Friday, 27 December 2013

SOTA Activation Boyne Mountain, VK2/SC-050

After activating Mogood Lookout continued along Clyde Ridge Rd. This crosses the Clyde River, then turned off onto Carrisbrook Rd, Brooman Rd, turned right into Monkey Mountain Road.

A short distance past this junction was Old Coach Road. I actually initially missed this as it looked like just the entrance to a property...

Old Coach Road was narrow but not too rough, not requiring 4WD. Quite a pretty road with Tree Ferns

Got to the turnoff to the summit. Looked like more of a 4WD track. Parked and started walking.

Fairly steep with a few puddles

About a Km to the summit, took about 10 minutes or so. Reached the top, several communications towers, probably TV and mobile for the Ulladulla area.

Just behind the towers was Boyne Trig. This one still had the disk head...

Boyne Trig

Set up the squid pole on the trig. This posed a bit awkward due to its shape, eventually got the dipoles up...A noisy position with air conditioning noises from the nearby radio rooms.

Looking West

Set up the radio at the base of the trig. In full sunlight, so used my pack to protect the radio.

Got on 40m. Fairly quiet at this time of day, about 2pm. Worked a few chasers, made a S2S with Marshall. VK3MRG on VK3/VE-134 Mt Terrible Spur. After 12 contacts was well cooked so packed up.

Heading back down Old Coach Road

Drove down Monkey Mountain Road, this joins the Princes Hwy, then headed back to Batemans Bay and the Kings Hwy to Canberra. Track log of the drive.

SOTA Activation Mogood Lookout VK2/SC-049

Looked like a nice day down the South Coast so decided to activate a couple of minor SOTA peaks. VK2/SC-049 Mogood and VK2/SC-050 Mt Boyne

These are both in a large forested area North of Batemans Bay running up to Morton National Park. From Canberra drove down the Kings Highway part way down Clyde Mountain , turning into Black Flat Rd. Then  The River Road, Drurys Rd and Clyde Ridge Rd. Just before Mogood noticed a sign for Bimberamala National Park

Stopped at the turnoff to Mogood Lookout and started walking, about 40m below the summit.

A steep walk up the road, but not long.

Reached the Lookout. There is a Trig in a nice grassy area and a gum tree nearby. Panoramic 360 degree views. Looking West to the Clyde Range

Mogood Trig

Tied the squid pole to the trig and ran one leg of the 40m dipole out to the tree, the other to a small sapling on the other side.

Looking North to the Budawangs

Set up the shack at the base of the trig. Not much shade, used the trig to keep the sun off the FT817.

Got on 40m. Most signals were good, probably helps to have a top operating spot like this...S2S contacts with Peter VK3PF on VK2/RI-006, Andrew VK1NAM on Mt Stromlo, VK3KAB Kevin and VK3ATB Trevor on Mt Tamboritha. Also worked Paul VK5PAS in Scott Conservation Park. Made 13 contacts before the sun got too much and packed it in around noon. Track log of drive only, hand held GPS had flat batteries...

Monday, 23 December 2013

SOTA Bronze Mountain Hunter Award

After making contact with Nick, VK3ANL/4 on Mt Coolum VK4/SE-114 this gave me 2 contacts in VK4, and completing SOTA award "Mountain Hunter", Bronze.

To qualify for this award you need to work 2 SOTA Activators in 5 Associations, which for me was 5 VK call areas.

Mountain Hunter Award (all bands) Status = Bronze

Association(s) Chased All BandsCount
VK1 - Australia - Capital Territory34
VK2 - Australia - NSW45
VK3 - Australia - Victoria121
VK4 - Australia - Queensland2
VK5 - Australia - South Australia19

Contact was on 20m. My only other VK4 contact was early in the morning on 40m. VK4 is difficult to work, over 1000 km away and at the limit for 40m daytime contacts, more suited for higher bands.

Update. The award arrived in the email, here it is

Friday, 20 December 2013

SOTA Activation Mt Ginini VK1/AC-008

Noticed on SOTAwatch an alert by Dave, VK4OZY for a VK4 summit, as I've only had one VK4 SOTA summit QSO so far decided to chase from Mt Ginini, and escape the summer heat at the same time. Mt Ginini is over 1700m and should be cooler than the 37c day forecast in Canberra.

