Mt Royal NP for Field Day and SOTA 19-20 Mar 2016

A triple-header for the weekend with the John Moyle Memorial Field Day contest, WWFF at Mt Royal National Park VKFF-0362 and SOTA from two summits within the park.

VK2/HU-024 810m 4pts QF57PS in Mt Royal NP VKFF-0362

Headed first to the VK2/HU-024 summit which is just outside the southern edge of the park by a matter of metres. The activation zone to the NE is well within the park and happens to lie along Mt Royal Rd and conveniently there is a cleared space to the side of the road suitable for camping and operating from. Note that not all maps show the correct location of the park boundary or of Mt Royal Rd near the summit. SIX maps and the OzTopo GPS map V7 are OK. I activated from (-32.24473,151.28366) marked on the map with a red “X”. The park boundary and the location of the summit are also shown. There would be an elevation difference of a few metres at most between the summit and the activated location.160319VK2HU-024map

The John Moyle is a 24 hour contest starting at 0100z (noon). I arrived at about 12:45pm and walked around the area with my GPS to find the summit and check for the exact park boundary. Once confirmed I started setting up. Weather was warm with clear blue skies and no wind so a perfect day to be out and activating. A 3m metal pole at the side of the road provided a perfect mount for lashing my squid pole. I was able to raise up the base of my squid pole by 1.5m to increase the effective height of the antenna. First contact in the log was at 1:12pm, a S2S with Tony VK1VIC at Mt Ginini. Normally I use a paper log but for contests I just about always use a computer, and so it was for this contest. Well over an hour was spent working through the stations on 40m SSB and then there was a spell on CW. 40 minutes there netted 9 contacts so the pace was leisurely. I used my KX3 and had it wound up to the full 15W output. Antenna was the usual ZS6BKW inverted-Vee with the apex at nearly 10m off the ground and oriented NW-SE. To obtain this orientation, the antenna crossed the road, but with the lowest point being at about 8m it wasn’t going to be a traffic hazard!

A new three hour block had started so I could rework stations again so back to 40m SSB starting out with 3 S2S contacts. Then hunting and pecking through all the stations calling CQ for half an hour then started calling on my own frequency. The band was pretty crowded but there were still slots available. This kept me busy for another half an hour before it was time to give 20m a go. It was pretty quiet on there with only 2 stations calling from VK6. Maybe I had missed all the action. So back to 40m with the odd listen on 80m. A car full of locals stopped for a chat and find out what I was up to. The road does not go through anywhere so there was less than one car per hour going past. I mentioned my intention to scale Mt Royal and was warned about the presence of tiger snakes.

Nearing 7pm I decided to have a break from contesting and set up the tent. This was pitched next to the metal pole as the amount of free antenna feedline was limited. My operating chair was moved inside the tent and used as an operating table. After a 40 minute break I was making contacts again – still on 40m SSB. After less than 15 minutes I switched to 80m SSB where there was a lot more action. I was able to work stations in VK1, VK2, VK3 and VK4 mainly by calling CQ.


Antenna at VK2/HU-024

Operating from inside the tent was very nice as it kept off the cool breeze, and it really did cool down quite a lot after sunset. The evening was spent operating on 80m and 40m. There was a dearth of stations on CW, just weak rapid fire stations operating in another contest. I was surprised at the lack of activity. I was keen to make a 6m contact as there had been no response to earlier calls. I made a contact with the Blue Mountains radio club station VK2HZ on 80m and asked them to try 6m. They said their 6m operators were in bed – it was only 10:15pm. Still, they were happy to try for a contact on their wire antenna. Unfortunately it was a no-go as they were only just audible to me and I had a fraction of their transmitter power. it would have to be left until morning.


Night time shack at VK2/HU-024

There were still plenty of stations about on 80m and a few on 40m so I kept going. Conscious of my plans for Sunday I decided to turn in at 12:45am when things became a bit quiet on the bands. It was now just CQ callers that I had worked before so a good time to cut it short. I would need all my strength and alertness for Mt Royal!

In the morning I awoke to find it already quite light. My beanie had slipped over my eyes and kept things dark and the lack of light had allowed me to sleep more than expected. It was after 7am and weather was still nice, though overcast and a little crisp. I was back on the radio at 7:45am for a short stint until 8:30am. I was able to find VK2HZ again on 80m and arrange for a 6m contact with their VHF team. This time it was successful over a distance of 183km as they were using a beam rather than a wire antenna. I also was able to just hear a station in Bathurst, but they weren’t able to hear me. The other contacts I made in the morning were on 40m and I found 80m full of ragchewers and nets.

Mt Royal VK2/HU-007 1174m 6pts QF57PT in Mt Royal NP VKFF-0362

Packing up the camp site, shack and antenna occupied an hour and then it was off to the next summit. Driving up Mt Royal road one passes through the Youngville campground area after 5km at (-32.1995,151.3094). It would make a good base if one wanted to stay a few days and operate from the park. Continuing on 3km one reaches a Y intersection with a picnic area directly ahead at (-32.1823,151.3156). At 850m elevation this is the starting point for the walk to Mt Royal VK2/HU-007. A single sheltered picnic table and a park sign marks this location.

The walk starts immediately behind the picnic table and follows the ridge line all the way to the top. There is not just one clearly defined track but a series of parallel tracks that weave in and out from each other. The gradient is steep most of the way, around 2 in 5 so it is not for the faint hearted or infirm. The elevation is 320m over 2km so its a good idea to take breaks along the way. I did not need to climb very far before entering low cloud though the visibility was still fine for following the trail. There are various rock piles along the way providing reassurance that you’re on the right track. Just after half way up there is a rocky outcrop and while it would appear attractive to skirt around it, the best way is to scramble up over it. Further up after an open area one comes to a wall of foliage with seemingly no way to get through. There is a track on the right side to duck and weave around the trees which seemed to be the best approach. I only discovered this on the way back!

The rest of the way up has quite a dense wooden canopy with some sections having very little headroom. Near the top there is a faux summit that one can skirt around to the left. One must keep going past here another few hundred metres to reach the destination. The summit holds a trig station with Royal stamped in the vane and is covered with tall spindly trees. The tracks around the trig point are quite well trodden probably due to the presence of a geocache nearby. On the trig point cairn there is a log book with a large rock sitting on it providing little in the way of disguise.


Station at Mt Royal VK2/HU-007

The tree cover near the trig point is quite low so rather than set up on the trig point itself, I set up my squid pole attached to a tree nearby. The antenna wire was woven around some trees and branches and with the dropoff the ends of the antenna were only about 2m off the ground. The usual ZS6BKW was used on the 8m squid pole with the antenna apex at about 7m off the deck. It had taken 1.5 hours to reach the summit and set up so there was still half an hour left until the close of the John Moyle contest at 12 noon. Again I concentrated on 40m SSB and in the time available I was able to snag 8 more contacts. At that point the computer log was closed off and I reverted to the paper log.

At contest end I was able to start spotting on SOTAwatch and the first was for 40m CW. Conditions were certainly poor as there were only 2 contacts. After 3 summit-to-summits on SSB I went to 30m CW and made 2 more contacts, one of those being a S2S with Ron VK3AFW. Then I went through 20m CW with no contacts then chased JL1NIE unsuccessfully on 15m CW. On 20m SSB I did make four contacts. There was a successful S2S with JF1NDT/1 on 12m CW then on 15m SSB one contact with a JA and nothing on 30m SSB. Finally I ended up on 40m SSB for a bunch of contacts including two CW contacts on 7090, one a S2S with Tony VK3CAT.


Shack at Mt Royal with PC for contest logging

Once the callers ran out I stayed around for a bit on the summit before packing up and departing about 3pm. Mobile coverage on the summit was pretty good on the Telstra network though there were dropouts. For example, I missed a spot from VK2QR by 15 mins and so did not get the S2S. The signal was up to 3 bars on the phone if positioned in a certain spot, but at other times there was no data. Sitting it just off the ground the signal was coming and going.


View looking west just down from the Mt Royal summit

The return journey was a lot quicker than the climb as the better tracks to take were more obvious and there was a lot less huffing and puffing. I did not need to descend very far before the cloud cleared allowing some visibility of the valleys below. It would certainly be a spectacular spot on a clear day.


  • 2 SOTA summits and 1 park qualified
  • 242 contacts including 20 CW contacts
  • 21 park-to-park contacts
  • 15 summit-to-summit contacts
  • no tiger snakes!


Mt Solitary activation 30 Dec 2015

The SOTA peak at Mt Solitary VK2/CT-056 in the Blue Mountains National Park VKFF-0041 had been on my to-do list most of 2015. I’d resolved not to attempt it in winter to ensure adequate daylight and to make it a comfortable climb. Last time (and first time) I did this walk I ended up having to walk back in the dark which was “different” but not as much fun. I’d hoped to tackle this one with Phil VK2JDL, but as it turned out he was busy on the last possible day of the year it could be done.


Walking path to Mt Solitary starting at the Golden Staircase

The starting point for the walk is at the top of the Golden Staircase (-33.734348, 150.28237) at elevation 958m which can be found on Glen Raphael Drive along Narrow Neck just west of Katoomba. Descend the Golden Staircase (about 800m) passing Botleys Lookout until the Federal Pass circuit track is reached. Turn right (south) and gently descend by 300m elevation reaching the 4.3km mark. From then on it is an ascent of 300m over 1.8km including a lot of hard climbing and scrambling to reach the summit (-33.7797, 150.3079) QF56DF at elevation 960m. I budgeted two to two and a half hours to do the 6.1km walk, but walking quickly without stopping to take any photos it took one and a half hours. The National Parks site provides all route details and it is also well covered on Wild Walks. The alternative and longer route is to start at Scenic World, descend the Furber Steps and join the Federal Pass circuit there. It adds another 3 km onto the trip. Some of that can be saved by descending using the Scenic Railway instead of the Furber Steps. Details of this alternative can also be found on Wild Walks.


Elevation profile from Golden Staircase (958m) to Mt Solitary (960m) with minimum elevation of 658m

The summit itself is quite a flat area covered with tall trees. This gives a large activation zone and there are plenty of places to put up an antenna. The main consideration is making sure it is clear overhead so that the antenna wire is not obstructed. I found a convenient stump to use as a support for the squid pole. Knowing the difficulty of the walk, I brought along a lightweight 8m pole and removed all extraneous items from my backpack. The pole was able to be inserted into a pocket on the backpack so I had both hands free – and this turned out to be essential during the climb. Conveniently, I had arrived and set up 15 minutes before UTC rollover whereas my alert was for thirty minutes past. There were SOTA stations already active so plenty of scope for summit-to-summit contacts.

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The first object was to work all the activators and I managed four before rollover – all on 40m. Then after rollover hunted for the same activators again. I was calling VK3HRA on his spotted frequency 7032 CW when Nick VK2AOH called me. Somehow I had missed Allen. A whole bunch of activators were spotting on 10m so I went there to look for them. I did manage one S2S with Andrew VK1AD at Mt Taylor in Canberra. All the other summits were too far for ground wave and too close for sky wave. Then I put my first spot up on 10m SSB and that attracted a couple of contacts in VK5, one in VK4 and one in Sydney from VK2BEN. After an hour on 10m I spotted on 6m SSB and attracted 2 stations from Sydney – Cliff VK2NP and VK2BEN again. I had heard Andrew VK1AD work a VK4 at good strength on 6m but Andrew’s signal faded quickly. Unfortunately I was not able to work the VK4. During some free time I put up a “selfie” of my activation on social media. This attracted a certain amount of attention and comment and made for a talking point during contacts. At some stage I’d like to try sending pictures via SSTV from the summit as thus far I’ve only received SSTV from summits in the shack.


Shack and operator on Mt Solitary

After 20 minutes a spot came up on 40m so I abandoned 6m and chased a bunch of activators (VK3MCD, VK2QR, VK1VIC, VK3VTH). I spotted on 10m SSB again and started calling then a spot came up for Greg VK2GSB at VK2/HU-094 who was doing his first activation near Port Stephens in Myall Lakes NP. I was the first contact in his log and it must have been a surprise as it was a summit-to-summit as well as a park-to-park contact.

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Back on 10m I made a bunch more contacts over the next hour with the occasional excursion to other bands to work other summit stations. 10m was in good shape as I was able to make contact with chasers in Melbourne at good strength. This represented quite short skip conditions on this band. Next was a go at 10m CW and this was rewarded with 3 contacts from Melbourne stations with excellent reports.

After half an hour on 10m CW it was late enough to give 40m CW a try too and five contacts were made. Then I moved to 40m SSB and filled a page full of contacts over the next hour. This included two S2S contacts. The sun had moved around and now my spot under the trees was in full sun so the shack was relocated a few metres for complete shade.

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With one hour to go to my planned departure time of 6pm I went back to 10m SSB and started calling there. One contact was made with VK2FJPR in Newcastle who I had worked on 40m and mentioned a possibility of 10m. He was pretty surprised to be able to make a contact and we exchanged 5×3 reports both ways. The good propagation to Melbourne had gone and no other 10m contacts were made. I contacted Rod VK2TWR to try for a 6m contact, but he wasn’t able to hear me so we made it on 40m instead.

A spot by Lewis VK6FLEW on 40m attracted a QSY, but Lewis was operating on 7.144 and the afternoon net on 7.146 prevented any copy. It was then time to close down after operating for 7 hours. My 4200 mAh battery was just about exhausted and the KX3 kept switching off. It was a longer activation than expected and I was restless to complete the return journey. Last time I had done it mostly in the dark and had not planned to do that again this time, after all I had photos to take! One of the concessions when reducing weight was to eliminate cameras from my backpack. The DSLR weighs around 3kg and had to go. I even rejected the compact camera with the intention of relying on the rarely used mobile phone camera. That’s the mark of a lightweight activation!


One of the many camp sites along the Federal Pass

My Android-based mobile phone has an aftermarket high capacity battery, but before I started the return walk it was down to around 30% capacity. During the day I was running RRT, ParksnPeaks and Port-a-Log apps at various times, and usually multiple simultaneously. This no doubt would have required additional internet traffic (and therefore battery consumption). Luckily mobile phone coverage was good with few dropouts. For the first time on an activation I had used RunKeeper to record my progress on the walk so the GPS was running during this time. On the return walk I also used RunKeeper and so was able to obtain an elevation profile for the day’s outing.


