Mt Gingera VK1/AC-002 1855 metres ASL, Namadgi National Park, Bimberi Wilderness Area VKFF-377
With the BOM forecasting good weather for Sunday 28 September 2014, I made plans to activate Mt Gingera the second highest peak in VK1 and Mt Ginini, 10 and 8 points respectively. The winter bonus is applicable for both peaks, 6 bonus points will be a nice addition to my activator score. The third peak in the series, which I’m not visiting today is Mt Ginger Ale. From the north heading south the peaks are Mt Ginini, Mt Gingera and Mt Ginger Ale. How much Gin did the surveyors drink on each peak? 😉
In the week leading up the activation I posted plans on the SOTAWatch reflector, seeking interest from SOTA activators in Europe for a chance to work Mt Ginini summit to summit (S2S) long path from 06:15 UTC to sunset at 07:30 UTC. My S2S score is 2423, I am looking for 77 S2S points to make the 2500 point Gold S2S Award.
Sunday 28 September 2014. VK SOTA activators with alerts on SOTAWatch are:
- AL VK1RX – Boboyan Range VK1/AC-019 and Pheasant Hill VK1/AC-021
- Simon VK1FAAS – One Tree Hill VK1/AC-035
- Bernard VK2IB – Black Mountain VK3/VE-093
- Phil VK2JDL – Mount Elliot VK2/HU-093
- Rod VK2TWR – unnamed summit VK2/SM-013
- Andrew VK3JBL – Mt Torbreck VK3/VN-001
- David VK3IL – Bill Head VK3/VN-004
- Scott VK2AET- Killiekrankie Mountain VK2/MN-012
- Rob VK2QR – Mount Tricket VK2/CT-002
Interest from activators in Europe had improved overnight and now included:
- Herbert OE9HRV – summit details TBA
- Barry M0IML – Cheriton Hill G/SE-015 in England
- Allan GW4VPX – Hafod Ithel GW/MW-029 in Wales
Taking into account points available before and after UTC date change, (88 points) there’s a good chance I can make 2500 points before sunset. Question is, which activator and peak will take me over the line, or is this just wishful thinking?
Left home at 6 am, from Canberra the route is via Brindabella Road to Piccadilly Circus intersection, then Mt Franklin Road to Mt Ginini car park by 7:30 am. Mt Gingera summit is 7.5 km south along Mt Franklin road on foot. The management track is accessible to ACT government and emergency vehicles only.
The radio gear for Mt Gingera. Yaesu FT817, antenna 10/20/40 link dipole, 7m squid pole, 10m length of RG58AU, battery 3S 2.2 Ah LiPo, dual-band Yaesu HT FT-60.
Brindabella Road – sign indicating road conditions to Mt Ginini
At Mt Ginini car park, applied a generous coating of sunblock before heading off at 07:10 am
View to Mt Gingera
Prior’s Hut at 5km, time for a 10 minute rest and a bite to eat.
2 hours later I’m on the summit at 09:10 for a planned 09:30 am activation.
Started the activation using the 2m HT on 146.5 FM, first chaser was Matt VK1MA followed by Mark VK1EM. Next I fired up the FT-817 on 144.200 USB feeding a 2m Slim Jim vertical from the front panel BNC connector. The radio display was showing an unexpected high SWR, checked the antenna it was okay. I wiggled the BNC/SO239 adapter and found it was the source of the problem, made a quick call to Mat VK1MA while holding the connector in a position where the SWR was low. Gave it away on 2m SSB for 40m 7.090 MHz expecting a pileup of chasers seeking 10 points before UTC midnight and 10 points for the new UTC day. The term ‘UTC day change’ is well-known to Australian activators and chasers alike. VK chasers take advantage of UTC day change to earn summits points on either side of midnight GMT.
On 40m the first contact was a S2S Al VK1RX/P on Boboyan Range then Mark VK1EM, Cliff VK2CCJ and Matt VK1MA. Worked 21 chasers on 40m then with 5 minutes before UTC midnight 4 chasers on 14.320 MHz, Al VK1RX/P on the same summit, Nev VK5WG, Matt VK1MA and Mark VK1EM. I stayed on 14.320 for the new UTC day working the same group Matt VK1MA, Nev VK5WG, Mark VK1EM plus Mike VK6MB long haul to W.A. 3800 km on 5 watts, Ian VK5IS then Al VK1RX for 6 S2S points.
