A week ago Mike G6TUH invited me to join a new SOTA group on Facebook, which I did some days later. The site membership has familiar SOTA activators such as Mike 2E0YYY and Mikel EA2CW. One member of the group Brian N2BTD in New York posted a note expressing a great deal of interest in working a VK SOTA station on 10m. I thought about Brian’s note for a day or two and thought of my success in working US chasers from VK1 and nearby VK2 summits. I decided to post an alert to activate Mt Taylor VK1/AC-037 for 2130 UTC Friday 30 Jan 15, being Saturday morning in Canberra, 0830 am local. Mt Taylor is my ‘local’ summit which I have activated 27 times in 2 years. This activation will be the first on Mt Taylor for 2015, a valuable single (1) SOTA point towards the activator log for 2015. 🙂
Sorry, I didn’t take photos of the setup yesterday, instead I have included photos from earlier activations of Mt Taylor. The setup yesterday is exactly the same as shown in the pictures from last year. For the benefit of the overseas readers I have included pictures of Canberra, local wildlife and nearby SOTA peaks Black Mountain, Mt Ainslie and Mt Majura.
As the crow flies, Mt Taylor is 3 km from my QTH. The walk to the peak is a 200 metre ascent over 1.2 km taking 15 minutes.
Photos: © Copyright 2015-2016 Andrew VK1AD
Mt Taylor VK1/AC-037
On the summit, view north from a popular lookout
I often take my dog Harry on local SOTA activations where dogs are allowed, it’s good exercise for both of us, on this occasion Harry didn’t miss out.
SOTA station: FT-857D powered by 4.2 Ah LifePO4 batteries
Antenna support: 7 metre squid pole supported by a three rope guy.
Walking up the steep ascent was aided by Harry pulling me up the mountain in a desperate attempt to chase and bark at Kangaroos. Setup on the summit in the usual place (away from the humans using the summit Trig as a chin-up beam) on a small plateau two vertical metres below the Trig.
Setup the SOTA rig a Yaesu FT-857D with the output power set to 40 watts, ready to go at 2110 UTC (0810 am local) 20 minutes ahead of the planned activation time. I posted a SOTA alert for 28.480 MHz USB using RRT with the hope of working Brian N2BTD and perhaps one or two more US chasers. First chaser was fellow activator Al VK1RX operating portable in the backyard adjusting his SOTA link dipole with the recent addition of 6m link. In the middle of the QSO two strong US stations were heard, I called both with little success. I moved up 5 KHz to clear the strong signals and continued to call CQ SOTA now on 28.485 MHz. Next chaser at 2121 UTC was Ian VK1DI also local to Canberra with a strong 5-9 signal. Ian also commented on the strong signals on 28.480.
10 minutes passed with only 2 local contacts, hmm I thought about giving it away on 10m and going to 40m. I checked SOTAWatch for planned VK activations, nothing about for the next 45 minutes so I stayed on 10m. Continued calling for another 5 minutes when out of the noise I could hear ??BTD. The faint signal was competing with local QRN static so I popped the headphones on. Called QRZ a few times and continued to hear ??BTD. This dance of QRZ and ??BTD seemed to take about 5 minutes possibly less until I clearly heard N2BTD and yes it was Brian in New York chasing me from a mobile station 16,260 km (10,103 miles) away. Brian and I exchanged 5-1 reports and had a short conversation where Brian remarked ‘you have made my day’. I though the same, although I have had contacts with SOTA chaser in the US, none had been from a mobile setup, so yes I think the success of the contact with Brian mobile in New York also made my day. 😉
After working Brian I continued with the CQ calls when at 2137 UTC John K1JD in Santa Fe, New Mexico called me 13,400 km, 8,700 miles north-east. John’s signal was strong 5-9 well above the intermittent QRN, I forgot to ask John’s for his rig details and power setting, but to my delight John reported my signal as 5-5 to 5-6. John and chatted about SOTA activations, CW and our local weather, freezing conditions in New Mexico 2 C below and 15 C and sunny in Canberra, quite a contrast between North and South and Hemispheres.
Extract of SOTAWatch – 30 Jan 15 UTC
After the contact with John K1JD I moved to 6m for a local contact with Al VK1RX. From there I moved to 40m to work 26 chasers including two summit to summit (S2S) contacts with Bernard VK2IB/3 on VK3/VE-105 Mt Big Ben and Andrew VK1DA/2 on VK2/ST-044 Bobbarra Mountain. Also tried 20m 14.310 MHz USB for a successful contact with Paul VK2KTT near Coffs Harbour on the Mid North Coast of New South Wales (VK2). VK regions worked, VK1, VK2, VK3, VK5 and VK7.
After the S2S contact with Andrew I packed up and headed home to meet Al VK1RX at 1100 am. We have a planned dual activation of Goorooyarroo VK1/AC-036 (a former Defence bombing range) at 0130 UTC.
Thanks VK chasers for a terrific morning on Mt Taylor and a special thanks to Brian N2BTD and John K1JD for your patience in listening for my 10m signal from VK1. I am yet to make a S2S contact with a US SOTA activator, I think with the right timing a S2S contact is possible on 10m. If you are reading this post in the US and you are interested in a S2S contact on 10m please let me know I’m keen to give it a go. 🙂
73, Andrew VK1NAM