Sunday, 19 July 2015

SOTA Mt Palerang

After activating SOTA summit South Black Range VK2/ST-006, drove on Forbes Creek Road which becomes Mulloon Fire Trail. Managed to cross the ford at Mulloon Creek okay, the water wasn't too high. As per other activations of Mt Palerang parked at the junction of Mulloon Fire Trail and Palerang Fire Trail.

After a few minutes walking on the fire trail turned off onto the track on the right up to the summit.

This track is steep, especially just after leaving the road, and a bit treacherous with loose rocks underfoot. Followed the track until it headed off to the right, then bush bashed straight up to the summit, following the rocky ridge.

After about 50 minutes of walking reached the summit trig.

Climbed up onto the rocky platform on top.

The trig vanes serve as an unofficial log of walkers who have visited. One of the local SOTA activators had left his mark :) Hi Rob!

Around the back some more amateur radio graffiti...

Set up the squid pole on the trig, shack on the rocky platform base.

Got on 40 m. A large pileup of strong signals from VK1, VK2, VK3, VK5 and VK7. An S2S with Andrew VK1MBE/p on VK1/AC-021 Pheasant Hill. He had deep snow there and it was slow going...Also another S2S with David VK3MAY/p on VK3/VC-014 Mt Disappointment.

After 40 m died down tried swapping to my 6/10 m linked dipole, however the plastic sistema box I use for the dipole centre fell apart, having cracks in it from falls in the past, so the activation was ended...Still had 26 contacts in the log for 40 m so happy to pack up and head home.

Took about 40 minutes to get back down.

SOTA South Black Range VK2/ST-006

With a good winters day forecast decided to do a couple of SOTA summits for the winter bonus points, South Black Range VK2/ST-006 and Mt Palerang VK2/ST-009.

As per previous activations drove to South Black Range via Hoskinstown and Forbes Creek. Turned off onto North Black Range trail. Some fog about. Used 4WD as quite muddy and steep in places.

Cleared up as I got higher.

Parked just before the turnoff to the summit. You can drive up this track, with care, but wanted to do some walking...

Despite the sunshine it was cold, the car outside temperature sensor showed only 3 C. Approaching the summit noticed some remnant patches of snow in the foliage.

Reached the summit. Noticed someone has provided another access ladder to the top. A step up from the rickety thing in the past. Still looked a bit dodgy, not really long enough, gave it a miss...

Found my usual spot to operate from, a stump with a convenient rock nearby for a shack table.

Set up 20/40 m and 6/10m linked dipoles up to nearby trees. This is an easy summit to set up on, plenty of room.

Got on 40 m. Lots of good strong signals from chasers in VK1, VK2, VK3 and VK5. An S2S contact later with Andrew VK1MBE/p, on VK1/AC-044 Boboyan Range. Like my last activation he was operating in the snow... Shortly after Mark VK1EM/p and Andrew VK2MWP/p came up on VK2/ST-005 Webbs Ridge. Like myself had problems with muddy roads.

After 40 m chasers dried up switched to 10 m. A good copy with VK1MBE/p, Matt VK1MA, and a weak contact with Al VK1RX. On 6 m worked Paul VK1ATP, Al VK1RX with a good signal on this band, and Matt VK1MA.

Tried 20 m. A S2S with Nigel VK5NIG/p, Allen VK5LAM/p and Stu VK5STU/p activating Mt Gawler VK5/SE-013.

Returned to 40 m for a last look around. Worked special event station VI5MCP, Bob activating Morialta Conservation Park, VKFF-783. Nice eQSL card, thanks.

Also worked Mick VK5PMG in Koorooya State Park VKFF-759. Packed up at midday and headed for Mt Palerang.

Saturday, 4 July 2015

The Pinnacle Nature Reserve VKFF-0862

The Pinnacle Nature Reserve is located on Belconnen's southern boundary, adjacent to the suburbs of Weetangera and Hawker. The Reserve adjoins Springvale Drive and private residences to the north, and unleased and leasehold rural land on its southern and western boundaries. It is named after the highest point, The Pinnacle, a prominent hill around 700 m high.

The Pinnacle Nature Reserve is quite familiar to me, I only live about 2 Km away from the park and have visited it many times over the years. A pleasant half hour walk after work with daylight saving. A great spot to sit and watch the sun setting over the Brindabella mountains.

With radio gear to carry I decided to drive there today. Parked off Springvale Drive where there is a locked gate. There was a sign on the gate that it would be closed from 5 pm to 7 am daily, as part of the ACT Government's kangaroo cull, see my activation of Mt Painter which had a similar sign.

So needed to finish my park activation before 5 pm. Planned to leave before then as would be too cold to stay after this time anyway...

Up the hill a gate entrance to the park and a sign for the park. The writings meant to be in white paint, vandals...

Followed the track, called Springvale Track up to a pedestrian gate on the left and a sign with details on the park.

Followed the track into the park, heading for the highest point, the Pinnacle. There is a proper walking track up to it, I followed a short cut track just before this on the left.

This joins the main walking track to the summit.

The summit has no trig, just a survey marker on the ground. The views here are not that good, you need to head down the hill a bit to clear the trees.

Headed down the hill looking for a suitable spot for supporting the squid pole and operating from. An old log looked ideal. The view to the South West with Mt Taylor on the left, the new Molonglo suburbs and Mt Tennent visible. Noticed the fog I had in the morning still visible in the far South.

Set up the 40/20 m linked dipole on the squid pole lashed to the end of the log. Tied off the ends of the dipole on a tree and the end of the log.

View to the station from up the hill, looking South. The white tower building in the distance is in the Woden town centre.

View from the other leg of the dipole to the South East. Black Mountain is just behind the trees to the left of the squid pole. Radio on the log, which made a comfy seat.

Got on 40 m. Found VK3HN/p Paul on 7.090 Mhz doing a SOTA activation of VK3/VE-019, so worked him with a good report. Set up on 7.095 Mhz, called CQ. Got a bit busier after getting spotted on the ParksnPeaks website.

A good steady list of hunters calling from VK1/VK2/VK3/VK4 and VK5. Worked Peter VK3YE testing a new QRP radio, nice signal. A couple of other parks worked, VK2YK/p Adam in VKFF-589 Gir-um-bit National Park, and VK4FFAB/p Rob in VKFF-200 Glass House Mountains National Park.

Switched to 20 m to work the Europeans. Worked John VK4DP in Barcaldine Central Queensland, then after getting spotted on the DX cluster the usual bunch of EU hunters started a pileup...
Some of the usual park hunters, I5FLN, S58AL, S52KM, OK7WA, F1BLL, HA6OB, DL2DN, DK4RM, IK1GPG. Several Russian stations, also a new hunter country for me, 9A2HF Franc in Croatia.

Looked around the band, another park to park contact with Ade VK4SOE/p doing an activation with Rob VK4FFAB/p in the Glass House Mountains National Park. I spotted him on the DX cluster, seemed to help as the EU pileup found him soon after :)

By 4:30 pm the temperature had dropped from around 10 c to 7 c, so decided a good time to leave, plus needed to get out before the shooting started... A total of 35 contacts, so need to return for the 44. Not hard when you live close by.

Track log of walk