Glimpse of the Three Sisters through the trees

The return walk was a lot more difficult than the morning walk even though I had had plenty of recovery time. I doubt the endorphins were flowing like they are when you’re striving to reach a summit. Luckily I had plenty of rests to take photos. Descending from Mt Solitary I ran into some people who were about to launch a toy drone. As I continued further the drone appeared in the skies above along with the characteristic buzz. It seemed to follow me for quite a way and my thoughts were that the country was quite inhospitable in the event that a drone recovery was required, though it seems that was not necessary. I had bypassed the sidetrip to the “Ruined Castle” on the way in and did the same on the way out. Its another steep climb and would add time to the trip.

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The most difficult part of the trip was the return climb up The Golden Staircase. The track is well formed unlike the last section up Mt Solitary, but it is so steep with metal railings and for such a long distance that it is pretty difficult at the end of a long day with not much left in the tank. There are some nice glimpses of the Three Sisters along the way, especially from Botleys Lookout near the top.

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I arrived back at the carpark just as the sun was setting so timing was perfect. After taking time to watch the sun go down, take photos and rehydrate, I did some chasing for the EU activators. Even on CW it was not possible to work any of them due to low signal strength so after half an hour I was on my way.


Greeted by a stunning sunset climbing to the top of the Golden Staircase


  • Making it to (and from) the summit
  • Stunning views of the Jamison Valley and the Three Sisters
  • Fabulous sunny weather all day with light breezes
  • 67 contacts on 40m, 30m, 10m, 6m including 9 CW  on 40m, 10m
  • 17 summit-to-summits
  • 13 park-to-parks
  • First documented activation of this summit
  • 18 contacts on 10m/6m including JA DX


  • Elecraft KX3 transceiver
  • One LiFePO4 4200 mAh battery
  • uniHAM UNI-730A CW paddle
  • ZS6BKW inverted-Vee doublet (28m long)
  • 8m lightweight mast
  • Earbuds stereo headphone


Many thanks to the following stations for making contact:

Leg recovery after the walk took a few days.
Will I activate this one again?
You betcha!

Combined Marramarra NP and Canoelands SOTA Activation 26 Sep 2015

Canoelands VK2/SY-001 is a SOTA summit I’ve activated a couple of times, once in 2014 and earlier in 2015. It is my nearest summit though not exactly local. Turns out that while the summit is not actually in Marramarra National Park VKFF-0307, there are three regions within the activation zone that are. The map below shows the regions. The green line identifies the boundaries of the National Park (more-or-less). The non-bluish area containing the yellow VK2/SY-001 pin is the activation zone. The bluish areas are too low to be in the activation zone.

Canoelands activation zone showing Marramarra NP regions

Canoelands VK2/SY-001 SOTA activation zone showing three regions in Marramarra National Park VKFF-0307

Region 1 (-33.505524,151.056584) runs along Canoelands Rd and a thin strip of land is in the park and AZ. A powerline runs almost overhead and parallel with the road making it unwise to activate.

Region 2 (-33.497161,151.067346) lies northwest of the property containing the summit. Extra high tension lines run through the northwest side of the property adjacent to the park. There are no apparent clearings and a moderately steep gradient.

Region 3 (-33.510496,151.055315) has some tracks running through it and is reasonably flat. It is away from power lines. There is access via the Colo Spur Trail off Marra Avenue.

My goal was to activate the park and the summit. Of the 3 options, region 3 seemed the most attractive so this is the one I chose. Driving to the summit I made a right turn onto Marra Avenue rather than continue on to my usual spot a couple of hundred metres from the peak. An out of site car park was found at (-33.51044, 151.05754) by turning right down a track just before the gate to the property bordering the park. From there it is a short walk through the bush to reach the operating zone. I set up on the Colo Spur Trail within 100m of a house at a T-intersection of two trails. A short tree provided support for the squid pole and the antenna wire was run up and down the track roughly NW-SE. There was a slight drizzle and a forecast for showers.

Shack and antenna sited along the Colo Spur Trail

Shack and antenna sited along the Colo Spur Trail

It was 9:30am (2330z) when I made my first contact, pretty much on schedule. Before UTC rollover I made 7 CW contacts on 40m as well as 4 summit-to-summit contacts on various modes and bands. This included one with John VK6NU at Mt Dale VK6/SW-036 on 20m SSB who must have had an early start.

After rollover I worked John again and then a stream of summits. The third contact was with Andrew VK1NAM at Mt Gingera VK1/AC-002 chasing his Mountain Goat status. I’d counted Andrew’s contacts on 40m with me being the second and congratulated him in advance. Turned out that he had already achieved goat status during an unspotted activation on 2m in a contact with Andrew VK1DA. I was then able to congratulate Andrew as a real goat and then work Al VK1RX who was co-activating.

After the stream of S2S contacts, I returned to 40m CW to see if there were any remaining chasers. There were only two, and after a couple more S2S I did a run on 40m SSB notching up 17 contacts in 40 minutes. From then on I did a lot of chasing of S2Ss when not activating another band. I was staying all day on the summit so there was plenty of time to explore. I did 20m CW, 15m CW and 30m CW and worked John VK6NU on each band. 30m SSB was also worked. Attempts on 17m CW and 20m SSB met with no callers.

At around 0400z the QRM suddenly came up, a continuous electrical noise across all bands disrupting the relative calm that I’d enjoyed up ’til then. I put up with it for an hour before deciding that it would hamper chances of working summits in Europe. The noise seemed to be coming from the workshop about 50m away so I knew I had to move. I left the gear and took a walk along the trail to scope out potential new operating points. I also took the GPS with me to check the elevation on the map. I did not want to jump out of the activation zone. A location was found about 200m away and so I returned and closed down the station then moved it and set it up again. The whole process took nearly an hour and it was lucky that there were no new activations during that time.

Second location

New location to avoid local QRM

Second location to avoid local QRM

Setting up again was done in a hurry as a new spot had come up for Al VK1RX and Andrew VK1NAM. They had walked the 7km to Mt Ginger Ale VK1/AC-007 and were doing a quick activation before dropping back to their camp site further back. My antenna was lashed up in a hurry in order to make the S2S contact. Turned out that the antenna was oriented more east-west. The noise had reduced but was not completely eliminated – I was a lot further away from the workshop but closer to the EHT power lines.

Time had marched on. It was now after 4pm or 0600z so I decided to have another go on 40m SSB to take advantage of better band conditions than in the morning stint. I was rewarded with 16 more chaser contacts. and then a spot came up for Andrew VK1DA and Adan VK1FJAW on Baldy Range VK2/ST-008. Calling was disbanded in favour of chasing and they were soon logged. After that a spot for F/HB9BIN at F/VO-033 on 30m came up and I was able to work Juerg with my 10W. He thanked me on SOTAwatch indicating he was using 12W. Many thanks to Juerg! It was my only EU S2S.

Shack at the new location

Shack at the new location

I did a second stint on 20m CW for the DX stations. There were 8 contacts – all from EU except one from Japan. A spot from Peter VK3PF on Mt Useful VK3/VT-016 ended the run. I switched to 40m and found the band alive with RTTY signals all the way from the CW-only segment up to 7090 kHz. The CQ WW RTTY DX Contest was on and there was a lot of activity as 40m had opened to EU as well. I was just able to hear Peter on 7090 under the RTTY and he commented that he had “lost the Forester”. I wasn’t sure quite what that meant but there was too much QRM to enquire further. I went on to work Tony VK3CAT on the same summit. Later on I was shocked to learn that Peter’s car had burnt out in spectacular fashion.

It was 0720z so nearing close down time. I chased Phil OK/G4OBK on 30m but could not hear him very well at all. He was QRPp and there was too much local QRM. Also Sid ZS5AYC was on 20m SSB but nothing was heard there either. A quick pack-up and by 0740z I was walking back to the car, only 5 minutes away. There was still sufficient light to make an easy exit.

Detailed map of sites activated in region 3

Detailed map of sites activated in region 3

A great day out with a very successful activation of the Marramarra park and the Canoelands summit – and the first combined activation. The showers had stayed away and 99 contacts were logged over the 8 hours – 31 being CW. 39 summit-to-summit contacts and one park-to-park were made and the park was qualified for WWFF.
Many thanks to the chasers and other activators!


Date:25/Sep/2015 Summit:VK2/SY-001 (Canoelands) Call Used:VK2IO/P Points: 0 Bonus: 0

Time Call Band Mode Notes
23:30z VK2TWR/P 7MHz SSB VK2/SM-070
23:36z VK3CAT/P 7MHz CW VK3/VC-001
23:38z VK3PF/P 7MHz SSB VK3/VT-026
23:41z VK2YW 7MHz CW
23:43z VK3HRA 7MHz CW
23:45z VK2WG 7MHz CW
23:45z VK7CW 7MHz CW
23:51z VK2NP 7MHz CW
23:52z VK3MEG 7MHz CW
23:54z VK3WE 7MHz CW
23:57z VK6NU/P 14MHz SSB VK6/SW-036

Date:26/Sep/2015 Summit:VK2/SY-001 (Canoelands) Call Used:VK2IO/P Points: 0 Bonus: 0

Time Call Band Mode Notes
00:05z VK6NU/P 14MHz SSB VK6/SW-036
00:06z VK2BJP/3 7MHz SSB VK3/VE-093
00:11z VK1NAM/P 7MHz SSB VK1/AC-002 Andrew now a MG!
00:14z VK1RX/P 7MHz SSB VK1/AC-002
00:15z VK1DA/2 7MHz SSB VK2/ST-005
00:17z VK1FJAW/2 7MHz SSB VK2/ST-005
00:19z VK3PF/P 7MHz SSB VK3/VT-026
00:22z VK3FQSO 7MHz SSB
00:28z VK2HV 7MHz CW
00:30z VK1EM 7MHz CW
00:33z VK3YY/P 7MHz SSB VK3/VE-067
00:40z VK2TWR/P 7MHz SSB VK2/SM-066
00:51z VK2LEE 7MHz SSB
01:01z VK2YK 7MHz SSB
01:02z VK2KTT 7MHz SSB
01:02z VK2NP 7MHz SSB
01:03z VK2JDL 7MHz SSB
01:04z VK3FJOS/P 7MHz SSB
01:05z VK1MA 7MHz SSB
01:06z VK3DAC 7MHz SSB
01:06z VK3YAR 7MHz SSB
01:07z VK3LED 7MHz SSB
01:10z VK3WAM/P 7MHz CW VK3/VN-004
01:11z VK2XXM 7MHz SSB
01:14z VK4FFAB 7MHz SSB
01:15z VK3AV 7MHz SSB
01:18z VK7CW 7MHz SSB
01:19z VK2AJG 7MHz SSB
01:24z VK2FADV 7MHz SSB
01:27z VK1AT 7MHz SSB
01:32z VK3CAT/P 7MHz CW VK3/VT-013
01:42z VK6NU/P 14MHz CW VK6/SW-036
01:55z VK3PF/P 7MHz SSB VK3/VC-001
02:23z VK3YY/P 7MHz SSB VK3/VE-134
02:36z VK3IL/P 7MHz SSB VK3/VT-006
02:53z VK2BJP/3 7MHz SSB VK3/VE-138
02:53z 3D2YJ 21MHz SSB
03:09z VK6NU/P 21MHz CW VK6/SW-036
03:16z VK3CAT/P 7MHz CW VK3/VT-022
03:28z VK3WAM/P 7MHz CW VK3/VN-005
03:34z VK2HRX/P 7MHz SSB VK2/CT-032
03:43z VK3FMPB/P 7MHz SSB VKFF-982
03:48z VK5PAS/P 7MHz SSB
03:52z VK3PF/P 7MHz SSB VK3/VT-013
03:56z VK3YY/P 7MHz SSB VK3/VE-137
04:00z VK2TWR/P 7MHz SSB VK2/SM-071
04:00z VK1DA/2 7MHz SSB VK2/ST-004
04:01z VK1FJAW/2 7MHz SSB VK2/ST-004
04:07z VK4AAC/5 7MHz SSB VKFF-784
04:21z VK7CW 10MHz CW
04:24z VK6NU/P 10MHz CW VK6/SW-036
04:27z ZL2IFB 10MHz CW
04:31z VK1DA/2 7MHz CW VK2/ST-004
04:38z VK5WG 10MHz SSB
04:40z VK4RF 10MHz SSB
04:41z VK4HA 10MHz SSB
05:55z VK1RX/P 7MHz SSB VK1/AC-007
05:56z VK1NAM/P 7MHz SSB VK1/AC-007
06:08z VK3WAM/P 7MHz CW VK3/VN-002
06:20z VK1EM 7MHz SSB
06:22z VK1DI 7MHz SSB
06:25z VK2KT 7MHz SSB
06:26z VK5FANA 7MHz SSB
06:27z VK4RF 7MHz SSB
06:27z VK4HA 7MHz SSB
06:28z VK3ZPF 7MHz SSB
06:29z VK3HRA 7MHz SSB
06:29z VK3AGD 7MHz SSB
06:30z VK3TKK 7MHz SSB
06:31z VK3XCO 7MHz SSB
06:33z VK3XL/QRP 7MHz SSB 2W DSB
06:34z VK3PMG 7MHz SSB
06:35z VK5FMID 7MHz SSB
06:36z VK2ETW 7MHz SSB
06:36z VK1ATP 7MHz SSB
06:37z VK1DA/2 7MHz SSB VK2/ST-008
06:38z VK1FJAW/2 7MHz SSB VK2/ST-008
06:49z F/HB9BIN/P 10MHz CW F/VO-033
06:55z EA2IF 14MHz CW
06:56z DK4RM 14MHz CW
06:58z PA1BR 14MHz CW
07:01z DL1ASF 14MHz CW
07:02z S58AL 14MHz CW
07:03z DM5EE 14MHz CW
07:05z JR0QWW 14MHz CW
07:13z G3NKQ 14MHz CW
07:18z VK3PF/P 7MHz SSB VK3/VT-016
07:19z VK3CAT/P 7MHz CW VK3/VT-016

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.


