SOTA Activation – Mt Stanley North-East Victoria

Mt Stanley VK3/VE-126 1052 metres ASL 16km SE of Beechworth – 28 September 2013

Today I am driving from Canberra to the eastern suburbs of Melbourne for a family visit.  The visit will combine a week of SOTA activations around VK3 and a family gathering to celebrate mum’s birthday on Saturday 5 October.

The proposed SOTA activation plans are covered in the earlier VK3 Trip post.  The first planed activation will be Mt Stanley 16 km east of Beechworth in a pine plantation forest.  Whilst in the Beechworth area I met up with Warren VK3BYD at a local Beechworth cafe.  It was great to meet up with Warren and share SOTA stories over a coffee.  Although I didn’t know it, at about the same time I was in Beechworth, SOTA chaser Andrew VK3ARR had stopped in Beechworth for a well-earned break on route to Melbourne.

The route to the summit of Mt Stanley is along Mt Stanley road to the pine plantation boundary.  Next I drove along Boundary Road, a well maintained dirt road leading to a gravel track also named Mt Stanley Road, yes it’s a little confusing and you could easily become geographically embarrassed (lost) in the middle of a pine plantation.  You may want to seek guidance from locals with knowledge of the track network.  As with any pine plantation the roads marked on a map today may not be on the ground tomorrow.

On the summit I was surprised to see a picnic table, a first for me operating the SOTA station from a picnic table, how nice.  🙂       I normally make myself at home in the vegetation or dirt.  Later in the VK3 trip I would realise the VK3 SOTA activators have frequent access to picnic tables.  There are seven local SOTA qualifying summits in the suburbs of Canberra, not one of the seven has a picnic table on the summit.  I think Mt Stromlo has a few tables about 200 metres from the Trig station.

Before setting up on the table I took a walk out of the activation zone then back in. Used the same route to exit the activation zone.  Update May 2015.  The concept of ‘walking in’ and ‘walking out’ where the summit is also a car park is redundant and not supported by SOTA MT.  Each of the VK SOTA Association Reference Manuals (ARM) have been amended to remove this silly rule.

Fig: 1

Fig 1: Track route

Fig 1: Track route to clear the activation zone (entry and exit)

Fig 2:

Fig 2: Track profile

Fig 2: Track profile for a 30 metre ascent

Fig 3:

Mt Stanley radio shack - first time I have used a picnic table

Fig 3: Mt Stanley radio shack 40m dipole, FT-817 and a 4 Ah SLAB – first time I have used a picnic table

Fig 4:

Fig 4: Commercial repeater site and no QRM

Fig 4: Commercial repeater site.  Surprise no interference (QRM)

Activation and Chase

Started the activation at 13:30 local (03:30 UTC) on 40m, no surprise the first chaser was Warren VK3BYD.  Worked 24 more chasers in 28 minutes at light speed.

The chase of the day was Andy VK3LA who qualified on-air as a new VK5 Shack Sloth having accumulated 1000 chasers points.  Well done Andy, I am very pleased to have contributed towards the SOTA Chaser Shack Sloth award.

One summit to summit (S2S) contact was made with Al VK1RX/2 on Mt Lowden VK2/ST-002 in the Tallaganda State Forest north-east of the rural township of Captains Flat. Signal reports were 5-8 and 5-9, band conditions on 40m were excellent.

Low power (QRP) chasers were Peter VK3PF, Peter VK3FPSR, Tony VK3CAT and Larry VK7FLAZ.  Great to have the QRP guys in the SOTA log.

Looking forward to chasing Mt Stanley to make it a completed summit.  Any volunteers in VK3 or VK2 Albury area?