Back to 40m for a 20 minute pileup working 22 chasers starting with Gary VK2GAZ, Ian VK3TCX, Rhett VK3WE and Cliff VK2CCJ. The 20 minute session finished with two S2S contacts, Bernard VK2IB on VK3/VE-093 and Simon VK1FAAS on One Tree Hill VK1/AC-035. 31 Summit to Summit points in the bag taking my total to 2454, 46 points short of the Gold Award. 🙂
Having exhausted the chaser group, I took a few minutes away from the radio to take photos, then explored the contents of my backpack for a sandwich and small bag of unsalted mixed nuts. At 10:30 am it’s time to pack up the radio and antennas then load up the human packhorse for the 2 hour trip back to Mt Ginini via Pryor’s Hut. Oh forgot to mention, I am walking this track wearing new boots, Scarpa Delta GTX size 13EE big foot, yep new boots and so far no blisters. Could have been a ‘bloody’ disaster!
Summit to Summit contacts from Mt Gingera
|Time UTC||My Summit||Callsign||Summit||Band||Mode||Distance (km)||Chase + Activation Points||Running Points
|23:37||Mt Gingera||VK1RX/P||Boboyan Divide||7MHz||SSB||43||16||2439|
|23:58||Mt Gingera||VK1RX/P||Boboyan Divide||14MHz||SSB||43||0||2439|
|0:04||Mt Gingera||VK1RX/P||Boboyan Divide||14MHz||SSB||43||6||2445|
|0:23||Mt Gingera||VK1FAAS/P||One Tree Hill||7MHz||SSB||56||1||2446|
|0:25||Mt Gingera||VK2IB/3||Black Mountain||7MHz||SSB||114||8||2454|
Route from Ginini car park heading south to Mt Gingera. Mt Ginini summit is 700 metres from the Ginini car park
Mt Ginini VK1/AC-008 1760 metres ASL, Namadgi National Park, Bimberi Wilderness Area, VKFF-377
En route to Mt Ginini I took a 15 minute break at Pryor’s Hut, boots and feet are okay no sign of rubbing or pressure hot spots. 2 hours and 15 minutes later for a total of 15 km I took a well-earned break back at the car. I removed the Mt Gingera radio gear (FT-817) from the backpack and packed the FT-857D and LiFePO4 batteries for EU DX. OPTUS mobile phone reception on the summit is at best intermittent more often unreliable. TELSTRA service is generally okay so I packed an iPad with a TELSTRA SIM to monitor SOTAWatch.
Set up the radio gear on what the locals call Mt Ginini ACT/NSW border post, commonly known by VK1 activators as the SOTA DX post (see picture). The Europeans were 3 hours away, I passed the time by working VK SOTA chasers on 40m and 20m. The weather forecast from 16:00 local predicted 50 km/h winds, that would be the end of the EU DX activation. I hope the winds abate well before 16:00.
Started the activation of Mt Ginini at 03:05 UTC (13:05 local) chasers on 40m were Matt VK1MA, Peter VK3FPSR, Rob VK3EK, Matt VK2DAG, Amanda VK3FQSO and Mark VK1EM. The first S2S at 03:10 UTC was Phil VK2JDL on Mt Elliot VK2/HU-093 for 1 point plus 8 points for Ginini into the S2S log.
Next group of chasers were Peter VK3PF/M, Rhett VK3WE, David VK2FLDW, Ron VK3AFW, Ken VK3UH, Glenn VK3YY, Bernard VK3AV, John VK2YW and Peter VK3ZPF operating portable in Mitchell River National Park VKFF-321. Next S2S came from Rod VK2TWR on VK2/SM-013 at 03:41 UTC followed closely by Al VK1RX now on Pheasant Hill VK1/AC-021 for a total of 14 points. I continued with the 40m chasers working Chuck VK2SS, Gary VK2GAZ, Sam VK2AFA, Steve VK2NSS at Murrumbateman followed by a S2S with Andrew VK3JBL on Mt Torbreck at 03:54 UTC for 10 points. My S2S score is now 2487 points, 13 points to go!
More chasers on 40m…….at 04:00 UTC I moved to 20m to work VK5 and VK6 chasers. Nev VK5WG responded as well as Al VK1RX/P still on Mt Pheasant, no score for that contact. After calling CQ on 14.310 MHz for 20 minutes and only two chasers in the log, I changed back to 40m keeping an eye on SOTAWatch for David VK3IL due on Bill Head VK3/VN-004 (10 points) plus Scott VK2AET planning an activation of Killiekrankie Mountain VK2/MN-012 (6 points). There appears to be two spellings Killiekrankie and Killiecrankie. Might ask the VK2 manager to check.
Fellow activator Andrew VK2UH in Yass was next on the chaser group, we had a 10 minute chat about today’s adventures, no snakes sightings was the best news for the day. Following Andrew was Rob VK2MZ, Steve VK3MEG and Nick VK3ANL behind me the iPad SOTA Goat app was bleating like a goat! David VK3IL had been spotted on Bill Head, worked David S2S for 10 points, now 3 points to Gold!