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


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

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

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


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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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

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


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

All day SOTA activation at Canoelands VK2/SY-001 7/3/2015

On Sat 7th March 2015 I did an all day activation at my closest summit, Canoelands VK2/SY-001 for the weekend SOTA party. This was my second activation of this summit and I operated at the same location as last time even using the same tree as a makeshift table and another trunk as a seat. Actually, one can get a bit sore sitting on a tree trunk all day so next time I’ll take a chair with some padding!

Tree used as the operating point at Canoelands

Tree used as the operating point at Canoelands

The Plan

Being a SOTA party, there were bound to be many activations throughout the day. Staying on the summit all day would allow plenty of summit-to-summit contacts to be made. In between S2S contacts there would be plenty of time to operate on as many bands and modes as possible.

The execution

Arrived at the summit well before UTC rollover and ahead of my alerted time on SOTAwatch. My first contact was a S2S with Anthony VK6MAC on Mt Dale VK6/SW-036 on 20m. Its always great to work VK6! Then I started working through all the alerted bands on CW and followed with all the bands on SSB. Any time a summit spot was received I switched to chaser mode to make the summit-to-summit contact. Before rollover, 40m was open to VK5 so band conditions were good.


Shack at Canoelands

Shack at Canoelands

There was a run of 11 consecutive S2S contacts around UTC rollover, 5 on CW and 6 on SSB after which I continued on 40m CW. After another half hour there was another run of summit activations, mostly SSB including a 10m contact with Phil VK6ADF on Mt Stoney VK6/SW-061. Then I tried 20m CW but strangely couldn’t raise anyone. Then onto 6m SSB and I received a call from Compton VK2HRX but he could not hear me. I wasn’t sure whether he was in SSB or FM mode so tried both. Tried 17m CW and SSB but could not raise anyone there – maybe there were no VK6s about. Then a spot came in from Kerry VK7PAK doing a first activation of Mt Mangana VK7/SC-017. It was the middle of the day and I didn’t rate my chances as high on 40m over the 1150km path. Kerry was 4×3 but he could only get half my callsign due to local QRM on his summit. He did change frequency but that did not seem to help much. Never mind – it was a good try anyway!

Spotting and Alerting

Continuing through the bands, on 20m SSB I made one contact. The usual haunts at the top end of the band were busy with contest traffic so a clear one was found at the bottom end of the band. Through the day, mobile reception had been a bit patchy and often a data connection would be lost temporarily. For receiving summit activation alerts, the parksnpeaks Android application was being used and Rucksack Radio Tool was used for spotting. There was a stuck spot at the time in RRT that prevented audible announcements (there is a workaround for this using filtering). Both of these apps are excellent (and free) and are highly recommended. Anyway, the patchy coverage meant that spots from Nick VK3ANL and David VK3MAY were not received so they’re the ones that got away. Sorry fellas! During the day I would often tune around the 7090 “SOTA window” for any new summit activity and often find something before it was spotted. One cannot be too reliant on the technology!

30m surprise

Continued the band tour with 30m CW making a couple of contacts into VK3 and then 30m SSB. A run of 11 contacts from stations as near as 80km and as far as 1200km was very pleasing. The band was behaving like 40m at night. Then another stint on 40m CW included a chat with Deane VK4ALN who I know through packet radio. As a seasoned CW op I’m sure he found my 14wpm quite slow. It was certainly good QSO practice for me. Afterwards I went to 40m SSB for a run of 22 contacts with those I had not worked on other bands. 40m was wide open by then as it was after 0600z.

20m and DX

The long path to Europe on 20m had opened up. When I got onto 20m I found an S6 hash had started up. Determined to push on I managed to just work Herbert OE9HRV/P through the noise. i kept listening on 20m but the noise persisted. There were many spots from G summits with signals that were below the noise so I started packing up. The ends of my antenna were hanging down from the squid pole when John VK6NU spotted himself on Mt Randall VK6/SW-039. I quickly repositioned them apart still with the ends dangling on the ground. The antenna tuned and I could hear John calling, and the QRM was now much lower than before. The very sharp V shape of the antenna must have been favourable and I gave John 5×7, the strongest VK6 report of the day.


Elecraft KX3 @ 12W/10W output, ZS6BKW antenna @ 8m, 10m squid pole, 4200 mAh LiFe battery


9 hours on the summit yielded 86 contacts (24 CW), 41 S2S (31 uniques) and 184 S2S pts. Thank you for all the contacts! After a quick pack up, on the drive home I was able to work 2 G summits (1 SSB, 1 CW). If only they had been S2S too! I’m now in search of a QRM-free spot at Canoelands and looking to also be simultaneously located in the Marramarra National Park for VKFF-307.


Date:06/Mar/2015 Summit:VK2/SY-001 (Canoelands) Call Used:VK2IO/P Points: 1 Bonus: 0

Time Call Band Mode Notes
22:54z VK6MAC/P 14MHz SSB R32 S55 14290 Anthony VK6/SW-036
23:05z VK5IS 7MHz CW R559 S559 7032 Ian
23:06z VK2UH 7MHz CW R599 S579 7032 Andrew
23:07z VK2AFA/P 7MHz CW R589 S579 7032 Sam VK2/HU-007
23:10z VK3PF 7MHz CW R559 S559 7032 Peter
23:11z VK3DBP 7MHz CW R529 S579 7032 Paul
23:18z VK5LJ 7MHz CW R559 S559 7032
23:31z VK3CAT/P 7MHz CW R599 S549 7032 Tony VK3/VC-016
23:34z VK3TCX/P 7MHz SSB R57 S55 7095 Ian VK3/VG-029
23:42z VK6MAC/P 14MHz CW R599 S439 14061 Anthony VK6/SW-036
23:58z VK2BJP/3 7MHz SSB R58 S57 7095 Russ VK3/VG-038
23:59z VK2IB/P 7MHz SSB R58 S58 7085 Bernard VK2/SW-015

Date:07/Mar/2015 Summit:VK2/SY-001 (Canoelands) Call Used:VK2IO/P Points: 0 Bonus: 0

Time Call Band Mode Notes
00:07z VK2IB/P 7MHz SSB R56 S57 7085 Bernard VK2/SW-015
00:12z VK2QR/3 7MHz SSB R57 S57 7095 Rob VK3/VG-038
00:20z VK1NAM/2 7MHz SSB R58 S57 7075 Andrew VK2/SM-010
00:24z VK3WAM/P 7MHz CW R559 S559 7032 Wayne VK3/VE-043
00:26z VK3BYD/P 7MHz CW R579 S559 7032 Warren VK3/VE-043
00:31z VK3CAT/P 7MHz CW R549 S549 7028 Tony VK3/VC-016
00:37z VK3JBL 7MHz CW R319 S339 7030 Andrew
00:39z VK2UH 7MHz CW R599 S599 7030 Andrew
00:41z VK5IS 7MHz CW R549 S579 7030 Ian
00:53z VK1RX/2 7MHz SSB R58 S58 7095 Al VK2/ST-042
00:57z VK3PI/P 7MHz SSB R53 S54 7110 Mark VK3/VC-019
01:19z VK3TCX/P 7MHz SSB R57 S53 7095 Ian VK3/VG-006
01:26z VK1MBE/2 7MHz SSB R56 S58 7100 Andrew VK2/IL-001
01:34z VK2AFA/P 7MHz CW R589 S589 7032 Sam VK2/HU-024
01:42z VK6ADF/P 28MHz SSB R51 S52 28485 Phil VK6/SW-061
01:45z VK2QR/3 7MHz SSB R55 S55 7095 Rob VK3/VG-021
01:46z VK2TWR/3 7MHz SSB R55 S55 7095 Rod VK3/VG-021
01:48z VK2BJP/3 7MHz SSB R55 S55 7095 Russ VK3/VG-021
02:49z VK3TCX/P 7MHz SSB R53 S55 7090 Ian VK3/VG-012
02:56z VK2IB/P 7MHz SSB R57 S57 7095 Bernard VK2/SW-021
03:10z VK5WG 14MHz SSB R55 S57 14145 Nev
03:41z VK3CAT/P 7MHz SSB R54 S54 7100 Tony VK3/VT-040
03:46z VK2BJP/3 7MHz SSB R56 S59 7090 Russ VK3/VG-057
03:50z VK3CAT/P 7MHz CW R549 S539 7032 Tony VK3/VT-040
04:05z VK3TCX/P 7MHz SSB R57 S57 7090 Ian VK3/VG-018
04:09z VK3DBP 10MHz CW R59 S599 10116 Paul
04:17z VK1DI/2 7MHz SSB R58 S57 7075 Ian VK2/SM-065
04:21z VK3WAM/P 7MHz CW R579 S569 7032 Wayne VK3/VE-044
04:24z VK3BYD/P 7MHz CW R579 S559 7032 Warren VK3/VE-044
04:26z VK3HRA/P 7MHz CW R559 S559 7032 Allen VK3/VE-044
04:29z VK3PF 10MHz CW R559 S579 10116 Peter
04:58z VK2YK 10MHz SSB R54 S58 10130 Adam
05:03z VK3YAR 10MHz SSB R56 S58 10130 Ray
05:04z VK3YY 10MHz SSB R55 S58 10130 Glenn
05:04z VK3DAC 10MHz SSB R57 S58 10130 Fred
05:05z VK2MT/P 10MHz SSB R51 S56 10130 Rob in Nowra
05:06z VK3LED 10MHz SSB R51 S58 10130 Col
05:07z VK1ATP 10MHz SSB R47 S57 10130 Paul
05:08z VK3DBP 10MHz SSB R57 S57 10130 Paul
05:09z VK5WG 10MHz SSB R55 S56 10130 Nev
05:10z VK3AGD 10MHz SSB R55 S56 10130 Adam
05:11z VK3CG 10MHz SSB R55 S57 10130 Gerard in Melbourne
05:18z VK2QR/3 7MHz SSB R58 S59 7090 Rob VK3/VG-061
05:20z VK2BJP/3 7MHz SSB R58 S59 7090 Russ VK3/VG-061
05:26z VK2MWP 7MHz CW R599 S579 7032 Andrew
05:31z VK2YW 7MHz CW R599 S599 7032 John
05:34z VK3ANL/P 7MHz SSB R56 S56 7100 Nick VK3/VT-046
05:53z VK4ALN 7MHz CW R599 S599 7032 Deane
06:06z VK3FSTU 7MHz SSB R59 S57 7090 Stuart
06:08z VK1NAM/2 7MHz SSB R59 S59 7090 Andrew VK2/SM-053
06:10z VK3FQSO 7MHz SSB R55 S56 7090 Amanda
06:10z VK3BQ 7MHz SSB R55 S59 7090 Andrew
06:12z VK3XY 7MHz SSB R54 S45 7090 Derek in Melbourne
06:16z VK3EK 7MHz SSB R57 S59+10 7090 Rob
06:18z VK3XL/P 7MHz SSB R58 S56 7090 Mike
06:19z VK2FSCT 7MHz SSB R58 S58 7090 Scott in Shellharbour
06:23z VK1MA 7MHz SSB R59 S59+15 7090 Matt
06:24z VK4FFAB 7MHz SSB R58 S59 7090 Rob
06:29z VK5GY/M 7MHz SSB R54 S45 7090
06:30z VK5EE 7MHz SSB R53 S57 7090 Tom
06:31z VK7OR/2 7MHz SSB R58 S59+5 7090 Owen in Shoalhaven
06:32z VK5CZ 7MHz SSB R54 S45 7090 Ian
06:33z VK2FMIA 7MHz SSB R59 S59 7090 Doug
06:34z VK2POP 7MHz SSB R58 S59 7090 Greg in Muswellbrook
06:35z VK4MAD 7MHz SSB R59+ S59 7090 Wayne
06:39z VK3FOWL/M 7MHz SSB R59 S59 7090 Julie in Ballarat
06:41z VK3DET 7MHz SSB R59 S59+5 Ernie
06:42z VK1DI/2 7MHz SSB R59 S58 7090 Ian VK2/SM-053
06:45z VK7PD 7MHz SSB R51 S57 7090 Peter
06:46z VK3GWK 7MHz SSB R57 S59 7090 George in Taralgon
07:10z OE9HRV/P 14MHz SSB R33 S35 14333 Herbert OE/VB-509
07:16z VK5FTRG/P 7MHz SSB R55 S57 7090 Tom VK5/SE-013
07:16z VK5PAS/P 7MHz SSB R55 S57 7090 Paul VK5/SE-013
07:44z VK6NU/P 14MHz SSB R55 S57 14330 John VK6/SW-039

SOTAwatch spots during the activation (in reverse order)

  Sat 07:41

2E0YYY/P on G/SP-013 14.314 ssb
cq. plenty of qrm (Posted by 2E0YYY)

Sat 07:36

VK6NU on VK6/SW-039 14.330 ssb
calling now sri no cw forgot lead (Posted by VK6NU)

Sat 07:35

VK6NU on VK6/SW-039 14.330 ssb
calling now sri no cw forgot lead (Posted by VK6NU)

Sat 07:31

GW4WSB/P on GW/MW-013 144.290 ssb
calling now (Posted by M6WSB)

Sat 07:30

M0IML/P on G/SE-015 14.290 ssb
(Posted by M0IML)

Sat 07:28

VK2IO/P on VK2/SY-001 7.0321 cw
*CQ CQ at 34 wpm. S/N=17 dB at VK3JBL {Via RBNGate} (Posted by KU6J)

Sat 07:27

VK1NAM/2 on VK2/SM-053 14.323 ssb
*qsy here QRM on 14.325 [via SOTA Goat] (Posted by VK1NAM)

Sat 07:26

G4ISJ/P on G/CE-001 14.062 cw
*CQ CQ at 24 wpm. S/N=7 dB at HA6M {Via RBNGate} (Posted by KU6J)

Sat 07:24

M1EYP/P on G/SP-015 14.332 ssb
(Posted by M1EYP)

Sat 07:24

VK1NAM/2 on VK2/SM-053 14.325 ssb
*CQ dx [via SOTA Goat] (Posted by VK1NAM)

Sat 07:15

GM8OEG/P on GM/SS-198 14.310 ssb
no signals at all! (Posted by GM8OEG)

Sat 07:15

M0IML/P on G/SE-015 14.290 ssb
(Posted by M0IML)

