Mt Budawang VK2/ST-015 1137 metres ASL, Budawang National Park
Sunday 15 December 2013, SOTA activation #113.
The original plan for Saturday was to activate in order Mt Palerang, Mt Gillamatong and Mt Budawang. The activations of Mt Palerang and Mt Gillamatong proceeded as planned. Although I intended to activate Mt Budawang later on Saturday afternoon, recent late afternoon early evening activations to Europe and the UK meant a change of plan so I moved Mt Budawang to Sunday morning. That meant two trips to the Braidwood Bakery, no complaints from me. 😉
So what happened with the EU contacts from Mt Ainslie?
Last night the plan was to make contact with Stephan DM1LE in Germany for a summit to summit (S2S) contact. Unfortunately due to band conditions the S2S didn’t come off and not for a lack of trying. Conditions were difficult in Canberra due to localised thunderstorms on the NSW south-east coast producing big static crashes. As the weather front moved through NSW it produced very strong winds in Canberra and on Mt Ainslie. By 8:30 pm the temperature on the summit had dropped to 10 degrees and the winds were 25 to 30 km/h. Whilst I didn’t make the S2S I did work new SOTA chasers in Norway, England, Spain, Germany and Italy.
I’d particularly like to mention that I made a contact with Mike G6TUH in Sussex, who I have tried to work since March of this year. Well done Mike, glad to offer up a VK1 summit for your chaser log.
Moving on to Mt Budawang…
Equipment: FT-817ND, HF link dipole, 2m Slim Jim, LiFePO4 3S 4.2 Ah battery and other bits and pieces
Navigation: Garmin 62S
For details on how to get there see Ian VK1DIs blog. Mt Budawang Road is a public access road passing through private property. If you leave the road, that’s before you get to the National Park, you are deemed to be trespassing. Along Mt Budawang road are three gates to open and close as you pass through them, there are cattle on the road, so take your time.
The Mt Budawang trail rises 400 meters over 4.2 km taking 1 hour to complete. Looking at the track profile the walk is a constant grind with a couple of switch backs early in the ascent to cut the angle and severity of the climb. 500 meters before the summit the track follows a knoll south-east then kicks up for the last 50 metre ascent.
990 Summit to Summit points. My S2S score is 990 points and Warren VK3BYD is planning to activate Mt Loch VK3/VE-005 a 10 point summit close to Mt Hotham in the Alpine National Park. A successful contact with Warren will tip the S2S score over 1000!
A cow with attitude
Arrived at the summit just after 10 am local 2300 UTC. The peak is covered in cloud and there is a gentle easterly breeze. I set up on the north-west corner of the compound using the fence to support the 7m squid pole. I think Ian set up on the south-east corner. To my surprise there is no obvious QRM, the FT-817s reception was fine.
To the chasers.. The usual crowd was waiting patiently. First contact was with Ian VK1DI on 2m SSB 144.200 reports were 5-1 each 90 km point to point. Thanks Ian an excellent contact. John VK2YW was also calling on 2m SSB, unfortunately the 5 watts from the 817 didn’t make the return journey to Wagga Wagga. There was some flutter on John’s signal indicating aircraft enhancement meaning the signal path was temporary as the aircraft moved relative to our positions. (later John and I made the slimmest of 2m SSB contacts with a 5-1 3-1 report)
On 40m 24 chasers cued up for the 6 point summit before UTC change. QRP chasers were Andrew 2UH @ 3 watts, Peter VK3PF, Peter VK3FPSR, Marshall VK3MPR/P, Tony VK3CAT and Steve VK3JY.
Post UTC 19 chasers were back for 6 more points. Band conditions on 40 m were mixed, I didn’t hear any VK5 chasers and Rod VK2TWR near Nimmitabel was very difficult to copy. I suggested we try 2m SSB which worked a treat with 5-5 reports each way over 138 km and with a couple of mountainous ranges to compromise the signal path.
Made a second S2S contact with Warren on Mt Loch then moved to 20m 14.310 MHz to work Paul VK2KTT at Coffs Harbor and the VK6 chasers. Soon after posting the self spot Paul called in with a cracking good signal at 5-8. Called CQ SOTA for a further 10 minutes listening for the VK6 chasers, nothing received. There was some commentary on the Yahoo SOTA site suggesting 20m had suddenly dropped out.
Below are a couple of pictures of the Budawang National Park forest. The tree growing across the track is alive.
Thanks to all activators for driving, walking and climbing summits, dealing with difficult environments to make a contact. The 1000 point milestone can only be achieved with the cooperation of like minded people.
Letterboxes at Mongarlowe.
I will be back to this summit in 2014 🙂
Thanks Mike for the QSL card, very nice indeed.