Sunday, 17 February 2013

SOTA Activation Mt Ginini 1760m

After doing the Mt Gingera summit drove part of the way to Mt Ginini Summit. Got to the top around 3:30pm

This is the site of VK1RGI, the major 2m repeater in the ACT along with air navigation and a heap of other services. There was a grassy area just down from the summit with copper logs. The mountain in the background is Mt Gingera which I just climbed.

 set up the squid up on one of the copper logs supports and ran the dipole out to a couple of trees.

Set up the FT817 in the grass nearby. Tried 2m ht, heard Andrew VK1NAM, but couldn't read him well, probably overload from the nearby radios.

No problems on 40m though. Worked 17 stations in VK1/VK2/VK3. Worked John, VK2YW in Wagga Wagga. Later on we tried a contact on 2m FM, no go, so tried SSB. Could weakly hear each other : ) This on an FT817 rubber ducky whip and 5W!

Thought might have got rained on but a false alarm. Nice and cool at altitude...Packed up around 5pm, drove home.

SOTA Activation Mt Gingera 1855m

Left home at 8am, after a 1 1/2 hour drive got to the locked gate at the Mt Ginini Car Park.

After this a basic dirt road walk...all fairly easy if a little dull. After almost an hour reached the Stockyard spur track intersection.

Glad didn't come up this way, long and steep! Another sign showed my progress

After another km got to Pryors Hut. This historic hut was built in the early 1950s as a shelter for workers at the 'Alpine Botanical Gardens', also known as 'Bendora Arboretum', an arboretum of different pines that were being trialed for suitability for growing in Canberra.

After about another km, got to the track leading up to Gingera Summit. Marked by a post with a blue rock on it ?!

From here its a steady climb up to the summit. Got to the top around 11:30am. Great views.

Got out the 2m ht and worked Andrew, VK1NAM on Bullen Range for a S2S, also 2 other VK1s.

Used the summit pole as a support for the squid pole and lashed it on

Set up the FT817 on the rock nearby, worked 12 more stations, including S2S contacts with VK3ZPF  on Pretty Sally and VK3HRA on a Grampians peak

Altitude around 1861m, bit more than the 1855m registered. Could just be my GPS.

Packed up at 1:30pm and walked back down the same way. Got back to the Ginini Car Park at 3pm.

APRS was not much good, only around the summit was good enough for a sporadic mobile phone data connection. I really need a proper 2m APRS Ht, as the Ginini digipeater, VK1RGI-1 would have been very good here.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

SOTA Activation Black Mountain 812m

Set off this morning to activate the closest SOTA summit to home, Black Mountain, VK1/AC-042, a mere 5Km away or a 10 minute drive...

This summit is a well known Canberra landmark, having a large communications tower, restaurant and observation deck for tourist on top.

Drove into the car park part of the way up, out of the activation zone

GPS showed 768m at the car park. The peak is at 812m so well clear of the 25m zone.

You can see the track to the top through the bush and the tower on top. Set out on the track, got to the top after a few minutes walk.

APRS track log of the walk.

The summit area used to have a view, however over time the trees have grown up so not much of a view now days  most tourists head up the tower.

Black Mountain summit "view"

Tried 2m ht, nothing...RF overload from the tower. So used the FT817 and the standard whip to work 2m. Made 6 2m contacts, including S2S contacts with VK1NAM Mt Stromlo,  VK1NUT, VK1FSTJ Isaacs Ridge and VK1RX Booroombra Rocks.

Lashed the squid pole to the guard rail, and ran the legs to some of the rail and a nearby tree. A 7m squid pole got a few strange looks from passing tourists! Used the summit distance guide as a handy operating table.

Went on 40m, after some connection problems got going and worked 6 stations before new UTC day and 7 more in the new day, although several of these were repeats. Worked another S2S on 40m, VK3KAN Rick on Flinders Peak. Also caught up with Jack, VK2AXL in Coffs Harbour, who was very pleased to be working a few more SOTA contacts.

Telstra Tower.

Packed up around noon and headed down to nearby Civic for lunch with the girlfriend.

Monday, 11 February 2013

SOTA Kyneton Centre Victoria RadioFest

Sunday 10th February 2013

After travelling down from Canberra Saturday stopped overnight at Kyneton in a motel in Piper St, close to where the Radiofest was on. At 8:30 am went outside the motel room and managed to work Wayne, VK3WAM/P on VK3/VC-007 Mt Macedon, about an S5 in the ht. New to hear him on 2m instead of a crackly signal on 40m...Got to the Kyneton Racecourse at 9 am, to get tickets, but had to wait until 10 am for it to open.

Gee it was cold! After up to 35c yesterday driving down, the wind in the morning was icy and the car thermometer read only 14c... I was caught out as only had a thin short sleeved shirt, saw a few others who had the same attire. Luckily I had an old jumper left in the car.

Gates opened at 10am and wandered inside.

Not having met any of the SOTA activators before I wandered about until finding the SOTA display. Finally met some fellow SOTA activators, VK3AFW, VK3HRA, VK3JY, VK3YY, VK3XBC and possibly others, sorry if I missed anyone. Just before 10:30 am Wayne VK3WAM showed up, recognized his voice... I went to his talk in the lecture room upstairs.

