Sunday, 25 October 2015

SOTA Mt Coree VK1/AC-023

With a fine warm Sunday decided to head to the coolness of the mountains and reactivate Mt Coree for this year.

The drive there was a bit tedious, there was a major cycling race on Uriarra Road with hundreds of cyclists, so had to wait behind packs of cyclists before getting a chance to overtake...Eventually they left me at the Brindabella Road junction. Drove up to Piccadilly Circus and took Two Sticks Road to the turnoff to Mt Coree. The roads were nice and dry, can be muddy up here at times. The road signs in Brindabella National Park have been updated since my last visit, instead of the sign to Mt Coree Summit its now Coree Summit Trail.

Drove up the switchbacks to about 3 bends before the top. The last bit is rather steep... Some good views on the bends to the North

The final rocky climb to the top. I could probably have got my Nissan Xtrail up here okay, but there is not a lot of room up the top and it gets very busy with large groups of 4WDs.

The summit with the fire lookout tower at the far end.

Mt Coree Trig was behind the fire lookout tower. Set up the squid pole and my station on the Western side of the trig, as this placed me in Brindabella National Park, VKFF-0054 for claiming contacts for the WWFF Award. The trig is on the park boundary.

 Some great views to the West off the cliff. Watched a few hawks riding the wind looking for prey below.

The view to the South off one leg of the dipole. The other end tied to a leg of the fire tower.

Shack at the base of the trig. A bit of shade for the radio but nothing for me, a hat was needed here.

Got on 40 m just before UTC changeover. Worked S2S first with VK3TST/2 Marcus and VK4DD/2 Dave on VK2/RI-031. Then put up a spot and worked some of the regular chasers from VK2, VK3 and VK5. Another S2S with Peter VK3PF/2, John VK2YW/p and Warren VK3BYD/2, making a rare SSB contact :) He is usually on CW. Fairly hectic up to rollover then worked VK3PF/2 and VK2YW/p again for more S2S points.

After the chasers stopped on 40 m tried going to 2 m FM, using the FT817 and the Slim Jim ribbon antenna. Very pleased to make an S2S contact with Marcus on VK2/RI-031, Wheel of Fortune near Wagga Wagga, 117 Km away! Not too strong but quite readable. Worked some of the locals, Grant VK4JAZ/1, Matt VK1MA, Tony VK1VIC/p on VK1/AC-042 Black Mountain. Andrew VK2MWP.

Heard Al VK1RX/p come up on 2 m on top of Mt Gudgenby, VK1/AC-009 for the first activation of this summit! Also Adan VK1FJAW with him. Andrew VK1NAM was absent from the summit, having got stomach cramps and stopping mid way up. Matt VK1MA worked them, but they had problems working Tony VK1VIC/p and Andrew VK1MBE/p on VK2/ST-034 Mt Gillamatong and VK2MWP. Acted as a relay but they had problems with low signals.

Al and Adan then went to 40m, and were able to work everyone okay.  Made another S2S with Allen VK3HRA/p on VK2/RI-026 The Rock Hill. The wind on the summit had come up in the afternoon so headed back down for lunch at the small camping ground at the base of Mt Coree, then home. A good morning on the summit.

Thursday, 8 October 2015

VKFF Hunter Honour Roll 150

Noticed on the WWFF Logsearch page that I have just reached 150 VKFF references confirmed, so able to apply for the VKFF Hunter Honour Roll 150.

Promptly issued by Paul, VK5PAS, the Australian WWFF Award Manager. Here it is. Fraser Island National Park in Queensland. Next one at 175 references worked.

Monday, 5 October 2015

SOTA Reactivation Mt Gingera VK1/AC-002

With a public holiday in the ACT and a warm day predicted decided to head for the high mountains to escape the heat, and grab the last of the SOTA winter bonus points. Mt Gingera is up around 1800 m and is typically 7-10 C cooler than Canberra, which was expecting around 30 C, so looked ideal.

The drive up was a bit less than the usual 1.5 hours it has taken me before, the road to Mt Ginini seemed smoother than before, suspect has been graded to allow easier access for fire tankers in the coming bush fire season. Stopped at the Mt Ginini car park and got out the mountain bike for the ride to Priors Hut

The first couple of Km are all downhill, meaning I could coast along, at times getting up to around 20 Km/h, but having to brake to avoid rocky patches. Then I got to the uphill bit, where I got off and walked, I'm not a great mountain bike rider...After half an hour arrived at Priors Hut, which would normally have taken me a good hour or more to walk the 5 Km to.

Locked up the bike here and started walking the 1.4 Km to the turnoff to Mt Gingera, marked by a blue rock on a post

Looking back to the road from the start of the track

The track climbs fairly steeply to a ridge, then winds its way up to the summit. The track goes to the Northern end of Mt Ginini, I saved some walking by cutting up the slope when around 100 m from the top.

Reached the top. The trig had been straightened and now has a hat! As usual the views are magnificent. Looking South towards Ginger Ale and Bimberi Peak

Looking over to South West and the Snowy Mountains. Could see white on some of the higher peaks, last of the winter snow. None on Mt Gingera though.

To get out of the sun set up near a small snow gum, putting up the 2 m Slim Jim and the 40 m dipole.

Looking the other direction towards the summit.

Got on 40 m. Heard Paul VK5PAS activating VI5ANZAC a good S8. Tried calling him, no answer, and not getting any power out!... Checked on 2m FM, able to drop a carrier, so the transmitter was fine, just no audio out... I checked by listening to my signal on the 2 m HT. Looked like the microphone was broken.

So with no other option set out to qualify the summit on the 2 m HT. The FT-60R has an SMA connector, the Slim Jim had a BNC connector for the FT-817 so couldn't even use the slim jim, just the 2 m whip :( Although did have one advantage, an 1800 m high antenna...