Sat 07:14

VK5FTRG on VK5/SE-013 7.090
Calling cq now (Posted by VK5PAS)

Sat 07:06

G4ISJ/P on G/CE-001 7.0326 cw
*CQ CQ at 25 wpm. S/N=13 dB at F6IIT {Via RBNGate} (Posted by KU6J)

Sat 07:03

VK1DI/2 on VK2/SM-053 14.325 ssb
*cq DX. vk1di and vk1nam dual activation [via SOTA Goat] (Posted by VK1NAM)

Sat 07:02

GW2HFR/P on GW/NW-062 14.328 ssb
*qrv dx (via RRT) (Posted by 2W0KGQ)

Sat 07:01

2E0YYY/P on G/SP-013 14.315 ssb
nothing heard yet Mike (Posted by VK3DET)

Sat 06:58

2E0YYY/P on G/SP-013 14.315 ssb
Nothing heard from vk. (Posted by 2E0YYY)

Sat 06:50

VK1NAM/2 on VK2/SM-053 14.325 ssb
*cq dx [via SOTA Goat] (Posted by VK1NAM)

Sat 06:46

2E0YYY/P on G/SP-013 14.315 ssb
cq. looking for dx (Posted by 2E0YYY)

Sat 06:45

OE9HRV/P on OE/VB-509 14.333 ssb
cq vk and s2s (Posted by OE9HRV)

Sat 06:27

VK1DI/2 on VK2/SM-053 7.100 ssb
*Ian and Andrew dual activation [via SOTA Goat] (Posted by VK1NAM)

Sat 06:26

VK2IO on VK2/SY-001 7.0299 cw
*CQ CQ at 14 wpm. S/N=24 dB at VK3JBL {Via RBNGate} (Posted by KU6J)

Sat 06:11

VK1NAM/2 on VK2/SM-053 7.100 ssb
*[via SOTA Goat] (Posted by VK1NAM)

Sat 05:32

VK3ANL on VK3/VT-046 7.100 ssb
Calling CQ (Posted by VK3DAC)

Sat 05:23

VK2IO/P on VK2/SY-001 – [edit] 7.032 cw
*cq cq (via RRT) (Posted by VK2IO)

Sat 05:19

VK2QR/P on VK3/VG-061 7.090 ssb
The group is up again (Posted by VK3PF)

Sat 04:58

VK2IO/P on VK2/SY-001 – [edit] 10.130 ssb
*cq cq (via RRT) (Posted by VK2IO)

Sat 04:57

VK2IO/P on VK2/SY-001 – [edit] 10.130 ssb
*cq cq (via RRT) (Posted by VK2IO)

Sat 04:47

VK3HRA on VK3/VE-044 7.095 ssb
cq. (Posted by VK3BYD)

Sat 04:39

VK1DI/2 on VK2/SM-065 7.075 ssb
Strong into Newcastle (Posted by VK2YK)

Sat 04:31

VK2IO/P on VK2/SY-001 10.116 cw
Gerard calling now (Posted by VK3PF)

Sat 04:16

VK3WAM on VK3/VE-044 7.032 cw
cq (Posted by VK3BYD)

Sat 04:07

VK1DI/2 on VK2/SM-065 7.075 ssb
*cq (via RRT) (Posted by VK1DI)

Sat 04:00

VK2IO/P on VK2/SY-001 – [edit] 10.116 cw
*cq cq (via RRT) (Posted by VK2IO)

Sat 03:59

VK3TCX/P on VK3/VG-018 7.090 ssb
Ian calling now (Posted by VK3PF)

Sat 03:47

VK2IB/P on VK2/SW-021 7.100 ssb
*CQ CQ [via SOTA Goat] (Posted by VK2IB)

Sat 03:43

VK3CAT on VK3/VT-040 7.032 cw
(Posted by VK1DA)

Sat 03:39

VK2TWR/3 on VK3/VG-057 7.090 ssb
Rod & Russ working now (Posted by VK3PF)

Sat 03:37

VK2QR/P3 on VK3/VG-057 7.090 ssb
with others (Posted by VK3MCD)

Sat 03:33

VK3CAT/P on VK3/VT-040 14.0581 cw
*CQ CQ at 15 wpm. S/N=8 dB at ZL2HAM {Via RBNGate} (Posted by KU6J)

Sat 03:31

VK2IB/P on VK2/SW-021 10.120 cw
*CQ CQ [via SOTA Goat] (Posted by VK2IB)

Sat 03:20

VK3OHM/P on VK3/VC-030 144.200 ssb
*Need one more please (via RRT) (Posted by VK3OHM)

Sat 03:17

VK2IB/P on VK2/SW-021 7.030 cw
*CQ CQ [via SOTA Goat] (Posted by VK2IB)

Sat 03:14

VK3MAY/P on VK3/VC-024 7.090 ssb
David QRV now. Mostly Q5 into Wagga with QSB (Posted by VK2YW)

Sat 03:11

VK3ANL/P on VK3/VT-049 7.100 ssb
Nick calling now (Posted by VK3PF)

Sat 03:10

VK3OHM/P on VK3/VE-030 144.200 ssb
Marc needs one more contac to qualify (Posted by VK3MCD)

Sat 03:06

VK2IO/P on VK2/SY-001 – [edit] 14.145 ssb
*cq cq (via RRT) (Posted by VK2IO)

Sat 03:06

VK2IO/P on VK2/SY-001 – [edit] 14.145 ssb
*cq cq (via RRT) (Posted by VK2IO)

Sat 03:05

VK2IO/P on VK2/SY-001 – [edit] 14.145 ssb
*cq cq (via RRT) (Posted by VK2IO)

Sat 03:05

VK2IO/P on VK2/SY-001 – [edit] 14.145 ssb
*cq cq (via RRT) (Posted by VK2IO)

Sat 03:05

VK2IO/P on VK2/SY-001 – [edit] 14.145 ssb
*cq cq (via RRT) (Posted by VK2IO)

Sat 03:03

VK2IB/P on VK2/SW-021 7.095 ssb
QSY (Posted by VK3PF)

Sat 02:58

VK2IB/P on VK2/SW-021 7.085 ssb
*CQ CQ [via SOTA Goat] (Posted by VK2IB)

Sat 02:58

VK3OHM/P on VK3/VC-030 144.200 ssb
*qrv now (via RRT) (Posted by VK3OHM)

Sat 02:45

VK3TCX/P on VK3/VG-012 7.090 ssb
Ian calling now (Posted by VK3PF)

Sat 02:42

VK2IO/P on VK2/SY-001 – [edit] 18.165 ssb
*qrv now (via RRT) (Posted by VK2IO)

Sat 02:25

VK7PAK on VK7/SC-017 7.100 ssb
Calling CQ QSY to 7.100 (Posted by VK3DAC)

Sat 02:23

VK7PAK on VK7/SC-017 7.100
(Posted by VK7HKN)

Sat 02:21

VK2IO/P on VK2/SY-001 – [edit] 18.092 cw
*qrv now (via RRT) (Posted by VK2IO)

Sat 01:58

VK2AFA on VK2/HU-24 7.090 ssb
*cq cq [via SOTA Spotter] (Posted by VK2AFA )

Sat 01:54

VK6ADF on VK6/SW-061 28.485 ssb
*calling CQ (via RRT) (Posted by VK6ADF)

Sat 01:52

VK2TWR on VK3/VG-021 7.095 ssb
55 into the Yarra valley (Posted by VK3DAC)

Sat 01:48

VK2AFA on VK2/HU-024 14.062 cw
56n at Beetaloo (Posted by VK5IS)

Sat 01:41

VK2AFA on VK2/HU-24 14.062 cw
*cq cq 18wpm [via SOTA Spotter] (Posted by VK2AFA )

Sat 01:40

VK2BJP/3 on VK3/VG-021 7.095 ssb
Boys calling now (Posted by VK3PF)

Sat 01:34

VK6ADF on VK6/SW-061 28.485 ssb
*QSY to 10metres (via RRT) (Posted by VK6ADF)

Sat 01:31

VK2IO/P on VK2/SY-001 – [edit] 52.200 ssb
*qrv now (via RRT) (Posted by VK2IO)

Sat 01:28

VK2AFA on VK2/HU-24 7.032 cw
*cq cq 18wpm [via SOTA Spotter] (Posted by VK2AFA )

Sat 01:24

VK1MBE on VK2/IL-001 7.100 ssb
*cq andrew (via RRT) (Posted by VK1MBE)

Sat 01:21

VK6ADF on VK6/SW-061 7.085 ssb
Phil calling CQ (Posted by VK6MB)

Sat 01:14

VK3TCX/P on VK3/VG-006 7.095 ssb
*Cq Cq [via SOTA Goat] (Posted by VK3TCX)

Sat 01:12

VK6MAC/P on VK6/SW-036 28.450 ssb
(Posted by VK6MAC )

Sat 01:10

VK2IO/P on VK2/SY-001 21.0621 cw
*CQ CQ at 13 wpm. S/N=22 dB at ZL2HAM {Via RBNGate} (Posted by KU6J)

Sat 01:04

VK6ADF on VK6/SW-061 7.085 ssb
* (via RRT) (Posted by VK6ADF)

Sat 01:02

VK6MAC/P on VK6/SW-036 7.085 ssb
(Posted by VK6MAC )

Sat 01:01

VK2IO/P on VK2/SY-001 14.0611 cw
*CQ CQ at 15 wpm. S/N=18 dB at ZL2HAM {Via RBNGate} (Posted by KU6J)

Sat 00:51

VK3PI on VK3/VC-019 7.110 ssb
calling CQ (Posted by VK3DAC)

Sat 00:46

VK3CAT/P on VK3/VC-016 14.267 ssb
*cq (via RRT) (Posted by VK3CAT)

Sat 00:46

VK1RX on VK2/ST-042 7.095 ssb
Calling CQ (Posted by VK3DAC)

Sat 00:45

VK3BYD/P on VK3/VE-043 7.032 cw
(Posted by VK3JBL)

Sat 00:39

VK3CAT/P on VK3/VC-016 28.390 ssb
*cq (via RRT) (Posted by VK3CAT)

Sat 00:38

VK1NAM on VK2/SM-010 14.320 ssb
*cq cq [via SOTA Goat] (Posted by VK1NAM)

Sat 00:34

VK2IO/P on VK2/SY-001 – [edit] 7.030 cw
*qrv now (via RRT) (Posted by VK2IO)

Sat 00:34

VK2IB on VK2/SW-015 7.0326 cw
*[via SOTA Goat] (Posted by VK3JBL)

Sat 00:31

VK3CAT/P on VK3/VC-016 14.062 cw
*cq (via RRT) (Posted by VK3CAT)

Sat 00:30

VK6MAC/P on VK6/SW-036 7.085 ssb
Qsy from 15m. contest was killing me (Posted by VK6MAC )

Sat 00:24

VK3CAT/P on VK3/VC-016 7.028 cw
*cq (via RRT) (Posted by VK3CAT)

Sat 00:15

VK1NAM on VK2/SM-010 7.075 ssb
Moved freq. Nice into Newy (Posted by VK2YK)

Sat 00:12

VK3CAT/P on VK3/VC-016 18.090 cw
*cq (via RRT) (Posted by VK3CAT)

Sat 00:12

VK2QR on VK3/VG-038 7.095 ssb
Calling CQ 59 Into YarraValley (Posted by VK3DAC)

Sat 00:10

VK2BJP on VK3/VG-038 7.095 ssb
*qrv with vk2qr & vk2qr (via RRT) (Posted by VK2BJP)

Sat 00:09

VK2QR/3 on VK3/VG-038 7.095 ssb
Nice signal into Newcastle (Posted by VK2YK)

Sat 00:08

VK3CAT/P on VK3/VC-016 10.118 cw
*cq (via RRT) (Posted by VK3CAT)

Sat 00:07

VK1NAM on VK2/SM-010 7.075 ssb
(Posted by VK1MA)

Fri 23:59

VK2IB on VK2/SW-015 7.085 ssb
CQ CQ (Posted by VK3DAC)

Fri 23:59

VK6MAC/P on VK6/SW-036 21.355 ssb
Qsy due to dx station (Posted by VK6MAC )

Fri 23:54

VK6MAC/P on VK6/SW-036 21.350 ssb
Cq (Posted by VK6MAC )

Fri 23:45

VK2AFA on VK2/HU-007 7.032 cw
*qrt heading to next summit [via SOTA Spotter] (Posted by VK2AFA )

Fri 23:36

VK2IO/P on VK2/SY-001 14.061 cw
*CQ CQ at 14 wpm. S/N=16 dB at ZL2HAM {Via RBNGate} (Posted by KU6J)

Fri 23:35

VK3CAT/P on VK3/VC-016 7.032 cw
Tony on air now (Posted by VK3PF)

Fri 23:30

VK2AFA on VK2/HU-007 14.0601 cw
*CQ CQ at 18 wpm. S/N=13 dB at ZL2HAM {Via RBNGate} (Posted by KU6J)

Fri 23:29

VK3TCX on VK3/VG-029 7.095 ssb
Calling CQ Now (Posted by VK3FPSR)

Fri 23:24

VK2IO/P on VK2/SY-001 14.0621 cw
*CQ CQ at 15 wpm. S/N=25 dB at ZL2HAM {Via RBNGate} (Posted by KU6J)

Fri 23:15

VK2AFA/P on VK2/HU-007 7.030 cw
Sam calling now (Posted by VK3PF)

Fri 23:01

VK2IO on VK2/SY-001 7.032 cw
*CQ CQ at 15 wpm. S/N=8 dB at VK3JBL {Via RBNGate} (Posted by KU6J)

Fri 22:43

VK6MAC/P on VK6/SW-036 14.290 ssb
56 into Mt. Gamier (Posted by VK5HCF)

Day-long SOTA activation for New Year 2015

The start of the New Year brings with it the opportunity to revisit summits that had been activated the previous year and gain points from them again. For the changeover to 2015 there were many SOTA activations planned, and with the prospect of so many contacts possible, I joined the throng. For the festive season I was already holidaying with family on the NSW Central Coast and with easy access to Mt Elliot VK2/HU-093 decided to reactivate this summit for the third time for the year rollover. Mt Elliot is a few km NE of Gosford and about 70km N of Sydney.


