Booroomba Rocks VK1/AC-026 1382 metres ASL, Namadgi National Park, QF44LK
Honeysuckle Creek VK1/AC-027 1365 metres ASL, Namadgi National Park, QF44LJ
“chase of the day was Ewen VK4HEC/P operating QRP from Lake Murphy Conservation Park”
On 1 February 2013 I activated Booroomba Rocks for the VK1 SOTA go-live. At the time I was running 20 minutes late, thankfully I managed to get the squid pole up, antenna in the air and radio ready by 23:55. I was so busy with my first activation I forgot to take photos. Also my previous hand-held Magellan GPS (lost in Orroral valley in April ) had the track logs, which I didn’t get to publish.
So it was time to head back to Booroomba Rocks VK1/AC-026, claim 3 winter points and take a few snaps of the rocky summit and magnificent panoramic views. While I was in the area, I decided to climb VK1/AC-027 (Honeysuckle Creek) last activated on 5 May this year and claim the winter bonus points.
Before I get into the summit details, I am very pleased to report chasers are starting to embrace QRP operations, 12 out of 29 chasers reported operating at QRP power levels. You don’t need 100 watts and you certainly don’t have to push 300 watts up the antenna to make a good contact on 40m. Lets see more chasers take the challenge and make QRP a permanent feature of the SOTA chase.
Booroomba Rocks is a formation of 3 peaks, the highest peak is obviously the qualifying summit. see picture below of the 3 peaks. Navigation to the summit is via a saddle between the 2nd and 3rd peak. At the saddle turn left on a formed track (south west) and head to the 2nd peak. The formed track ends 50 meters further on. The area around the middle peak is rocky with dense belts of wattle regrowth. There is a series of small rock cairns guiding the walker along the route over the middle peak and on to the summit. It is wise to stop every 30 metres or so and scan the area in front for the next cairn and so on. There are warning signs about cliff edges, don’t ignore them.
Click on the pictures to zoom-in
Track profile ascent 251 metres over 2.3 km. The hump at 1.6 km is the middle peak.
The climb to the summit took 58 minutes just short of one hour, arriving at 9:35 am.
Spent 20 minutes setting up the gear. I used the same rock crevice to support the squid pole and steadied the pole with rocks and a dead tree branch. Tied the tree branch to the pole with occy straps.
Finally on-air at 23:54 UTC with a contact on 2m FM to Al VK1RX. Had a mobile signal but insufficient strength the self spot. Thanks Al for the spot on 2m and 40m.
Called CQ SOTA for 5 minutes on 2m FM and no further contacts. Post UTC worked Al VK1RX and Mark VK1MDC both on 2m.
QSY to 40m on the posted frequency 7.085 which was busy with a rag chew. Moved up to 7.090 called to see if the frequency was clear. Peter VK3PF answered and away we went with a very busy pile up. QRP chasers were Peter VK3PF, Peter VK3ZPF, Adam VK2YK in Newcastle, Marc VK3OHM, Col VK5HCF, Paul VK5PAS, Rob VK2FROB, Peter VK3FPSR, Glenn VK3YY/M, Warren VK3BYD/P and Marshall VK3MRG/P. Also had the pleasure of working Brian VK3MCD QRP mobile in South Australia, great contact Brian.
Thanks Rob VK2FROB for the QSL card.
The main chased died off at 00:40 UTC. While waiting for Tony VK3CAT/P to arrive at Mt Donna Buang VK3/VC-002 I was chased by Phil VK2HPN on a HT. Phil was operating his HT in the industrial area at Fyshwick about 35 km north-east of my location.
At 00:50 UTC Tony called on 7.090 for a S2S between VK1/AC-026 and VK3/VC-002. Departed the summit at 11:05 am for a 48 minute descent to the car, then a short drive to the Honeysuckle Creek campground, the site of the historic Honeysuckle Creek Tracking Station used in the Apollo space missions until 1981.
Short 3.6 km drive to Honeysuckle Creek campground
Honeysuckle Creek VK1/AC-027 1365 metres ASL, Grid QF44LJ
Track profile ascent 274 metres over 2 km, duration 55 minutes.
The walk starts at the campground car park. Private vehicles are not permitted to use the management track.
VK1-AC-027 was burnt in the 2003 Canberra firestorm. The regrowth is dense and scrubby in parts and mainly eucalyptus, quite strange considering the regrowth on Booroomba Rocks is in the main wattle. Recommend anyone attempting this summit wear long pants, long sleeve shirt and gloves. It’s tough going and not the place for shorts.
Arrived at the summit at 1:05 pm, set up the squid pole with the 40m half wave and on-air 10 minutes later.
First contact was Tony VK3CAT/P S2S on VK3/VC-033 Mt Toolebewong at 735 metres ASL on 7.090. Following the S2S contact I moved to 7.085 followed by the chaser group.
The main chase leader was Peter VK3PF/P followed my Mark VK1MDC and John VK2YW. With the summit qualified it was time to sit back relax have lunch and work 20 more chasers. QRP chasers included Peter VK3PF/P, Paul VK5PAS, Bernard VK3AMB, Col VK5HCF, Marshall VK3MRG/P and Steve VK3SE.
The chase of the day was Ewen VK4HEC/P at Lake Murphy conservation park, 490 km north-west of Brisbane. That’s over 1600 km at QRP power levels on 40 m and VK1 to VK4, there you go, you can make a long distance contact on 5 to 10 watts.
Had a good chat with Andrew VK3ARR in Geelong who has a family member connection to the former Honeysuckle Creek Tracking station.
That’s it folks for another VK1 SOTA activation report. Next report will be on the VK2 go-live and the activation of Mt Cowangerong VK2/ST-001 the site of the Canberra weather radar know as ‘Captains Flat Radar’.