20 minutes later SOTA Goat was on alert, this time the activator is Scott VK2AET on VK2/MN-012. Will I hear Scott 656 operating from the NSW mid north coast 656 km north-east? I did indeed, at 04:58 UTC Scott’s signal to Mt Ginini was 5-8 no problems at all and with that S2S contact I passed through 2500 points for the Gold Award to 2501points. Awesome thanks Scott. 🙂
Minutes later another bleat from SOTA Goat, Rob VK2QR was on Mt Trickett VK2/CT-002 for 8 S2S points to 2509. After Rob I sat back on the fence for an hour listening to activity of 40m. Found Peter VK3YE in Melbourne chatting with Cliff VK2CCJ in Sydney where Peter was operating a home-brew 40m rig at 1 watt. I recall Peter saying the radio has three transistors. Joined in the QSO with Peter and Cliff, I think Cliff had missed an earlier opportunity to pick up 8 points for this summit, Cliff was grateful for this QSO.
I had been on the summit for over 3 hours when I saw the first EU SOTA alert, BTW the wind was now a gentle breeze. 🙂 Herbert OE9HRV who usually activates summits in Austria was on a 10 point peak Augstenberg HB0/LI-004 in Liechtenstein. Wow what a surprise a summit in Liechtenstein landlocked by Austria and Switzerland. I lowered the squid (see picture below) to set the dipole links for 20m, back up in less than a minute, set the TX power to 38 watts and the VFO to 14 MHz. Big signal from Herbert on HB0/LI-004, an arm-chair copy 5-9+ each way for a unique summit, thanks Herbert. Excellent the 20m band is open!
The next group of EU chasers were Frans ON5SWA, Michael DJ5AV, Frans OE7FMH, Borek OK1SED, Luis EA2LMI. Next S2S was Barry M0IML/P for a S2S exchange on G/SE-015 Cheriton Hill, signal reports exchanged 5-8 each way. Mikel EA2CW and Marcial EA2BDS both on EA2/BI-063 Lemoatxa in Spain surprised me with a ‘S2S’ call, not one I was expecting, nevertheless a good contact at 5-7. Thanks Mikel and Marcial for a new summit.
At 06:53 I heard Allan calling from GW/MW-029 Hafod Ithel in Wales, 17,000 km from Mt Ginini. Signals on both sides were well down, after 2 or 3 calls we made the distance. Unfortunately an EA7 station kept calling over Allan, despite many requests to stop transmitting and me saying ‘GW only’, ‘GW only’, he (EA7) continued to interrupt the exchange with Allan. Thanks Allan for persisting with contact, that’s another new summit and 3rd for the evening.
I called Martin OE5REO on OE/OO-322 in Austria 3 or 4 times, sorry Martin I didn’t make the S2S with you.
Continued to work EU chasers for a further 25 minutes through to 07:17 UTC. In the next group was Mike VK6MB, Vladimir EU2MM, Don G0RQL, Geert PA7ZEE, Terry G0VWP, John VK6NU, Jim M0HDX big signal Jim, Barry M0LBJ, EA2AJO, Jan OK2PDT, Norman VK6GOM, Manuel EA2DT, Boris S58A and finally fellow activator Al VK1RX.
Summary of SOTA DX activity: 3 European summits and 20 EU chasers. A terrific afternoon/evening on Mt Ginini, thanks everyone for responding to my notice on the SOTAWatch reflector. 🙂
Extract of VK1NAM Summit to Summit log
|Time UTC||My Summit||Callsign||Summit||Band||Mode||Distance (km)||Chase + Activation Points||S2S Points Running Total|
|3:10||Mt Ginini||VK2JDL/P||Mt Elliot||7MHz||SSB||337||9||2463|
|3:46||Mt Ginini||VK1RX/P||Pheasant Hill||7MHz||SSB||41||4||2477|
|3:54||Mt Ginini||VK3JBL/P||Mt Torbreck||7MHz||SSB||325||10||2487|
|4:12||Mt Ginini||VK1RX/P||Pheasant Hill||14MHz||SSB||41||0||2487|
|4:36||Mt Ginini||VK3IL/P||Bill Head||7MHz||SSB||327||8||2495|
|4:58||Mt Ginini||VK2AET/P||Killiekrankie Mountain||7MHz||SSB||656||6||2501 🙂
|5:07||Mt Ginini||VK2QR/P||Mount Trickett||7MHz||SSB||219||8||2509|
|6:39||Mt Ginini||M0IML/P||Cheriton Hill||14MHz||SSB||16914||1||2520|
|6:53||Mt Ginini||GW4VPX/P||Hafod Ithel||14MHz||SSB||17179||1||2522|
Summit to Summit Gold Award 2500 points – 28 September 2014