Castle Hill VK1/AC-032 942 metres ASL, Booroomba Station
Forecast: Overnight low -2 degrees, sunny max of 15 degrees
Map: Tuggeranong 1:25000
Walk: 3.2 km return
Ascent: 200 metres over 25 minutes, descent 15 minutes.
Power: LiPo 5Ah 4S and regulator
Antennas: 2m Slim Jim, 40m 1/2 wave dipole, 6m 1/2 wave dipole
Antenna support: 7 metre squid pole and a 4 metre painter’s pole
Today a group of amateur radio operators from VK1 are celebrating 6 Months of SOTA in VK1 for Summits on the Air (SOTA). A mass activation of nine summits starting at 9 am will showcase amateur radio on the hills around Canberra. At the conclusion of the summit activities we plan to meet up at Kingston for lunch. SOTA activators in VK3 and VK5 will join in the chase hunting valuable S2S points.
Castle Hill is 22 km south of Canberra on private property Booroomba Station. You must seek permission from the property owner to enter the property and climb Castle Hill. The summit is accessible from Booroomba Road (private road) I parked the car next to a cattle grid on Booroomba Road. The alternative is Tidbinbilla Road, look for the gate under the high-tension power lines.
Heavy fog was resting in the Woden and Tuggeranong valleys extending down to Tharwa, ambient temperature was minus 2. The morning was beautiful with the sun shining through the occasional break in the cloud. The ascent is 200 vertical metres over 1.6 km taking 25 minutes, nice to have an easy climb for a change. Had a mate from work along for the walk who grabbed the opportunity to access Castle Hill.
More pictures at the Drop Box link.
Arriving at the peak we were presented with an amazing view of the cloud suspended in the valley. In the distance I could see Telstra Tower penetrating through the cloud layer. Overhead were two eagles surveying the ground for a meal.
7m squid pole supporting the 40m dipole. SOTA Flag flying proud on Castle Hill
SOTA action started just after 9 am with 2 contacts on 2m FM followed by 29 chasers including 8 summit to summit contacts before UTC. S2S contacts were made with Mark VK1MDC and Peter VK1IRC both on Mt Ainslie, Andrew VK1MBE Mt Stromlo, James VK1DR Isaacs Ridge, Matt VK1MA Mt Coree, Ian VK1DI and Andrew VK1DA both on One Tree Hill, Glen VK1FB Mt Tennent, Al VK1RX Tuggeranong Hill and Rod VK2LAX on Mt Taylor.
Given the points on offer before and after UTC, it is likely Andrew VK1DA/VK2UH will be the next VK Shack Sloth. I hope to catch Andrew at lunch.
Regular QRP chasers who continue to feature in SOTA activities were Andrew VK2ONZ, Tony VK3CAT and Brendan VK4FADI. The interesting chase of the day was Peter VK3YE operating portable with his 817 and the well known magnetic loop from Chelsea Beach on Port Phillip Bay.
Following UTC change, S2S included Pual VK5PAS and Ian VK5CZ both on Hogshead Hill VK5/NE-051. I was surprised to make contact with Marshall VK3MRG on VK3/VC-014 who didn’t have an alert on SOTAWatch. All up 56 contacts in the SOTA log including 20 S2S contacts. The S2S score has nudged over 500 points to 504, I can now claim the Bronze S2S Certificate.
Action concluded at 11:05 packed up and headed down the hill taking a few short cuts. Descent was 15 minutes, 10 minutes shorter than the ascent. Next on today’s activities is lunch for the SOTA activators at Bittersweet cafe, Green Square Kingston. Stories of activations and comparisons of steep walking tracks were shared over coffee and lunch.
Tree growing out of a rock!?
Drop Box link to more amazing pictures of the landscape. Waiting on a couple of pictures showing the shack set up.