SOTA DX – 101 Chasers :)

SOTA DX – Spring Hill VK2/ST-036 876 metres ASL, Spring Range

On Sunday I drove to Spring Hill with a plan to activate the summit in the period 05:30 UTC to 07:40 UTC or 15:30 to 17:40 local. The plan is to work VK chasers on 7MHz for 30 minutes 05:30 to 06:00 UTC then QSY to 14MHz to work European SOTA chasers long-path from 06:00 to 07:40 UTC.

Spring Hill is on private property, about 30 km north of Canberra, during the week I sought permission from Phil to enter the property.  The walk to the summit is 2.3 km along a gravel road suitable for 4wd vehicles with high clearance.   Phil is a member of the ACT Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association (ACTHPA), Phil and the club members launch their gliders from a plateau 50 metres below Spring Hill trig. see pictures.

SOTA station equipment: Yaesu FT-857D operating at 35 watts, antenna Inverted V 10/20/40 link dipole supported by a 7 metre squid pole, batteries 2 x 4S 4.2 Ah LiFePO4 and a dual-band HT Yaesu FT-60.

4wd track to the summit

Spring Hill GPS track log

Spring Hill GPS track log

On arrival the sky around Spring Hill is alive with Para and Hand-gliders

Spring Hill with gliders overhead

Para-gliders and Hand-gliders

Flying on the wind

Inverted V 10/20/40 link dipole broadside facing south-west and north-east

Spring Hill trigonometric station

Trig footings and radio gear

Started at 05:00 UTC 30 minutes ahead of schedule on 7.095 MHz contacting Amanda VK3FQSO.  Amanda was calling ‘CQ ALARA’ to log  contacts for the Australian Ladies Amateur Radio Association (ALARA) contest running Saturday and Sunday.   With 25 minutes spare before the planned start time I QSY to 2m 146.500 MHz FM operating a dual band HT Yaesu FT-60 to offer VK1 chasers the opportunity to log points for the VHF mountain hunter award.  Having posted a 2m spot with RRT, two chasers checked in for 4 points each Matt VK1MA and Ian VK1DI.  Mark VK1EM was calling me with a 5-9 report however my return signal to Mark did not make the distance. I think Mark’s QTH is in the shadow of a nearby hill.

While operating the HT, one of the para-glider operators came over for a chat interested in the HF antenna and amateur radio equipment.  Turned out the gentleman installed the automatic weather station pictured below.  See weather station website for details.  The weather station sensor data is accessed by the para-gliders using smart phones.  Throughout the activation the average wind speed was 25 km/h sometimes gusting to 40 km/h.

At 05:30 UTC the squid pole collapsed (damn!) just as I pressed the microphone key to check if  7.090 MHz was occupied.  😦    With the prospect of the pole collapsing a second time, I taped the telescopic joints with electrical tape.  Recomposed and sitting on the trig footing I called a second time with Mark VK1EM responding.   The usual SOTA gang joined the chase with 19 VK chasers over 30 minutes across VK1, VK2, VK3 and VK5.  Later on 20m I had the pleasure of contacting David VK4MDX in Townsville, David was very pleased to work me for his first SOTA chase.  🙂

At the planned time of 06:00 UTC I moved to 20m to listen for Bill G4WSB on G/BS-006 Shillhope Law in the Scottish Border region.  It was a little early for a QRP signal, I could hear EU chasers but not Bill.  Sometime later while I was in the middle of the EU pile up, Bill called in at 07:02 UTC for a summit to summit contact with a 5-6 signal report, thanks Bill for the new summit.  Although the plan was to work Europe SOTA chasers, which exceeded my expectations, I also made three contacts in America and one from Mexico, my very first contact to Mexico ever.  VK chasers on 20m were Matt VK6QS, Greg VK8GM, David VK4MDX and Andrew VK2UH.

Around 07:30 UTC the DX chasers dried up, I changed back to 40m to pick up VK chasers who missed out on 4 points earlier in the afternoon, 10 chasers in 10 minutes from VK1, VK2, VK3 and VK5.  As the sun set the wind picked up 30 to 40 km/h and temperature fell very quickly, I found I was shivering, even with my back to the wind, so had to call QRT (transmission ending) to the chasers. Packed up the radio gear in the fading light, walked back to the car in the dark wearing an ultra bright LED head lamp.

Below is an extract of my SOTA log 101 contacts.  Summit to Summit contacts, Bill G4WSB, Andrew VK1MBE on Mt Ainslie and Matt VK1MA on Mt Stromlo.  In terms of SOTA DX this activation is running a close first ahead of the activation of One Tree  Hill for the VK mass SOTA DX activation held in November last year.  🙂

VK1NAM SOTA station

20 Countries logged: Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Czech Republic, England, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Malta, Mexico, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the USA.

