Sunday 13 September 2015. Prairie Dog Hill was added to the list of VK1 SOTA peaks in February 2014. The peak is at 1330 metres ASL, a 2 point summit in the Namadgi National Park VKFF-377. Elsewhere in VK2 and VK3 a 1330 metre summit is scored at 8 points. 😉
I wasn’t too keen to attempt this summit on my own, the neighbouring peaks have a heavy blanket of black wattle regrowth. Adan VK1FJAW volunteered to join me for a joint activation, if we make the peak it will be a 1st SOTA activation for this summit.
The start of the walk is from the Orroral Valley car park, the ascent duration is 2 hours and 50 minutes. The first leg is a 5 km walk along Cotter Hut Road taking 1 hour and 15 minutes. The second leg is a scrub bash over 1.7 km taking a huge 1 hour and 30 minutes. Yes that’s correct 1.7 km scrub bash taking 1 hour 30 min and 5 km walk on a fire trail taking 1 hour 15 minutes. Towards the end of the ascent we were moving at 100 metres per 15 minutes, very slow going. 😮
Map 1. Orroral Valley to Prairie Dog Hill, ascent 450 metres over 6.8 km taking 2 hours and 52 minutes
Ascent profile 451 metres over 6.7 km
Cotter Hut Road leg 5 km, duration 75 minutes
Map 2. Scrub bash route
Scrub bash ascent – 200 metres over 1.7 km taking 90 minutes
The first 900 metres is a mix of light scrub, eucalypt trees and small ferns
With 800 metres to go the black wattle appeared, we settled in for what would be a tough ascent. See the video link below to YouTube.
On the summit operating from a granite slab
Started the activation at 00:40 UTC (10:40 am local) on 2m 144.200 USB, Canberra is 40 km north-east. Chasers on 2m were Matt VK1MA, Mark VK1EM, Rob VK1KW, Dale VK1DSH, Roald VK1MTS, and Tony VK1VIC. At one stage I did hear Al VK1RX pedestrian mobile with a 2m HT, unfortunately Al’s signal was weak to the point where we didn’t make a valid contact. I wanted to try 6m 52.2 MHz USB using a half wave dipole and the FT-857 power output set at 30 watts. Chasers on 6m were Rob VK1KW, Mark VK1EM and Malcolm VK1AAH. I can declare now I don’t plan to revisit this peak for the SOTA 6m & 10m challenge. Actually, I have no desire to revisit this peak ever again, once is enough!
On 40m band conditions are very poor, nevertheless we manage to work VK1, VK2, VK3, and VK7. I did hear Adan work a VK4 station. My chaser contacts on 40m were Matt VK1MA, Adam VK3AGD, Steve VK3MEG, Col VK3LED, Glenn VK3YY, Steve VK7CW, Marshall VK3MRG, Ron VK3AFW, Rex VK3OF, Al VK7AN, Lee VK2LEE, Tony VK3CAT and Peter VK3PF.
Video courtesy of Adan VK1FJAW. Andrew VK1NAM leading through a very unpleasant 800 metres of wattle regrowth. The things we do to carry a radio to summit and chat with fellow amateur radio operators.
Orroral Peak VK1/AC-012
Back at the car park by 15:30 for a late lunch, tea and well earned rest. Check out Adan’s blog post at http://adanvk1.blogspot.com.au/2015/09/15-sota-activation-prairie-dog-hill.html