10000 SOTA Chaser Points

VK2IO_SuperSlothWhile activating Mt Tomah on 8/3/2015, a summit-to-summit radio contact with David VK3MAY on Mt Lonarch VK3/VS-013 took my chaser score past 10000 points. It makes me the fourth VK to reach Supersloth status and the first outside VK3. It took 1941 contacts over 480 days or just under 1 year and 4 months to reach this milestone. Curiously, it took exactly the same number of days to go from 5000 to 10000 points as it did to achieve the first 5000 points. The graph below shows the rate at which chaser points accumulated. The rate is pretty steady at just under 21 pts/day.

VK2IO_chaser_graph

What has improved is my ratio of chaser to activator points. At 5000 chaser points my ratio was over 100:1 but now with more focus on activating, the ratio is down to 34 – a lot more respectable!

Thank you to all the activators for making this award possible. I’m still having fun chasing summits and looking forward to the next 10000. Did someone mention SOTA is addictive?

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Mt Banks SOTA activation 8/3/2015

Mt Banks VK2/CT-032 VKFF-041 Blue Mountains NP 1060m 6pts (0459z – 0659z)

Route options to Mt Banks

Route options to Mt Banks

A 10 min drive and 30 min walk from Mt Tomah. Mt Banks is my second closest 6-point summit and the whole of the activation zone is within the Blue Mountains National Park so is attractive for those seeking the VKFF awards. The summit is very prominent above the surroundings.

Getting there

There are two approaches to the summit. The shorter one is along a direct track from the carpark “via ridge” which starts just behind the rock in the photo. The longer one “via road” follows the road shown on the left of the photo for over a km and then a walking track winds its way to the summit via the back of the mountain. Unfortunately, the turnoff to the walking track is not marked and is easy to miss. I went this way last time and found the distance was much longer yet the walk up was just as steep so now recommend the shorter track. In fact the short track was closed for several months due to bushfire damage but it has now been reopened.

Mt Banks

Mt Banks

I set up at the trig point using the marker as a support for the squid pole, the same as last time but paid more attention to orient my antenna NW-SE. This time I did the activation standing up using the raised platform as a table. There had been no new summits activated since leaving Mt Tomah so I was feeling lucky as it had taken 90 mins from closedown there to startup here. A run of 5 S2S on 40m SSB started the activation.

Through the bands

There was less time available so fewer bands were exercised on CW and SSB compared to Mt Tomah. In turn worked through 6m-ssb, 20m-cw, 30m-cw, 40m-cw, 15m-ssb, 20m-ssb, 30m-ssb then 40m-ssb. Again no contacts on 6m-ssb and at this spot on the activation zone there is a clear takeoff in all directions. I also called on 6m-FM just in case. There was no response on 20m-cw but a pleasing number on 30m-cw and 40m-cw. From the summit there was no problem with mobile coverage for spotting and receiving updates from SOTA watch. One spot did escape with a wrong summit code so chasers, please check you have the right one.

SSB

Track viewed from the summit

Track viewed from the summit

On 15m-ssb unexpectedly worked “locals” VK2YK (100km) and VK2LEE (200km). Dropping to 20m-ssb a call from DL1DVE reminded me of the time and that long path to EU was open. Unfortunately, just like at Mt Tomah, no VK6s were worked and I figured there was no-one chasing there today. There were no callers on 30m-ssb either and I expect it was getting a bit late for the regular callers. It was 0630z and 40m was wide open so that was the band where most contacts were made. A bunch more S2S contacts on 40m-ssb kept things interesting.

Ominous clouds approached so the activation was slightly shortened before EU really kicked in. There was no chance to return to 20m to give EU a proper run. It was an hour before sunset and with a half hour walk ahead of me I didn’t fancy getting wet or walking back in the dark. The walk itself is quite picturesque. As it turned out there was no rain until I had driven for about half an hour, but better to be safe than sorry. Also, there was no SOTA spot from EU until an hour after my last contact so nothing was missed. The activation had yielded more S2S contacts than I could have hoped for. It was a fine way to end my 3 summit activations for the SOTA party.

Shack on Mt Banks

Shack on Mt Banks

Trig point at Mt Banks

Trig point at Mt Banks

Equipment

Elecraft KX3 @ 12W into ZS6BKW inverted-Vee doublet at 9m powered by 4200 mAh LiFe battery.