I put a spot on SOTAwatch and got Andrew VK1NAM/p on Mt Stromlo. He must have contacted some of the locals as I then got Matt VK1MA with a strong signal, then Tony VK1VIC/P on VK1/AC-038 Mt Tuggeranong. Al VK1RX nice and strong, then Andrew VK2UH at Yass. So with 5 contacts got the required 4 contacts to qualify the activation :)

Thanks guys for helping me out to qualify the summit.

Packed up and headed back to Priors Hut for lunch. Here is the interior.

Rode back to the car, going downhill then walking uphill. On the way startled a couple of wild pigs. These are a pest in the park and are baited and trapped by rangers. They vanished into the scrub.

On the drive home the outside temperature rose from around 23 C to around 32 C in town, a hot day.

Saturday, 3 October 2015

SOTA Spring Hill VK2/ST-036

With a warm spring day decided to return to Spring Hill for another SOTA activation. This summit is located just over the ACT Northern border, only about 20 km from home and about a 15 minute drive away. It is on private property, contacted the owner Phil Robinson the night before so good to go.

Arrived at the car park at the entrance to his property and sent him a text, then got walking. My walk got off to a bad start, shortly after the car park heard a rush of wind and feathers, was being swooped by a magpie! These black and white birds are normally docile and leave your alone, however in the nesting season they become aggressive and will attack anything that enters their territory.

Quickly hurried past a row of gum trees and watched it swooping me, until I got further up the road and it left me alone. Climbed steadily up the mountain. Once on top of the ridge the wind, which had been a gentle breeze, got fairly strong. I discovered here I had left my camera home, so photos are off my mobile phone camera. Approaching the summit.

Note the hang glider on the right. Despite the good conditions seemed to be the only one up here today, last visit there were several. He had plenty of breeze and ended up re landing on the hill later.

Got to the summit. As per last time set up the squid pole on the trig, laid out the 40 m dipole and also the 2 m ribbon Slim Jim. Pole bent over in the wind but remained up okay for the activation.

Shack on the base of the trig, providing a little shelter from the wind and sun. It was still very windy though, but kept the flies off and was nice and cool.

Got on 2 m FM just after UTC changeover. Good strong signals from Andrew VK1NAM, Matt VK1MT, Matt VK1MA and Adan VK1FJAW/P on a hand held on a hill in Bonner. So qualified the peak just on 2 m! Switched to 40 m as could see some other activators on there on SOTAwatch

Started with Peter VK3PF/P on VK3/VE-069. Then Tony VK1VIC/P on VK1/AC-041 Isaacs Ridge, around 30 Km to the South, enjoying his 1st solo activation. Followed by chasing Russ VK2BJP/3 on VK3/VE-095 and then found a spot and got the chasers chasing me. Another S2S with Phil VK2BHR/P on VK3/VN-016 later.

After about an hour 40 m chasers dried up, tried 20 m, but no calls, the band sounded dead...By this time the wind was getting quite strong so packed up and headed back down.

View South towards Canberra from the other side of the communications tower.

Headed home for lunch.

 Steered clear of the magpie tree, he gave me one swoop but otherwise left me alone.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

VK1 WWFF parks full list

With help from Paul, VK5PAS, every Nature Park in the ACT now has a WWFF reference.
That means 43 Nature Reserves, 1 National Park and 1 Wilderness area or 45 references.

They are

VKFF-0833 Aranda Bushland
VKFF-0983 Bimberi
VKFF-0834 Black Mountain
VKFF-0835 Bruce Ridge
VKFF-0984 Bullen Range
VKFF-0836 Callum Brae
VKFF-0837 Cooleman Ridge
VKFF-0838 Crace
VKFF-0839 Dunlop Grassland
VKFF-0840 Farrer Ridge
VKFF-0985 Gigerline
VKFF-0841 Goorooyarroo
VKFF-0842 Gossan Hill
VKFF-0843 Gungaderra Grassland
VKFF-0844 Gungahlin Hill
VKFF-0845 Isaacs Ridge
VKFF-0846 Jerrabomberra Grassland
VKFF-0847 Jerrabomberra Wetlands
VKFF-0848 Kama
VKFF-0990 Lower Molonglo River Corridor
VKFF-0849 McQuoids Hill
VKFF-0991 Molonglo Gorge
VKFF-0850 Mt Ainslie
VKFF-0851 Mt Majura
VKFF-0852 Mt Mugga Mugga
VKFF-0853 Mt Painter
VKFF-0854 Mt Taylor
VKFF-0855 Mulanggari Grassland
VKFF-0856 Mulligans Flat
VKFF-0377 Namadgi
VKFF-0858 Oakey Hill
VKFF-0857 OConnor Ridge
VKFF-0992 Old Naas TSR
VKFF-0859 Percival Hill
VKFF-0860 Red Hill
VKFF-0861 Rob Roy
VKFF-0986 Stony Creek
VKFF-0987 Swamp Creek
VKFF-0862 The Pinnacle
VKFF-0989 Tidbinbilla
VKFF-0863 Tuggeranong Hill
VKFF-0864 Urambi Hills
VKFF-0865 Wanniassa Hills
VKFF-0993 West Jerrabomberra
VKFF-0988 Woodstock

Maps of the Canberra Nature Parks can be found on the TAMS website in PDF format

and a map of where they are in the ACT

Zoomed in on the Canberra region to display suburban parks better

Park boundaries can be shown on which covers the whole world for Nature Reserves, National Parks and Wilderness areas.

With 45 parks there are plenty of choices. If you are in the ACT area go and activate them!