SOTA 2016 – VK1AD portable 70cm update #1

Wednesday 6 January 2016, Mt Stromlo VK1/AC-043 impromptu SOTA activation on 439.00 MHz FM.  Maidenhead Grid Locator QF44MQ

Radio: Yaesu FT-60R dual band HT
Antenna: 1/4 wave on 146 MHz, 5/8 on 493 MHz (non rubber ducky antenna)
Power Level: 5 watts
SOTA Alert:  Nil
Date posted alert: N/A
Notice Period: N/A
Outcome:  Failed to qualify the summit on 70cm  😦
My 2016 70cm challenge: Qualified 0 from 1 summit

Interference levels (QRM) at my home QTH in Canberra have been at S8 all week.  Andrew VK1DA/2 has posted an alert to activate VK2/SW-034 Billapaloola State Forest at 1001 metres ASL, 60 km west of my QTH.  Adan VK1FJAW has posted an alert for VK1/AC-033 Bullen Range 11.5 km south-west.   Both Andrew and Adan are seeking chasers on 28.480 MHz USB starting at 0200 UTC.

With almost no chance of a successful chase from the southern suburbs of Canberra, I decided to take my Yaesu FT-857D mobile and head for a car park at Mount Stromlo.  I worked Adan en route to Stromlo car park however Andrew VK1DA/2 was some time away from his activation.  With time to spare, I grabbed my Yaesu dual band HT and walked up to the Trig high point with ambitious  plans to qualify the summit on 70cm 439 MHz FM.   I called CQ for the best part of 15 minutes with no responses.  Desperate for at least one contact on 70cm I sought interest from amateur radio operators in Canberra via Mt Ginini Repeater 146.950 MHz and sent a SMS message to the VK1 SOTA group.  Adan VK1FJAW responded suggesting a summit to summit contact on 146.5 MHz FM (2m simplex).

Checking SOTAWatch for any sign of life, Andrew VK1MBE was activating Mt Ainslie VK1/AC-040 on 146.5 MHz FM (2m simplex).  I called Andrew for a chance to work him summit to summit (S2) and to my delight he responded. With the exception of two S2S contacts on 2m 146.5 MHz FM (with Andrew and Adan) there were no responses to my calls on 439 MHz FM, I was not surprised given it’s a working day and I hadn’t posted a SOTA alert.

Rain was now moving across Canberra so back to the car to get an update on Andrew VK1DA/2. As luck would have it, Andrew had just started calling CQ from VK2/SW-034.  Andrew is operating a Yaesu FT-817 at 5 watts into a 28 MHz 1/4 wave ground plane antenna (2.5 metres high) held in one hand while operating the microphone in the other, a skilled operator keen to escape a local rain shower.  😉

Summary of my efforts for an impromptu SOTA activation of Mount Stromlo.  No chasers on 70cm, two S2S contacts on 146.5 FM using the Yaesu HT.  I failed to get 4 contacts from the summit of Mt Stromlo therefore I didn’t qualify the peak. A revisit is now on the list for 2016.

Chaser efforts: Two 10m contacts on 28.480 MHz from the car.  Lesson for the day, if you want to qualify a SOTA peak in Canberra on 70cm, post an alert 24 hours in advance and hope that at least 4 people have noticed the alert and are at home in the radio shack. 🙂

Activator Log portable from VK1/AC-043:

Time UTC Band Mode Callsign Summit Details
2:51 144MHz FM VK1FJAW/P VK1/AC-033 S2S VK1/AC-033 S55 R55
3:17 144MHz FM VK1MBE/P VK1/AC-040 S2S VK1/AC-040 S56 R56

Chaser Log mobile:

Time UTC Band Mode Callsign Summit Details
2:39 28MHz SSB VK1FJAW/P VK1/AC-033 S58 R59
3:21 28MHz SSB VK1DA/2 VK2/SW-034 S52 R55

My next SOTA 2016 70cm challenge #2:
7 January 2016 from Booroomba Rocks VK1/AC-026 at 1382 metres ASL, 33 km south-west of Canberra GPO. Wish me luck!

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One thought on “SOTA 2016 – VK1AD portable 70cm update #1

  1. Hi Andrew, thats a shame mate. I got your message and couldn’t quite slip out of the office today like I normally do. I could have given you a contact with VK1VIC and VK2VIC which might have helped.

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