It was a Saturday morning and the activators were out early. In quick succession there were 3 CW contacts (Wayne VK3WAM, Tony VK3CAT, Andrew VK2FAJG) and a bunch of SSB contacts, all before rollover with the promise of more to come. Compton VK2HRX was attempting 6 summits nearby. I had the feeling it was going to be a good SOTA day.
After some more SOTA contacts and with clearing weather, it was time to activate!
I had been wanting to activate Canoelands for a while. It is my “local” summit – only 45 mins drive away and one of only two summits in Sydney. Being a 1 point summit, I intended to wait until there were plenty of other activations so the summit-to-summit points could be scooped up. There was certainly plenty of potential today!
On previous activations I had taken a morse key along but not had the opportunity to use it. With other CW summit operators around there was a good chance of picking up CW summit-to-summit contacts. At the very least, I wanted to have my first CW contact from a summit.
The summit at Canoelands is about 43 km drive from home, on the northern outskirts of Sydney. It is an area where rural properties butt up against bushland backdrops. The summit itself is on private property but there is a large tableland within the activation zone with easy drive-in. The peak itself is not very pronounced, but I decided to operate close to it. It is quite close to a drop-off down the main road (Canoelands Rd) allowing the activation zone to be exited easily without having to do any bush-bashing.
After parking off the main road I quickly scoped out the area on foot without the SOTA pack. Arriving back at my car I found a chap interested in the antennas on my car. It turned out to be Ray VK2ASE who was also scoping out the summit! We agreed the summit was over beyond in the bush. I asked him whether he wanted to activate and he said another time. I’ve not heard his call before so maybe a new SOTA chaser or activator in our ranks!
The map shows the area around the summit which is within the cleared land at the bottom left. The concentration of purple is a car parking spot which can be accessed through an unlocked gate. The operating position was a short distance west from there, well short of the 33 kV power lines. There was no discernable QRM. The APRS tracker in the car uses VK2IO-15 and the current map like this one can always be found on aprs.fi.
After the walk out and back into the activation zone I found a spot in the bush which had some fallen trees. These provided a convenient “table” for the radio and “chair” for the operator. Comfort was an important consideration since I planned to operate for a few hours. The large trunk at waist height was perfect for attaching the squid pole. Rig used was the KX3.
There were spots up on SOTA Watch so no time to waste setting up the gear. I set up the 10m squid pole with the linked dipole at the 9m mark and then some quick S2S contacts on 40m SSB. Within 10 mins I had my first CW contact from a summit with Andrew VK2UH on 20m. It was less than 15 mins before my first CW S2S contact with Warren VK3BYD on 40m. Everything was going to plan nicely.
The linked dipole does 40m, 30m, 20m and 12m. Contacts were made on all of these bands and CW contacts were made on 40m and 20m. Total activation time was 3.5 hrs during which there were a lot of band changes, each requiring the squid pole to be lowered and raised. Maybe the end-fed antenna would have been a better choice to speed up the band changing.
There were 47 contacts logged of which 18 were CW contacts, mostly DX on 20m.
