Wednesday, 30 June 2021

SOTA Yellow Rabbit Hill VK1/AC-039

With an alert for Andrew VK1AD to activate Pheasant Hill VK1/AC-021 there were several alerts from other activators to chase him Summt to Summit, so thought I would join in and activate Yellow Rabbit Hill, VK1/AC-039.

I had not activated this summit since 2016 so the drive there was a bit hazy at first. I remember taking Warks Road off the Brindabella Rd. Not long after turning off onto Warks Road saw a familiar sign for entering the Lower Cotter Catchment Reserve

Followed Warks Road for a while, then took a connecting road off it on the left and left into Yellow Rabbit Road, which the summit is named after. Turned off on the right to a road climbing the hill. This was still a bit rough but seemed better than the last time I did it. Still good to do in an AWD/4WD car with clearance. Once close to the summit parked and walked up through the bush along a ridge, a short distance to the top of the hill and a small clearing. Andrew VK1AD's unofficial summit cairn 😀

Just behind the cairn a rotting log suitable for squid pole support and a seat

Looking the other way to the North

Shack on the log. Sat on the tarp instead of the rotting log

Got on 146.500 FM 2 m first with the ladder line Jpole vertical. Worked

VK1MA Matt very strong
VK1ZDJ/VK1DJ Doug on VK1/AC-043 Mt Stromlo also strong 59
VK1MIC Wade good 59
VK1MCW Bill on VK1/AC-040 Mt Ainslie strong 59
VK1MF Matt on VK1/AC-034 Mt Majura strong 59

Saw a spot for VK1AD/p in Namadgi National Park, VKFF-0377. Due to road works on the Boboyan Rd around the parking area for Pheasant Hill he had abandoned the SOTA activation and was doing a WWFF park activation instead. I could not hear him on 2 m, however could on 80 m. Only an S1. I found out later I have a bad connection in one of the 80 m extension plugs, so really was working him on 80 m mainly on the 40 m dipole... anyway did the job.

Worked a couple more summit to summits on 2 m

VK1DA Andrew on VK1/AC-041 Isaacs Ridge, about a 53 but had a battery going flat
VK1CT Chris on VK1/AC-042 Black Mountain, a strong 59

Spotted myself on 40 m. Worked

VK7DR, ZL1BQD, VK2IO/4 in VKFF-0683 Hampton National Park, VK5IS, VK4NH
Also worked VK1MF and VK1ZDJ again on 40 m.

Switched the links to 20 m. Worked

ZL1BYZ John, ZL1TM Andrei. Both good strong signals.

Packed up and headed back to the car. Heading down the ridge a view towards Canberra

Cotter Dam and Mt McDonald on the left. In the middle Black Mountain and Mt Ainslie, on the right Mt Stromlo. So good line of sight to some of the summits worked.

Headed home for lunch



Tuesday, 29 June 2021

New Captain James Cook and New Zealand Awards

Checking Ultimate AAC software recently, found several new FT8 Digital Mode Club awards gained. A couple of Captain James Cook Awards. 

Sailor Class, for one QSO from G, FO, ZL2, VK2 & KH6

Officer Class, for Sailor Class QSOs plus ZL1, ZL3, ZL4, VK3, VK4 & P2

New Zealand Grid Square Award (12 squares)

Worked 50 ZL stations

Worked 75 ZL stations

Worked 100 ZL stations

Sunday, 27 June 2021

Bruce Ridge Nature Reserve VKFF-0835

With good weather on Sunday, mainly sunny and 13c, decided to get out and do a WWFF park activation. Chose to revisit Bruce Ridge Nature Reserve, VKFF-0835. Unlike my last activation I accessed the park from the East, via Dryandra St and Kunzea St. At the end of the road is a locked gate, with access for walkers onto the trail into the park, Finnerans Rd. There was no sign for the park, however there was a post with the ACT Parks and conservation service symbol on it.

Set off along Finnernans Rd, then right onto a road running up hill.

This ended at Bruce Pipeline Fire Trail, went right and then took another road up to join Reservoir Ridge Fire Trail. Went left and headed West, passing a water reservoir, until coming to the highest point in the park, in front of another large water reservoir.

This is about the highest point in the park at 670m. Headed into the bush on the right, found a log suitable for squid pole support and operating on.

Operating spot. Map from Openstreetmaps

Shack on the log. 

Got on 2m first to work Andrew VK1AD/p in VKFF-0987 Swamp Creek Nature Reserve, about 20 Km away. A good clear signal. Then went to 40 m to first work VK5PAS, Paul with a very strong signal. Then park hunters


Andrew VK1AD/p called me on 40m, advising Andrew VK1DA/p was looking for me on 2m FM, so returned there to work him with a good strong signal. He was in VKFF-0858 Oakey Hill Nature Reserve, about 8 Km South of me. Worked Wade VK1MIC in Gungahlin, very strong. Chris VK1CT/p in VKFF-0856 Mulanggari Grassland Nature Reserve came up as well, very strong about 13 Km North.

