Sunday, 19 May 2013

SOTA Activation Mt Tuggeranong 855m

Mt Tuggeranong, VK1/AC-038 is located near the South Canberra suburb of Theodore. Parked off a side road in Callister Cres for the walk up. From here a bit over a Km to the summit.

As you can see from the sign it is known as Tuggeranong Hill, anyway hill or mountain it is still a SOTA peak...

There is a track heading up, not the road but the track above this.

Climbs up reasonably steeply to a small hill, then steeply up to the main hill.

After about a 20 minute walk reached the top. Heaps of antennas up here, although thankfully did not seem to affect 2m or 40m.

Usual squarish trig point on top. Mt Rob Roy and Mt Tennent in the background.

A good view to the North over Canberra.

Set up the squid pole on the trig and strung out the 40m dipole. One leg just made it to a nearby tree, the other tied to a rock.

Set up the FT817 on a large rock near the base of the trig.

Got on 40m at 9:30am. Conditions were bedlam! Several activations happening at once so heaps of chasers and activators all trying to work before the end of the UTC day. Worked S2S with VK3KAN/p, VK3MRG/p, VK1RX/p, VK3KAB/p with VK3YY/p on Mt Stirling, VK5PAS/p. Worked a few stations on 2m FM but most were probably on 40m chasing activators. Did manage a 2m S2S with Al, VK1RX on VK1/AC-019 on the far southern border of the ACT. He was a weak S1 on the hand held, when I heard he was on a horizontal antenna turned the radio on its side and he came up to a clear S3!

Quite a few non SOTA portable stations about too, Ed VK2JI and Rod VK2LAX portable on Mt White. Also worked a station portable VK2 out near Cobar. All up 39 contacts before and after UTC. Headed back down around noon, taking about 20 minutes and headed home for lunch.

GPS Track log of the walk. About a 150m climb.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

New SOTA Day pack

The day pack I use for SOTA activations was purchased many years ago for the purpose of bushwalking day walks, and really wasn't designed for it. It is a Berghaus Cubic 30, 30 litres capacity.

The 7m squid pole sits in a drink container pocket, unfortunately it has only one so have to put my drink container inside, awkward to get out and takes up extra room. Also only being 30 litres capacity find it bulging once I load up with radio, antennas, food, clothing etc. Plus the squid pole is a loose fit meaning it flops about and catches on branches...

So went looking in the local walking/camping stores for a better one. Most seem to have flimsy mesh drink pockets and too small or too large. Finally found a suitable pack, a Katmandu Katun 40.

The drink pockets are big and deep, tough fabric that is molded into the pack. Plus a couple of compression straps keeps the squid pole nice and secure. And there are 2 pockets so the drinks container fits on the other side :)

Being 40 litres there is more room for all the junk I carry, I'll probably fill it up with something...Still have to carry it all though :(

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

VK SOTA Blog list

Courtesy of Allen, VK3HRA, here is a list of other VK Blogs about SOTA activities in Australia.

VK1DA blog
Amateur radio activities of Andrew VK1DA

Andrew's SOTA blog to share experience and tips.

VK3MRG Amateur Radio
SOTA, QRP, Portable operating

VK3PF blog
A blog of predominantly SOTA amateur radio activities

VK3WAM blog for SOTA and outdoor adventures

VK3HRA blog

VK3YY blog

VK3ZPF amater radio blog
A blog about my amateur radio activities

VK5PAS WordPress site
SOTA / VK5 NP & CP Award / WWFF

vk3byd's radio blog

I've also added this blog list to my own Blog, in the right hand margin.

73 Ian VK1DI

Sunday, 12 May 2013

SOTA Activation Bullen Range 925m

SOTA summit VK1/AC-033 is located to the West of the Southern Canberra township of Tuggeranong, a high point on the Bullen Range at 925m. I accessed it via dirt access tracks, about a 5Km walk. See track log:

Drove down to Point Hut Road, then onto the Tidbinbilla Road, and parked near a sign referring to Paddy's River Travelling Stock Reserve, Remnant Vegetation Conservation Area.

There was a gate with a gap for walkers, although not really designed for anyone carrying a squid pole...This was the first of several gates I had to scramble over...

Continued along the road gaining height. Weather was initially foggy but cleared as I got higher.

Until getting up on the ridge the walk was through open farmland, maybe some old pine forest cleared after the 2003 Bushfire. Approaching the summit some nice open forest.

At the summit was a rough rocky cairn. Also found a red occy strap nearby from Andrew VK1NAM's activation in February :) Got on 2m, worked 6 local stations including a S2S with Glen, VK1FB doing his 2nd activation on Mt Rob Roy, well done.

Strapped the squid pole to the stump, using 3 occy straps :) Nearby were a few sawn off log sections, made a handy desk for the radio and a seat.

Strung the 40m dipole out to a couple of nearby trees.

Got 40m going. First contact was VK3YE, Peter pedestrian mobile on the beach at Bonbeach, with a good signal. Then worked VK3YY Glen and Vk3KAB Kevin on Mt Ritchie for another S2S.

Worked Ron Vk3AFW on a new frequency then the regular pileup started...VK1, VK2, VK3, VK5PAS and many more. Around midday got called by VK3GHZ, Rhett, on the Hump in Buffalo NP, so another S2S. All up 32 contacts.

Had lunch and headed back down. Took about an hour to get back to the car. Some views along the way. Looking North, Mt Taylor and Black Mountain is the distance.

Looking South to Mt Tennent.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

SOTA Activation Mt Rob Roy 1099m

Mt Rob Roy is a 4.5Km, 400m climb walk from the edge of the Southern Canberra suburb of Banks. Parked off Orange Thorn Cres and started walking up the fire trail, steep track, it even said so...

After a vigorous climb leveled off a bit. Some good views, although an icy wind was blowing. Was glad to get some shelter from it later on.

The road continued to the left of Big Monks Trig, which I left for the return trip.

Left the track for Rob Roy Link track, more climbing...

Crossed a gate into Rob Roy Reserve, now more wooded walking

From here the road follows a ridge line. Got a bit easier as not climbing so much...

Around 150m from the summit the road dips down again, so needed to head cross country. Bush was fairly easy going though. Got to the summit after a bit over an hour of walking. Unlike the usual metal Trigs in the ACT, this was wooden, very unusual...

GPS showed altitude at just over 1100m.

Set up the FT817ND on a rock and used the Trig for the squid pole support.

Got set up by 9:30am. 40m was going well. Worked S2S with VK1NAM/P on VK1/AC-027 near Honeysuckle Creek, VK1FB/P Glen on Mt Majura and Al VK1RX/P on Mt Pheasant. Plus quite a few local VK1s on 2m FM. Heaps of VK1/VK2 and VK3 chasers, plus Paul VK5PAS. All up 34 contacts on both bands.

Strangely it got colder later on in the morning, must have been cold air rising from the valley below. I could see my breath...Then warmed up again? Packed up about 11:30am and headed down.

On the way back popped out to Big Monks, or Fields Trig for lunch and the view. Spectacular.

Track log of my walk. Some deviations taking in the views on the way back.