There were 11 summit-to-summit contacts with 4 being CW. I was lucky enough to catch Mike 2E0YYY on a summit in Wales on 20m which was quite tricky with my 10W. I can appreciate those ops who take along a linear – it would have made it a lot easier.
Summit to Summit Log
|04:01||VK2HRX/P||VK2/CT-003||Mount Bindo||7MHz||SSB||R58 S59 7110 Compton|
|04:03||VK1NAM/P||VK2/ST-009||Mt Palerang||7MHz||SSB||R59 S59 7090 Andrew|
|04:14||VK3BYD/P||VK3/VE-028||Mt TableTop||7MHz||CW||R559 S529 7032 Warren|
|04:24||VK3WAM/P||VK3/VE-030||VK3/VE-030||7MHz||CW||R529 S559 7031 Wayne|
|05:33||VK3ANL/P||VK3/VE-006||Mt Hotham||7MHz||SSB||R47 S57 7090 Nick|
|05:44||VK1MA/P||VK2/ST-006||South Black Range||7MHz||SSB||R59 S59+10 7095 Matt|
|06:07||VK3CAT/P||VK3/VC-032||VK3/VC-032||7MHz||CW||R559 S559 7032 Tony|
|06:12||VK3AFW/P||VK3/VC-032||VK3/VC-032||10MHz||SSB||R57 S57 10130 Ron|
|07:08||2W0YYY/P||GW/NW-061||Y Golfa||14MHz||SSB||R41 S51 14322.5 Mike|
|07:15||VK3WAM/P||VK3/VE-006||Mt Hotham||7MHz||CW||R559 S559 7032 Wayne|
|07:26||VK5STU/P||VK5/SE-013||Mt Gawler||14MHz||SSB||R56 S58 14273 Stuart|
Date:26/Apr/2014 Summit:VK2/SY-001 (Canoelands) Call Used:VK2IO/P Points: 1 Bonus: 0
|04:01z||VK2HRX/P||7MHz||SSB||R58 S59 7110 Compton|
|04:03z||VK1NAM/P||7MHz||SSB||R59 S59 7090 Andrew|
|04:09z||VK2UH||14MHz||CW||R529 S519 14062 Andrew|
|04:14z||VK3BYD/P||7MHz||CW||R559 S529 7032 Warren|
|04:24z||VK3WAM/P||7MHz||CW||R529 S559 7031 Wayne|
|04:29z||VK2DAG/P||7MHz||CW||R559 S599 7032 Matt|
|04:44z||VK2CCJ||7MHz||CW||R539 S599 7032 Cliff|
|04:52z||VK3BAA||7MHz||CW||R539 S559 7032|
|05:25z||OH9XX||14MHz||CW||R579 S599 14062|
|05:28z||IK1GPG||14MHz||CW||R559 S559 14062|
|05:33z||VK3ANL/P||7MHz||SSB||R47 S57 7090 Nick|
|05:36z||VK3UH||7MHz||SSB||R58 S58 7095 Ken|
|05:39z||VK2JNG/P||7MHz||SSB||R57 S59 7095 Gerard|
|05:43z||VK2DAG||7MHz||SSB||R56 S59 7095 Matt|
|05:44z||VK1MA/P||7MHz||SSB||R59 S59+10 7095 Matt|
|05:46z||VK3GHZ||7MHz||SSB||R55 S59+10 7095 Rhett|
|05:47z||VK2MT||7MHz||SSB||R59 S59+10 7095 Rob|
|05:47z||VK1EM||7MHz||SSB||R59 S59 7095|
|05:48z||VK2TWR||7MHz||SSB||R59 S59 7095 Rod|
|05:49z||VK3PI||7MHz||SSB||R59 S59+10 7095 Mark|
|05:50z||VK3PF/P||7MHz||SSB||R56 S59 7095 Peter|
|05:50z||VK3EK||7MHz||SSB||R58 S59+10 7095 Robbie|
|05:50z||VK2NNN||7MHz||SSB||R58 S59+10 7095 Darren|
|05:51z||VK2YJS||7MHz||SSB||R55 S59+10 7095 Julian|
|05:52z||VK3YN||7MHz||SSB||R57 S59 7095 Mark|
|05:53z||VK5WG||7MHz||SSB||R43 S57 7095|
|05:55z||VK3FPSR||7MHz||SSB||R57 S59 7095 Peter|
|05:56z||VK6MB/3||7MHz||SSB||R59 S57 7095 Mike|
|05:57z||VK4GSF||7MHz||SSB||R57 S59 7095 George|
|05:59z||VK1DI||7MHz||SSB||R59 S59+20 7095 Ian|
|06:07z||VK3CAT/P||7MHz||CW||R559 S559 7032 Tony|
|06:12z||VK3AFW/P||10MHz||SSB||R57 S57 10130 Ron|
|06:20z||VK2DAG||24MHz||SSB||R59 S57 24970 Matt|
|06:21z||VK6NU||24MHz||SSB||R52 S55 24970 John|
|06:45z||WA7JTM||14MHz||CW||R559 S579 14062|
|06:47z||ON4FI||14MHz||CW||R559 S559 14062|
|06:49z||HB9CGA||14MHz||CW||R539 S559 14062|
|06:50z||HA5LV||14MHz||CW||R559 S559 14062|
|06:54z||OK2PDT||14MHz||CW||R339 S559 14062|
|06:57z||DJ5AV||14MHz||CW||R529 S559 14062|
|06:59z||VK5AV||14MHz||CW||R559 S599 14062|
|07:02z||VK5LJ||14MHz||CW||R559 S599 14062|
|07:08z||2W0YYY/P||14MHz||SSB||R41 S51 14322.5 Mike|
|07:15z||VK3WAM/P||7MHz||CW||R559 S559 7032 Wayne|
|07:26z||VK5STU/P||14MHz||SSB||R56 S58 14273 Stuart|
|07:34z||VK5NIG||14MHz||SSB||R59 S59 14347 Nigel|
|07:35z||G0RQL||14MHz||SSB||R33 S55 14347 Don|
- 1st portable CW contact (with VK2UH)
- 1st summit-to-summit on CW (with VK3BYD/P)
- 1st DX summit-to-summit (with 2W0YYY/P)
- 1st CW pileup I’ve ever had to deal with (on 20m)
- 1st Gerard-to-Gerard contact for me on a summit (with VK2JNG/P)
Thanks to all the chasers and activators! It was a lot of fun!