Sunday, 24 November 2013

eQSL WAS Award

Sunday morning got on JT65 mode on 28.076 Mhz, band was in good condition with many stations on.

Worked several USA stations, including KI0QS in ND, North Dakota.

I needed North Dakota for WAS (Worked All States)! Been chasing this state for ages.

Applied for the award in eQSL.

As I had all WAS contacts on JT65, applied for this as well.

My next award to chase is WAS on 10m, where I only need 3 more states to complete.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

SOTA Activation Mt Clear VK1/AC-014

After reading an article by Canberra Bushwalking blogger John Evans on a cross country route to Mt Clear, Andrew VK1NAM invited myself and Al VK1RX to follow it and do a joint SOTA activation. John's route shortens a 32 Km road bash into a 17 Km walk.

Met up with Andrew and Al at Al's place in Gordon, he drove us down the Boboyan Road to the turn off to Mt Clear Campground and the car park for the walk.

Al VK1RX and Andrew VK1NAM

A rare shot of myself :) with Al taken by Andrew.

Sign at the start of the walk. The road is the Naas Valley Fire Trail

A short distance along the road was a walks register. Most entries for walkers heading to Horse Gully Hut.

After 1.6 Km left the road to the right, crossing some grassy plains

Fairly easy walking across the grass, following the odd Kangaroo track. Had a bit of a detour around a small swamp, full of croaking frogs.

Followed a creek for a while, then came to an open plain with Chalkers Chimney, the remains of an old building

Close up of Chalkers Chimney with Mt Clear behind

The grassy plains ended and started climbing and scrub bashing our way up to the Mt Clear Fire Trail. Steep but not too bad. Reached the road about 10:45 am, and about 1.4 Km from the summit.

Reached the summit at 11:00 am. Set up my dipoles on a stump near the trig.

Radio shack on a log

Andrew set up on another nearby stump, Al set up a 2m station on a rock.

Andrew's SOTA flag flying

Got on air around 11:30am. Andew on 40m, Al on 2m and myself on 12m to avoid interference. First call worked S2S with Andrew, VK1DA/2 on Spring Hill, VK2/ST-036.

Unfortunately that was about it for 12m... Could hear DX signals from Japan and USA but no luck with my calls. I heard a W7 station working Peter, VK3ZPF but could not hear Peter, too close for 12m...

After a while Andrew gave me a go on 40m, worked some VK2s and VK3s, including S2S with VK3PF on VK3/VT-060, VK3YY on VK3/VT-040 and VK3ZPF on VK3/VU-009. Andrew went to 20m, made a contact with Mike, VK6MB who worked all of us.

Al tried a 10m dipole but no luck, and only 1 contact on 2m, again with Andrew VK1DA/2 on Spring Hill.
I heard Allen, VK3HRA on VK3/VT-011 come up on 40m, we all worked him, packed up and headed back down.

Followed roughly the same way back down. A view up the Naas Valley mid way down the mountain.

Got back to the car park about 4pm.

Track log of the walk. 8.5 Km each way with a 500m climb from 1100m to 1600m

Sunday, 10 November 2013

SOTA Activation VK2/ST-023 Oakey Creek Fire Trail

With a forecast of rain in the afternoon decided to do a SOTA activation where I could walk back to the car quickly if the weather turned bad. VK2/ST-023 Oakey Creek Firetrail looked appropriate as the highest point is right next to a road.

The peak is in Monga National Park. Drove to Braidwood, then took the Araluen Road for 8 Km, turning off onto Reidsdale Road on the left. Note the nasty looking weather in the distance!

Followed Reidsdale Road for 7 Km to the end, then turned left into Monga Lane

Road becomes unsealed but still not too rough. After a couple of Km enters Monga National Park

A few more Km up the road there is a road to the right, Granite Bluff Road. A warning about 4WD only. I didn't find this road too bad in my Nissan Xtrail, no need for 4WD, just need some clearance for the odd branch and dip in the road.

Followed this road for 2.7 Km, then onto Saddleback Road for 8 Km. This ends at Milo Road, which looked lush and green with lots of tree ferns.

After a few Km on Milo Road it heads down, and another road continues along the ridge. Think this other road is Macquarie Road

Stopped and parked at the bottom of the final rise to the summit, at a bit over 1000 m elevation. The summit is at 1050 m so was out of the 25 m activation zone. Had about a 500 m walk. Just before the summit Macquarie Road continues to the right, Boundary Road to the left. You could take either road as the summit is between them, the high point in the trees in the mist...

A bit part this junction is Oakey Creek Fire Trail junction, so this summit is really wrongly named, by me, I surveyed it!...Maps of these roads are poorly marked. Anyway there is another summit called Boundary Firetrail nearby so this name will do, it is near it!...There is no proper name on any maps. Wandered into the scrub and found a group of stumps suitable for squid poles, mounted on one of these and set up the dipoles.

Radio shack on a log

Got on 40m, worked 19 calls before UTC roll over, including S2S with Andrew VK1NAM and Al VK1RX on Mt Wee Jasper. Another 24 after UTC. The VK1s and VK2s were strong but signals from some VK3 and VK5 down. Got on 20m, worked Andrew VK1NAM again, very weak, then worked Paul VK5PAS with a massive S9+ signal, heaps better than 40 m! Also worked ZL2ALK Lamont for an overseas SOTA contact.

Around noon it started to rain so packed up and headed to Braidwood for lunch.
Another shot of Milo Road tree ferns.

Track log of drive/walk

Saturday, 2 November 2013

SOTA Dipole winders

When I started doing SOTA activations, I purchased a couple of spools of wire for the dipole legs and used the spools to store the wire and support cord on. After 40 SOTA activations throwing the spools among scrub and rocks they were looking a bit worse for wear...

Bits of both spools were busted, with the wire threatening to unravel...So needed to make up some new SOTA dipole wire winders.

At a local hobby store saw a lightweight wooden clipboard. A bit of work with the hacksaw cut this to an appropriate size and cut notches at each end to stop the wire unraveling. Here is the result.

One leg of the 40m dipole on the new wooden winder. I had cut each winder to a size that would fit into my Kathmandu camera bag, so now able to carry logbook, FT817 and wire winders all in the one bag, neat.

I still have the coax, occy straps and dipole termination box to carry in another bag, but should fit neater into the pack.