Antenna and operating point

Antenna and operating point

My last activation of Mt Elliot was in July 2014 and I set up at the same location on the picnic table after doing the walk out of the activation zone along the Graves Walk. I used the 10m squid pole allowing my recently constructed ZS6BKW doublet antenna to be raised to nearly 9m. I have used this antenna on my last 4 activations and it is currently my favourite. For this activation I was aiming to work Compton VK2HRX on VK2/CT-012 on 6m as well as the many activators in VK3 on 40m and some in VK6 on 20m/15m. Compton’s summit was virtually due west from Mt Elliot so I figured orienting the antenna broadside to the south-west would give me the coverage I was looking for. Due to the 28m length of this antenna, the pattern on 6m has many lobes. The evening before I had visited the summit to assess the operating location and direction of the antenna and also the 2m repeaters that were in range.

Everything went to plan. My alert time of 2300z was matched by the first contact at 2259z. There had been many alerts posted on SOTAwatch nominating a 2300z kick-off time with a few posted for half an hour earlier. A few spots had appeared by the time I got started so it was time to hunt for these other summit operators in the hope of catching them all before the UTC rollover. There wasn’t a moment to lose!

Most of my activations I try to start on CW to qualify it and then shift to SSB. Today’s strategy was different – work as many summits as possible regardless of mode. I started going through all the spots on SOTAwatch on 40m SSB. Propagation on 40m was good as I was easily able to work Paul VK5PAS on Mt Bryan VK5/SW-001 over a 1100km path and I was getting into southern VK3 as well. It would turn out to be a good day on the bands.

6m S2S

Within 15 minutes a spot appeared from Compton on 6m so I switched bands and turned up the volume expecting a weak signal over the 111km path. His call jumped out of the speaker and he was a good 5×3. Then I heard Andrew VK1NAM calling from Mt Tumanang VK2/SM-049, a distance of 315km and gave him a 5×2 report. The band was really buzzing. Unfortunately Andrew and Compton couldn’t hear each other, but these contacts were a real highlight for me. Next I wanted to do some CW on 40m. I tried to spot on 7030 kHz as Wayne VK3WAM was busy operating on my alerted frequency of 7032. RRT brought up an error on each attempt even though I had good mobile coverage, however I made three CW contacts without even spotting. By then it had ticked past 2330z so it was back to SSB to work more of the summits that had been spotted. Then another attempt to spot on 7075 kHz SSB but no joy. After several calls and no response I went back to hunting. I was lucky enough to be able to hear Justin VK7TW on Mt Marian VK7/SC-003 on 40m over an 1100km path. Shortly afterwards he was in the log with 3×3 received and 4×2 sent. Conditions were still holding. My last contact for 2014 was with Bob VK5FO on Mt Gawler VK5/SE-013 with 5×5 exchanged both ways. At that stage I had made 20 contacts with all but 2 being S2S. That seems a lot but there were many that I missed.

Rollover to 2015

My first contact for 2015 was with Paul VK5PAS so I certainly couldn’t complain about the conditions. Propagation on 40m was more like it is in winter yet I was basking under clear skies in the middle of summer with temps around 29 degrees. Contacts were being made into locations that are normally off the radar this far north in VK2. VK3EQ came up portable on Mt Wellington in Tasmania VK7/SC-001 for another 1100km path contact. After a bunch of S2S contacts I worked Andrew VK3BQ and he kindly put up a spot for me on 7135 kHz which led to a run of contacts with both summits and chasers. After 20 mins I switched to CW and 7032 was clear so I started calling. The Reverse Beacon Network skimmer at VK4CT heard and spotted me and then a bunch of CW contacts followed. After it went quiet I started looking for another way to spot on my mobile. I found the SOTA Spotter app and managed to get a spot out for 20m CW. This became my spotting app for the rest of the activation. The only disadvantage with it is that all fields are cleared when the spotting page is selected so everything has to be entered from scratch each time. The very big advantage is that the spots get through! (NB: I have since managed to send a spot with RRT)

Getting on for 2 hours after UTC rollover things had quietened down a lot, but there were still enough new activations to keep up the excitement level. Some of the pre-rollover activators were still on their peaks, but a lot had moved on. Anthony VK6MAC had a spot up for 28.510 but I heard nothing from him. I put up a spot on 15m SSB and within minutes Anthony called me for a S2S from Mt Dale VK6/SW-036. He may have been running 100W as he was 5×4 and I received 5×3. He then spotted himself just up the band and I expect made many more contacts. 15m would have been the band of choice for VK2 to VK6 contacts although I didn’t make any more. Later on I did work Nigel VK6NI and Mike VK6MB on 20m, but only received 4×1 reports.

Shack shift

Station on Mt Elliot picnic table

Station on Mt Elliot picnic table

The sun was now streaming down on the picnic table and the radio was getting very hot, not to mention the operator. There was still shade in the grass nearby so I shifted the station down to there. The ribbon cable is a few metres longer than the squid pole so that restricts where one can set up, but that turned out to not be a problem. There was plenty of length so I diverted the slack through a short tree nearby to prevent it from dragging on the ground. I would have to lie on the ground myself for a while, but at least the radio was happier even if I was a bit less comfortable.

6m DX

Hoping for a repeat 6m contact I sent a message to Compton VK2HRX, but unfortunately he had already packed up. I spotted myself on 52.200 but did not attract any chasers so went down to the bottom of the band. On 50.110 I heard Murray ZL3MH calling from Christchurch so went back to him and we shifted to 50.130 for a chat. Bedlam ensued as then many ZLs started calling me, unable to hear each other. I made three contacts into ZL with the best report being from Dave ZL1AKW of 5×7. I now have a better understanding why they call 6m the “magic band”. There were many more contacts possible, but more spots had appeared so I was keen to get back to chasing summit-to-summits on the DC bands. A whole bunch of 40m S2S contacts followed. Another contact was made with Justin VK7TW this time on Trestle Mountain VK7/SC-004. The QRN had come up so there was a storm happening somewhere, but even so the contact was reasonably comfortable.

Home on 7090

I found 7090 kHz was clear so decided to spot there and work anyone who had missed me on 7135 3 hours before. That brought 6 more contacts including some S2Ss. Andrew VK1NAM and Andrew VK1DA had shifted to Mt Cowangerong VK2/ST-001 for their second summit of the day. I would have been up for another try on 6m but it was early afternoon and likely to be poor conditions. I had listened for them and called them after rollover on their previous summit and not heard anything.

30m + 20m + 17m

Operating point on the ground

Operating point on the ground

From then on the S2S contacts kept coming about every 10 mins so I stayed on the peak. At 0500z (3pm) it got a lot quieter so I spotted myself on 30m SSB and logged some more chasers, mainly from VK3 but also worked Stephen VK2RH who was staying nearby. After that I tried 20m SSB and worked VK6NI and VK6MB mentioned earlier. Finally I decided to give 17m SSB a try but there was no response to my calls on that band. By then I had run out of VK6 chasers I reckon.

Wayne VK3WAM had put up an alert for Mt Gordon VK3/VN-027 so I decided I would wait until he appeared before packing up. The weather was still nice and I hadn’t run out of water plus it would be great to get another CW S2S in the log. I had already worked Wayne 3 times on 2 different summits, so good to collect the whole set, so to speak. In the meantime I was content to tune around the bands and listen to some QSOs. True to form Wayne appeared a bit after his alerted time and an easy CW contact on 40m followed. I had been calling CQ on 7032 CW without spotting and Wayne suddenly replied. Great!

Close down

10 mins later I was thinking of packing up and a spot came up from Rob VK2QR and Brian VK3MCD on VK2/SM-036, an unnamed 10 point summit. I was in luck! I worked them both with good reports to end the activation. I packed up everything and then just about to head for the car when another spot appeared. It was Tim VK3MTB on Mt Hoddle VK3/VT-076. It was an easy decision not to set up again for a S2S. I strolled to the car and worked him as a chaser, the last chaser contact for the day.

That was the end of my epic activation of Mt Elliot. Some stats for the curious:

  • Bands used: 40m, 30m, 20m, 17m, 15m, 6m
  • Transmit power used: 12W for first 4 hrs then 10W
  • Modes used: SSB, CW @ 12-15wpm
  • Contacts before rollover: 20
  • Summit-to-summit contacts before rollover: 18
  • Contacts after rollover: 72
  • Summit-to-summit contacts after rollover: 47
  • Total summit-to-summit points: 359
  • Areas worked: VK1,VK2,VK3,VK4,VK5,VK6,VK7,ZL1,ZL2,ZL3
  • Activation duration: 8hrs 14mins
  • Activation points: 1

With the number of S2S points collected, I reached 1000 S2S points so am now a S2S sloth – yippee! My contact with Tony VK3CAT on Mt Mitchell VK3/VN-012 at 0021z took me over the 1000 points. What a fun day at the ‘office’. The ZS6BKW doublet antenna had performed better than expected and the 4200 mAh LiFe battery had lasted the distance.

Thanks to all the chasers and other activators for making this the most successful, frenetic SOTA outing for me so far.


 Date:31/Dec/2014 Summit:VK2/HU-093 (Mt Elliot) Call Used:VK2IO/P Points: 0 Bonus: 0

Time Call Band Mode Notes
22:59z VK3CAT/P 7MHz SSB R57 S57 7155 Tony VK3/VN-012
23:00z VK3MRG/P 7MHz SSB R57 S57 7100 Marshall VK3/VC-029
23:01z VK3ANL/P 7MHz SSB R58 S55 7110 Nick VK3/VC-025
23:04z VK5PAS/P 7MHz SSB R55 S57 7085 Paul VK5/SE-001
23:06z VK3WAM/P 7MHz CW R549 S549 7032 Wayne VK3/VC-001
23:10z VK3BQ/P 7MHz SSB R58 S58 7120 Andrew VK2/SM-053
23:11z VK3ARR/P 7MHz SSB R58 S55 7125 Andrew VK3/VC-002
23:15z VK2HRX/P 50MHz SSB R51 S53 52200 Compton VK2/CT-012
23:17z VK1NAM/P 50MHz SSB R51 S52 52200 Andrew VK2/SM-049
23:17z VK1DA/P 50MHz SSB R51 S52 52200 Andrew VK2/SM-049
23:21z VK4CEU 7MHz CW R439 S569 7030 Dave in Maryborough
23:30z VK5CZ/P 7MHz CW R559 S539 7030 Ian VK5/NE-058
23:31z VK3BYD 7MHz CW R579 S599 7030 Warren
23:33z VK2CPR/3 7MHz SSB R55 S55 7115 Phil VK3/VE-009
23:41z VK1DI/2 7MHz SSB R58 S58 7095 Ian VK2/SM-036
23:43z VK7TW/P 7MHz SSB R33 S42 7090 Justin VK7/SC-003
23:45z VK2IB/P 7MHz CW R589 S589 7027.5 Bernard VK2/RI-004
23:48z VK1MA/P 7MHz SSB R59 S59 7120 Matt VK2/ST-036
23:52z VK3YY/P 7MHz SSB R55 S59 7090 Glenn VK3/VT-040
23:59z VK5FO/P 7MHz SSB R55 S55 7150 Bob VK5/SE-013

Date:01/Jan/2015 Summit:VK2/HU-093 (Mt Elliot) Call Used:VK2IO/P Points: 1 Bonus: 0

