SOTA Activation Bullen Range – Summit to Sea Level

Bullen Range VK1/AC-033 925 metres ASL, ACT Nature Reserve

My last activation of Bullen Range was in Feb 13 in the month VK1 SOTA kicked off.  Since then the summit has been activated by Al VK1RX, Ian VK1DI and Greg VK2FGJW.

Access is a 5 km walk from Tidbinbilla Road along a series of ACT government management tracks with 5 gates to negotiate, I have included pictures of the gates.  Gate two is the only gate you can open and close all other gates are chain & padlock locked. Depending on the style of gate, you will need to climb through or climb over the other four gates.

The ascent is 300 metres over 5 km taking 1 hour 15 minutes.  If you don’t fancy walking, cycling would save time in both directions. I enjoy walking and the challenge of one or two hills to climb.  (see the profile data)  You can get a copy of the Garmin GPS track file from the VK1 documents folder at the SOTA_Australia site.

Equipment:  FT-857D, 20/40 m link dipole, 4S LiFePO4 battery, 1:25,000 topo map, compass and Garmin 62S, food and water.

Bullen Range GPS track log

Bullen Range GPS track log

Bullen Range track profile

Bullen Range track profile

Bullen Range ascent data

Bullen Range ascent data

Parked the car at Miowera Pines on Tidbinbilla Road where there is ample off-road parking.

First gate at Brindabella Road

First gate off Tidbinbilla Road

2nd gate

2nd gate – has a chain latch to open and close

3rd gate

3rd gate – turn right and climb over the gate

turn left - private property on the right

follow the track to the left – private property on the right

4th gate

4th gate ahead – pass through the gate or climb over – private property on the right

View south of Castle Hill in the foreground and Mt Tennent background

view south looking back – Castle Hill in the foreground and Mt Tennent (dominant) in the background

5th gate

5th gate – climb over

Bullen Range summit 1.5 km to go

Bullen Range summit 1.5 km to go

VK1NAM SOTA shack on Bullen Range

VK1NAM SOTA shack on Bullen Range – Rock Cairn rubble on the right

The summit area is recognisable as a clearing and a small rock cairn, more akin to an unorganised pile of rocks.  The fallen tree is an excellent platform for the SOTA station.  There are three sawn off-cut logs suitable for sitting on.  Perfect, an improvised table with chairs!

Started the activation on 40m at 22:20 UTC with a S2S contact with Gregg VK2FGJW on Mt McDonald VK1/AC-048 adjacent to Cotter Dam.  Immediately after the contact with Greg I moved to 20m 14.310 and worked Nev VK5WG and Mike VK6MB, both signals were strong,  20m propagation was definitely open.  Mike’s signal is usually between 5-1 and 5-3, today he was booming in at 5-8.

On 40m I worked 37 chasers including S2S contacts with Ben VK5TX on two summits at Mittagong Mt Alexandra VK2/IL-005 and Mt Gibraltar VK2/IL-001.   New SOTA chasers were active this morning they were Peter VK2IN, David VK2WTY, Ron VK3HAK, Steve VK2FISN and Doug VK2FMIA.

The interesting contact of the day was David VK2ABH maritime mobile on Sydney’s North Harbour.  David was using and ICOM rig combined with an ATU and backstay antenna.  I think that’s my first SOTA summit to sea level contact.     There’s always a first for something.  🙂

Later for the second session on 20m I had the pleasure of contacting Dave VK4OZY and Larry VK5LY.  Dave is the VK4 SOTA Manager.

A perfect day in many ways, 26 degrees, sunny with a light breeze to keep the temperature down.  40 and 20m propagation was ideal along with a noise free summit.   🙂


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