20m DX VK to Europe long-path

20m DX – VK to Europe long-path

Club weather station on 477 MHz

ACTHPA club remote weather station

Spring Hill Remote Weather Station (wind)

view west

beautiful clear day – view north

Summary of contacts by band:
2 metres: 3
40 meters: 30
20 meters: 68

101 Chasers  😉

Extract of VK1NAM SOTA activator log VK2/ST-036 Spring Hill (4 points) 31 Aug 14

Time UTC Band Mode Callsign Notes
5:00 7MHz SSB VK3FQSO Amanda S59 R59
5:06 144MHz FM VK1MA Matt S59 R59
5:30 144MHz FM VK1DI Ian S59 R59
5:35 7MHz SSB VK1EM Mark S59 R59
5:35 7MHz SSB VK2IB Bernard S59 R59
5:36 7MHz SSB VK3ANL Nick S59 R59
5:37 7MHz SSB VK3CAT Tony S59 R59
5:38 7MHz SSB VK2GAZ Garry S59
5:38 7MHz SSB VK3TCX Ian S59 R57
5:39 7MHz SSB VK2QR Rob S59 R55
5:40 7MHz SSB VK5EE Tom S58 R59
5:42 7MHz SSB VK5WG Nev S59 R53
5:42 7MHz SSB VK3GRW Greg S59 R59
5:43 7MHz SSB VK5IS Ian S57 R56
5:43 7MHz SSB VK2KEV Kev S59 R59
5:45 7MHz SSB VK3AKK Ken S59 R58
5:47 7MHz SSB VK5TN Robert S58 R57
5:48 7MHz SSB VK1ATP Paul S58 R59
5:49 7MHz SSB VK2ODD Doug S57 R58
5:50 7MHz SSB VK3HRA Allen S59 R57
5:51 7MHz SSB VK3TKK Peter S55 R57 QRP
5:52 7MHz SSB VK3YAR Ray S59 R59
6:04 14MHz SSB OK1SDE Dalibor S58 R55 Czech Republic
6:05 14MHz SSB OK2PDT Jan S59 R57 Czech Republic
6:06 14MHz SSB IK1GPG Max S59 R57 Italy
6:07 14MHz SSB DL7UXG Klaus S59 R57 Germany
6:07 14MHz SSB IK4ZHV Alberto S58 R55  Italy
6:12 14MHz SSB AF6TG Chris S59 R53 USA
6:14 14MHz SSB OE9PCJ Christian S59 R56 Austria
6:15 14MHz SSB VK6QS Matt S59 R56
6:17 14MHz SSB SV1QFF Michael S58 R57 Greece
6:19 14MHz SSB OH6IU Pehr S58 R53 Finland
6:20 14MHz SSB DL5XU Matt S59 R54 Germany
6:22 14MHz SSB DD5LP Ed S58 R51 Germany
6:23 14MHz SSB DF9OO Helmut S59 R59 Germany
6:24 14MHz SSB DK2BS Wolfgang S58 R55 Germany
6:24 14MHz SSB VK8GM Greg S59 R59
6:26 14MHz SSB XE1RF S59 R59 Mexico
6:28 14MHz SSB RZ3DJ Dmitry S59 R59 Russia
6:29 14MHz SSB SM6BQL Folke S58 R55 Sweden
6:30 14MHz SSB F4WBN Christian S59 R57 France
6:31 14MHz SSB IK2AQZ Oscar S59 R59 Italy
6:31 14MHz SSB KH6DC Delwyn S59 R59 USA
6:33 14MHz SSB VK1MBE Andrew S2S VK1/AC-040 S59 R59
6:39 14MHz SSB G6TUH Mike 57 R33 England
6:39 14MHz SSB G0RQL Don S57 R33 England
6:44 14MHz SSB EA2CKX Pedro S57 R42 Spain
6:45 14MHz SSB VK4MDX David S59 R57 Townsville Nth Qld
6:47 14MHz SSB DF1BN Paul S59 R58 Germany
6:48 14MHz SSB M0ZRQ Glenn S59 R57 England
6:50 14MHz SSB S50P Marko S59 R55 Slovenia
6:51 14MHz SSB 9H5DX Mike S59 R55 Malta
6:52 14MHz SSB KF5PAL Brett S59 R55 USA
6:54 14MHz SSB G6TUH Mike S59 R57 England
6:54 14MHz SSB ON5SWA Frans S59 R56 Belgium
6:55 14MHz SSB OM3EY Eduar S59 R56 Slovak Republic
6:56 14MHz SSB SP5PY Tom S59 R59 Poland
6:57 14MHz SSB ON7AB Wim S59 R59 Belgium
6:58 14MHz SSB EA1NE Jose S59 R55 Spain
6:59 14MHz SSB EA4TX Paul S59 R55 Spain
7:00 14MHz SSB UA3G Edward S58 R55 Russia
7:02 14MHz SSB G4WSB/P Bill S2S G/SB-006 S56 R55
7:03 14MHz SSB F8FLK Thierry S59 R59 France
7:04 14MHz SSB OK2MI Alexander S59 R59 Czech Republic
7:05 14MHz SSB ON7HLU Hakim S59 R55 Belgium
7:06 14MHz SSB F5IDJ Valery S59 R59 France
7:07 14MHz SSB SP3YM Stanislaw S58 R55 Poland
7:08 14MHz SSB EA7NA Tony S59 R58 Spain
7:09 14MHz SSB IK2ILH Mau S59 R55 Italy
7:09 14MHz SSB IT9CML Maurizio S59 R59 Italy
7:10 14MHz SSB DL1DVE Thomas S58 R57 Germany
7:10 14MHz SSB VK2UH Andrew S59 R59  Yass
7:11 14MHz SSB ON4ATK Jos S59 R54 Belgium
7:11 14MHz SSB ON4EB Hilaire S58 R57 Belgium
7:13 14MHz SSB OK2JC Janik S59 R55 Czech Republic
7:14 14MHz SSB OE6CAG Kark S58 R54 Austria
7:15 14MHz SSB EB2JU Jose S56 R55 Spain
7:17 14MHz SSB G0VWP Terry S59 R56 England
7:18 14MHz SSB DL8TV Torsten S58 R57 Germany
7:19 14MHz SSB OK2BZ Josef S58 R55 Czech Republic
7:20 14MHz SSB EA2DT Manuel S58 R53 Spain
7:21 14MHz SSB EA2LU Jorge S59 R52 Spain
7:22 14MHz SSB DL6AKK Knut S58 R54 Germany
7:24 14MHz SSB OE6GND Gerhard S58 R53 Austria
7:24 14MHz SSB CU3AA Joao S59 R57 Portugal
7:26 14MHz SSB EU2MM Vladimir S59 R57 Belarus
7:26 14MHz SSB G4EZT Andy S59 R59 England
7:28 14MHz SSB IZ1DXG Roberto S59 R55 Italy
7:29 14MHz SSB EA2DZX Luis S58 R53 Spain
7:30 14MHz SSB SP3DSC Eugen S58 R58 Poland
7:38 7MHz SSB VK2YK Adam S59 R59
7:39 7MHz SSB VK1FM Fergus S59 R59
7:40 7MHz SSB VK3PF Peter S59 R59
7:41 7MHz SSB VK2NNN Darren S59 R59
7:41 7MHz SSB VK3WE Rhett S59 R59
7:42 7MHz SSB VK2ACD Chris S59 R55
7:43 7MHz SSB VK3MCX Max S58 R59
7:43 7MHz SSB VK5DRZ Gerald S58 R59
7:44 7MHz SSB VK5FTRG Tom S59 R59
7:45 7MHz SSB VK3LED Col S59 R59
7:47 144MHz FM VK1MA/P Matt S2S VK1/AC-043 S59 R59