Time Call Band Mode Notes
00:03z VK5PAS/P 7MHz SSB R53 S57 7085 Paul VK5/SE-001
00:06z VK3MRG/P 7MHz SSB R56 S56 7100 Marshall VK3/VC-029
00:10z VK3EQ/7 7MHz SSB R44 S43 7090 VK7/SC-001
00:14z VK3EK/P 7MHz SSB R58 S59 7095 Robbie VK3/VG-114
00:17z VK3YY/P 7MHz SSB R52 S56 7105 Glenn VK3/VT-040
00:19z VK3WAM/P 7MHz CW R569 S559 7032 Wayne VK3/VC-001
00:21z VK3CAT/P 10MHz CW R559 S539 10116 Tony VK3/VN-012
00:29z VK2QR/P 7MHz SSB R55 S55 7135 Rob VK2/SW-004
00:30z VK3MCD/2 7MHz SSB R55 S55 7135 Brian VK2/SW-004
00:32z VK1ATP/P 7MHz SSB R53 S53 7125 Paul VK1/AC-026
00:35z VK3PF/P 7MHz SSB R54 S55 7095 Peter VK3/VG-001
00:39z VK1MA/2 7MHz SSB R57 S58 7105 Matt VK2/ST-036
00:43z VK2MWP/P 7MHz SSB R59 S58 7130 Andrew VK2/ST-022
00:44z VK1EM/2 7MHz SSB R59 S58 7130 Mark VK2/ST-022
00:46z VK3BQ/2 7MHz SSB R59 S58 7135 Andrew VK2/SM-053
00:47z VK3ANL/P 7MHz SSB R46 S55 7135 Nick VK3/VC-025
00:48z VK2CDS/P 7MHz SSB R59 S58 7135 David VK2/HU-020
00:51z VK3FPSR 7MHz SSB R57 S58 7135 Peter
00:51z VK3HAD 7MHz SSB R59 S57 7135 Adam
00:53z VK3ARR/P 7MHz SSB R55 S56 7135 Andrew VK3/VC-002
00:53z VK2KTT 7MHz SSB R59 S59 7135 Paul
00:54z VK1DA/2 7MHz SSB R53 S54 7135 Andrew VK2/SM-049
00:54z VK1NAM/2 7MHz SSB R54 S54 7135 Andrew VK2/SM-049
00:55z VK3DAC 7MHz SSB R55 S55 7135 Fred
00:56z VK5IS 7MHz SSB R54 S54 7135 Ian
01:10z VK3BYD 7MHz CW R579 S559 7032 Warren
01:12z VK2YW 7MHz CW R599 S599 7032 John
01:14z VK2CCJ 7MHz CW R579 S599 7032 Cliff
01:16z VK3WE 7MHz CW R579 S579 7032 Rhett
01:32z VK6NU 14MHz CW R519 S539 14062 John
01:42z VK6MAC/P 21MHz SSB R53 S54 21320 Anthony VK6/SW-036
01:46z VK2AOH/P 7MHz CW R559 S559 7025 Nick VK2/CT-008
02:03z VK2TWR/P 7MHz SSB R57 S57 7100 Rod VK2/SM-039
02:05z VK3EK/P 7MHz SSB R58 S57 7095 Robbie VK3/VG-074
02:07z VK2CPR/3 7MHz SSB R55 S55 7115 Phil VK3/VE-078
02:36z ZL3MH 50MHz SSB R53 S54 50130 Murray in Christchurch
02:45z ZL1AKW 50MHz SSB R57 S57 50130 Dave
02:48z ZL2WHO 50MHz SSB R41 S55 50130
02:51z VK3CAT/P 7MHz CW R579 S559 7032 Tony VK3/VN-030
02:55z VK3YY/P 7MHz SSB R55 S55 7090 Glenn VK3/VT-026
03:13z VK3BQ/2 7MHz SSB R57 S57 7095 Andrew VK2/SM-065
03:15z VK1DI/2 7MHz SSB R58 S58 7085 Ian VK2/SM-033
03:22z VK2NAI 7MHz SSB R31 S57 7100 Matt
03:27z VK3ANL/P 7MHz SSB R45 S44 7105 Nick VK3/VC-005
03:34z VK7TW/P 7MHz SSB R33 S33 7080 Justin VK7/SC-004
03:36z VK3PF/P 7MHz SSB R52 S57 7110 Peter VK3/VE-004
03:43z VK2LX/P 7MHz SSB R57 S59 7090 Grant
03:46z VK3AV 7MHz SSB R41 S55 7090 Bernard
03:47z VK3EK/P 7MHz SSB R57 S58 7090 Robbie VK3/VG-074
03:49z VK2YW 7MHz SSB R55 S59 7090 John
03:51z VK2CCJ 7MHz SSB R55 S59 7090 Cliff
03:52z VK1DA/2 7MHz SSB R57 S57 7090 Andrew VK2/ST-001
03:53z VK1NAM/2 7MHz SSB R57 S57 7090 Andrew VK2/ST-001
04:03z VK3MTB/P 7MHz SSB R54 S44 7115 Tim VK3/VT-057
04:15z VK5BJE/3 7MHz SSB R51 S44 7095 John VK3/VC-019
04:24z VK3MCD/2 7MHz SSB R59 S59 7080 Brian VK2/SW-007
04:25z VK2QR/P 7MHz SSB R59 S59 7080 Rob VK2/SW-007
04:44z VK2IB/P 7MHz SSB R57 S47 7075 Bernard VK2/RI-009
04:46z VK3WAM/P 7MHz CW R599 S579 7075 Wayne VK3/VN-029
05:02z VK3CAT/P 7MHz CW R579 S569 7030 Tony VK3/VC-005
05:18z VK3AWG 10MHz SSB R58 S58 10125 Chris
05:21z VK3DAC 10MHz SSB R57 S57 10125 Fred
05:28z VK2RH 10MHz SSB R59 S56 10125 Stephen in McMasters Beach
05:33z VK3WAR 10MHz SSB R56 S59 10125 Craig
05:35z VK3YAR 10MHz SSB R56 S59 10125 Ray
05:39z VK3LED/P 7MHz SSB R31 S45 7090 Col VK3/VN-016
05:43z VK6NI 14MHz SSB R41 S55 14320 Nigel in Denmark
05:50z VK6MB 14MHz SSB R41 S55 14320 Mike
05:55z VK3PF/P 7MHz SSB R55 S58 7100 Peter VK3/VE-007
06:59z VK3WAM/P 7MHz CW R589 S579 7032 Wayne VK3/VN-027
07:12z VK3MCD/2 7MHz SSB R58 S56 7090 Brian VK2/SM-036
07:13z VK2QR/P 7MHz SSB R58 S56 7090 Rob VK2/SM-036

Spots posted on SOTAwatch during the day (in reverse order)

