Mt Majura VK1/AC-034 – 2 March 2013

Mt Majura VK1/AC-034 890 metres ASL (Summits in the Suburbs)

Forecast:  Temperature 18 degrees partly cloudy with strong wind gusts
Antenna: 40m 1/2 wave dipole
Antenna support: 9 metre squid pole
Rig: FT857D
Battery: 9Ah SLA

Mt Majura is one of seven qualifying summits in the suburbs of Canberra.  Mt Majura is part of the ACT preservation area known as Canberra Nature Parks. The drive is 15 km from my QTH via Antill Street through Hackett to Rivett Street and McKenzie Street. The McKenzie Street car park is 360 metres south from the Rivett Street intersection.

The walk to the summit is 2.7 km with a vertical gain of 246 metres.  From the car park the walking track rises 130 metres evenly over 1.7 km with a number of switchbacks to reduce the angle of ascent.  The last 1 km is fairly steep rising 110 metres, with a nice kick just before the summit to increase the heart rate and give you a feeling you have achieved a major physical challenge.

The summit is the home of the primary air traffic radar and a communication hub for commercial radio services.  Surprisingly there was little interference to the FT857D signal reception on HF and VHF.    The noise generated by the radar sweeps in the steady breeze was a bigger distraction.

Being a local summit I did not take the Magellan GPS so I have nothing to offer as a track log.  I recommend using Google Earth to review the walking track, the switchbacks are clearly shown on the satellite view.

Nature Park Information

Nature Park Information

At the summit is a large steel tube set into a concrete slab. I strapped the squid pole to the tube and made my home on the concrete pad.  The wind on the summit was gusting to 30 km/h causing the squid pole to collapse 3 times.  The night before I was on Tuggeranong Hill VK1/AC-038 where the wind was gusting 50 km/h.

Mt Majura Shack

Mt Majura Shack

The summit is a popular destination for fitness fanatics and families out for a day-walk.  The nearby trig gets a major workout from people attempting chin-ups on the horizontal bars.  It’s fun to watch people attempting chin-ups!

So let’s have some details on the activation.  Started the activation at 22:50 UTC (1 March) on 40m 7.090 MHz with a Summit to Summit contact with VK1RX/P Al on Mt Stromlo VK1/AC-043.  With the S2S out-of-the-way I changed to 2m for the local VK1 chasers.  Worked two regular chasers VK1DI Ian and VK1IRC Peter on 146.500 simplex.  Stayed on 2m for 5 minutes calling CQ SOTA and nothing heard.  Moved back to 40m and immediately found VK3DET Ernie followed by VK3ZPF Peter, VK3FRC (Frankston Radio Club) activated by Roy,  VK5MBD Bill, VK3AFW Ron, VK3JM Fred and VK3UP Terry.

The chase continued after UTC midnight with 5 new chasers VK3PF Peter, VK3HRA Allen, VK3BYD Warren, VK3SE Steve and VK3FEAT/M Michele mobile.  Had a second shot at working VK1RX/P Al on Mt Stromlo for an extra S2S chase point.

With the summit qualified, temperature cooling off and chasers exhausted I packed up and headed back down the summit. Had loads of fun today and now looking forward to more SOTA action tomorrow.

Tomorrow morning I am heading up to Mt Ginini VK1/AC-008 with Andrew VK1DA for a chance to work the Sunday morning VHF DX net and aircraft enhancement into Melbourne and Sydney.

Squid Pole & HF Antenna

9 metre Squid Pole & HF antenna 40m dipole