Sunday, 31 January 2021

SOTA Black Mountain VK1/AC-042

To mark the anniversary of VK1 SOTA starting, 1st Feb 2013, decided to activate Black Mountain, VK1/AC-042. This is not far from home. Parked in the car park for Black Mountain tower

Just down from the car park on the Northern side set up in my usual spot, a walking track running diagonally down from the car park. Its not used much, in fact the top is overgrown and hard to find now. Set up the squid pole on an old fence post

Left my tarp behind, so used an old blanket from the back of the car. Was more comfortable anyway. Shack on the blanket.

Got on 2 m first. Worked S2S with VK1CT/p Chris on Mt Stromlo VK1/AC-043, strong. Then


VK1DB/p, Dermy who was also on Mt Stromlo with Chris.

Tried 40 m. My first contact a S2S with VK3ZPF/p Peter on VK3/VC-033 Mt Toolebewong


Went to 20 m. Worked


No more contacts, so packed up and headed home

600 Asia Stations Award

Another award from FT8DMC, for working 600 Asia stations. Mainly Japanese contacts on 17m and 10m. Nice award. Thanks for QSOs and award manager,

Wednesday, 27 January 2021

300 Asia Stations on 10m Award

Latest award, for 300 Asia Stations on 10m FT8, by the European Ros Club. Admittedly fairly easy from Australia. Thanks for the QSOs and award manager.

Monday, 25 January 2021

50 Spanish Stations award

After contacting some Spanish stations on 30 m FT8, found I had reached a total of 50, and applied for this award, from the ERC. Nice award. Thanks for QSOs and awards manager

Sunday, 24 January 2021

10 Greek Stations Award

Latest award, for working 10 Greek Stations from FT8DMC. 7 of these were on the 30m band, which seems to open to EU nicely here in VK early mornings. Nice award. Having visited Santorini brings back memories.

SOTA Mt Coree VK1/AC-023

With a high 38c forecast for Canberra decided to head into the mountains and escape the heat for a while. Decided on Mt Coree as little walking involved and at 1400 m should be nice and cool.

As per other activations took the Brindabella Rd up to Picadilly Circus, turning off onto Two Sticks Road on the right. Then turned off onto the Coree Summit Trail. Note the sign for this on Two Sticks Road seems to be missing now so need to watch out for the turn off.

The road passes the Coree camping area, then climbs steeply in a series of turns up to the summit. This road is rough with lots of rocks, so care needed. You need a 4WD for most of the ascent. I stopped around 3 bends from the top and walked the rest of the way. View from one of the bends to the North

The final ascent. There are some tricky rocky bits here, probably could have driven up but it does get crowded at the top with 4WDs, so better off just walking up.

Top of Mt Coree with the fire tower and trig at the end.

Mt Coree Trig

View out to the West towards Tumut

View towards Canberra to the East

View to the North of the trig along the Brindabella range

Set up the squid pole on the trig. At first just put up the 2 m slim jim ribbon antenna.

Radio on one of the legs of the trig, partially out of the sun. 

As the trig is on the border of Namagdi National Park in the ACT and Brindabella National Park in NSW, was set up on the Western side in VKFF-0054 Brindabella National Park. Got on 2m FM on 146.500 and spotted myself on SOTAwatch. Worked


All the VK1s were pretty much full scale signals. Some very strong signals from Yass, Bowning too. VK2ADB was in Booroowa past Yass, almost 100 Km away. My furthest contact was with VK2PET, Pete mobile at Breakfast Creek, North of Booroowa, 128 Km to the North.  Mt Coree has an excellent take off to the North.

Tried putting up the link dipole and getting on 40m. Disappointingly found about an S7 of some electronic type noise across the whole band. Would have to be from the fire tower. Had not had this noise here before, although that was in 2016 so some new gear must have been installed. Stopped and called anyway, limited to only working some of the stronger stations I could hear over the noise.


Switched to 20 m. Luckily the noise was gone on this band, so able to hear stations. On 14.310 Mhz heard ZL3MR putting out final calls from ZL3/CB-617, a SOTA peak North of Christchurch New Zealand. Called him for a S2S, worked with a good 53 signal.

After he went clear took the frequency. Worked


As around noon and the wind had picked up, packed up and headed back down to the Coree camping area for lunch. Drove home.


Wednesday, 20 January 2021

30m Digital Group ANZA 45 Award

Recently qualified for another award, working 45 VK/ZL stations on the 30m band on FT8. The award requires a ratio of VK to ZL contacts, in my case have worked 49 VK(32)/ZL(17) stations.

From the award website

ANZA Awards (3 in Series)

Work 15; 30; 45 unique VK / ZL stations on 30 Meters Digital Modes

Note: For each Award, a minimum of 5 either VK or ZL stations must be worked - the balance making up the required total.

IE: ANZA-15 - work 5 ZL ..... balance = 10 VK ( total 15 combined)

    ANZA-15 - work 8 ZL ..... balance =   7 VK ( total 15 combined)

The same format applies to all 3 Awards

So this is the final award in the series

Sunday, 17 January 2021

25 Canadian stations Award

 Picked up a new award from the European Ros Club, 26 Canadian Stations on FT8. Nice. Will need to look up for more VE stations for the higher number awards.

