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.

Setup

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.

Log

 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
NEAR LOSTOCK DAM- HUNTER VALLEY- 59+sigs- THANKS DAVID (Posted by VK2LEE)
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)

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!

Gear

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!

30m

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!

Log

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!

Postscript

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.