SOTA Activation Mt Majura to European Chasers – 3 December 2013

Mt Majura VK1/AC-034 890 metres ASL – Canberra to Europe 15,500 km

Over the last 3 weeks I have activated VK1 local summits late in the afternoon to work SOTA enthusiasts in the northern hemisphere primarily in Europe.  I have operated from Mt Taylor VK1/AC-037 summit to summit with SOTA activators in England and Germany.  I have also offered European chasers contacts from Mt Ainslie where I made my first EU SOTA chaser contact with Franz OE5FSM near Linz, Austria.  In the meantime SOTA colleagues Andrew VK1DA and Matt VK1MA have been activating other local summits with similar levels of success.

Working Europe from Mt Ainslie and Mt Taylor was immensely satisfying so much so I think I’m hooked and don’t want to get off the ride.  Yes for the last 3 weeks I have been on a high, and now its time to try Europe from another SOTA summit, Mt Majura VK1/AC-034.  Mt Majura is roughly 4 km north-east of Mt Ainslie.   The weather forecast is sunny with a max of 33 degrees, perfect for a late afternoon walk up a mountain.  🙂   I have activated Mt Majura on two previous occasions so under the SOTA rules there are no points in this adventure, however there are points for successful SOTA chasers, plus a new unique summit to chase.

My last activation of this summit was in March this year operating on 7 and 144 Mhz.  At the time there were low levels of QRM from the aviation communications compound 100 meters to the north.  I didn’t operate on 14 MHz so I’m curious about the potential for QRM.  No doubt I will find out soon enough.

Details of the walk: ascent 263 metres over 2.7 km, walking time 45 minutes.  There are numerous formed tracks to the summit, I chose the McKenzie Street start point due to the availability of off street parking.  The climb starts easy following the track through wooded eucalyptus scrub where I saw a few mobs of Kangaroos within metres of the track.  The track has a series of switch-backs to even out the climb.  At 1.4 km the track levels out on to a grassy plain, around 750 metres ASL, offering a chance for some respite.  The remaining 1.3 km is steep and not having the switch-backs for relief the mountain attempts to break your spirit and will to continue.   No seriously it’s not that bad, its a similar climb to Mt Taylor.  If you a are desperate for a serious personal challenge, then take on Mt Tennent south of Tharwa in the Namadgi National Park.

Fig 1:

Fig 1: Mt Majura GPS track log

Fig 1: Mt Majura GPS track log

Fig 2:

Fig 2: Mt Majura track profile

Fig 2: Mt Majura track profile

Click on any picture to zoom in

Start of the walking track at MacKenzie Street, Hackett.

Mt Majura sign

Mt Majura nature reserve sign

View south to Mt Ainslie VK1/AC-040

View south to Mt Ainslie VK1/AC-040

Eastern Grey Kangaroo (female) and a juvenile known as a joey.

Don't let him see me mum!

Don’t let him see me mum!

Summit 1.2 km as the crow flys

Summit 1.3 km to go

Difficult ascent at 30 degrees C

Difficult ascent, temperature is 30 degrees C

Mt Majura nature park

Mt Majura nature park sign

Aviation Radar and communications compound on the summit

Aviation radar and communications compound

Arrived at the summit 45 minutes later and set up the station a few metres west of the trig.  Like Mt Ainslie, this summit has a steel tube mounted in a concrete pad which makes a perfect support for the squid pole and a semi-comfortable place to sit.  The 20/40m link dipole was arranged so the wire elements were running east-west broadside to the north and south.  There views to the north and south are uninterrupted providing a good take off for long or short path.

VK1NAM SOTA station

VK1NAM SOTA station

Started the activation at 1800 local (0700 UTC) on 14.330 MHz posted an alert using RRT and immediately worked Nev VK5WG in South Australia operating at 10 watts, Nev’s signal was 5-9 to me, brilliant!.   It was slow going for the next hour, most people would be heading home from work and a little early for the folk in Europe.   I’m a patient person, I continued to work local stations waiting for the greyline to form.   In the first hour I worked John VK6NU three times as John was experimenting with antennas and radios, Viktor HA5LV in Hungary, Matt VK1MA mobile, Mike VK6MB and 2 new VK contacts Paul VK2TT in Coffs Harbor  and Dave VK4OZY somewhere in South Queensland.  Dave is the Qld VK4 association manager.  Both Paul and Dave were 5-9 to me.