Wayne gave an informative talk on SOTA, given the 20 minute time limit he covered it pretty well I thought. Very well presented Wayne. A few questions from the audience, might get a few more activators, or at least new chasers joining in SOTA.

Large display of SOTA photos and gear.

Keith Roget Memorial National Park Award

Was good to chat to activators I have worked in person, compare notes on peaks and gear. Later on VK3PF, Peter arrived, and myself and several others picked up some nice 7 m squid poles from him, thanks Peter! He also demonstrated a portable SOTA 2m yagi, very neat, although I had to duck for cover when it came down rather suddenly :)

Looked around at the other stuff on sale but didn't get anything else. Left at noon as I had a long drive home.
Drove back up the Hume Highway, no activations this time. After dinner at Yass Junction got home about 8pm so a good days drive. Think I did about 650 Km each way.

SOTA Activation Mt Glenrowan 513m

Saturday 9th Feb 2012

As I was driving down to the Centre Victorian Radiofest at Kyneton, decided to try activating Mt Glenrowan, VK3/VE-230 on the way. It is clearly visible from the Hume Highway as you drive past Glenrowan. Turned on APRSdroid on my Android phone after lunch at Wodonga for the chasers to track me and made my way there. Drove up Taminik Gap Rd and parked at the start of the walk.

The sign said 9.4 Km return so looks like about a 4 km walk each way. Despite the threat of rain and 30c temperature set off.

Noted this is Warby-Ovens National Park, so this counts towards the Keith Roget Memorial National Parks Award as an activation.

Passed a communications tower, the road turned to dirt. Continued following the Ridge Track. Easy enough walking, no real steep bits.

View towards Wangaratta, could see the twin Service stations on the Hume Highway below.
 Close up view of the Service Starions

After 50 minutes walking reached the summit. Communications tower and trig.

I had my extension pole, but as the trig was nice and high just tied my dipole to the top, supporting the legs on a couple of trees nearby.
Set up the SOTA shack at the base of the trig on a flat rock. Tried 2m, nothing...40m better luck, worked 10 chasers. Most fairly weak in Melbourne, worked VK1NAM and VK1NUT back in VK1, also VK5PAS Paul usual great signal. As still had a long drive ahead of me packed up after an hour and headed back down the track. Rained now and then but very light, welcome in the heat. Got back to the car at 5pm. Headed off to Kyneton. Got there around 7:30pm.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

SOTA Activation Mt Ainslie 843m

Drove up Mt Ainslie and parked off the final bend in the road before the summit. From the map I had estimated this to be outside the activation zone, a check of the GPS showed just on 800m, so over the 25m limit. Walked up the road, getting a few odd looks from joggers and cyclists as I had on a weekend pack with a pole sticking out of it :)

Reached the summit car park

Note the sign says 846m. Listed on SOTA as 843m, guess close enough :) The road runs in a loop about the actual summit in the middle, which is where I headed for.
The mast at the end is the navigation/warning light for Canberra airport. Beyond is the tourist lookout over Canberra.

There was a locked metal pole thing at the summit, like Mt Majura. Suspect contains a suryeying GPS system. Like Mt Majura I used this as a base for the 40m dipole.

FT817 portable SOTA shack

Started on 2m, worked several locals and then switched to 40m. Found Al, VK1RX on Mt Tuggeranong, also Andrew VK1NAM on Mt Coree so some S2S contacts. Worked heaps of VK1s, Vk3s, and a VK5 and a VK7. Total of 28 contacts. A few tourists and joggers wandered past, had a chat to one who wanted to know what I was doing, gave him a brief rundown on SOTA. Seemed to quieten down around noon so packed up and went home for lunch. An enjoyable morning playing portable radio.

Friday, 1 February 2013

SOTA 1st VK1 Activation Mt Majura VK1/AC-034

SOTA VK1 started today! Stuck at work popped into a spare meeting room with the 2m ht and managed to work Andrew VK1DA on Mt Taylor and VK1MA Matt on Mt Stromlo. There were others on but out of my meager hand held's range...

Managed to get away from work early in the afternoon to activate Mt Majura, VK1/AC-034 for my 1st VK1 SOTA summit. For outside VK1 this summit is close to the city and hosts the radar for Canberra airport. Arrived in Hackett at the start of the walk just as a thunderstorm was starting...Waited but didn't stop so set off anyway, only light rain and lightning not too close by.

After about 40 minutes reached the summit trig. Just near the trig was a locked metal round thing, used this to support the 40m dipole and the concrete base made a nice operating table.

The old mouse mat is to sit on, beats hard ground :) Set up my 40m dipole and supported the legs using a couple of nearby trees.

A call on 2m worked VK1HBB and his ham family, plus a few more locals, 6 contacts on 2m. Tried 40m, my old dry joint was back...managed to jiggle a connection and got it going. Worked another 8 stations on 40m, VK1/VK3 and VK5CZ in amongst the static crashes.

Could see more rain coming from my elevated position so headed back down, just made the car before rain started again.

Ran APRS on my android phone, track as follows.