SOTA VK Mass Activation – One Tree Hill

One Tree Hill VK1/AC-035 865 metres ASL – Australia’s Capital Territory

It’s Saturday evening and VK SOTA activators have taken up positions on summits in the south-east states of Australia for a chance to work SOTA enthusiasts in the northern hemisphere and local summit to summit activity.  Some activators are so keen they have taken up positions one or two hours early and are camping overnight. VK associations participating are VK1, VK3 and VK5.  Matt VK1DA is activating a VK2 summit, Spring Hill VK2/ST-036 near to the ACT/NSW border.

I plan to activate One Tree Hill a border (ACT/NSW or VK1/VK2) summit located 5 km north of the township of Hall.  Access is via the Canberra Centenary Trail which is designed to be shared by walkers and cyclists.  The track is roughly 5 km and takes 40 to 50 minutes walking to reach the summit.  Activating late in the afternoon will mean walking back to the car in the dark!  One aspect of this walk which I didn’t enjoy was the bloody flies, annoying little critters. Being cattle country the are gazillions of opportunistic flies buzzing and circling your head, face, ears and arms anywhere where they can land, I hate flies they really do take the enjoyment out of a good walk.   If you are planning to walk this track my best advice is to lather yourself in insect repellant before leaving the car, you might stand a chance against the marauding flies.

My plan for the evening was to arrive at 17:30 local 0630 UTC and set up 2 radios FT857D and FT817ND with separate antennas.  Why two radios?  I wanted to try the 817 at making one or two DX contacts with a lightweight end fed antenna, unfortunately at 09:40 UTC a foreign power taking advantage of excellent propagation flicked the switch on an over the horizon radar which blew any prospect of QRP DX out of the water. The radar signal was S9 and easily 150 KHz wide, I moved from 14.320 down to 14.175 MHz to escape the bulk of the noise each time I moved the signal seemed to follow me around.  The guys in the UK were hit by it!  I moved up to 14.340 where Al VK1RX was operating just on the edge of the noise. The pulse signal was still sufficiently strong to degrade a DX signal to background noise. 😦  Not being able to compete with the radar I packed up for the 5 km walk back to the car.

Started the activation at 06:50 UTC and concluded at 09:40 UTC in the dark. 2 hours and 50 minutes.  I did get to operate the FT817 on the lightweight EFHW  for the first 10 minutes working local VK chaser stations on 7MHz, making S2S contacts with Allen VK3HRA on Mt Buller,  Rik VK3EQ on Andrew Hill and Nick VK3ANL visiting Canberra activating Black Mountain.

The bulk of the activity was on the FT857D running 40 to 50 watts output into the ‘link’ dipole.

Countries worked; England, Finland, Germany, Slovakia, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland*, Hungary, Holland*, Spain* and America*.   On this occasion new counties are marked.  States worked in the U.S. were North Carolina, South Carolina and New York.

DX summit to summit (S2S) contacts were with Lutz DL3SBA/P on DM/NW-226 and Stephan DM1LE/P on DL/BE-003.

Woke this morning with a three bite marks on my right leg, either from spiders or other creepy crawly bugs. 🙂

VK1NAM SOTA station on One Tree Hill.

VK1NAM SOTA station on One Tree Hill. Excellent take off to the north-east

IMG_3116

HF link dipole for 10, 20 and 40m

HF link dipole for 10, 20 and 40m

Lookout platform make an excellent operating position

‘Canberra 100’ lookout platform is an excellent operating position

Lightweight end fed antenna supported by a 7 metre squid pole

Lightweight end fed antenna supported by a 7 metre squid pole

View to the south and Canberra suburbs.  In the distance Black Mountain

View to the south of Canberra suburbs. In the foreground right of center is  Black Mountain VK1/AC-042. On the horizon are SOTA summits in the Namadgi National Park. Left of center is Mt Ainslie VK1/AC-040.

