Saturday 15 November 2014. Having had a great time and lots of fun on VK2/SM-036 and attempting to break the Yeti gearbox, it was time to push-on to Blackfellows Hill VK2/SM-033 at 1620 metres ASL. Continue the drive along Tantangara Road for 2 km or so, you will see a gravel road (visible on your left) well ahead of the Wares Yard Camp road sign.
Wares Yard Camp Ground is popular destination for trail riders and their horses. The layout is impressive, a great place to camp kick back and relax. If you are looking for a true-blue Aussie experience, this site is complete with Outdoor Aussie Dunnies, you’ve gotta go there!
Access to Blackfellows Hill is via a bridle trail, on a quiet day you can park your car close to a locked gate, this marks the start of the trail. I parked the Yeti 100 metres short of the trail, leaving the car follow a wooden post fence-line west to the start of the trail. You can’t miss the gate.
Previous SOTA activators: Peter VK3PF, Rod VK2TWR, Ben VK5TX and Rob VK2QR.
Wares Yard Camp Ground – on the day a busy camp site.Trail starts at 1346 meters ASL, ascent is 305 meters over 5 km to 1621 meters ASL. Departed Wares Yard Camp Ground at 10:05 am, for a 1 hour 30 minute ascent. Along the way, opportunities for respite at three saddles. Start of the trail heading west
I didn’t see any Brumbies (free roaming wild horses) on this ascent, there’s plenty of evidence though (large mounds of horse manure) to suggests their presence in the area.
Arrived on the summit 1 hour 30 minutes later. By now the wind picked up and light rain fell during set up, I have a small blue tarp I keep close by, helps to keep the gear dry. The prevailing winds were from the south-west, I could see light rain falling on Tantangara Mountain (SM-024) 5 km south-west, by the time the rain had moved toward me, it was evaporating in the strong south-westerly blowing over the hill. Had the occasional small drop land on the log book, no problems. 🙂 After eating a banana, I started the activation at 00:48 UTC working Glenn VK3YY followed by Rob VK3EK/P S2S on Mt Cann VK3/VG-133, Ron VK3AFW/P S2S on Arthurs Seat VK3/VC-031 and Matt VK1MA to qualify the summit.
Worked 19 more chasers, 17 on 40m and 2 on 20m. Chasers on 40m in order were; Fred VK3DAC on Mt Toolebewong VK3/VC-033 for the third S2S, Frank VK2HFS, Julie VK3FOWL/P, Gerard VK2IO, Garry VK2GAZ, Cliff VK2CCJ, Peter VK3FPSR, Darren VK2FDAP, Grant VK2LX, Bernard VK3AV, Paul VK5PAS/3, Mark VK1EM, Andrew VK2UH, Paul VK1ATP, Paul VK2KTT and Al VK1RX. Rob VK2QR/3 checked in at 01:07 UTC for a fourth S2S, Rob was now on Mt Loch VK3/VE-005, 4 km from Mt Hotham in the Alpine National Park. Paul VK5PAS/3 had moved from Lower Glenelg National Park to Cobbobonee National Park VKFF-728.
On 20m Dave VK4DD joined in on the chase as did Mike VK6MB. Exhausted the chaser group at 01:18 UTC by now the rain was starting to persist. I threw the tarp over the gear, lowered the squid pole removed the antenna center support and wound the antenna on its winder.
For those interested I will put up a post on my homebrew half wave 10/20/40 link dipole. The half wave inverted V dipole is as simple as it gets, a great antenna for SOTA, efficient and lightweight or as lightweight as you want it to be. I don’t use a BALUN at the feed point (Oh Shock! Andrew how could you?) well a BALUN is a potential point of failure, instead I use ferrite clamps over the coax close to the feed point. The best advice I can offer you is apply the KISS principle to SOTA antennas, don’t over cook the design, remember as an activator you need four unique contacts to qualify the summit. 😉Two peaks in the bag SM-036 and SM-033 for 20 points, time to descend to the car then a 1.5 hour drive back to Jindabyne. Later in the afternoon as my third contribution to the VK SOTA Party, I plan to activate VK2/SM-053 8 points for VK and EU chasers, plus a chance to work EU S2S. More about that in the next post.
Views of the surrounding peaks and a contour map showing SOTA peaks in the area.
Peaks in the area: VK2/SM-024, VK2/SM-027, VK2/SM-032, VK2/SM-033 and VK2/SM-036