Sunday, 22 March 2015

SOTA VK1/AC-033 Bullen Range

As per previous activations started from the turnoff from Tidbinbilla Road marked Paddy's River Travelling Stock Reserve.

The usual collection of gates to open/clamber over, see previous blog entries for details. An overcast day, with low cloud, no rain and pleasantly cool for walking.

Reached the summit after an hour and 15 minutes walking. Set up the squid pole on the usual log. View of the station

Shack on the log, using one of the log off cuts as a seat.

Got on 40 m. Busy with stations in the John Moyle Memorial Field Day contest. Found Andrew VK1NAM/p on VK1/AC-043 for a S2S, then found a clear spot and worked the usual crowd of chasers. Another S2S with David VK3IL/p on VK3/VE-015, and later Andrew VK1DA/p on nearby VK1/AC-008 Mt Ginini.

Saw a spot for Al VK9N/VK7AN on VK9/NO-001 Mt Bates Norfolk Island on 20 m. Was receiving him a good S8, but was understandably very popular with chasers. Could also hear Andrew VK1NAM calling him for an S2S. After several calls managed to get through, Andrew a bit later.

Got an SMS from Andrew VK1NAM, that Gerhard, VKIO/p was looking for me for a 6m S2S from VK2/CT-006 Bonfire Hill.

Quickly pulled down the 20/40 m linked dipole, put up the 6/10 m linked dipole, set the links for 6 m and tried calling him. Could hear Andrew VK1NAM but Gerhard was barely audible, too low to work. Suspect my dipole running North/South due to the trees was end on to him.

Another SMS from Andrew indicated he was looking for me on 40 m, so another mad scramble of swapping dipoles and links back to 40 m. Worked Gerhard okay on 40 m.

After working Gerhard worked Kevin VK3KAB on VK3/VN-030. Packed up and headed back down.

Track log of walk.

Track profile. 5 Km each way with a 200 m climb.

Monday, 9 March 2015

SOTA VK2/SM-029 Alpine Hill

Drove West of Adaminaby on the Snowy Mountains Highway, passing Tantangera Road, stopping on the side of the road in a siding on the right. just before Alpine Hill.

Just opposite the siding a rough access road to the nearby power lines. Sign 66 KV CAB-ADY 150-112

The road looked far too rough for my car so walked. A short distance a sign indicating I was on Alpine Hill Powerline Trail

Followed the road down and across a valley, following the powerlines for a bit before heading into the bush.

The road climbed up the hill before joining another trail cutting across the base of the hill.

Followed the track, steadily climbing up to a gap with more power lines

As the track appeared to have risen as much as was going to, headed up the ridge into the scrub. A bit thick and steep with wattle regrowth, but did improve as I got higher.

Followed the ridge up. Seemed to go on climbing forever. Some open areas so not all scrub bashing
Mid way up a flat swampy area, good place for a rest...

Continued climbing.  After an hour and fifty minutes reached the top. To my surprise a substantial wooden trig. Always amazed to find these large structures in the middle of nowhere.

Just down from the trig a large open grassy area suitable for a dipole. Used a log for squid pole support.

Set up the radio on a nearby log

Got on air, a lot later than I had anticipated...Started on 40 m, once spotted by Matt VK1MA a steady pileup of chasers followed. When 40 m died down switched to 20 m, worked Peter VK4JD, Paul VK5PAS and Tom VK5EE.

While packing up saw a spot for Paul VK1ATP/P on VK1/AC-008 Mt Ginini on 2 m. Turned on the HT, I could hear him just on the whip but he could not hear me...Quickly went up to the trig and climbed up it to get more altitude, he managed to copy me so an S2S to Mt Ginini, around 50 Km away...

Headed back down. A little easier heading down but a bit harder to keep on the ridge, got off track a few times, and struck some thick scrub I didn't get going up. The return trip took about an hour and forty minutes. I wouldn't recommend my return track, some patches of thick scrub...

I was worn out...Stopped for a rest and a drink at Adaminaby, famous for trout fishing. The big trout.

Track log of walk. 

Track profile. About a 3.5 Km walk with about a 450 m climb.

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Failed SOTA attempt on VK2/SM-040 and Kosciuszko NP WWFF activation

After activating Mt Perisher VK2/SM-007, thought I would try activating another summit in the area, VK2/SM-040, an unnamed peak. This has not been activated before.

Drove back along the Kosciusko Road to Guthega Road, turning down Island Bend Road and following it as far as possible towards the summit. Crossed the Snowy River and turned right.

My first obstacle, a locked gate...parked and started walking, about 3 Km to the summit from here.

I could see the summit ahead, looked high and steep with thick forest...The summit is the second peak on the right...