Saturday, 9 January 2021

Nimmo Nature Reserve VKFF-2685

 After stopping overnight at Jindabyne continued my way home, stopping to activate Nimmo Nature Reserve VKFF-2685 mid morning. I have done this park before. Its about 40 km North of Jindabyne. Drove along Eucumbene Rd and turned off onto Nimmo Rd. After crossing the Eucumbene river took a track off on the left to the park gate. Parked nearby and hopped over the fence into the park.

As the road is locked off figured could set up on the road. Carried the table, chair and radio gear in and set up on the road in some shade.

Looking back the other way

Checked the SWR on 40m, okay, maybe resonant a little high in the band but not bad. Probably some loading from nearby branches.

Shack on the table.

As per last activation here absolutely no mobile signal... In fact did not get back into range until well away from the park. It is at the bottom of the Eucumbene river valley and not good for mobiles.

So just called on 7.144 and hope for the best. Luckily first contact VK2IO Gerard able to spot me so able to get a few park hunters. Worked after Gerard prior to UTC rollover


After UTC rollover


Most were low down with lots of QSB, band not that great.

A park to park with VK1CT Chris in VKFF-0836 Callum Brae Nature Reserve. Very weak but got him okay.

Packed up and continued on to Cooma for lunch. Some shots of the Eucumbene River bridge

Looking North from the bridge. This is not in the park.

Friday, 8 January 2021

SOTA Mt Perisher VK2/SM-007

After stopping overnight at Jindabyne headed up to Perisher Valley, to climb Mt Perisher for SOTA. Note there is a $17 park entry fee for a day trip into Kosciuszko National Park. Sign at Perisher Valley.

Drove to the base of the Eyre Tbar lift, which like all the lifts is shut down in the summer. There is the Alpine Eyre Cafe at the base, so you can get a coffee here before or after activating.

Just to the left of the cafe a faint track used for maintenance of the lift. Started walking up here. Avoids some scrub under the lift at the start.

Eventually joined up to the track under the lift

The lift terminated near the top of Mt Perisher, along with several others running in different directions.

The summit is then just a short scramble through some rocks

Reached the summit. The trig is still here, but missing the Perisher Valley flag that was here last time.

Some views from the top, down to Perisher Valley

Looking the other way towards the main range and Mount Kosziusko

For a change not too windy on top, so set up the squid pole here. Poked it into a rocky crevice, some creative use of bungy cords to keep it in place...

SWR fairly good on 40m

View of the antenna near the trig

Got on 40m. Able to spot myself on SOTAwatch. Good signals from chasers

VK2YK/5 Park to Park in  VKFF-1755 Upper Gulf St Vincent Marine Park
VK2VRO S2S on VK3/VN-027 Mt Gordon

At this stage the LifePO4 4200 maH battery I was using was almost flat, so packed up and headed down.

Some flowers just below the summit

View going down

Mid way down, road visible

In all took me about 35 minutes to get up and about 20 minutes down. It is steep! From 1800m to around 2000m elevation over 1.1 Km.

Thursday, 7 January 2021

Ironmungy Nature Reserve VKFF-2624

 After activating Bobundara Nature Reserve continued South on Mafra Rd, then left onto the Snowy River Way, then right onto Ironmungy Rd. After a few Km got into the park.

Last time I activated on the right side of the road, at the start of Ironmungy Trail. This time operated on the left in the bush as still in the park and no gate to climb over... Used a stump to support the squid pole

Shack set up on the table

Got on 40m. Seemed very quiet. After spotting myself on ParksnPeaks got callers, with lots of QSB


Changed the links in the dipole to 20m. Worked


ZL1TM was a lot stronger and easier to copy compared to 40m.

With 11 contacts ok for a VKFF activation, but had activated this park before with 38 QSOs, so qualified it for WWFF as well. Packed up and headed to Jindabyne for the evening. 

Bobundara Nature Reserve VKFF-2531

Spending a few days doing WWFF parks and SOTA peaks in the Snowy Mountains. My first park was Bobundara Nature Reserve VKFF-2531. This is a small park about 30 Km SSW of Cooma, on the side of Maffra Rd, and had not been activated before. The park was obvious from the change from open grassland to woodland, however was hard to confirm the park as the sign was small and off the road in the trees.

Driving South along the park boundary eventually saw a likely place to activate from, an old disused quarry. An old fence post provided squid pole support.

Set up. The 40m dipole SWR checked out okay.

Location of my operating spot. Map from Google Maps

Radio on the table. 

Got on 40m. Seemed rather quiet with not many stations on, but got some coming back after spotting myself on ParksnPeaks. Worked


With 13 contacts had at least enough to qualify for the VKFF activation, 10 needed, so packed up and headed South to my next park, Ironmungy Nature Reserve

Worked All States on FT8

 Worked All States. Took months to get the last State needed, Wyoming, eventually worked AE7WY on 17m. Thanks for the QSOs and award manager.