Pheasant Hill VK1/AC-021 29 March 2013 Easter Weekend

Pheasant Hill VK1/AC-021 1455 metres ASL Namadgi National Park Grid QF44LD

SOTA activations planned for this Easter long weekend are:

  • 29 March 2013 Mt Pheasant VK1/AC-021 1455 metres ASL -1 44.200 and 146.475 MHz USB and 7.085 MHz LSB
  • 31 March 2013 Mt Ginini VK1/AC-008 1760 metres ASL – 144.200 and 144.220 MHz USB and 7.085 MHz LSB
  • 31 March 2013 Mt Coree VK1/AC-023 1421 metres ASL – 146.475 MHz USB and 7.085 MHz LSB

It’s Friday 29 March and I am heading down to Pheasant Hill VK1/AC-021, which is close to the southern edge of the ACT-NSW border.  The route from Canberra is via Boboyan Road to Brayshaw’s Hut about 78 km from my QTH.  If you are driving from the south, Brayshaw’s Hut is 2.3 km north of the southern border?

Map: Yaouk 1:25000 topo
Weather forecast: 22 degrees

The SOTA action for today includes chasing VK3WAM/1 Wayne on his VK1 wilderness trip and VK3HRA Allen who will be activating VK3/VW-004 Mt Warrinaburb.  Wayne will be activating Mt Gingera, Mt Ginger Ale and Bimberi Peak ACTs highest mountain.  First up for today is to chase Wayne on Mt Gingera on 146.475 USB.

Left home at 6:30 am local arriving at Brayshaw’s Hut car park 60 minutes later.  The road is asphalt to Yankee Hat turn-off then a mix of gravel and dirt  to the border and beyond.  The road condition is suitable for 2WD vehicles.  Having arrived a smidge too early (1 hour) I extended the drive down to the border looking for a road to the furthest southern  VK1 SOTA summit VK1/AC-019AC-019 is a 6 point  unnamed mountain at 1550 metres ASL and qualifies for winter bonus points.  Didn’t find a road however there is a walking track heading south-east along the border.  The walk will be about 5km.  Will leave that for June/July and pick up 3 extra points.

Headed back to Brayshaw’s Hut arriving at 0800 local to chase Wayne on Mt Gingera at 0830 local.  Brayshaw’s Hut elevation is 1230 metres while Mt Gingera is 1855 metres ASL.  Point to point is 35 km to the north-west but there are 5 mountains in between.  Wayne  is operating a FT817 with a high-gain collinear plus a 2m HT.   Knowing the terrain I decided to deploy the 2m yagi (3el Arrow) on the tripod.

Contact VK3WAM/1 on Mt Gingera VK1/AC-002

Contact VK3WAM/1 on Mt Gingera VK1/AC-002

Contacted Wayne at 0846 local using the FT857D on 146.475 USB with a 5-1 signal report…love that beam.

With the chase complete it was time to pack up and start the 2 km walk to Pheasant Hill.  Whilst collapsing the Yagi I  happened to look at the rear of the car (Skoda Yeti diesel all wheel drive) and noticed the left rear tire was flat.   Dam…okay empty the boot and change the tire.  Lets hope I don’t get a second flat on the drive home!?

Spare Tire (not cool)

Spare tire (not cool)

With that distraction over I departed at 0900 local for the hike to Pheasant Hill via Brayshaw’s Hut

Information Board

Information Board

Brayshaw's Hut

Brayshaw’s Hut

Brayshaw's Hut display board

Brayshaw’s Hut display board

The walk to the summit is through open fields then into light bush scrub.  At 0945 local I stopped at a point where the ground leveled out flat, thinking I was on the summit I checked the Magellan GPS it was showing the summit 350 metres to the north-west.  Looked beyond the scrub and could see the ground rising to the north.  I was on a false top so pushed on.  Made the summit by 1000 local and found the log VK1DI Ian had used last weekend 24 March 2013. The summit is not well-defined it’s fairly flat, I moved a little to the north and found a rock platform to set up the gear.

Having lost a little time with the flat tire there was no time to waste.  Set up the squid pole for the 40m dipole and 2m Slim Jim and mounted the Yagi on the tripod.  I need the Yagi to chase Wayne on Mt Ginger Ale.

At 1020 local I fired up the FT857D on 7.090 QRP,  first contact was VK3AFW Ron in Melbourne then a further 12 chaser stations joined the contact log.  The chaser group is growing in size as the news of SOTA spreads among the amateur radio community.   VK1MA Matt and VK1DI Ian both mentioned Wayne was on route to Mt Ginger Ale and for me to call him on 2m simplex.  I switched over to the 2m Yagi roughly pointing north and contacted Wayne at 1059 local 2359 UTC.  Wayne was using his HT whilst climbing to the summit of Ginger Ale.

Following UTC change I worked 19 chasers, 15 on HF and 4 on 2m.  S2S contacts were VK3WAM/1 Wayne on Mt Ginger Ale RST 5-6 5-7 and VK3HRA/p Allen on VK3/VW-004.  Having worn out the chasers VK2UH Andrew and I conducted experiments with antenna polarization on 2m 144.200 USB.  Andrew’s location is Yass, QF45MD 120km from my position at QF44LD.    Rotating the axis of the Arrow to vertical polarization produced a 52 report and horizontal polarization jumped to 57 and 58.  There was some flutter on the signal from a passing aircraft (Aircraft Enhancement).  VK1MA Matt and VK1KW Rob both joined in on the experiment.

Pheasant Hill Shack

Pheasant Hill Shack

Looking north. Working VK2UH at Yass on 2m using the yagi

Looking north. Working VK2UH at Yass on 2m

A very successful day in the southern districts of the ACT.   Thanks to the chasers and fellow activators for the opportunity to work S2S.   Thanks VK2UH Andrew for the time to conduct (play) antenna experiments.   Congratulations to VK3WAM/1 Wayne on the first activation of Mt Ginger Ale.  Look forward to working you later today after your climb up to the summit of  Bimberi Peak VK1/AC-001.

Next activation is on Sunday 31 March 2013, I will be on Mt Ginini VK1/AC-008 at 8 am attempting a VHF DX S2S with VK3HRA Allen on VK3/VC-024 Mt Beckworth near  Ballarat.

Will be back to Mt Pheasant next year if not before.