Thu 07:33 VK3MTB on VK3/VT-076 7.090 ssb
(Posted by VK1MA)
Thu 07:30 VK3WAM/P on VK3/VN-027 14.062 cw
thanks first sota 2015 hny (Posted by OM1AX)
Thu 07:26 VK3MCD on VK2/SM-036 14.290 ssb
*[via SOTA Goat] (Posted by VK3MCD)
Thu 07:20 VK3WAM/P on VK3/VN-027 14.062 cw
*Spot[VK3WAM]: cq cq (Posted by SMS)
Thu 07:08 VK3WAM/P on VK3/VN-027 7.031 cw
now here (Posted by VK2IO)
Thu 07:07 VK3MCD on VK2/SM-036 7.090 ssb
*with vk2qr [via SOTA Goat] (Posted by VK3MCD)
Thu 07:07 VK3WAM/P on VK3/VN-027 7.031 cw
*Spot[VK3WAM]: cq cq (Posted by SMS)
Thu 07:01 VK3WAM/P on VK3/VN-027 7.034 cw
on now (Posted by VK3BYD)
Thu 05:57 VK2IO/P on VK2/HU-093 18.150 ssb
*Calling now (Posted by VK2IO)
Thu 05:51 VK3PF/P on VK3/VE-007 7.100 ssb
cq cq now (Posted by VK3PF)
Thu 05:47 VK2IO on VK2/HU-093 14.320 ssb
Still listening but nothing in Manji at moment (Posted by VK6MB)
Thu 05:41 VK2IO/P on VK2/HU-093 14.320 ssb
*Calling now (Posted by VK2IO)
Thu 05:30 VK3LED on VK3/VN-016 7.090 ssb
CQ CQ now (Posted by VK3ZPF)
Thu 05:18 VK3CAT/P on VK3/VC-005 7.030 cw
calling cq (Posted by VK2YW)
Thu 05:17 VK2IO on VK2/HU-093 10.125 ssb
Nothing into Manjimup on 30m HNY (Posted by VK6MB)
Thu 05:12 VK2IO/P on VK2/HU-093 10.125 ssb
*Calling now (Posted by VK2IO)
Thu 05:02 VK2IB on VK2/RI-009 7.085 ssb
Calling CQ Now (Posted by VK3FPSR)
Thu 05:02 VK3ARR on VK3/VC-030 7.090 ssb
Nothing into Manjimup on 40m atm (Posted by VK6MB)
Thu 04:55 VK3ARR on VK3/VC-030 7.090 ssb
Calling CQ Now (Posted by VK3FPSR)
Thu 04:49 VK3WAM/P on VK3/VN-029 7.032 cw
*on now (Posted by VK2IO)
Thu 04:19 VK2QR on VK2/SW-007 7.080 ssb
*with vk3mcd [via SOTA Goat] (Posted by VK3MCD)
Thu 04:17 VK3BQ/P on VK2/SM-065 14.320
4×1 into Denmark WA (Posted by VK6NI)
Thu 04:17 VK1NAM/2 on VK2/ST-001 7.085 ssb
*looking for S2S [via SOTA Goat] (Posted by VK1NAM)
Thu 04:16 VK3BQ on VK2/SM-065 14.320 ssb
Nothing into Manjimup – thanks for trying Andrew (Posted by VK6MB)
Thu 04:12 VK5BJE/3 on VK3/VC-019 7.095 ssb
Good signal (Posted by VK3BLE)
Thu 04:11 VK3BQ on VK2/SM-065 14.320 ssb
*[via SOTA Goat] (Posted by VK3BQ)
Thu 04:02 VK2OAH on VK2/CT-008 14.061 cw
RST 329 into Townsville (Posted by VK4BJS )
Thu 03:57 VK1NAM/2 on VK2/ST-001 7.085 ssb
*cq cq [via SOTA Goat] (Posted by VK1NAM)
Thu 03:57 VK3PF on VK3/VE-004 18.135 ssb
Peter 47 to Manjimup (Posted by VK6MB)
Thu 03:56 VK3MTB on VK3/VT-057 7.115 ssb
Operator : Tim 5/5 into Geelong with QSB (Posted by VK3CRG)
Thu 03:56 VK3PF/P on VK3/VE-004 18.135 ssb
5×2 into Denmark SW WA (Posted by VK6NI)
Thu 03:55 VK7FREU on VK7/SC-004 7.080 ssb
*[via SOTA Goat] (Posted by VK7TW)
Thu 03:51 VK3PF/P on VK3/VE-004 18.135 ssb
cq cq now (Posted by VK3PF)
Thu 03:49 VK2AOH on VK2/CT-008 14.061 cw
Back on air an calling cq (Posted by VK2AOH)
Thu 03:47 VK3PF on VK3/VE-004 7.110 ssb
Nothing into Manjimup on 7110 (Posted by VK6MB)
Thu 03:43 VK3MTD on VK3/VT-057 7.115 ssb
Calling CQ Now (Posted by VK3FPSR)
Thu 03:42 VK2IO/P on VK2/HU-093 7.090 ssb
*cq (Posted by VK2IO)
Thu 03:36 VK1NAM/2 on VK2/ST-001 7.000 ssb
*qrv 15 min (via RRT) (Posted by VK1NAM)
Thu 03:26 VK3PF/P on VK3/VE-004 7.110 ssb
cq cq now (Posted by VK3PF)
Thu 03:25 VK3ANL on VK3/VC-005 7.105 ssb
(Posted by VK3ANL)
Thu 03:24 VK7TW on VK7/SC-004 7.080 ssb
*activating trestle Mtn [via SOTA Goat] (Posted by VK7TW)
Thu 03:17 VK7FREU on VK7/SC-004 146.5 fm
*activating trestle Mtn [via SOTA Goat] (Posted by VK7TW)
Thu 03:14 VK2AOH on VK2/CT-008 14.061 cw
Qrt for a break an move gear out of the sun (Posted by VK2AOH)
Thu 03:14 VK1DI on VK2/SM-033 7.085 ssb
Good signal into Bendigo (Posted by VK3BHR)
Thu 02:49 VK3YY on VK3/VT-026 7.090 ssb
(Posted by VK1MA)
Thu 02:40 VK2TWR on VK2/SM-039 14.320 ssb
Think I heard you in the noise (Posted by VK6MB)
Thu 02:34 VK3PF/P on VK3/VE-004 7.090 ssb
eta 30 min (Posted by VK3PF)
Thu 02:33 VK2AOH on VK2/CT-008 14.061 cw
Calling cq an looking 4 vk6 ops (Posted by VK2AOH)
Thu 02:32 VK3CAT/P on VK3/VN-030 7.032 cw
*CQ CQ at 16 wpm. S/N=8 dB at VK4CT {Via RBNGate} (Posted by KU6J)
Thu 02:30 VK3BQ on VK2/SM-065 7.100 ssb
*eta 30mins [via SOTA Goat] (Posted by VK3BQ)
Thu 02:28 VK2TWR on VK2/SM-039 14.320 ssb
up in minute (Posted by VK1MA)
Thu 02:24 VK2IO/P on VK2/HU-093 52.200 ssb
*Calling now (Posted by VK2IO)
Thu 02:23 VK2TWR on VK2/SM-039 10.130 ssb
Veryweak into Manjimup on 30m HNY (Posted by VK6MB)
Thu 02:21 VK2TWR on VK2/SM-039 10.130 ssb
(Posted by VK1MA)
Thu 02:04 VK3EK/P on VK3/VG-074 7.095 ssb
(Posted by VK3WE)
Thu 02:02 VK2CPR on VK3/VE-078 7.115 ssb
Moved to another obscure site calling now (Posted by VK2CPR)
Thu 01:57 VK6MAC on VK6/SW-036 21.325 ssb
Qrt… The sun is nasty! (Posted by VK6MAC )
Thu 01:55 VK1MA on VK2/ST-036 21.300 ssb
(Posted by VK1MA)
Thu 01:53 VK2TWR on VK2/SM-039 7.100 ssb
Calling CQ Now (Posted by VK3FPSR)
Thu 01:51 VK6MAC on VK6/SW-036 21.325 ssb
Good Sig into Coffs Harbour (Posted by VK2KTT)
Thu 01:44 VK2IO on VK2/HU-093 21.320 ssb
Cud hear you, then QSB (Posted by VK6MB)
Thu 01:44 VK6MAC on VK6/SW-036 21.325 ssb
Correct freq (Posted by VK6MAC )
Thu 01:43 VK1MA on VK2/ST-036 24.970 ssb
(Posted by VK1MA)
Thu 01:43 VK6MAC on VK6/SW-036 21.350 ssb
Looking for S2S (Posted by VK6MAC )
Thu 01:42 VK2AOH on VK2/CT-008 7.025 cw
Calling cq (Posted by VK2AOH)
Thu 01:39 VK2IO/P on VK2/HU-093 21.320 ssb
*Calling now (for VK6) (Posted by VK2IO)
Thu 01:38 VK1DA/2 on VK2/SM-049 7.095 ssb
*[via SOTA Goat] (Posted by VK1NAM)
Thu 01:37 VK1MA on VK2/ST-036 28.475 ssb
No signals from VK1/2 in VK6 on 10 metres (Posted by VK6NU)
Thu 01:35 VK1MA on VK2/ST-036 28.475 ssb
(Posted by VK1MA)
Thu 01:32 VK1DA/2 on VK2/SM-049 28.510 ssb
*[via SOTA Goat] (Posted by VK1NAM)
Thu 01:28 VK2CDS on VK2/HU-020 7.105 ssb
Thu 01:28 VK2IO/P on VK2/HU-093 14.062 cw
*Calling now (Posted by VK2IO)
Thu 01:23 VK1DA/2 on VK2/SM-049 14.325 ssb
*CQ vk6 [via SOTA Goat] (Posted by VK1NAM)
Thu 01:21 VK1MA on VK2/ST-036 14.305 ssb
looking for VK6 (Posted by VK1MA)
Thu 01:20 VK2CDS on VK2/HU-020 7.105 ssb
Calling CQ Now (Posted by VK3FPSR)
Thu 01:19 VK5PAS on VK5/SE-001 14.315 ssb
59+ into Scone- thanks Paul .. (Posted by VK2LEE)
Thu 01:19 VK5CZ on VK5/NE-058 52.200 ssb
qrt now mni tnx nice dx (Posted by VK5CZ)
Thu 01:18 VK3BQ on VK2/SM-053 14.310 ssb
*[via SOTA Goat] (Posted by VK3BQ)
Thu 01:15 VK6MAC/P on VK6/SW-036 28.510 ssb
Here for 20min (Posted by VK6MAC )
Thu 01:11 VK5CZ on VK5/NE-058 52.200 ssb
qrv now (Posted by VK5CZ)
Thu 01:08 VK2IO/P on VK2/HU-093 7.032 cw
*CQ CQ at 15 wpm. S/N=16 dB at VK4CT {Via RBNGate} (Posted by KU6J)
Thu 01:00 VK6QS/P on VK6/SW-001 14.320 ssb
5×5 into Denmark (Posted by VK6NI)
Thu 00:58 VK1NAM/2 on VK2/SM-049 52.200 ssb
*CQ cq [via SOTA Goat] (Posted by VK1NAM)
Thu 00:53 VK3ARR on VK3/VC-002 7.145 ssb
cq cq (Posted by VK3ARR)
Thu 00:52 VK5PAS/P on VK5/SE-001 14.315 ssb
Looking VK6 for any S2S contacts Big Signal (Posted by VK6NU)
Thu 00:51 VK5FO on VK5/SE-013 52.200 ssb
*be here for 10 minutes (via RRT) (Posted by VK5FO)
Thu 00:50 VK3BQ on VK2/SM-053 7.10000 ssb
*[via SOTA Goat] (Posted by VK3BQ)
Thu 00:47 VK2IO/P on VK2/HU-093 7.135 ssb
*[via SOTA Goat] (Posted by VK3BQ)
Thu 00:47 VK1NAM/2 on VK2/SM-049 7.170 ssb
*CQ cq [via SOTA Goat] (Posted by VK1NAM)
Thu 00:38 VK3PF/P on VK3/VG-001 7.095 ssb
cq cq now (Posted by VK3PF)
Thu 00:37 VK2MWP on VK2/ST-022 7.130 ssb
*calling cq (via RRT) (Posted by VK1EM)
Thu 00:37 VK5CZ on VK5/NE-058 7.03 cw
*CQ CQ at 17 wpm. S/N=11 dB at VK4CT {Via RBNGate} (Posted by KU6J)
Thu 00:34 VK5FO on VK5/SE-013 14.320 ssb
* (via RRT) (Posted by VK5FO)
Thu 00:33 VK6MAC on VK6/SW-036 28.510 ssb
Anthony is running 100W to try for DX (Posted by VK6WAM)
Thu 00:32 VK1DI/2 on VK2/SM-036 14.310 ssb
Getting stronger Ian (Posted by VK6MB)
Thu 00:31 VK3CAT/P on VK3/VN-012 14.058 cw
(Posted by VK3CAT)
Thu 00:31 VK1ATP/P on VK1/AC-041 7.125 ssb
* (via RRT) (Posted by VK1ATP)
Thu 00:27 VK1DI/2 on VK2/SM-036 14.310 ssb
*cq (via RRT) (Posted by VK1DI)
Thu 00:25 VK6MAC on VK6/SW-036 28.510 ssb
CQ on 10m (Posted by VK6MAC )
Thu 00:25 VK1NAM/2 on VK2/SM-049 7.170 ssb
*cq cq [via SOTA Goat] (Posted by VK1NAM)
Thu 00:22 VK5CZ on VK5/NE-058 7.075 ssb
premt txt (Posted by VK5CZ)
Thu 00:20 VK5PAS on VK5/SE-001 7.085 ssb
You are still in there Paul, waiting on QSB 🙂 (Posted by VK6MB)
Thu 00:19 VK3CAT/P on VK3/VN-013 10.116 cw
(Posted by VK3CAT)
Thu 00:17 GW8RAK/P on GW/NW-044 145.500 fm
calling now (Posted by G6ODU)
Thu 00:14 VK5CZ on VK5/NE-058 7.050 ssb
qrv now (Posted by VK5CZ)
Thu 00:12 KE5AKL on W5N/SI-001 7.039 cw
*CQ CQ at 25 wpm. S/N=6 dB at AA4VV {Via RBNGate} (Posted by KU6J)
Thu 00:09 VK2QR/P on VK2/SW-004 7.135 ssb
THANKS ROB -MY FIRST 2015 CONTACT- also vk3MCD- LEE (Posted by VK2LEE)
Thu 00:03 VK1NAM/2 on VK2/SM-049 7.170 ssb
*looking for andrew to andrew [via SOTA Goat] (Posted by VK1NAM)
Thu 00:01 VK6MAC on VK6/SW-036 7.095 ssb
5/9 just before the new year ! (Posted by VK6WAM)
Thu 00:00 VK3PI on VK3/VC-025 146.500 fm
mark on mt dandenong fm only strong in melton (Posted by VK3MEG)
Wed 23:59 VK2HRX on VK2/CT-012 52.200 ssb
*[via SOTA Goat] (Posted by VK2HRX)
Wed 23:59 VK2HRX on VK2/CT-013 52.200 ssb
*[via SOTA Goat] (Posted by VK2HRX)
Wed 23:58 VK3PI on VK3/VC-025 146.5 fm
Very Strong in Toolangi (Posted by VK3DAC)
Wed 23:54 KE5AKL on W5N/SI-001 14.062 cw
*CQ CQ at 25 wpm. S/N=11 dB at AA4VV {Via RBNGate} (Posted by KU6J)
Wed 23:52 VK6QS/P on VK6/SW-001 7.090 ssb
Matt looking S2S 10 pointer Bluff Knoll (Posted by VK6NU)
Wed 23:51 VK1NAM/2 on VK2/SM-049 7.170 ssb
*cq cq [via SOTA Goat] (Posted by VK1NAM)
Wed 23:51 VK1DI/2 on VK2/SM-036 7.115 ssb
*cq (via RRT) (Posted by VK1DI)
Wed 23:50 KE5AKL on W5N/SI-001 7.03855 cw
55 S. AZ (Posted by K6HPX)
Wed 23:50 KE5AKL on W5N/SI-001 7.0385 cw
569 in Los Angeles (Posted by NK6A)
Wed 23:46 VK3WAM/P on VK3/VC-001 7.034 cw
*CQ CQ at 15 wpm. S/N=13 dB at VK4CT {Via RBNGate} (Posted by KU6J)
Wed 23:46 KE5AKL on W5N/SI-001 7.0385 cw
*CQ CQ at 26 wpm. S/N=18 dB at K5TDA {Via RBNGate} (Posted by KU6J)
Wed 23:45 VK3ANL on VK3/VC-025 7.140 ssb
*cq (via RRT) (Posted by VK3ANL)
Wed 23:44 VK1MA on VK2/ST-036 7.120 ssb
59 THANKS- MATT – LEE in SCONE (Posted by VK2LEE)
Wed 23:43 VK5PAS on VK5/SE-001 7.085 ssb
Nice signal into Newcastle (Posted by VK2YK)
Wed 23:41 VK5FO on VK5/SE-013 7.150 ssb
* (via RRT) (Posted by VK5FO)
Wed 23:41 VK2IB on VK2/RI-004 7.0275 cw
*cq cq [via SOTA Goat] (Posted by VK2IB)
Wed 23:41 VK3WAM/P on VK3/VC-001 7.032 cw
*CQ CQ at 16 wpm. S/N=9 dB at VK4CT {Via RBNGate} (Posted by KU6J)
Wed 23:39 VK2IB/P on VK2/RI-004 7.0275 cw
*CQ CQ at 20 wpm. S/N=13 dB at VK4CT {Via RBNGate} (Posted by KU6J)
Wed 23:39 VK6MAC on VK6/SW-036 7.095 ssb
Anthony Calling from Mt.Dale looking for S2S contacts. (Posted by VK6NU)
Wed 23:37 VK3CAT/P on VK3/VN-013 7.034 cw
calling cq (Posted by VK3CAT)
Wed 23:35 VK1ATP/P on VK1/AC-026 52.2 ssb
* (via RRT) (Posted by VK1ATP)
Wed 23:34 VK3ARR on VK3/VC-002 7.135 ssb
Nothing on this Frequency from you Andrew (Posted by VK6NU)
Wed 23:33 VK2HRX on VK2/CT-012 28.510 ssb
*CQ SOTA [via SOTA Goat] (Posted by VK2HRX)
Wed 23:29 VK7TW & VK7FREU on VK7/SC-003 7.095 ssb
*on summit [via SOTA Goat] (Posted by VK7TW)
Wed 23:29 VK3ARR on VK3/VC-002 7.135 ssb
cq cq heard some vk6 before (Posted by VK3ARR)
Wed 23:29 VK2CPR on VK3/VE-099 7.115 ssb
Got a better aerial calling cq (Posted by VK2CPR)
Wed 23:27 VK6QS on VK6/SW-001 146.500 fm
*anyone near albany for a 2 m contact [via SOTA Goat] (Posted by VK6QS)
Wed 23:24 VK5CZ on VK5/NE-058 7.0305 cw
*CQ CQ at 16 wpm. S/N=11 dB at VK4CT {Via RBNGate} (Posted by KU6J)
Wed 23:21 VK3PF/P on VK3/VG-001 7.105 ssb
cq cq now (Posted by VK3PF)
Wed 23:15 VK1ATP/P on VK1/AC-026 432.1 ssb
* (via RRT) (Posted by VK1ATP)
Wed 23:12 VK2HRX on VK2/CT-012 52.200 ssb
*[via SOTA Goat] (Posted by VK2HRX)
Wed 23:08 VK3ARR on VK3/VC-002 7.125 ssb
cq cq (Posted by VK3ARR)
Wed 23:07 VK3BQ on VK2/SM-053 7.120 ssb
*[via SOTA Goat] (Posted by VK3BQ)
Wed 23:06 VK5PAS on VK5/SE-001 7.085 ssb
5&9 Into Yarra Valley (Posted by VK3DAC)
Wed 23:05 VK3WAM/P on VK3/VC-001 7.032 cw
*CQ CQ at 16 wpm. S/N=13 dB at VK4CT {Via RBNGate} (Posted by KU6J)
Wed 22:57 VK3MRG on VK3/VC-029 7.100 ssb
Calling CQ Now (Posted by VK3FPSR)
Wed 22:57 VK3CAT/P on VK3/VN-012 7.155 ssb
cq s2s (Posted by VK3CAT)
Wed 22:57 VK3CAT/P on VK3/VN-012 7.155 ssb
cq s2s (Posted by VK3CAT)
Wed 22:57 VK3CAT on VK3/VN-012 28.510 ssb
Nothing into Manjimup on 10m HNY (Posted by VK6MB)
Wed 22:57 VK3ANL on VK3/VC-025 7.110 ssb
and listening 146.5fm handheld (Posted by VK3ANL)
Wed 22:50 VK3CAT/P on VK3/VN-012 28.510 ssb
cq (Posted by VK3CAT)
Wed 22:50 VK2HRX on VK2/CT-012 7.090 ssb
Calling CQ Now (Posted by VK3FPSR)
Wed 22:44 AE9Q/P on W4A/VR-009 14.347 ssb
*Spot[AE9Q]: TEST SPOT ONLY (Posted by SMS_NA)
Wed 22:42 VK3YY on VK3/VT-040 7.125 ssb
cq cq (Posted by VK3YY)
Wed 22:32 VK3EK on VK3/VG-114 7.115 ssb
Calling CQ Now (Posted by VK3FPSR)
Wed 22:25 VK2CPR/3 on VK3/VE-099 7.115 ssb
can hear some chasers but ur in noise and QSB (Posted by VK6MB)
Wed 22:16 VK2CPR/3 on VK3/VE-099 7.115 ssb
Calling CQ Now (Posted by VK3FPSR)

SOTA activation of Mt Vial and Mt Brune in France 06/09/2014

Mont Vial F/AM-461 360° panorama

Mont Vial F/AM-461 360° panorama

Tourist map showing Mt Vial and Mt Brune relative to Nice

Tourist map showing Mt Vial and Mt Brune relative to Nice

Mont Vial F/AM-461 Gorges de la Vésubie et du Var FFF-146 1550m 4pts

A day proclaimed for celebrating the first anniversary of SOTA in VK2 made for a good reason to do a summit activation while in France. Staying near Nice there are plenty of high mountains at the bottom end of the Alps so I chose one of the nearest 4 point summits just to the north. At only 30km away it didn’t seem far, but the topography is such that it is 60km by road. The hire car has a navigation system, but unfortunately does not have the road to the summit so I set it for the nearest town Toudon. On the tourist map for Nice, Mont Vial F/AM-461 is clearly marked so I expected it to be well signposted. This turned out not be the case so I ended up using google maps to find the access road after retracing my steps from Toudon. The mountains here are steep so access was via a series of switchbacks on a narrow, well-maintained road which takes you up from the 950m elevation of the main road. It is possible to drive almost right to the top at 1520m elevation so I parked down from the top to be outside the activation zone. There are a series of communication towers along the ridge just down from the peak. The furthest where the road ends is 300m away and the closest is 100m away. I did not expect much QRM from these.

The panorama image above was constructed from 11 separate images stitched together. It shows the operating point in the centre of the picture and the towers on the right. The left of the picture shows the Var river valley that leads towards Nice, more or less running north-south. The views there were breathtaking. No wonder it is marked on the tourist map!

Trig point, pole and 40m antenna on Mt Vial

Trig point, pole and 40m antenna on Mt Vial

Once at the peak I posted out a spot using RRT for 20m CW and started setting up the radio and 20m ground plane antenna. The trig point metalwork was used as an attachment point for my 5.4m squid pole with the radiator hanging off it. On RRT I could see some spots for VK stations. The first I tuned to was Andrew VK1NAM who was on Mt McDonald VK1/AC-048. It was pretty surprising to hear Andrew’s voice coming through with some QSB. I gave him a call and he actually heard me just using 5 Watts! There were some clicking noises on the frequency which I put down to the local communications transmitters, and luckily the noise blanker did a pretty good job of dispatching them. My first VK contact from EU – and on SSB too!

I listened on the other frequencies that VKs had spotted but no-one else was heard. It should have been possible to hear VK1MA and VK1MBE but I was probably a bit late getting started – too close to the VK1 sunset.

