washed out quite badly with lots of short sharp creeks running across out path and it was 4 km to walk back so our more line of site way up was shorter and no harder.

Bit of a foot note here near the end, I called this summit Price Hill which is it’s rightful name but in the SOTA summit list it is named Prince Hill which I will request an update soon.

Thanks to the chasers and thanks Hugh for organising the permissions for the properties and thanks for reading my Blog.

Regards Ian

CZ e e

 

Mt Plantagenet And hill NE-031

On Sunday I hit the road at 4 am to drive to Hawker and meet up with Hugh and Kate to do a couple more summits on the list. Pretty uneventful trip apart from some foggy patches to slow me down just in case a Kangaroo decided to cross the road in front of me. I did see a few but the nice driving light I have now work very well and I saw them from a long way off. I met Hugh and Kate at the caravan park where they stayed for a few days and we swapped my gear into the Mitsi and headed out east of Hawker to find the Summits. The weather was very sunny and nice temperature for climbing hills and not too much wind.

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The first creek crossing on the way to VK5/NE-031 an unnamed summit on the south side of the property which is about 5 km from the homestead. No problems for Mitsi just a bit of a scrape on the tow point . We headed for the summit with about 2 km to hike, it is a bit of an up and down walk crossing over several gutters that wash down from higher places in the hills.

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No trees out here, about to start the last of the climbs to the summit .

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View to the Afternoon summit of in the distance.

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Getting set up,this large rock is the only thing on the Hill lucky for us to hold the antenna up.

Both Hugh and I both made lots of contacts this time with 40m in good shape for a change with both local vk5’s and interstate stations all nice strong signals. One surprising contact for me was VK5IS on 20m cw over a distance of maybe 270 km.

Thanks to the chasers and off to the next summit.

Mount Plantagenet is 930 m asl with a long stony 4×4 track following along the ridge until the top. 2016-03-05-17-54-51

Only rocks and spinafex with the odd tree on this hill but the weather again was nice so we set up in our usual spot on the south side of the summit out of the wind.

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Hugh went first this time and made a nice score of contacts . I was lucky to find enough left to get 4 on 40m ssb then only one dx station EU2MM on 20m cw. I am sorry about the spotting my phone battery gave out and I could not spot any more by the end of the activation to alert the band change .

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Great views all round up here this is looking South, the homestead is in the valley below a really pretty spot .

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My camera does not really do the view justice that is Wilpena Pound in the distance .

Thanks again to all the chasers

Thanks for reading.

Till next time 73

Ian CZ e e

 

 

 

Waroonee and Karkala Summits.

WAROONEE HILL VK/NE-102.

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Hugh and I finally got the chance to get back to Yunta and claim the two summits we missed on the last trip there when it rained heavily and the tracks were closed. Hugh’s wife Kate came this trip also, she is also a good bush walker and enjoys recording native plants and birds in the area. I spent some time walking with her on the way to the summit and I got a wealth of botanical names for all the plants and which bird was singing at the time. I must say I can’t remember much of what she told me but it made me take notice of the different bird calls you can hear if you pay attention. There was a real “pile up”of birds at times mostly smaller ones but we did hear a smaller Falcon and saw a Wedge Tail Eagle cruising over head .

Waroonee Hill was the first summit and we arrived in good time to make the summit close to Spot time .

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This is as far as the track goes so we walk along the bottom edge of this massive rock up lift which is right along the summit and it is probably about a 2 km walk to make the Summit.

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Once you get on the ledge it doesn’t take long to gain altitude and the going is a steady one as the goats make a track to follow some of the way.

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Kate could tell you the names of all the bushes here but I forgot, this cliff must be 80 to 100 m high .

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Hugh checking out the cairn which has some interesting names of people who have been here over many years previous to us first visiting here 3 years ago.

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This trip I used some wire extensions added to the 20/40 link dipole to get on 80m which worked well as I was able to get through to VK5FANA VK5WG and VK5IS on 3.6 mhz at that time of the morning.

On 40m Hugh and I went Tag team on the microphone to make our contacts that way we could each make calls with all the chasers who were about at the time. Most times on these activation’s it is often hard for the second operator to find anyone .

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My Go Pro walking stick, I have been working on getting better at posting video on F B with mixed success. Now that one is in the log off to the next summit we head.

Thanks to all the chasers on 40 and 80 metres.

KARKALA RIDGE  VK5/NE-104.

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When we arrived at Yunta that morning I had 215 km on the trip recorder in my Ute and when we got back to Yunta to refuel and head home I had 298 km on my Trip recorder so that works out to be 83 km of travelling on station tracks between summits and we were always on the same property. We did not 4×4 to Karkala this trip it seemed quicker to walk up the side of the hill than take extra time slow going on the rocky track along the ridge to the top.

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Parked the SOTA transporter in the shade and had lunch before heading off on our hike to the top. Those Hella Roo Cookers are great for night driving.

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Up there is the goal and Kate is setting the pace this time, Hugh and I were checking the lines on a track we could see off on the other ridge that may lead to the top. But its a nice day for a walk .

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Setting up Hugh’s gear this time to give it a work out, a very dry rocky summit with Waroonee Hill way off to the south on Hugh’s left shoulder. We are able to use the steel guy support post for the repeater station antenna tower to support the squidy. This repeater was very busy with the Tetalpa Property Jackaroo’s doing a muster on Motor Cycles this weekend keeping in touch about the mobs of sheep and locations around there. They mount remote head UHF radios on the bike and have a vox set up in their helmet and ride and chat at the same time passing logistical information among themselves.

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Good to give the IC 703 a run this time with a steady pile up on 40m we even got good signals into vk5 this time on 40m. Hugh went first this time and made several contacts and when someone spotted us I took on a steady pile up for a total of 9 minutes then it was over.

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Kate questioned our sanity about driving a 500 km round trip for about 30 minutes radio time with a couple bush walks thrown in. The Jury is still out but SOTA fever does funny things to mere mortals.

Thanks everyone from Hugh and I for the contacts this trip.

Regards and thanks for reading my Blog.

Ian

CZ ee