Canoelands VK2/SY-001 activation 26/04/2014

Inspiration

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!

Goals

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.

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!

APRS map for Canoelands activation

APRS map for Canoelands activation

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.

Operation

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.

Canoelands ready-made operating position

Canoelands ready-made operating position

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 logging station

The logging station

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.

Log

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

Complete Log

Date:26/Apr/2014 Summit:VK2/SY-001 (Canoelands) Call Used:VK2IO/P Points: 1 Bonus: 0

Time Call Band Mode Notes
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

 Highlights

  • 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!

 

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