Sunday, 27 July 2014

SOTA Activation of Mt Coree for VK1 SOTA Party

Andrew VK1NAM asked on the VK1 Yahoo forum for activators interested in a SOTA VK1 mass activation day. As I had worked all the local town summits opted to activate Mt Coree, VK1-AC-023.
This is not too far a drive out of Canberra, offers tremendous takeoff for radio, and also at over 1400 m is high enough to attract 3 winter bonus points :)

The plan was to start with a mass S2S session on 2 m at 2315 z or 9:15 am local time, so set off early from home at 7 am to get on the summit around 9 am. Weather was fine but cold, outside the car sitting around only a few degrees C for most of the drive. Drove the easiest way, up the Brindabella Road, turning off onto Two Sticks Road at Piccadilly Circus, then along Pabral Road. to the turnoff to the summit.

Two Sticks Road after Piccadilly Circus turned out not too good to drive on, lots of muddy patches and water over the road, drove it in 4WD... Took it slowly and didn't get bogged. Reached the Pabral Road turnoff.

Pabral Road passes a camping ground, after this it got fairly boggy, felt the car slide now and then...however once I got to the uphill bit it got easier, the road up was drier. Map of the ascent. It is a series of bends, parked a few bends down from the summit out of the activation zone and walked.

Some good views to the North from the bends on the road

Got to the final ascent up to the summit. This is where some good 4WD clearance is needed, there are a few scrape marks on the rocks here...

You are then on the top. There is a small area to reverse and head back down. Past the "Dangerous Cliffline"  sign is the fire lookout tower and the trig.

Wandered over to the trig. Snow on some of the distant peak, like Mt Gingera. Surprisingly no snow here as it is over 1400 m, probably melted with milder weather recently.

I had operated from the trig last time, however there was a cold strong wind blowing across the summit, that I hadn't noticed down the bottom, so dropped back down to the Dangerous Cliffline sign and used the base for squid pole support, setting up the SOTA shack in the shelter of a large rock.

Had to use a few small rocks around the base of the squid pole to stop it sliding sideways. The split section threatened to come out, so only extended the pole up to about 5 m. The summit has fantastic takeoff, so not much height is needed anyway. Ran the 40 m dipole legs out to a couple of bushes.

View out to the West off the cliff

View to the East over Canberra.

Shack out of the cold wind in the shelter of the large rock.

 Got on 2 m FM first on the hand held. Heaps of activators on already. As I had an excellent position most were full scale signals. After working a several local activators moved to 40 m, this was just as packed with activators, seems like several VK2s, VK3s a VK1 portable VK4 and a VK5 had decided to join the party!

It was bedlam. For a while just tuned about chasing other activators. Quite amusing hearing small pileups of "summit to summit" calls coming back to activators! I eventually found a free spot on 7.080 Mhz and got spotted and worked the usual chasers. Managed to grab 16 S2Ss before UTC rollover and another 13 after. Notable contacts John VK5BJE on VK5/SE-005 as the VK5 activator and Andrew VK1MBE/4 on VK4/SE-094.

All up 31 contacts before UTC and 20 after. Tried 20 m but no luck, the band poor. Packed up around 11:30 am to try and make the lunch in Woden by 1:30 pm.

The trip down was interesting as several large 4WDs were heading up...managed to pass them on the bends.
This is a popular place for 4WDs, had 4 groups come up while I was activating. Most just drove up, took a few photos and left after a few minutes.

Managed to make it back to the Brindabella Road without getting bogged in the mud. It was actually a fast trip to lunch in Woden, got onto the Cotter Road, Eucumbene Drive then Hindmarsh Drive straight to Woden, about an hour and a half. Met up with the other activators at a cafe for a good meal and chat about SOTA and the days activations.

Thanks Andrew VK1NAM for organizing this, it was fun!

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