Results
40 contacts (7 CW), 11 S2S (9 uniques), 56 S2S pts.

Thanks to all chasers and activators for another fun SOTA party weekend!

Log

Date:08/Mar/2015 Summit:VK2/CT-032 (Mount Banks) Call Used:VK2IO/P Points: 6 Bonus: 0

Time Call Band Mode Notes
04:59z VK2QR/P 7MHz SSB R59+10 S59+10 Rob VK2/ST-004
05:06z VK3YY/P 7MHz SSB R57 S57 7085 Glenn VK3/VE-204
05:11z VK3FALA/P 7MHz SSB R59+ S57 7110 Peter VK3/VG-090
05:13z VK2BJP/3 7MHz SSB R59 S58 7095 Russ VK2/SM-053
05:32z VK3MAY/P 7MHz SSB R31 S33 7100 David VK3/VC-019
05:35z VK3PF 10MHz CW R559 S589 10116 Peter
05:39z VK3AGQ 10MHz CW R569 S599 10116 Dick
05:41z VK3AFW 10MHz CW R599 S569 10116 Ron
05:49z VK3CAT 7MHz CW R599 S599 7032 Tony
05:55z VK5CZ 7MHz CW R539 S559 7032 Ian
05:56z VK3WE 7MHz CW R599 S579 7032 Rhett
06:00z VK3DBP 7MHz CW R595 S599 7032 Paul
06:05z VK2YK 21MHz SSB R44 S43 21145 Adam
06:17z VK2LEE 21MHz SSB R45 S53 21145 Lee
06:27z VK5NIG/P 14MHz SSB R58 S57 14320 Nigel VK5/SE-013
06:29z DL1DVE 14MHz SSB R55 S57 14320 Thomas
06:33z VK2BJP/P 7MHz SSB R59+10 S59 7085 Russ VK2/SM-065
06:34z VK2TWR/P 7MHz SSB R59 S59 7085 Rod VK2/SM-065
06:39z VK2QR/P 7MHz SSB R59+ S59+10 7090 Rob VK2/ST-008
06:42z VK3FJAT/P 7MHz SSB R58 S58 7095 Jodie VK3/VC-018
06:44z VK3TKK 7MHz SSB R53 S57 7100 Peter
06:49z VK5FLEX/P 7MHz SSB R45 S45 7100 Peter in Murray River CP
06:50z VK1MA 7MHz SSB R59 S59+20 7100 Matt
06:51z VK3LED 7MHz SSB R59 S59+10 7100 Col
06:51z VK1EM 7MHz SSB R55 S59 7100 Mark
06:51z VK1ATP 7MHz SSB R59 S59 7100 Paul
06:52z VK3DAC 7MHz SSB R53 S57 7100 Fred
06:52z VK3FQSO 7MHz SSB R55 S58 7100 Amanda
06:52z VK3CRG 7MHz SSB R58 S59+5 7100 Craig
06:53z VK3FPSR 7MHz SSB R59 S59 7100 Peter
06:54z VK2LX 7MHz SSB R59 S59+20 7100 Grant
06:54z VK5WG 7MHz SSB R55 S57 7100 Nev
06:54z VK3EK 7MHz SSB R58 S59+20 7100 Robbie
06:55z VK5STU 7MHz SSB R58 S58 7100 Stuart
06:56z VK3XL/P 7MHz SSB R58 S58 7100 Mike
06:56z VK5EE 7MHz SSB R57 S57 7100 Tom
06:56z VK2FMIA 7MHz SSB R58 S59 7100 Doug
06:57z VK3KAB/P 7MHz SSB R58 S58 7100 Kevin VK3/VC-018
06:58z VK2MWP/P 7MHz SSB R55 S48 7100 Andrew
06:59z VK2CDS 7MHz SSB R59 S59+10 7100 David

Mt Tomah SOTA activation 8/3/2015

After enjoying all day Saturday at Canoelands for the SOTA party, and with the prospect of more activity on the Sunday, a trip to Mt Tomah with possible follow up at Mt Banks for another day of field activity seemed attractive. Both summits are familiar from previous visits.

