Monday, 31 December 2012

SOTA Activation VK3/VE-098 Mt Porepunkah

Mon 31st Dec 2012 midday

Drove from Falls Creek down to Mt Beauty, Bright and Porepunkah. Took a while to find the Mt Porepunkah Rd.


Drove up to the junction with the road and the access road to the tower and started walking into the activation zone. When I got to the top found the Fire spotter on duty, had parked right next to the trig so couldn't use it for a support. Had a bit of a chat to the Fire Spotter guy, he does lots of scanning, was interested in my radio activity. Couldn't scan HF though.


The tree on the other side of the tower had a likely branch, so threw a rope over and hoisted up the 40 m dipole. It also offered some shade :)

Legs of the dipole were tied to a couple of rocks. Whole thing quite low, not the best...

First contact was of course Peter VK3PF/P close by on Mt Big Ben. Worked 4 more chasers, then hung about with Peter to catch VK3YY/P Glenn on Mt Torbreck for another 3 way summit QSO. No signals real strong but didn't expect much with my setup.

At this stage my 4A SLA battery was almost flat, so packed up and drove down and back to Canberra.

A short video of the summit:


Saturday, 29 December 2012

SOTA Activation VK3/VE-007 Mt McKay

29th December 2012 late afternoon.

Mt McKay is a SOTA summit about 5Km West of Falls Creek. Took about 20 minutes to drive to from Falls Creek. There is an access road right to the top. The road continues around the far side of the ridge you can see here. It is steepish towards the top, but should be okay in a 2WD.

There's a communications tower on top. Walked down out of the activation zone and back in, found a convenient metal pole embedded in the rocks from some long gone structure suitable for mounting the extension pole in.



Jammed the extension pole in using some rocks and branches, ran one leg of the dipole to a conveniently placed pole nearby and the tied the other to a rock. Set up the FT817 around the side.



The view was fantastic! So too were signals on 40 m, most 59+. Managed to work 10 stations before getting hungry and heading back down to Falls Creek for a meal. It's worth coming here just for the views, and would make a great radio site at any time.


Short video of the setup on the summit


SOTA Activation VK3/VE-004 Mt Nelse

Sun 29th Feb 2012

Drove out of Falls Creek past Rocky Valley dam along the Bogong High Plains Rd until I saw the sign to Mt Nelse. As there were several cars parked there I assumed this was the start of the walk.



After about a Km found the real car park, a locked gate and walks register book with heaps more cars, oh well, good warm up...

After signing the register continued along the road for a while, turned left at a junction then after a while spotted Mt Nelse, a rounded peak


The road climbed up to within 400 m of the summit, then walked off road across the snow daisies to the summit. Found another destroyed/flattened trig and a rocky cairn.



Considered using the trig pole but the rocky cairn looked a bit higher. Wedged the extension pole in the rocks and laid out the 40 m dipole legs to a couple of rocks.


Perched the FT817ND on a rock and worked  Peter VK3PF/P Mt Granya first, then a few more chasers. Had Allen VK3HRA/P Pyramid Hill come up for a 3 way S2S contact with him and Peter. Pleasant chatting, although would have liked some shade, very exposed. Good view of nearby Mt Bogong. Worked 8 stations before packing up and heading back to the car.

Video of some of the S2S2S contact with Peter and Allen





SOTA Activation VK3/VG-001 Mt Cope

Sat 29th December 2012 morning

My first SOTA Activation! Weather was great, about 17c, not a cloud to be seen.

The sign to Mt Cope was easily found off the Bogong High Plains Rd, just out from Falls Creek



The track meandered up to the summit, following a line of snow poles.
..

Arrived at the summit of Mt Cope, the Trig had seen better days.



Dropped down to a open point just to the East of the summit out of the wind. Lashed my extension pole to a dead snow gum and ran the 40m dipole out to a couple of nearby gums. Had a few passing bushwalkers wanting to know what I was doing, explained to them about SOTA.



Set up the FT817ND on a nearby rock and had a nice shady spot to operate. Could hardly hear
anything?...Found I had a dry joint on the inner connection of the coax to the SO239, after some jiggling got it going and the band came to life. First contact was with Peter VK3PF/P Mt Granya for a S2S contact. Managed 13 contacts. Signals quite good with most. After a few hours headed back down for lunch.

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Hot day, some JT65 DX

A hot summers day today, 34c with hot NW winds. Went for a walk early in the morning to beat the heat up to "The Pinnacle", a local reserve. GPS on phone showed walked a bit over 4Km. I use a program called Endomondo on my Android phone to track my walks, have done over 1100 Km so far this year.

Bands were in poor shape. 10m was dead...Managed to work a couple of fellow VKs on 15m, plus a Philipines station, on JT65, a new country for me on this band. I'm not that active on 15m as don't really have a proper antenna for it, by luck my 40m dipole loads up on 15m okay but is probably not too efficient. Okay around the pacific but hard to work USA or Europe on it.

Later on in the day a summer storm formed and cooled the temperature down a bit. Managed to work Poland on  JT65  on my 20m dipole, running 30w, another new country on 20m for me.

Friday, 21 December 2012

SOTA chaser contacts with VK3PF/P

At home today cleaning up around the house after finishing work for the year, gave me a chance to work Peter VK3PF portable from a couple of SOTA peaks.

His itinerary was as follows:

0000 UTC VK3/VT-018
0130 UTC VK3/VE-021 Mt Blue Rag
0300 UTC VK3/VE-015 Blue Rag Range
0500 UTC VK3/VE-024

All on 40m SSB.

No luck at all with VK3/VT-018, heard one station working him but down in the noise. Gave him a call when his signal came up, he did hear me but then I lost him in the QSB, just too weak.

More luck with VK3/VE-021 Mt Blue Rag, Peter was a good 58 signal and gave me the same. 

Also similar signal at the next peak VK3/VE-015 Blue Rag Range. Chatted about the road, if you look up Blue Rag track in google you will find many 4WD videos and reports, a tough narrow 4WD ridge track with tremendous views. Peter chickened out on the last ascent, and was a bit worried about the drive out! Hopefully he made it as nothing heard from the next peak.




Monday, 17 December 2012

Keith Roget Memorial National Parks Award

The Keith Roget Memorial National Parks Award is an award put out by Amateur Radio Victoria to encourage portable operation out of the 45 National Parks in Victoria. With my interest in SOTA, Summits On the Air, plus a special weekend activation of parks, managed to get more than the required 10 parks for a non VK3 and applied for the award. It arrived in the post today




.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

10m open to Europe on JT65

Found 10m wide open to Europe this evening.

On JT65, managed to work

EA7DUD Spain, a new country for me on 10m JT65,
9V1LX Singapore, a new country on any band and mode,
ER1CS Moldova, a new country on any band for me.

All on 30w and my 5 element 10m yagi. A good opening :)

73 Ian VK1DI

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

SOTA 100 Point Chaser Award

After several months working Ham Radio Summits On the Air (SOTA) stations managed to achieve 100 points as a Chaser. See www.sotadata.org.uk. Sent off for the award which arrived in the mail today from the UK.

Now only 900 more points to get "Shack Sloth" :) Thanks to all the activating stations I worked getting this award

73 Ian VK1DI