Mount McDonald VK1/AC-048 789 metrs ASL, Cotter Dam Catchment
Sunday 29 March 2015. I have two homebrew SOTA multi-band link dipoles, my spare lightweight antenna has a 6m link. Yesterday I modified my primary antenna to include a 6m link with a center frequency of 51.150 MHz. I tested the antenna on 52.2 MHz using an analyser plus the radio combined with a SWR meter. The SWR on 52.2 MHz is 1.3:1. Also checked the 10 m link, all ok. Today my plan is to test the 6m modified link on air with an activation of Mount McDonald on 52.2 MHz USB. Mount McDonald is 20 km south-west of the Canberra GPO.
Mount McDonald summit walk starts from Brindabella Road, the car park is a short drive from the Cotter Campground.
Mount McDonald ascent: The ascent is 205 metres over 2.8 km taking 40 minutes.
SOTA equipment: FT-817ND QRP, battery LiFePO4 4S 4.2 AH, antenna homebrew half-wave link dipole and a 7 metre telescopic fiberglass squid pole.
SOTA half-wave link dipole. Picture of my SOTA half-wave antenna with links for 6/10/20/40 metres. The center plate 10 mm hole mounts over the squid pole seating 300 mm below the top of the pole. You are not restricted to using a pole support, combine the center plate with a length of rope over a tree branch or some other support.
I will post construction details of my link dipole soon. For now I have included 4 pictures showing design.
TET-Emtron molded UV resistant plastic center plate.
Factor to your calculations 100 mm of wire on the center plate.
OzTopo map using Garmin BaseCamp – Route to Mount McDonald from Brindabella Road
Start of the gravel walking track from Brindabella Road. I didn’t see a single sole for the entire activation.
Locked gate – Authorised vehicles only and no dogs.
Opened the activation at 22:25 UTC (09:25 am local) on 6m 52.2 MHz USB to work Matt VK1MA, Andrew VK2MWP, Ian VK1DI, Steve VK2NSS, Paul VK1ATP and Nick VK1NK. Post UTC day change on 6m; Ian VK1DI, Al VK1RX and Andrew VK2UH. Eight unique chasers on 6m terrific. 😉
On 20m 14.310 MHz USB I was very surprised with the band open for short skip to VK3 working Ron VK3AFW, VK2 working Less VK2CPC, Paul VK2KTT and Adam VK2YK. Mike VK6MB called in for a long haul chase some 3000 km from Western Australia. 🙂
On 40m I worked a range of VK5 National Park and Conservation Park activators. First chaser on 40m was Amanda VK3FQSO followed by Jenny VK5JEN/M, Paul VK5PAS/P at Leven Beach CP VKFF-814, Adrian VK5FANA, Peter VK3PF QRP, Fred VK3DAC, Gerard VK2IO/M, Peter VK3TKK, David VK5NQP/P at White Dam CP, Ken VK3UH, Andrew VK5KET/P at Penola CP VKFF-803, David VK5HDW/P at Beachport CP VKFF-791.
Post UTC day change. On 40m, Andy VK5AKH/P at Coorong NP VKFF-115, Matt VK1MA, Lee VK2LEE, Gerard VK2IO, Brenton VK2DDS, Andrew VK2UH, Peter VK3PF, Tom VK5FTRV/P at Gower CP VKFF-798, Chris VK4FR/5 at Mount Taylor CP, Ray VK3YAR/M and John VK2YW.
Summit to Summit contacts (S2S). Rik VK3EQ on Mt Buller VK3/VE-008, Tony VK3CAT on High Cone VK3/VE-240 VKFF-619 and Glenn VK3YY/P on Federation Range VK3/VN-029 VKFF-556. Thanks Rik, Tony and Glenn for 27 point towards the S2S log.
Conservation and National Parks chased. Beachport CP, Gower CP, Leven Beach CP, Mount Taylor CP, Penola CP, White Dam CP, Alpine NP, Coorong NP,and Yarra Ranges NP.
Thanks activator and chasers for an excellent activation at Mount McDonald 🙂
Views from the Lookout