It was time to get active on my spotted frequency. Once I got started there were plenty of calls and I realised I was out of practice when it comes to handling pileups on CW. After a few EU stations, Andrew VK1DA called in from Mt Gillamatong VK2/ST-034 for my first CW S2S contact with VK. I also worked Tony VK3CAT on CW and when the contacts dried up I shifted to 20m SSB. I was able to work 4 more home stations and a summit-to-summit with Bob VK5FO on Mt Gawler VK5/SW-013. At 0752z it was getting late in the long path window and Bob’s signal was starting to fade. When I next had a chance to tune back his signal was gone completely.

Shack on Mt Vial with KX3 and enhanced RHM8B antenna

Shack on Mt Vial with KX3 and enhanced RHM8B antenna

I started to look around for other summit-to-summit opportunities but there was nothing more on 20m. With spots for 30m and 40m it was time to modify the antenna for those bands. I connected the Diamond RHM8B to the rig and attached the radiator for the ground plane to the top of the telescopic whip with a jumper lead. This gave me a radiator about 7m long – almost a quarter wave for 30m. To accommodate the extra length I had to lift up the squid pole onto the trig point metalwork to give it some extra height. The photo shows the final arrangement. After tuning the loading coil for 30m I was able to work Wolf DL4MHA on DM/BW-131.

After a time a spot appeared for Ed DD5LP on 40m. He had been on 20m working VK and too near for a contact on that band. On 40m he had a fine signal and was an easy contact. I had not worked him since he moved to EU so it was good to have a chat. At the end he wanted to close down to vacate the peak and get home so left me with the frequency. I stayed around on Mt Vial for some more S2S contacts on 40m and 30m.

All in all a successful activation with 3 VK S2S, 5 VK home stations and 5 EU S2S contacts as well as a bunch of EU home stations. All these were worked using 5 Watts from the internal batteries of the KX3.

Mt Vial log

Date:06/Sep/2014 Summit:F/AM-461 (Mont Vial) Call Used:F/VK2IO/P Points: 4 Bonus: 0

Time Call Band Mode Notes
07:11z VK1NAM/P 14MHz SSB R51 S47 14290 Andrew VK1/AC-048
07:22z YO2BP 14MHz CW R559 S559 14062 Alex
07:23z MW0BBU 14MHz CW R339 S559 14062 Steve
07:24z G0VOF 14MHz CW R559 S559 14062 Mark
07:26z VK1DA/P 14MHz CW R539 S519 14062 Andrew VK2/ST-034
07:27z SP9AMH 14MHz CW R449 S319 14062 Marius
07:31z VK3CAT 14MHz CW R339 S539 14062 Tony
07:32z EA2DT 14MHz CW R559 S599 14062 Manuel
07:33z OM5DP 14MHz CW R559 S559 14062 Martin
07:41z VK2YK 14MHz SSB R31 S43 14345 Adam
07:44z VK8GM 14MHz SSB R52 S55 14345 Greg
07:45z G0RQL 14MHz SSB R56 S56 14345 Don
07:46z VK3EK 14MHz SSB R54 S56 14345 Robbie
07:47z VK3WE 14MHz SSB R51 S55 14345 Rhett
07:52z VK5FO/P 14MHz SSB R54 S33 14303 Bob VK5/SE-013
08:00z DL4MHA/P 10MHz CW R559 S579 10124 Wolfgang DM/BW-131
08:30z DD5LP/P 7MHz SSB R55 S56 7185 Ed DL/AM-001
08:38z F/DC4XH/P 7MHz SSB R56 S58 7185 Peter
08:56z OK2SAM/P 10MHz CW R539 S559 10117
09:01z OE5EEP/P 7MHz CW R559 S559 7033.5 Heinz OE/OO-033
09:13z OE9HRV/P 7MHz SSB R44 S58 7100 Herbert OE/OO-096

Mont Brune F/AM-472 1518m 4pts

View from Mt Brune F/AM-472

View from Mt Brune F/AM-472

The next mountain was Mt Brune F/AM-472 about 15 km from Mt Vial. I used google maps to find the turnoff to this one. It meant driving back to the main road and then carrying on through some small towns and then turning off the D27 road at elevation 1080m to again negotiate some switchbacks. The narrow path up the mountainside was not as well maintained as the one for Mt Vial, but still easily negotiated with a 2-wheel drive. Once near the top at elevation 1380m there is a carpark and then a steep climb on foot to the summit with no really obvious main track. It took about 15 mins of hard climbing to get up to the top at 1518m. There are no towers on top – access would not be possible!

Shack on Mt Brune with KX3 and 20m ground plane

Shack on Mt Brune with KX3 and 20m ground plane

I had limited time so decided just to operate on 20m. Setting up the ground plane is very quick as there are no adjustments so I was on air in no time. All contacts were on SSB except the last which was a S2S contact with Roger F5LKW on Montagne de la Canaille F/CR-254. It was too late for any VK contacts and I didn’t have time to chase too many summit-to-summits.

I had 14 minutes of operating time and made 13 contacts so well and truly qualified the summit. The climb down was much more enjoyable than the climb up and I was soon back in the car on my way to do a collection at Nice airport. My activating for the day was over.

A few days later I received a message on the SOTA reflector from Gerald F6HBI asking why I did not activate Cime des Colettes F/AM-478. This summit sits in between Mt Vial and Mt Brune and is also a 4 point summit. I did look into when planning the day, but access to the summit seemed to require a long hike so I would not have time to get there. It was quicker to drive to Mont Brune for the second summit. It would have been great if I’d had time to do the three summits in the one day.

Mt Brune log

Date:06/Sep/2014 Summit:F/AM-472 (Mont Brune) Call Used:F/VK2IO/P Points: 4 Bonus: 0

Time Call Band Mode Notes
10:36z EB2JU 14MHz SSB R59 S57 14345
10:37z G0RJL 14MHz SSB R57 S55 14345 Don
10:37z G6WRW 14MHz SSB R55 S55 14345 Caroline
10:38z EA2DT 14MHz SSB R31 S53 14345 Manuel
10:39z G0VWP 14MHz SSB R55 S57 14345
10:40z OK1SDE 14MHz SSB R55 S57 14345
10:40z M0ONI 14MHz SSB R44 S55 14345
10:41z DL8UVG 14MHz SSB R55 S55 14345
10:41z G3XQE 14MHz SSB R53 S55 14345 Ken
10:42z EB1JFK 14MHz SSB R41 S53 14345
10:44z DL3HXX 14MHz SSB R44 S55 14345
10:45z DM7MRE/P 14MHz SSB R55 S54 14345
10:50z F5LKW/P 14MHz CW R559 S519 14061 Roger F/CR-254

Thanks to all chasers and activators.
I had a great day out in France celebrating the VK2 SOTA anniversary!

Mt Elliot VK2/HU-093 activation 07/07/2014

SOTA activations for me have involved lugging a 40L backpack crammed with gear plus carrying a 10m squid pole. Recently I have become interested in trying to reduce the size and weight of equipment taken to a summit as well as reducing the time between arrival and getting on air. I had built a new 20m ground plane antenna and obtained a 5.4m squid pole and was itching to try these out on a summit. In the SOTAwatch alerts list there were some simultaneous activations coming up around lunchtime so it was time to throw my hat into the ring.

Mt Elliot

I was staying nearby to Mt Elliot which is a short distance northeast of Gosford on the NSW Central Coast. At the end of 2013 I had activated this summit, a one pointer, and scored loads of summit-to-summit contacts. When I left for the summit, one of the activators I hoped to work, Russ VK2BJP was already on the air. Being familiar with Mt Elliot made for a quick setup time. Still, I had to pack, drive to the summit, do the walk out and back into the activation zone along the Graves Walk and get set up. There was no time to waste!


Antennas: 20m ground plane and Diamond RHM8B base & whip

Antennas: 20m ground plane and Diamond RHM8B base & whip

For this activation, I took the small backpack with just the radio, antennas and notebook. I wanted to try the Elecraft KX3’s internal NiMH batteries to see how they would hold up in a typical activation. The 2.2kg SLA battery was being left behind. The antennas I took along were:

  • Quarter wave ground plane for 20m – 5.1m radiator and 4×5.1m radials
  • Diamond RHM8B loaded vertical with telescopic whip

Operation would mainly be on 20m and 40m. For 20m I had the ground plane. For 40m I could use the loaded vertical as a compromise antenna, or extend it by using the radiator from the 20m ground plane.

On Air

It was a race against time to catch Russ on VK3/VE-149 so I quickly set up the loaded vertical. His spot had gone out at 0207z and I made my first contact with him at 0241z. It would have been faster if I’d had the SOTA bag already packed! I was rewarded with a 5×6 signal report – not too shabby over a 500km path on 40m using a 1.78m long ‘Cute’ antenna!

"Small backpack" SOTA station on Mt Elliot

“Small backpack” SOTA station on Mt Elliot

I had time to set up a better radiator before the next potential summit-to-summit contact. The 5.1m radiator for 20m was launched up the 5.4m squid pole. It was a bit long as the radio was sitting on a bench about 1.2m off the ground. I let the extra wire just droop down and lie on the bench. Pretty soon after I got it tuned up, Phil VK2JDL came up on Knights Hill VK2/IL-007 150km away and gave me S4. He was received at an S point weaker than Russ which I put down to the lower angle of radiation characteristic of verticals.

Matt VK2DAG came up and spotted me and then I was off with some contacts into VK3 on 40m. There were no pileups – it was a weekday, but the gear seemed to be going the distance. Only 5W output instead of the 10W or 12W that I’m used to when using an external battery. To conserve the internal batteries I had switched off the LCD backlight and the RF preamp when not actually giving signal reports. This reduces current consumption from 205mA to 171mA when receiving. On transmit I ran it at the maximum power for the supply voltage (5W) and even had a small amount of speech compression for that extra punch – as per usual.

20m ground plane

It was time to try out the 20m ground plane for the first time. The Diamond loaded vertical was unscrewed from the radio and the 5.1m radiator plugged in directly. With the KX3’s internal ATU bypassed, the antenna matched at the top end of the 20m band. The droopy wire had been wrapped around the squid pole. A good contact was made with Nev VK5WG and then a spot for David VK3IL on Mt Hotham came up. It was for 40m so I tried to match the 20m ground plane using the KX3’s internal matcher, but there was no match. The contact was made after putting the loaded vertical back inline and I received an S3 report over the 550km path on 40m.

Back to 20m again and after spotting on a different frequency there were 3 more contacts including Mike VK6MB and John VK6NU. On SOTAwatch I had read that Mike wasn’t able to reach Phil VK2JDL. Maybe my ground plane was the secret weapon!


All possible contacts had been made on 20m so I decided to try 30m. The setup was changed over to the same as for 40m but with less loading. I used 41mm of the RHM8B loading coil instead of 92mm and got a good match. When setting up on a new frequency I bypass the KX3’s matcher and normally achieve less than 2:1 VSWR just by adjusting the length of the coil. After re-enabling the matcher a 1:1 VSWR is usually achieved. This applies on both 40m and 30m.

Operating on 30m with RHM8B and 5.1m wire

Operating on 30m with RHM8B and 5.1m wire

On 30m I made contact with Ron VK3AFW in Melbourne with good reports. Not many chasers but I was happy that the vertical was working well on this band too.

Another S2S – “just”

Phil VK2JDL had put up an alert for a second activation so I decided to wait it out. I had run out of chasers but my batteries were still going. I listened around the bands mainly on 40m. I experimented with loading up the antenna on 80m but the radio promptly shut down due to low voltage. I knew there wasn’t too much juice left. Reducing the power to 1W I was able to try again but could not achieve a match, probably due to insufficient inductance. It would probably work with a quarter wave radiator for 40m.

At 45 mins past Phil’s alerted time and with low batteries I decided to start packing up. I didn’t get very far before Phil’s call came through on 7090 kHz from Mt Kembla 130km away. What a relief – Phil had made it and I still had enough battery to make contact. My power was down to 1W and the radio shut down twice during the contact due to low voltage. Still managed a 5×4 report though and bagged a couple more summit-to-summit points making 22 for the day. Happy!

Lessons learnt

  • KX3 can operate for over 3 hours using internal NiMH batteries
  • Diamond RHM8B gives respectable performance on 40m using a ground plane
  • 20m ground plane antenna is a great performer for working VK6
  • Elevating the 20m ground plane radials shifts the min VSWR freq up to 15.5 MHz (why?)
  • KX3 ATU wont match a 20m ground plane on 40m
  • “Light” activations can be very successful!


Date:07/Jul/2014 Summit:VK2/HU-093 (Mt Elliot) Call Used:VK2IO/P Points: 1 Bonus: 0

Time Call Band Mode Notes
02:41z VK2BJP/3 7MHz SSB R56 S55 7090 Russ VK3/VE-149
02:57z VK2JDL/P 7MHz SSB R54 S54 7095 Phil VK2/IL-007 Knights Hill
02:58z VK2DAG 7MHz SSB R59+30 S59+5 7100 Matt
03:02z VK3EK 7MHz SSB R56 S59 7100 Robbie
03:05z VK3FQSO 7MHz SSB R51 S53 7100 Amanda
03:30z VK5WG 14MHz SSB R56 S58 14290 Nev
03:38z VK3IL/P 7MHz SSB R53 S56 7095 David VK3/VE-006 Mt Hotham
04:01z VK6MB 14MHz SSB R31 S53 14289 Mike
04:02z VK2GE 14MHz SSB R59+10 S59+5 14289 Harry in Wyoming
04:15z VK6NU 14MHz SSB R55 S55 14289 John
04:43z VK3AFW 10MHz SSB R55 S56 10125 Ron
05:45z VK2JDL/P 7MHz SSB R54 S55 7090 Phil VK2/IL-015 (1W – low battery)

Thanks to all the activators and chasers!


During the activation, Harry VK2GE popped up for a contact. He is a local not used to hearing such strong signals on 20m. I dropped down to 1W and was still over S9. It turns out that he resides very close to where I was staying and he invited me over. After finishing the activation I popped in for an eyeball contact. He showed me his setup with a 20m inverted Vee on an 8m squid pole. I gave him some information about SOTA – I’m sure it was his first SOTA contact. Where he lives is about 100m from the “quiet RF spot” I often drive to in order to work those weaker SOTA stations – what a coincidence! Anyway, watch out for Harry on 20m – a new potential chaser.