Sunday, 2 October 2016

SOTA South Black Range VK2/ST-006

With a nice sunny Sunday decided to do a couple of easy SOTA activations, South Black Range VK2/ST-006 and Mt Cowangerong, VK2/ST-001. Both easy almost drive to summits and worth 11 points, 8 point plus the 3 point winter bonus points. Also, as only short walks, decided could carry my TS-480 radio in and run more power, as the bands have been very poor lately with solar storms.

Drove to South Black Range as before, through Queanbeyan, Hoskinstown, Forbes Creek and turned off onto North Black Range Trail.

I was a bit concerned about the track condition after all the rain we have had lately, however apart from a few small puddles the track was easy going. Used 4WD on the final turnoff up to the summit as it was a little muddy. Parked and headed the final 100 m or so through the rocks up to the top. Carried the TS-480 in a bag, it was heavy...

Reached the top. There is now a ladder resting on the side of the rock for access to the top.

Gave climbing this a miss... Notice how there is a rung missing near the top! :) Didn't look long enough to me...

Set up the squid pole on the usual tree stump I use each activation here. Strung out dipoles for both 40 m and 80 m. There is a heap of room on this summit for large antennas...

My TS-480 on the nearby rock, running off my LifePO4 8400 mAh battery. I started on 40w output, but wound it up later to 60 w as conditions were really bad...

Got on 40 m first, starting with a park to park park contact, VK3ZPF/p Peter in VKFF-0965 Crossover Regional Park. He was only an S3, and had problems hearing me, even running 60 W... Would have been hard going using QRP. After working him called CQ SOTA/Parks and worked a few chasers, then got called by Allen VK3ARH/2 on summit VK2/SM-036, in the Snowy Mountains. A good S7. Suspect via ground wave as we were both high up.

He had several others with him keen for S2S contacts too. Worked Ken VK3KIM/2, Ron VK3AFW/2, Phil VK3BHR/2 and Compton VK2HRX/p on the same summit. Both before and after UTC rollover. Worked a few more chasers, mainly VK5s and VK7 as the NVIS short skip on 40 m was gone, again...

To give some of the closer stations a go went to 80 m. A good signal from John VK2YW in Wagga Wagga, he was unable to hear me on 40 m.  Worked VK2GKA Karl in the Southern Highlands. Local stations Matt VK1MA and Andrew VK1AD. Andrew had problems with QSB so even 80 m suffering with bad propagation.

Returned to 40 m to grab another park to park with Rob VK4AAC/3 in VKFF-0960 Bendigo Regional Park.

Packed up and drove to Captain Flat for lunch, and to Mt Cowangerong after.


  1. Nothing on 40m so I also chased you on 80m but only heard Karl but not too strong. Conditions were very poor. Today also not able to hear Phil VK2JDL on 40m at the same summit but was able to just work him on 80m and I expect he was using 5W. Big change in conditions over a few days, though still not great. Thanks for activating. Must look for your favourite stump next time I'm there.
    Cheers, Gerard - VK2IO

  2. Hi Gerard,

    Sorry you were unable to hear me on 40 or 80m. Conditions were pretty bad, even local VK1s were not good on 80m. Hopefully improve as the weather warms up, as plan to do more portable operating.

    73 Ian VK1DI