Mt Tomah VK2/CT-043 1010m 6pts (2244z – 0346z)

Mt Tomah VK2/CT-043 activation zone

Mt Tomah activation zone

Mt Tomah VK2/CT-043 is my closest 6 point summit and is easy to activate because there is a good road right to the peak. Just like last time, I set up just inside the activation zone in the picnic area at the turnoff from the Bells Line of Road (shown with a blue cross). This is the only open area I’ve found that is devoid of QRM. At the summit itself (shown with a yellow pin) there is a large tower that throws out all sorts of spurii. The fire station (white building 150m south of the blue cross) has an open area but there is a PC there that puts out rubbish on 40m – or at least there was last year. The AZ is very large encompassing several roads and even crosses over the Bells Line of Road so there would be other options for the curious.

QRM

On the day there was lots of QRN and also lots of audible QRM from the road. With several convoys of Harleys going by, earphones were essential. Also, when a dozen Maseratis marshalled themselves nearby with engines running it was quite a distraction. The things you see on a summit!

QRN

My antenna ran parallel to and less than 50m from an overhead powerline and when I first switched on I thought the noise was coming from there. Nup – it was just thunderstorm activity. My “shack” was on the edge of the carpark for the picnic area. The picnic table and BBQ area is poorly maintained and sits right under the powerline so is not useable for radio activities. Also, the only spot to attach a squid pole in the clear is the sign on the edge of the carpark where there’s plenty of height for antennas.

Pre-rollover

Antenna and shack

Antenna and shack

The photos show the shack with a chair. After a couple of hours operating on the groundsheet, the chair was rescued and pressed into service. When I first set up it was summit-to-summit city and there was no time to adorn the shack. All 10 contacts before UTC rollover turned out to be S2S contacts. I spotted on 6m FM and 15m CW but there were no takers. There should be good takeoff to the east towards Sydney so I thought there might be a taken on 6m. The map shows an obstructed takeoff to the SW towards VK1 so this might not be the ideal spot in the AZ for the usual 6m S2S with VK1NAM.

CW

After UTC rollover, proceeded through 17m CW, 20m CW, 30m CW then 40m CW with all yielding contacts except 17m. Unfortunately, the spots I had been putting up had the summit code for the Canoelands activation the previous day. Somehow, the spotting app had recalled the wrong code even though the right one had been entered earlier. Clearly, more thorough checking is needed before pressing “Send”. Anyway, after a re-send of the 30m CW spot, all spots had the right summit code. In between band changes there were more S2S contacts popping up on 40m SSB.

SSB

Shack with seating

Shack with seating

With CW done on all bands it was time for SSB. I spotted on 20m and made 2 contacts into VK5. There was a report of nothing heard from VK6 and after the success the previous day I really wanted to work VK6. I spotted and then called on 15m SSB but there were no takers. Next was 30m then 40m. It was very pleasing to make 7 contacts on 30m SSB both near and far – the band was working very well with VK1, VK2, VK3 and VK5 logged.

After exhausting all callers on 40m I thought it was time to move on. The forecast thunderstorm had not eventuated, but after my “last calls” spot went out, I received a spot from Andrew VK1NAM that he would be on in 15 mins. I decided to wait it out – and was very glad to do so. There were more callers for me until Andrew came along and then Marshall VK3MRG came up as well for the final S2S. There was potential for more S2S contacts on the next summit so a quick pack up and I was on my way to Mt Banks.

Equipment

Elecraft KX3 @ 12W into ZS6BKW inverted-Vee doublet at 8m powered by 4200 mAh LiFe battery.

Results
52 contacts (11 CW), 22 S2S (19 uniques), 145 S2S pts.

Log

Date:07/Mar/2015 Summit:VK2/CT-043 (Mt Tomah) Call Used:VK2IO/P Points: 6 Bonus: 0

Time Call Band Mode Notes
22:44z VK2QR/P 7MHz SSB R58 S58 7090 Rob VK2/SW-034
22:53z VK2TWR/P 7MHz SSB R55 S55 7090 Rod VK2/SM-059
22:53z VK2BJP/P 7MHz SSB R55 S55 7090 Russ VK2/SM-059
23:01z VK1DA/2 7MHz CW R579 S559 7027.5 Andrew VK2/ST-040
23:07z VK3YY/P 7MHz SSB R44 S44 7080 Glenn VK3/VE-008
23:12z VK3WAM/P 7MHz CW R569 S549 7032 Wayne VK3/VE-037
23:14z VK3HRA/P 7MHz CW R559 S539 7032 Allen VK3/VE-037
23:15z VK3BYD/P 7MHz CW R559 S539 7032 Warren VK3/VE-037
23:29z VK1DI/2 7MHz SSB R57 S57 7090 Ian VK2/SM-007
23:35z VK1NAM/2 7MHz SSB R58 S57 7085 Andrew VK2/SM-038

