SOTA Activation Mt Wee Jasper – 10 November 2013

Mt Wee Jasper VK2/ST-017 1121 metres ASL, Buccleuch State Forest NSW

The original plan for today was to undertake a joint activate of Mt Clear VK1/AC with Ian VK1DI and Al VK1RX.  That didn’t eventuate due to the Bureau of Meteorology’s (BOM) forecast issued on Thursday 7/11/13 for rain on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  Most of the time the BOM gets the weather forecast fairly close to the mark.  Yesterday however it was way off the mark with a warm sunny day and no rain!  Hmm okay so what’s the forecast for Sunday?  The BOM had modified Sunday’s forecast for a clear morning and a possibility of heavy rain periods in the afternoon starting after midday.

So what next?  Al and I looked at our options for a summit not too far from Canberra, a summit to activate by midday with some hope that it wouldn’t rain. The choice was Mt Wee Jasper, a 745 metre ascent over a 7.8 km walk one way.  The walking distance and ascent are similar to Mt Tennent in the ACT which takes just over 2 hours to reach the summit.  Ian had activated Mt Wee Jasper some weeks ago so when I mentioned to him that Al and I were going to give Wee Jasper a go, Ian made plans for an activation on the Monga Range off the Kings Hwy.

So what’s the route to Wee Jasper?  From Canberra drive to Uriarra Crossing and take Fairlight Road to Mountain Creek Road.  Turn right into Mountain Creek Road.  At the end of Mountain Creek Road turn left into Yass Road.  Continue along Yass Road drive past the Fitzpatrick Trackhead Camp site to S35 08 57.6, E148 39 38.3 track junction, about 2 km past the camp ground.  Approximate distance from Canberra is 85 km.

SOTA activation equipment:  Yaesu FT-857D, LifePO4 4S 4.2 Ah battery, 7 m squid pole, home-brew 20/40 link dipole and a 2m Slim Jim.  Al and I shared the load, I carried the radio equipment and Al carried the vital supplies for sustenance, a flask of hot water, tea and snacks.

Fig 1:

Mt Wee Jasper GPS track log

Fig 1: Mt Wee Jasper GPS track log from Yass Rd to the summit

Fig 2:

Mt Wee Jasper track profile

Fig 2: Mt Wee Jasper track profile – 745 metre ascent over 6.4 km

Fig 3:

Ascent details

Fig 3: Ascent details

Fig 4:

Descent details

Fig 4: Descent details – The rain started as forecast 5 min after leaving the summit

Hamilton Hume and William Hovell walking track runs from Yass to Albury.  Click on any picture to zoom in.

Hume and Hovell Walking Track

Hume and Hovell Walking Track

In Ian’s blog he noted the Stile was very close to the Yass Road, this reduced the walk by 1.2 km making it a 12.8 km return walk instead of 15 km.  Thanks Ian well noted.

Fence steps

Stile at the start

Open field to start the walk

Open field to start the walk note the track markers

In places the track is narrow resembling a goat track.  The track comprises of 5 foot bridges over running creeks where blackberries have taken a stronghold in the re-entrants and creek beds.

VK1RX checking the foot bridge

VK1RX checking the foot bridge

Foot bridge before climbing a goat track up a rock face.  When climbing the goat track be careful balancing the extra weight on your back.  You don’t want to fall backwards into the blackberry bushes!

Foot bridge

Foot bridge and goat track

The track is a steady constant climb, happy to take a break or 2 on the way up.  At the pine forest – 1 km to the summit and a 137 metre ascent.

Pine forest 400 metres to the summit

Pine forest 1 km to go

Yeah at the summit!

Fitzpatrick Track Head 7.8 km return

Fitzpatrick Track Head 7.8 km return to the camp site

Arrived at Wee Jasper peak at 10:30 local, 2 hours and 10 minutes after leaving the car.  The summit is an open grassy area marked by the Wee Jasper summit Trig and 2 park bench seats.  It goes without saying that each summit is different to the last.  This summit is now on the list of favorites, it’s a very pleasant place to visit, bit of a bugger it’s such a long walk.

VK1NAM

VK1NAM

Al VK1RX started the activation at 23:45 UTC, 10:45 local on 7.090 with a S2S contact with Ian on Oakey Creek Fire Trail VK2/ST-023 a 6 pointer in the Monga National Park. I contacted Matt VK1MA on 2m 146.5 FM using the Yaesu FT-60 HT.  Matt was using a 12 element yagi horizontal polarisation.  I rotated the HT to place the antenna in the horizontal plane which improved Matt’s reception of me by 3 S points.

Al and I shared the FT-857D microphone for about 10 minutes each before and after UTC.  I worked 5 chasers before UTC then 11 after.

QRP chasers were James VK1DR, Andrew VK2FAJG, Ben VK3FTRV, Peter VK3FPSR and Peter VK3PF.

Summit area

Summit area

VK1RX

VK1RX

I didn’t have a mobile phone signal so contacted Matt on 2m simplex seeking his help to post a spot for 14.310 USB.  At 00:30 UTC we QSY to 20m and set the power to 50 watts.    After a few minutes of calling I worked Ian VK1DI S2S.  Continued calling CQ and this time I heard an American female voice on the frequency nothing came of that.  Worked Matt VK1MA, Andrew VK2UH, Paul VK5PAs and my first SOTA 20m DX contact Lamont ZL2AUK from New Zealand on the north island south of Auckland near Hamilton.

Handed the microphone to Al for his share of the 20m action.  Al also worked Lamont and later 2 or 3 VK stations in NSW and South Australia.  We didn’t hear John VK6NU or Mike VK6MB.

As Al was working 20m, between the trees on the horizon view I could see dark clouds forming to our north.  Again on the 2m HT with a call to Matt requesting advice on the weather forming to our north.  Matt checked the Canberra Radar, he remarked ‘yep your going to get wet’.   We packed up leaving the summit around 13:00 local.  Back at the pine forest the rain started and continued for 1.5 hours.

Bench seats in memory of Robert Cole

Summit seats in memory of Robert Cole

Would be nice to know a little about Mr Robert Cole, perhaps the summit was a favorite place to visit.  It’s beautiful..

Wee Jasper sign and historic Trig

Wee Jasper sign and historic Trig

Wee Jasper Trig

Wee Jasper Trig

The forecast rain started at 13:15 local (the weather geeks at the BOM got it right) and continued for 1.5 hours.  That’s me very wet but happy having visited an excellent SOTA summit and working a DX station on 20m.  I wonder who Robert Cole was, he must have made a lasting impression on family and friends?

Goat track and soaked from the rain

Goat track and soaked after spending 1.5 hours in the rain

I will be back in 2014 for another 6 points.

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4 thoughts on “SOTA Activation Mt Wee Jasper – 10 November 2013

  1. Pingback: Mt Wee Jasper alternate route – 19 April 2014 | Get out of the Radio Shack and Live Life

  2. Pingback: SOTA – Mt Wee Jasper route update | Get out of the Radio Shack and Live Life

  3. Pingback: Mt Wee Jasper alternate route – 19 April 2014 | VK1NAM Summits on the Air (SOTA)

  4. Hi Andrew & Al,
    Well done guys on another succesful activation. You both had great signals on 20m. Really happy that you were at least able to make one DX contact with Lamont ZL2ALK. It wasn’t for the lack of trying. I placed both of you on both SOTAWatch looking for DX and also the DX cluster.
    Thanks for giving 20m a go. It has been real hard going on 40m recently with the longer haul VK contacts. But 20m seems to always be reliable.
    Best wishes,
    Paul,
    VK5PAS.

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