As lunch time and 16 contacts enough for a VKFF Boomerang Award activation, packed up and headed home.

Thursday, 17 June 2021

Broulee Island Nature Reserve VKFF-2546

For a bit of a break from Canberra winter headed down to Batemans Bay on the South Coast. South of Batemans Bay is Broulee Island, near the town of Broulee. I had activated Broulee Island Nature Reserve before and made 28 contacts, so returned to finish the 44 needed for WWFF.

Parked at the car park for the walk to the island and made the short walk across the sand bar 

This is the short walk to the island. It was a proper island in the past, but the sand bar connecting it to the mainland has built up so much its vegetated, so an easy walk on what really is a peninsula.

Crossed over to the Northern side of the island and headed for the Northern most point

Just off the beach found a suitable stump for the squid pole and set up the 40 m dipole

Operating spot, map from Openstreetmap

Checked the SWR with the Rig Expert stick antenna analyzer, very good 1.04 at 7.168 Mhz.

Got on 40 m. Started by working VK2IO/p Gerard in VKFF-3109 Wells Crossing Flora Reserve

Then spotted myself on 7.150 and worked several park hunters


Worked a couple more parks that had spotted on Parksnpeaks, 

VK3DAC/p Fred in VKFF-0333 Mornington Peninsula National Park
VK3AWA/p Daryl in VKFF-0758 Holey Plains State Park

I tried going to 20 m and calling for a while, no takers there, so returned to 40 m.

Worked some more hunters


As more than enough to get 44 now packed up. I decided to continue walking around to see the South side of the island, not that great, mainly rocks. If you want to activate the Northern side of the island is best for sandy beaches and vegetation.

Thursday, 10 June 2021

Spanish numbers and grids worked awards

The European Ros Club recently released some new awards for contacting Spanish EA stations. For contacting 50 Spanish stations

For 5 Spanish grids

 For 10 Spanish grids

For 15 Spanish Grids

For 20 Spanish grids

A count in the log shows I have 24 Spanish grids worked, a look on the map think there are about 18 more grids to work.

Monday, 7 June 2021

Mount Majura VK1/AC-034


With Andrew VK1AD activating Tumorrama Hill and some other SOTA activations, decided to head up one of the local SOTA summits for some summit to summit contacts. Returned to Mount Majura, VK1/AC-034. For something different climbed it from Mackenzie St in Hackett. I found the car park full, so parked around the corner in Grayson St. Sign at the start of the walk.

The track up to Mount Majura is on the Canberra Centenary walking track. So just follow this up to the top. The top green-blue symbol on the post indicates on this track. 

The track climbs up Mount Majura via a series of zig zag bends. Track is in good condition, probably due to heavy use by walkers. It gets steep in places.

After 50 minutes and 2.5 Km reached the top, Mount Majura Trig

Since Covid there is a lot more activity on Canberra suburban summits, with many walkers, joggers and dog walkers visiting the trig. To avoid most of them decided to move away to a quieter location, the road just below the trig to the Mount Majura radar facility. Set up on one of the fence posts on the road. Still within the 25m activation zone. You can just make out the trig on the left. Still got a few people walking past, but most went straight up to the trig around the corner. Got 2m vertical and 40 m dipole set up along the road.

Looking back the other way. Quite close to the Mount Majura radar facility. This is for Canberra airport. As it turned out did affect 2m FM

Radio on the tarp off the road

Got on 2m FM  Heard Chris VK1CT and Bill VK1MCW working each other for a S2S, so worked them both after. Chris VK1CT was on VK1/AC-040 Mt Ainslie, Bill VK1MCW on VK1/AC-048 Mount McDonald. Both very strong. Also worked Al VK1RX. I thought I heard part of a call from Andrew, VK1AD/2, but the signal was broken up with some voice interference. Probably from the nearby radar building... I got an SMS from Andrew saying he could hear me and asking me to try 2m SSB, so headed for 144.2 Mhz.

Heard Andrew VK1AD/2 a good S2, so able to work him for a S2S to VK2/SW-036 Tumorrama Hill. This was about 70 Km away to the West. Worked Matt VK1MA, very strong. A while later Wade VK1MIC came up on 2m SSB from VK1/AC-042 Black Mountain for another S2S, very strong.

Went to 40m. Another S2S with Andrew VK2MWP on VK2/SC-042 Wandera Mountain, down the South Coast near Moruya, a good S7. Worked VK4AAC/5 Rob in park VKFF-0875 Caroona Creek Conservation Park for a park to park, as I was in VKFF-0851 Mount Majura Nature Reserve.

Called CQ on 40m and worked

VK3NCR, ZL1BQD, VK3GTV, VK3ZPF, VK1MA, VK5IS, VK1AD/2 again, VK5HAA on 40m.

As getting late in the day and still a 2.5 Km walk back down, packed up and walked back to the car.
Track log of walk. Map from

Wednesday, 2 June 2021

Hong Kong ERC 2 and 5 stations awards

A couple more awards from the European Ros Club, for working stations in Hong Kong on FT8. 

For 2 stations

For 5 stations