As I left home the temperature was already approaching 30c mid morning, as I climbed up the Brindabella Road it dropped to around 25c, by Mt Ginini summit was a comfy 23c. Only problem was the wind, very strong.

Set up the squid pole on a copper log as per my last activation. For a bit of comfort set up a tent fly on the ground and sat in the shade of a nearby tree.

Got on 40m. There was a spot for VK4OZY, Dave on 7.095 but nothing heard. Called on 7.090, got a few chasers, then Peter, VK3PF came up on VK3/VE-189, Mt Baranduda for a S2S. Went on to work chasers again after the UTC rollover. After one contact the squid pole fell over in a wind gust. Had to go clear and fix it with another bungy cord and a rock at the base.

Saw Peter VK3PF QSY to 30m. The night before had quickly measured up a 30m dipole, hooked this up. SWR not perfect but good enough to operate. Had a weak signal contact with Peter, my first SOTA contact on this band! Later on saw Dave VK4OZY had gone to 20m. Hooked up the 20m dipole but it showed high VSWR, so could only listen. Heard Dave and Peter on 20m but no contact.

Headed back down after noon as getting warm even up here...

Friday, 13 December 2013

SOTA Activation Black Mountain VK1/AC-042

As had a day off work and some SOTA activations around 12:30pm local decided to do some S2S chasing from Black Mountain.

As per my last activation here parked in the car park mid way up the mountain and walked up to the summit.

The track ends just near the Black Mountain Telstra Tower

Instead of operating at the lookout with the direction marker like last time I decided to operate a bit further up the road, using a track marker for a squid pole support. This gave me a bit of shade under a gum tree.

It also meant got some traffic going past from walkers and joggers...fairly hard to avoid up here as a popular place to walk.

Found it a bit harder to get the dipole clear of trees, probably go back to my old activation spot next time.
Got on 40m, worked S2S VK1NAM Andrew and VK1RX Al on nearby Mt Ainslie, VK1/AC-040, then VK2FPJR Phil on Mt Alexandra VK2/IL-005. Then 6 of the regular chasers. As getting warm packed up just after 1pm. Checking Sotawatch later seems I missed another S2S with VK5TX but about 15 minutes...

Sunday, 8 December 2013

SOTA Activation Boundary Fire Trail VK2/SC-005

After my activation of Oakey Creek Fire Trail  decided to activate Boundary Creek Fire Trail, about 5 Km away also in Monga National Park. The weather was better than my last visit...Turn off the Araluen Road again.

As per my Oakey Creek activation, drove to the intersection of Macquarie Road and Boundary Fire Trail

A short distance along the road reached the junction with Oakey Creek Fire Trail

There was a sign indicating no access to Araluen, so you can't drive up here from Araluen if you want to. Not that I would, the contour lines suggest rather steep...

Continued along Boundary Fire Trail. Just after this junction it become 4WD, steep and rocky with drainage humps, went into 4WD mode in the Xtrail and slowly descended and ascended some hills. After a while the track came to another junction with Gollarribee Fire Trail. Parked here and walked to satisfy SOTA rules, and save the car from further road bashing...

The road up was steep but not as bad as the section I just drove on

Walked for 1.3 Km and after a false summit reached the highest point. Bit of a view of the South Coast through the trees

Set up the radio in the scrub on the left side. Used a log to support the squid pole.

Got on 40m at 11:25, found the band very quiet. Most of the local VK1s and VK3s very weak, they had problems copying me with lots of fading. Seemed to have more luck with VK2s to the North on the coast and West, VK2UH at Yass was good, stations in Newcastle, Wollongong, Sydney strong. Best contact was VK4CPS Paul near Brisbane, weak but readable, not bad for the time of day. Gave it away after midday as getting hot and headed down to the car for lunch, made 21 contacts.

On the way back noticed you can't access this area via River Forest Road, so no option but to return the way I came...

The drive back was interesting, ran over a branch that got lodged under the car, and as on a steep slope had to continue until it flattened out and could free it...

For variety drove back via Milo Road, this time heading to River Forest Road and Penance Grove, one of the highlights of Monga National Park A nice board walk among tree ferns.

Track log of drive/walk