Sunday, 22 February 2015

SOTA VK2/SM-052 Bald Mountain

After activating VK2/SM-059 Big Badja Hill drove back down Badja Fire Trail to Badja Road, then drove on for a few Km until coming to Slap Up Fire Trail on the right

Drove along Slap Up Fire Trail to the summit. Unsealed and steep in places but should be okay for 2WD vehicles, easy compared to Badja Fire Trail. Reached the gate to the short road to the summit on the left.

For SOTA 25 m rule drove a bit further down the road and parked on the side. Quite a large flat activation zone so had to go a few hundred metres along the road. Walked back and to the summit site.

A communications tower with the trig behind it. Set up the squid pole on the trig. No problems with interference from the radio tower nearby.

Shack on the tarp at the base of the trig. Not the most comfortable operating spot, ground rocky. At least it was in the shade...

Got on 40 m. Usual chasers from VK1, VK2 and VK3 with good strong signals. Got called by Andrew VK1NAM/2 on VK2/HU-093, Mt Elliot, on the way home from the Wyong Field Day. Also worked Andrew VK1DA/2 and Paul VK1ATP/2 with him.

After 40 m dried up went to 20 m. Only 1 contact, Nev VK5WG, no one else.
Packed up and headed home.

Note this summit is in Gourock National Park, for WWFF award purposes it is VKFF-212

Track log of drive/walk.

SOTA VK2/SM-059 Big Badja Hill

Big Badja Hill is an 8 point SOTA summit to the NE of Cooma on the Western edge of Deua National Park. From Canberra it can be reached via Captains Flat Road then Cooma Road, lots unsealed, or via the Monaro Highway to Cooma, Numerella Road, Countegany Road and Badja Road. Either way it is about 2 and three quarter hours drive... I chose the slightly longer but more comfortable way via the Monaro Highway.

Drove along Badja Road, entering Deua National Park

Badja Road rises up to a saddle called Pikes Saddle. Left the road on the right for Minuma Range Fire Trail. Note the road is not signposted.

A short distance along the Minuma Range Fire Trail is Badja Fire Trail on the right. This is also not marked...

There is a sign just past the junction though so you can verify you are on the right road.

Continued along the Fire trail, not too rough, until reaching a serious road block...

Just to the right of the tree block some 4WDs had created a bypass track through the scrub, narrow, but managed to negotiate this okay.

Continued on until reaching another road block...

Like the last block there was a rough bypass track going around it up the hill on the left, looked pretty rough to me...As only about 500 m from the summit decided to just park here and walk.

The road climbed up and to the East of the summit. As not that far off the summit here left the road and headed up through the scrub to the trig, joining the proper walking track just before the top. Trig now visible ahead.

Reached the trig. Usual rocky cairn with a disk on a post, ''Badga" stamped on the disk

Excellent views. Looking South to the Snowy Mountains

Looking East towards the coast. Euranbene Mountain to the left, Dampier Mountain to the right of it, Mt Dromedary on the right in the far distance in the clouds.

Zoomed in. Euranbene Mountain, VK2/SC-002 on the left, also called Tabletop by bushwalkers. Not yet activated. To the right of this "Mother Woila", a favorite tough bushwalking destination, very rugged area with cliffs. Above this on the right Dampier mountain VK2/ST-007 which can be reached by proper low range high clearance 4WDs.

Looking West to my next destination, Bald Mountain VK2/SM-052

Set up the squid pole on the trig

Shack on the tarp just behind the rock pile. Got on 40 m just past UTC. Many chasers from VK1, VK2, VK3 with good strong signals. After the 40 m pileup stopped went to 20 m. Worked VK5MDB Bill, VK5IS Ian, VK4JD Peter with great signals. Got a spot from Mike VK6MB who was just reading me, managed to work him okay. Went on to work VK4GSF George and VK5HP Paul, both very strong.

After lunch packed up and headed for my next summit. Bald Mountain VK2/SM-052 nearby.

Track log of drive and walk

Monday, 16 February 2015

eQSL eJapan Award, almost...

Noticed on the eQSL Awards page a new Award, eJapan, for contacting 10 Japanese prefixes.

Notice I need 1 more to go...

A check of the Prefixes confirmed shows I still need JA0 to have JA0-JA9 confirmed

Also only have just 1 JA5 and 1 JA8 contact... Will need to look out for JA0 type prefixes to complete this award.

Saturday, 7 February 2015

SOTA VK1/AC-039 Yellow Rabbit Hill

Time for another activation of this local summit. Approached it a bit of a different route this time, instead of Bullock Paddock Road took the turnoff onto Warks Road off the Brindabella Road. Followed this along until turning off onto Yellow Rabbit Road on the left.

Followed this down the hill before taking it off to the left and around the side of Yellow Rabbit Hill

Fairly twisty but not requiring 4WD. Took an unnamed road off this heading up the hill, it got a bit steep and narrow so parked and started walking. View of the summit ahead

The road dropped and then headed to the left of the summit, climbing steadily. View to the North

The road joined another road that rises and passes close to the summit. Took an overgrown track off this on the right to the summit

Arrived at the usual operating clearing just down from the summit. Andrew VK1NAM's summit rock pile, added a few more rocks to the pile...

Set up the squid pole on the usual log.

SOTA shack on the tarp on the ground nearby. Found I had to move it later as the sun got more overhead to keep in the shade.

Got on 40 m. Peter VK3PF/7 on VK7/NW-046 was on 7.090 Mhz, so worked him first for an S2S. Found a clear frequency and spotted myself, got a good list of chasers in the log, VK1, VK2, VK3 and VK5 with nice signals. Another S2S with Al VK1RX/2 on VK2/SM-014 The Cascades, very strong signal.

Switched the linked dipole to 20 m, a few more in the log, Mike VK6MB with a good signal and John VK5BJE. Matt VK1MA popped up to advise me that VK2MWP Andrew and VK1EM Mark were now on 40 m on VK1/AC-002 Mt Gingera.

Went back to 40 m, worked them both with good strong signals, although they should be as Mt Gingera is an excellent SOTA peak and not that far away from me. Worked them again after UTC rollover, and another S2S with Peter VK3PF/7 on VK7/NW-046. Worked Mark VK1EM on 2 m SSB with a good strong signal.

Finally tried 10 m. The band was full of USA stations in a contest, sounded like a 10-10 contest going by the reports. Listened to some, they were running 500 w, 1500 w...Didn't bother trying a return call from my weak 5 w station...

Tried calling on 28.490 SSB, got Matt VK1MA with a very strong report, otherwise no other replies. I tried answering one USA station calling CQ, he came back, K0TT Denny in Minnesota. He was peaking S7, but was running some power into a good sized beam to pull me in...

Packed up and headed home for lunch. Track log of drive/walk