Extract from VK1NAM SOTA activator’s log from VK1/AC-035 7 December 2013

UTC Band Mode Callsign Summit Comments
6:50 7MHz SSB VK3FPSR Peter S59 R55
6:50 7MHz SSB VK3PF Peter QRP S57 R57
6:52 7MHz SSB VK3HRA/P VK3/VE-008 Allen S2S VK3/VE-008 S56 R55
6:54 7MHz SSB VK3EQ/P VK3/VN-020 Rik S2S VK3/VN-020 S56 R56
6:55 7MHz SSB VK2DAG Matt S59 R59
6:56 7MHz SSB VK2NNN Darren S59 R57
6:58 7MHz SSB VK2IO Gerard S59 R59
7:00 7MHz SSB VK2YK Adam S59 R57
7:02 7MHz SSB VK3ANL VK1/AC-042 Nick S2S VK1/AC-042 S59 R59
7:10 14MHz SSB VK5STU VK5/SE-013 Stuart S2S VK5/SE-013 S55 R54
7:13 14MHz SSB VK3AMB Bernard S55 R55
7:20 14MHz SSB VK6MB Mike S52 R55
7:21 14MHz SSB VK5PAS Paul S59 R58
7:22 14MHz SSB VK6NU John S54 R51
7:23 14MHz SSB HB9AFI Kurt in Switzerland S59 R56
7:26 14MHz SSB VK3ARR/P VK3/VC-018 Andrew S2S VK3/VC-018 S51 R51
7:28 14MHz SSB VK2KTT Paul S59 R59
7:34 14MHz SSB VK5CZ Ian S59 R54
7:37 14MHz SSB VK2UH Andrew S55 R55
7:40 14MHz SSB VK3ZPF/P VK3/VT-011 Peter S2S VK3/VT-011 S51 R51
7:45 14MHz SSB OH9XX Marco in Finland S59 R55
7:46 14MHz SSB VK2YK Adam S59 R54
7:50 14MHz SSB VK3EQ VK3/VN-020 Rik S2S VK3/VN-020 S59 R58
7:51 14MHz SSB VK3OHM Marc S59 R59
8:02 14MHz SSB VK5WG Nev S59 R55
8:04 14MHz SSB VK4VXX Greg S59 R57
8:05 14MHz SSB G0RQL Don in Devon S58 R55
8:12 14MHz SSB VK1RX/P VK1/AC-038 Al S2S VK1/AC-038 S59 R59
8:15 14MHz SSB DL3JPN Steffen S53 R53 Germany
8:17 14MHz SSB W4JKC Tom in South Carolina S53 R44
8:19 14MHz SSB G4UHX Colin NW Engalnd S55 R43
8:21 14MHz SSB KA2GYM Kenneth in North Carolina S59 R57
8:23 14MHz SSB VK5LY Larry S59 R55
8:25 14MHz SSB DL3SBA/P DM/NW-226 Lutz S2S DM/NW-226 S55 R55
8:26 14MHz SSB OM7OM Milan in Slovakia S56 R55
8:27 14MHz SSB EA2CKX Pedro in Spain S57 R51
8:34 14MHz SSB DM1LE/P DL/BE-003 Stephan S2S DL/BE-003 S42 R45
8:35 14MHz SSB VK2JI Ed S59 R54
8:38 14MHz SSB VK3AFW Ron S51 R53
8:39 14MHz SSB SM6DER Sten in Sewden S58 R55
8:54 14MHz SSB IK1GPG Max in Italy S59 R57
8:55 14MHz SSB G0LGS Stuart in Cheltenham S55 R56
8:56 14MHz SSB VK1MDC Mark S59 R59
8:58 14MHz SSB SK6RM Club station S58 R55 in Sweden
8:59 14MHz SSB HA5LV Viktor in Hungary S59 R56
9:00 14MHz SSB DF5WA Bert S58 R56 Germany
9:04 14MHz SSB PA7PA Nico in Holland S59 R57
9:07 14MHz SSB DL7OK Deit S59 R58 Germany
9:08 14MHz SSB G4OBK Phil S59 R56 England
9:19 14MHz SSB VK1MA/P VK2/ST-036 Matt S2S VK2/ST-036 S59 R59
9:29 14MHz SSB KC2ZVM John Port Jervis S59 R59
9:32 14MHz SSB E7JR Spain? S59 R55
9:35 14MHz SSB DK2ZO Wolfgang S58 R57
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One thought on “SOTA VK Mass Activation – One Tree Hill

  1. Hi Andrew,
    The OTH radar was really strong last night. I had just called Lutz DL3SBA/p (DM/NW-226) when the radar kicked in (5/9 plus). It was across the majority of the 20m band, as low down as 14.175. Fortunately it disappeared after 20 minutes and I went back to work Lutz, who was luckily still on the summit.
    Well done on the activation.
    Best 73,
    Paul,
    VK5PAS.

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