Date:08/Mar/2015 Summit:VK2/CT-043 (Mt Tomah) Call Used:VK2IO/P Points: 0 Bonus: 0

Time Call Band Mode Notes
00:03z VK1DI/2 7MHz SSB R57 S57 7090 Ian VK2/SM-007
00:04z VK1NAM/2 7MHz SSB R58 S57 7085 Andrew VK2/SM-038
00:06z VK1DA/2 7MHz SSB R58 S57 7085 Andrew VK2/ST-040
00:08z VK2TWR/P 7MHz SSB R59 S59 7100 Rod VK2/SM-053
00:30z VK4BJS 14MHz CW R339 S529 14062 Brad
00:47z VK3PF 10MHz CW R559 S579 10116 Peter
00:50z VK5AV 10MHz CW R579 S559 10116 Tim
00:55z VK2YW 10MHz CW R569 S569 10116 John
00:59z VK3MRG/P 7MHz SSB R51 S44 7095 Marshall VK3/VN-027
01:01z VK2QR/1 7MHz SSB R59 S59+5 7100 Rob VK1/AC-008
01:11z VK2CTN 7MHz CW R599 S599
01:24z VK5NIG 14MHz SSB R35 S57 14320 Nigel
01:34z VK5EE 14MHz SSB R57 S57 14320 Tom
02:00z VK1MA 10MHz SSB R55 S59 10130 Matt
02:06z VK3YY/P 10MHz SSB R55 S31 10130 Glenn VK3/VE-073
02:07z VK2GAZ 10MHz SSB R54 S55 10130 Garry
02:08z VK3WE 10MHz SSB R55 S55 10130 Rhett
02:14z VK3DBP 10MHz SSB R55 S45 10130 Paul
02:17z VK3YAR 10MHz SSB R53 S57 10130 Ray
02:24z VK5WG 10MHz SSB R55 S44 10130 Nev
02:47z VK3ANL/P 7MHz SSB R45 S45 7085 Nick in Taranbulda NP
02:50z VK2YK 7MHz SSB R59 S59+5 7085 Adam
02:52z VK3EK 7MHz SSB R57 S59 7085 Robbie
02:53z VK3FQSO 7MHz SSB R43 S44 7085 Amanda
02:58z VK3CAT 7MHz CW R229 S339 7085 Tony
02:59z VK3XL/P 7MHz SSB R54 S55 7085 Mike in Paradise Beach
03:00z VK3DAC 7MHz SSB R33 S43 7085 Fred
03:04z VK3LED 7MHz SSB R32 S45 7085 Col
03:05z VK1ATP 7MHz SSB R57 S46 7085 Paul
03:06z VK3TCX 7MHz SSB R52 S58 7085 Ian
03:07z VK2FGJW/M 7MHz SSB R44 S57 7085 Greg
03:11z VK3MAY/P 7MHz SSB R41 S33 7085 David VK3/VS-013
03:15z VK2QR/P 7MHz SSB R59 S59 7100 Rob VK2/ST-005
03:19z VK2LX 7MHz SSB R59 S59+5 7085 Grant
03:20z VK1MBE/P 7MHz SSB R56 S58 7085 Andrew VK1/AC-037
03:23z VK2AFA 7MHz SSB R58 S59+10 7085 Sam
03:32z VK1NAM/2 7MHz SSB R58 S56 7090 Andrew VK2/SM-036
03:34z VK2VKB 7MHz SSB R59 S59+10 7085 Kevin
03:41z VK3TCX/M 7MHz SSB R52 S43 7085 Ian
03:43z VK2FNLR/M 7MHz SSB R57 S55 7085 Neil
03:44z VK2NNN 7MHz SSB R59 S59+5 7085 Darrin
03:46z VK3MRG/P 7MHz SSB R51 S44 7095 Marshall VK3/VN-030