Unnamed Summit VK1/AC-039 at Uriarra Forest 24 March 2013

VK1/AC-039 855 metres ASL Uriarra Forest 24 km west of Canberra

Map: Cotter Dam 1:25000
Weather forecast: Sunny and 27 degrees

This is my second visit to the summit on AC-039 at Uriarra Forest.  The first occasion was Saturday 2 February 2013 the day after SOTA went live in VK1.  On that occasion I worked 15 chasers before and after UTC change, including three on 2m FM simplex VK1DSH Dale, VK1MDC Mark and VK1SV/p Dimitrios on a hill (somewhere).  On that occasion Summit to Summit contacts were VK3AFW Ron on VK3/VN-003 Federation Range 1453 metres ASL and VK3FDJT Darren on VK3/VN-016 Mt Alexander 741 metres ASL.   The signal of the day was from VK4GJP Geoff operating QRP in the Lockyer Valley east of Toowoomba, South Queensland.

This summit (AC-039)  is in the former Uriarra Pine Plantation destroyed on 18 January 2003 during a fire storm now known as (Canberra bushfires 2003).

It’s Sunday and I had planned to undertake a recon of Mt Domain VK1/AC-020 at 1506 metres ASL, unfortunately my hiking buddy pulled out (for good reasons).  Options were to undertake the recon on my own or wait until June to gain winter bonus points.   Hmm winter bonus points would be good but I fear the cold weather, regrowth and snow may make the journey difficult. Well that sounds like a challenge, yep winter points it is…  So now what?   Check SOTAWatch2 for activators…hmm VK1DI Ian will be on Pheasant Hill VK1/AC-021 1455 metres ASL and VK3HRA Allen will be on Mt Torbrek 1561 metres ASL .   This will be the first SOTA activation of Pheasant Hill since VK1 go-live and it’s 4 points so worth a chase.  The concern is the distance at 62 km may be too close for 40m NVIS or skip.  I love being on a summit in the fresh air so let’s get some S2S action.  BTW the spelling of Pheasant Hill in the SOTA database is incorrect, it isn’t ‘Pleasant Hill’.

Warks Road off Brindabella Road

Warks Road off Brindabella Road

Warks Road to Yellow Rabbit Road then the summit

Warks Road to Yellow Rabbit Road then to the summit, parking 80 metres below.

So where is this place and how do I get there you might ask?  The fact that the summit is not named means you have to use navigation tools to find it.  Okay what do I do?  Open SOTAWatch2 page and select the summits menu. In the summit search field enter ‘AC-039’ and search.

The search will return VK1/AC-039 select it then select the map option you are most familiar with.  Experiment with the different map options, each is different in the level of detail such as contour lines, roads, water ways and 3D contour.  If you are familiar with the area, it shouldn’t be too hard to work out the road network. If you are still having trouble I have posted a track log at the SOTA_Australia Yahoo site, select the file resource for VK1 and click on the link.   Allow 45 minutes to drive out to Uriarra Forest along Brindabella Road, turn left into Warks Road then follow the map (pictures above).

The summit is heavily wooded with eucalypt trees which will impact VHF tx and rx. There is a clearing on the north end of the summit only 1 or 2 metres below the summit spot height.  If you follow the track file you will finish at the clearing where you will find a small rock cairn, I started the cairn with 3 rocks. (add more rocks)

I arrived at the summit  at 9:45 local set up the squid pole to support the 40m EFHW and a second pole for the 2m Slim Jim.  Also had the 2m 3el Arrow on a camera tripod.  I strapped the squid pole to a large tree root exposed by a fallen tree.  Watch out for the nearby ants nest.

40m EFHW and 9m squid pole

40m EFHW and 9m squid pole

2m Slim Jim made from 450 ohm ladder line

Homebrew 2m Slim Jim made from 450 ohm ladder line

2m 3el yagi and summit radio shack.  Slim Jim behind.

2m 3el yagi and summit radio shack. Slim Jim behind.

Action started at 2310 UTC with 10 contacts on HF and three on VHF.  I had chat with VK1SV Dimitrios operating QRP with his 2m HT on a hill in Canberra’s northern suburbs, not sure where. Iam looking forward to hearing Dimitrios from a SOTA summit soon.  No sign of VK1DI/p Ian on Mt Pheasant, was the short distance a contributing factor?  At UTC change the chasers were waiting for my CQ SOTA call.  I worked 3 chasers in quick succession and then Ian checked in.  Ian’s signal from his FT817 and the half dipole was 59, great copy why did I worry?  With the S2S complete I continued with 13 more chasers and VK1HRA/p Allen  on VK3/VW-001 Mt Torbrek, Allen’s signal was strong at 5-7.

Had a break for lunch then checked in with Ian.  Thought we might try 2m SSB on 144.200, Ian has a 5/8 vertical and I can rotate the axis of the beam to vertical polarisation.  Didn’t fancy our chances given the dirt between Ian and I.  Cranked up the power on the FT857D to 35 watts, called CQ a few times with no reply, okay we tried..  If you don’t experiment you will never know.

Another succesful day in the hills and a noise free summit!  Thanks chasers and activators for keeping me busy. The Summit to Summit score is gathering momentum. 🙂