VK2/ST-044 Bobbara Mountain 753 metres ASL near Binalong NSW, Grid QF45hi
On Saturday 20 September 2014 I drove past Bobbara Mountain en route to Temora for the Temora Aviation Museum flying day. With friends in the car I didn’t have an opportunity to play SOTA, so I decided I would return some weeks later.
The summit was last activated by Andrew VK2UH three weeks ago for a DX session to Europe, Andrew reported low levels of noise (QRM) and suggested the south-east side of the activation zone provided a good outlook to the south-west through to the north. Perfect position for VHF DX aircraft enhancement on 2m SSB 144.200 MHz working Canberra, Sydney and south-west towards Melbourne and regional Victoria. From Canberra the peak is 90 km bearing 333 degrees.
My plan was to be on the summit for a Sunday morning to take part in the VHF DX net starting at 2100 UTC through to 2200 UTC. Equipment: FT-857D, dual band 2m/70cm yagi, 7 metre squid pole, HF dipole antenna and two 4.2 Ah LiFePO4 batteries.
Sunday 2 November 2014. Left home at 05:45 am for a 1 hour 20 minute drive via the Barton Hwy, Hume Hwy, Burley Griffin Way to the township of Binalong. From Binalong stay on the Burley Griffin Way for 3 km then turn right into Bobbara Road. Bobbara Road is a gravel road suitable for 2WD sedan. Access to the summit is through private property, a sign fixed to the gate warns walkers that entry is at own risk. Warning the cows are cranky! 🙂
The ascent to the activation zone is 158 metres over 1.1 km taking 22 minutes. I took a short cut following animal tracks to the peak. Note to self – don’t take short cuts when the grass is tall, I had prickly grass seeds all over my pants and in my boots. 😦
On the summit at 07:35 am
Set up the yagi followed by the squid pole and a homebrew HF link dipole
The wind was gusting 40 to 50 km/h making operating conditions very difficult. The yagi took a tumble in the wind landing on the 70 cm reflector bending the element slightly. Oh well it’s fixable. Notable contacts on 2m SSB were Ian VK1DI operating at 10 watts, Paul VK1ATP with a beam at 5 watts, Andrew VK2MWP using a J Pole and Al VK1RX using an Eggbeater antenna designed for making satellite contacts. Andrew VK2UH in Yass had line-of-sight through the shack window. Below is an extract from the log.
VK1NAM VHF/UHF activator Log, transmission mode USB on 144.180, 144.200 and 432.200 MHz from Grid QF45HI
|21:02||144MHz||SSB||VK2MWP||Andrew S58 R57 144.200 MHz USB|
|21:07||144MHz||SSB||VK1DI||Ian S55 R55|
|21:10||144MHz||SSB||VK1ATP||Paul S52 R58|
|21:12||144MHz||SSB||VK2YW||John S55 R53|
|21:16||144MHz||SSB||VK1AI||Greg S59 R59|
|21:20||144MHz||SSB||VK2DO||Chris S55 R55 QF54ch 187 km|
|21:28||144MHz||SSB||VK1RX||Al S52 R56|
|21:34||144MHz||SSB||VK3II||Jim S55 R54 QF21rn 507 km 213 deg|
|21:35||144MHz||SSB||VK3XQ||Robert S51 R56 QF22ot 417 km|
|21:43||144MHz||SSB||VK3EJ||Gordon S59 R59 QF24ht 369 km|
|21:59||144MHz||SSB||VK3BJM||Barry S51 R51 QF22es 478 km|
|22:07||144MHz||SSB||VK2UH||Andrew S59 R59|
|22:14||433MHz||SSB||VK2UH||Andrew S59 R59 432.200 MHz USB|
|22:27||433MHz||SSB||VK2DO||Chris S41 R41 QF54ch 187 km|
Having exhausted contacts on 2m and 70cm, I called it quits at 22:30 UTC having spent 90 minutes on VHF/UHF and moved to HF 7.090 MHz LSB. Andrew VK2UH was my first contact followed by Ernie VK3DET, Amanda VK3FQSO, and Gerard VK2IO. The regular weekend SOTA chasers were active chasing myself, Bernard VK2IB on VK3/VE-104 and Peter VK3PF on VK3/VG-044. 26 chasers on 40m and Mike VK6MB on 20m 14.310 MHz.
QRP chasers: Amanda VK3FQSO, David VK3IL operating portable from Philip Island, Ron VK3HAK operating at 4 watts from Bairnsdale, Nick VK3ANL portable from Lower Glenelg National Park VKFF-296 and Julie VK3FOWL.
Prior to UTC change I parked the rig on 7.090 MHz, as it turned out both Bernard and Peter had the same idea. First two contacts were summit to summit (S2S) with Peter and Bernard. Peter mentioned Rod VK2TWR was due to activate ‘The Cascades’ VK2/SM-014 a well known peak in the Snowy Mountains, I waited on the summit for sometime but didn’t hear from Rod. Having cleared with Peter and Bernard and I moved to 7.085 MHz to work the usual chaser group.
24 chasers on 40m, Ron VK3AFW, Mark VK1EM, Matt VK1MA/M near Braidwood, Gary VK2GAZ, Cliff VK3CCJ, Glenn VK3YY, Rob VK3EK, Amanda VK3FQSO, Andrew VK2UH, Gerard VK2IO, Ian VK2FIAN, Lee VK2LEE, Julie VK3FOWL, Nev VK5WG, Rhett VK3WE, Peter VK3FPSR/M not far from me and close to Temora, Nick VK3ANL in VKFF-296, Tony VK3CAT taking a break from painting windows, David VK3IL enjoying a break at Philip Island, Phil VK3BHR, Ron VK2NZL and finally Mike VK3XL testing a Buddipole antenna somewhere in Gippsland, Mike I was surprised too, the FT-857D signal meter indicated 5-5 a good result. 🙂
Despite the windy conditions I had a terrific time on Bobbara Mountain, strongly recommend the peak for all VHF and SOTA enthusiasts alike, with no noticeable interference (QRM) issues. Had a couple of visitors on the peak, both were surprised to see a 7 metre fishing pole on their walk to the summit. Wildlife, Kangaroos and a pair of Wedge-tailed Eagles soaring on the wind, good news no snakes today! Livestock, cranky cows and timid sheep along with a gazillion annoying flies. Note to self – next time take insect repellant. 😉
Related VHF DX posts
- Bimberi Peak
- Isaacs Ridge
- Mt Taylor
- Mt Ginini – summit to summit aircraft enhancement
- Other VHF DX posts