Just after 0800 UTC I could hear weak signals from Germany, in the mean time I made a new VK6 contact Daniel VK6LCK operating his rig at 30 watts, shortly after signing from Daniel, Ian VK5CZ checked in with a 5-7 report.  At 0815 Michael DJ5AV in Germany called in with a 5-7 report and so the greyline was formed.  Don G0RQL responded to my CQ SOTA call, like others Don was clear above the low levels of noise at 5-7.  At 0830 UTC I was surprised to hear Glenn VK3YY in the noise with a 4-1 report each way.  Not sure if Glenn was portable or operating from home.

Following the contact with Glenn,  John VK6NU called for a signal report, now operating a FT897 powered by an internal battery with 20 watts output, our signals were 5-7 each way.  I have been on the summit for 90 minutes and made 15 contacts, that’s slow going.

The DX window opened a few minutes after signing with Glenn.  In the next 40 minutes to 0920 UTC I worked 19 EU and 2 VK stations, it was like turning on a tap on.  Surprisingly the pile up didn’t try to climb all over each other, instead they lined up one by one waiting patiently for a chance to work a VK1 summit.  At 0920 it was last-light in Canberra and time to pack up.  I must say it was disappointing to leave the pile up.   Countries worked were, England, Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Belgium, Hungary, Czech Republic, Croatia and Russia.

An excellent evening playing radio and SOTA on Mt Majura.

The SOTA log extract is below with a link to more pictures.

Mt Majura Trig.  7 metre squid pole supporting a 20/40m link dipole

Mt Majura Trig. 7 metre squid pole supporting a 20/40m link dipole

Extract from the VK1NAM SOTA activator’s log

3/12/13 7:00 14MHZ VK5WG Nev S59 R56
3/12/13 7:07 14MHZ VK6NU John  S56 R54
3/12/13 7:11 14MHZ HA5LV Viktor S58 R44
3/12/13 7:17 14MHZ VK6NU John S57 R56
3/12/13 7:18 14MHZ VK1MA/M Matt mobile S59 R57
3/12/13 7:29 14MHZ VK6MB Mike S51 R53
3/12/13 7:35 14MHZ VK2TT Paul S59 R58
3/12/13 7:51 14MHZ VK4OZY Dave S58 R58
3/12/13 8:00 14MHZ VK6NU John S56 R56
3/12/13 8:05 14MHZ VK5LCK Daniel S53 R57
3/12/13 8:12 14MHZ VK5CZ Ian S57 R59
3/12/13 8:14 14MHZ DJ5AV Michael S57 R56
3/12/13 8:21 14MHZ G0RQL Don S57 R45
3/12/13 8:26 14MHZ VK1MA Matt S59 R59
3/12/13 8:30 14MHZ VK3YY Glenn S41 R41
3/12/13 8:32 14MHZ VK6NU John S57 R57 now 20 watts
3/12/13 8:36 14MHZ G4UXH Colin S56 R32
3/12/13 8:40 14MHZ G4UXH Colin S58 R57
3/12/13 8:43 14MHZ G3OCA Ken S55 R55
3/12/13 8:44 14MHZ DK9JI Alfod S57 R56
3/12/13 8:45 14MHZ RA3PCI Sergey S57 R57
3/12/13 8:47 14MHZ IZ4RCQ Mauro S57 R55
3/12/13 8:52 14MHZ G0BPK Nigel S52 R52
3/12/13 8:53 14MHZ F6BIA Alain S58 R57
3/12/13 8:54 14MHZ 9A2CD Con S59 R57
3/12/13 8:55 14MHZ DL7OK Dietmar S59 R58
3/12/13 9:05 14MHZ DF5WA Berthold S58 R55
3/12/13 9:05 14MHZ F8DRA Marc S58 R57
3/12/13 9:08 14MHZ OK1DQT Jirka S55 R55
3/12/13 9:10 14MHZ ON7ZM Jean S56 R55
3/12/13 9:10 14MHZ EI8BLB Liam S58 R58
3/12/13 9:11 14MHZ UA1AFT Vasily S58 R59
3/12/13 9:12 14MHZ VK5MBD Bill S59 R59
3/12/13 9:14 14MHZ VK4NH Ray S59 R59
3/12/13 9:15 14MHZ SM6DER Sten S57 R55
3/12/13 9:17 14MHZ R3ZF Eugene S51 R51
3/12/13 9:18 14MHZ SK6RM Club station S55 R55
3/12/13 9:20 14MHZ F5AOW Joel S56 R53

One thought on “SOTA Activation Mt Majura to European Chasers – 3 December 2013

  1. Pingback: SOTA DX from Mt Majura – 25 February 2014 | VK1NAM Summits on the Air (SOTA)

Comments are closed.