Mt Ainslie VK1/AC-040 843 metres ASL (Summit in the suburbs)
It’s Friday 8 March 2013 and I am looking forward to three SOTA activations this long weekend Mt Ainslie VK1/AC-040, Mt Gingera VK1/AC-002 and Mt Tennent VK1/AC-025. See posts for Mt Gingera and Mt Tennent. The first is Mt Ainslie within walking distance from the Canberra City Centre known as Civic. Mt Ainslie is a Canberra tourist destination with 270 degree views of the South, West and Northern regions of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). From Mt Ainslie looking south you can see ANZAC Parade, Parliament House and further south to Woden. ANZAC Parade is a part of the Parliamentary Triangle precinct in direct alignment to the Australian Parliament House, the Australian War Memorial and Mt Ainslie.
ANZAC Parade Canberra: Photo taken in Sep 2010 from a hot air balloon
The picture shows the mountain ranges in the Namadgi National Park. Namadgi National Park hosts 31 of the 43 summits in VK1. If you look closely at the horizon you will see Bimberi Peak VK1/AC-001 the highest mountain in VK1 at 1913 metres ASL.
From my QTH Mt Ainslie summit is a 15 km drive via Kings Avenue, Northcott Drive, Fairburn Avenue then turning right into Mt Ainslie Drive. My plan was to activate the summit at 18:00 local (0700) UTC. 24 hours prior to the activation I received email correspondence from G6TUH Mike looking for an opportunity to work me on 7.118 LSB at 0730 UTC. Of course I would, what a great opportunity to work the UK from a summit in Canberra?
The summit is about 3 metres above the summit car park and is marked by a survey steel post. To comply with the eactivation zone rules, I parked the car 60 metres below the summit at a parking area adjacent to the walking track to Mt Majura VK1/AC-034. Walking the remaining distance takes about 5 minutes and once on top the steel tube is an excellent support for the squid pole and 40m dipole while the concrete pad is easy to sit on.
Started the activation at 17:58 local (06:58) UTC I made 4 contacts on 2m FM 146.500 including VK1DA Andrew on Black Mountain VK1/AC-042, 5.6 km as the crow flies. At 18:12 I changed to HF running 5 watts on 7.118 MHz and stayed on that frequency for the duration. What surprised me the most was the absence of RF noise, given the proximity to the city centre and a large residential area at the base of Mt Ainslie. I anticipated strength 7 or 8 QRM and found none. This is my favorite local summit.
I worked 20 stations including DX with 3 ZL operators, ZL2CAT John, ZL2ALJ Tony both in Wellington and ZL1JPS John in Hamilton, all three were on the North Island. A little closer to home I had an excellent contact with 2 stations in Queensland, VK4CPS Paul also running QRP and VK5MK/4 Mark at a Coal Seam Gas Platform in SE QLD. Besides the ZL DX, the chat with Mark was by far the most interesting. I did call CQ DX to G6TUH Mike at 0730 UTC for some time without a reply. (I wasn’t expecting a miracle, at least we tried) Tuned down 5KHz and up 5KHz, heard 2 very strong 5-9 Italian stations and a group of French operators.
Very pleased with the HF activation, 3 DX contacts, 11 VK3, 2 VK4 and 4 VK1 contacts including the S2S with Andrew VK1DA on Black Mountain. Excellent evening on a local summit!