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7 thoughts on “SOTA DX – 101 Chasers :)

  1. Pingback: SOTA 2016 – VK1AD portable 70cm update #3 | Get out of the Radio Shack and Live Life

  2. Pingback: Brisbane Ranges NP – VKFF-055 – 31 AUG 2014 | VK3ARR's SOTA Blog

  3. I could hear you knee deep in chasers, before I had to leave Brisbane Ranges NP. I only got an OE from there, looks like you monopolised them all 🙂 either that or WWFF needs a SOTAwatch equivalent

    • Hi Andrew, literally a cascading waterfall of chasers, one after the other with little time to pay attention to the phone alerts. I saw your SMS (I think it was an SMS) but didn’t get time to study the details. I need to practice adding the phone screen in my view of the S Meter, writing in the Log Book while listening to the next call and pressing the microphone for the next contact. You know how it goes 🙂 My mobile phone provider OPTUS is unreliable outside of the Canberra suburbs, your emails arrived well after your activation ended and only after I was in range of the Canberra mobile network. Good news is I will be changing to the main Australian carrier in January 15. 🙂 Agree, we need a Mobile App for VKFF, know anyone?
      Thanks for writing Andrew and sorry I didn’t get you in the log.
      73 Andrew, VK1NAM

  4. Andrew,

    Thanks for a wonderful blog/log of 101 contacts, once again you set the standard…

    73 Garry VK2GAZ

    • Hi Garry, thanks for the feedback. I can recommend to anyone, a low noise floor summit is the best place to chase DX and DX SOTA activations. I love it and if you didn’t notice, I think chasing SOTA DX is addictive more so than domestic SOTA. I’m doomed there is no cure 🙂
      Great to have you in the SOTA log Garry, always a pleasure to work you.
      73 Andrew, VK1NAM

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