SOTA Activation Mt Rob Roy – 5 January 2014

Mt Rob Roy VK1/AC-031 1099 metres ASL Canberra Nature Reserve, grid QF44NM

Today I decided to activate Mt Rob Roy, test out the 2m dipole by working VHF DX stations and update this blog with the Mt Rob Roy navigation details.  I last activated this summit in February 2013 while the last activation was in May 2013.  Given the growth of SOTA among VK chasers, Mt Rob Roy is likely to be a new unique to some chasers.

Left home at 07:10 for a short drive to Banks.  The walking track starts from Thorn Crescent next to a domestic water storage tank. The track to the summit passes through private property before reaching the Mt Rob Roy Nature Park.  The track is open to the public for walkers only, whereas a permit is required to operate a vehicle along any part of the private and public track areas.

The first 600 metres is very steep with a 20% grade climbing 136 metres.  Total ascent is 460 metres over 4.5 km.

Equipment for the activation: FT-817ND, 7 metre squid pole, home-brew 2m dipole and a link dipole for 10, 20 and 40m and 2 lengths of RG58AU.  The radio is powered by a 2.2 Ah 3S LiPo battery.  Battery voltage is monitored using a Watts Up meter.

Fig 1:

Start at Banks

Fig 1: Start at Banks

Fig 2:

The first knoll is not the highest point

Fig 2: The first knoll is not the highest point

Fig 3:

track profile

Fig 3: track profile

Fig 4:

Mt Rob Roy ascent details

Fig 4: Mt Rob Roy ascent details

First section is very steep for 200 metres

First section of the walk is very steep for 600 metres.  Welcoming party, Eastern Grey Kangaroos came out to greet me

First gate - private property close the gate

First gate – private property, must close the gate

Mt Rob Roy in the distance

Mt Rob Roy in the distance 3.3 km to go

Mt Rob Roy nature reserve

Mt Rob Roy Nature Park

Steep sections 1 km to go

Steep sections 1.5 km to go

Concrete posts.  This isn't the summit

Concrete survey posts. This isn’t the summit keep walking for a further 250 metres

turn left off the management track look for the small rock cairn I put together

turn left off the management track.  Look for a small rock cairn I assembled near a eucalyptus tree

small rock cairn - turn left off the main track

small rock cairn – turn left off the main track.  Don’t forget to add a rock as you pass by.

Arrived at the summit 1 hour 10 minutes after leaving the car.  Set up the FT-817, 2m and HF dipoles.  I placed a compass near the base of the squid pole to align the 2m dipole north-east/south-west for VHF DX and north-west for a chance to work John VK2YW near Wagga Wagga.  I rotated the base of the dipole in small increments to peak the received signals.

Started the activation at 2200 UTC on 144.200 USB.  2m contacts on the dipole were Rob VK1KW, Chris VK2DO, VK2NC in Sydney 300 km north-east.  That’s 300 km on a home-brew 1/2 wave dipole 5 metres above the summit and the FT-817 running 5 watts.   Other VHF contacts included Matt VK1MA, Greg VK1AI, Al VK1RX S2S on VK1/AC-038, Ian VK1DI and Compton S2S on VK2/SC-005 73 km to the east.

The path to the north-west and VK2YW is not ideal due to the elevation of the Brindabella Ranges.  Nevertheless John and I tried a 2m contact.  John was 51 to me and gave me a 31 report.  I should have a better chance of working John from Bimberi Peak VK1/AC-001 next weekend.

Later in the activation I worked Rod VK2TWR S2S on 144.150 USB at VK2/SM-067, ‘The Peak’ 105 km to the south-east.  Very pleased with the performance of the 2m dipole, I doubt I will be carrying a 5el 2m yagi to a summit again.

VK1NAM SOTA radio shack on Mt Rob Roy

VK1NAM SOTA radio shack on Mt Rob Roy.  Compass used to align the 2m dipole

On HF I worked 43 chasers before UTC then 33 post UTC.  Chasers responded to self-spots on 40m and 20m.  20m chasers were Mike VK6MB, Tom VK5EE, Andrew VK1MBE, Josh VK3XJM/5 S2S on VK5/SE-013, Paul VK5PAS, Stuart VK5STU and Paul VK2KTT at Coffs Harbour.

S2S contacts included Al VK1RX on VK1/AC-038, (VK2JOS, VK2AFA and VK5TX all three on VK2/HU-007), Compton VK2HRX on VK2SC-005, VK3XJM/5 on VK5/SE-013, Steve VK3JY on VK3/VG-001 Mt Torbreck, Rod VK2TWR on VK2/SM-068 and Tony VK3CAT on VK3/VE-047.  Total of 49 points added to the S2S log.

Mt Rob Roy vintage trig

Mt Rob Roy three leg vintage trig

2m dipole at 5 metres

2m 1/2 wave dipole 5 metres above the summit.

Booroomba Rocks VK1/AC-026

good views of Mt Tennent, Booroomba Rocks, Castle Hill and Mt Gingera.  The rocky summit is Booroomba Rock



2 thoughts on “SOTA Activation Mt Rob Roy – 5 January 2014

  1. Pingback: 2m Dipole Modification for VHF DX contacts – 7 January 2014 | VK1NAM Summits on the Air (SOTA)

  2. Hi Andrew,

    That looks like a calf burner that climb ! Nice to speak to you on both 40m & 20m. Your signal was much stronger on the 20m band than on 40 which has been performing very poorly in recent times for the longer hauls between the States.

    Cheers & HNY 2014,


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