Reached another locked gate and bridge, crossing over the Gungarlin River

It was obvious now that this would not be an easy walk...Went into the scrub to see how thick it was, it was bad... abandoned the walk. Not easy from this approach.

Drove back to Island Bend. As still in Kosciuszko NP, which counts towards the WWFF award, set up the radio on a picnic table at Island Bend camping ground.

Shack on the table. Quite comfortable :)

Got on 40m. Chased David VK3MAY/P on VK3/VS-013, Rob VK2QR/P on VK2/ST-008, Andrew VK1NAM/2 on VK2/SM-036 and Marshall VK3MRG/P on VK3/VN-030.

Track log of walk

SOTA VK2/SM-007 Mt Perisher

From Jindabyne drove up to the ski resort of Perisher Valley. Mt Perisher overlooks the resort.

Drove through the village until getting to the Eyre Chairlift. Parked here

Just to the left of the chairlift is a faint walking (ski?) track. Andrew VK1NAM suggested an easier way to avoid some of the initial scrub under the chairlift.

Headed up. Steep but not too bad.

The track eventually joins the chairlift route.

Headed up further, reaching a ski patrol building, and some other chairlifts.

Behind the chairlifts the summit of Mt Perisher in a rocky outcrop.

Reached the top. Remnants of the trig on the ground. At over 2000 m amazing views all around.

Fantastic view East. Perisher village visible.

Looking to the West

Looking South to the main range, and Australia's highest peak VK2/SM-001 Mt Kosciuszko

Used the old trig to support the squid pole

Set up the shack in between the rocks at the base of the fallen trig, out of the wind.

Despite the altitude I couldn't get mobile coverage to Perisher Village, so asked Matt VK1MA to spot me on 40m. An S2S with Allen VK3HRA, Wayne VK3WAM and Warren VK3BYD on VK3/VE-037. Some more S2Ss, VK1DA and VK2FPMC on VK2/ST-040, VK1NAM/2 on VK2/SM-038 and VK2IO on VK2/CT-043. Plus a pileup of keen chasers as this was a 10 pointer!

Tried 20 m, but as unable to spot myself no luck.

Returned to 40 m post UTC and worked some more S2Ss with VK1NAM/2 on VK2/SM-038, VK2IO on VK2/CT-043 and VK2TWR/VK2BJP on VK2/SM-053.

Packed up and headed down for lunch. Track log of walk

Track profile. A 1.2 Km walk with a 250 m climb.

Saturday, 7 March 2015

SOTA dual activation with VK1NAM of VK2/SM-053

While activating Box Ridge VK2/SM-065 got an SMS from Andrew VK1NAM, inviting me to join him for a dual activation of VK2/SM-053 and chase EU DX.

Drove back to Jindabyne and checked into my motel before heading up to the mountain as per my last activation. Parked near Andrew's car, soon spotted him up the hill in the trees operating on a large log. 

Got out my radio log and joined him. Photo of me courtesy of Andrew

He had started on 40 m and was working through the usual crowd of chasers, from VK1, VK2, VK3 and VK5, most with good strong signals.

We then went to 20 m to chase the EU activators and work some EU chasers. First S2S was with Herbert OE9HRV on OE/VB-509. He was a good signal, but he was running 150 w! Andrew worked him easy but took me a few overs to get my callsign correct to him.

Went on to work S2Ss with John VK6NU on VK6/SW-039, Mike 2E0YYY on G/SP-013, Tom M1EYP on G/SE-015, and Jonathon GW2HFR on GW/NW-062. Some of these were a real struggle, very low signals with QRM from a contest. We shifted frequencies several times trying to find a clear spot. We kept spotting to try and bring them to us.

With the light starting to fade and the temperature dropping around sunset we gave it away and headed back to Jindabyne for the evening.

Thanks Andrew VK1NAM for an enjoyable activation chasing DX.


Failed SOTA attempt on VK2/SM-021 Mount Hudson

With a long weekend in Canberra with Canberra Day holiday Monday travelled down to Jindabyne, doing some SOTA summits on the way. The first one I tried was VK2/SM-021 Mount Hudson, to the West of Lake Eucumbene.

Plan was to drive to Lake Eucumbene, then take Happy Jacks Road to the summit. View of Mt Hudson across the lake

Drove along Happy Jacks Road, entering Kosciuszko National Park

The road leaves the park and reenters it later. At the exit point came to a gate, with a sign Äuthorized Vehicles Only"...Ï considered walking, but over 6 km to the summit...

A short walk further down the road came to a sign "Private Property". This put an end to my activation attempt...

A map showing the road to the summit. Note that access to the peak from the North through the park should be possible, but would be a long drive...