Friday 5 February 2016, Mt Ainslie VK1/AC-040 843 metres ASL VKFF-0850. Space Weather Services (Australia) has reported 25% enhanced Maximum Usable Frequency (MUF) conditions for Canberra since 09:00 local. At the time I didn’t capture a screen shot of the MUF report. The screen shot below is an example of SWS reporting enhance conditions for Sunday 7 February 2016, in fact the enhanced conditions have continued since Friday morning through the weekend. I left work at 16:30 local to activate Mt Ainslie thinking I might be able to work amateur radio stations in Japan on the 10m band 28 MHz and at a stretch perhaps Europe short path for the SOTA 10m Challenge. I had no particular thought of working stations in Denmark, England, France, Norway, Russia, Slovenia and Wales. 🙂
SOTA Gear: Rig Yaesu FT-857, batteries 4S LiFePO4 4.2 and 8.4 Ah, antenna OE9RHV design 10m J-Pole, antenna support 10m DX-Wire telescopic pole.
Weather conditions: Cloudy 18 degrees C, wind 20 – 30 km/h (cool) from the south-east
Started the activation at 0600 UTC (5 pm local) calling CQ for what seemed ages before working Matt VK1MA at 0611 UTC, continued calling CQ for another 10 minutes when Andrew VK2UH at Yass offered at 5-3 report. I check for the Adelaide and Townsville 10m beacons, Townsville was S5, nothing heard of the VK5 beacon. I heard a CW beacon on 28.292, after checking with Andrew VK1DA he had an idea the beacon is located in the Cook Islands. By now 28 minutes had passed and only 2 contacts on 10m 28.490 MHz. Oh boy this is slow work and I wondered if I should stick around for another 30 minutes or call it quits now? I decided to stay but only to work a fellow VK1 SOTA activator Tony VK1VIC/p setting up his SOTA station at the summit of Mt Taylor VK1/AC-037, after that I will head home. The S2S with Tony VK1VIC occurred as planned.
After the S2S with Tony I worked two local callsigns Nick VK1NS and Mike VK1OO yet again sparking me interest to continue with the activation. At 07:10 UTC I heard two JA callsigns elsewhere on the band, a sign the band may be opening to Asia. The JAs were bogged down in a DX pileup, I called three or four times but neither JA station heard me. At 0725 UTC I heard Alexsander’s callsign S57S from Slovenia calling on 28.490 MHz, I have worked Alexsander before but only on 20m 14.310 MHz. I joined the queue of callers waiting patiently for an opening, at this point the 857D was set to 25 watts. After 5 minutes of listening I called ‘VK1 SOTA’ and to my surprise Alexsander responded with a weak signal report, this gave rise to a quick revision of the radio output power setting to 50 watts. At 07:32 UTC we exchanged 5-6 and 4-3 signal reports to complete my first 10m SOTA contact with central Europe, Alexsander thanked me for the SOTA summit and VKFF reference VKFF-0850.
With 10m open to Europe I posted a new spots on SOTAWatch and the DX cluster. 30 minutes passed working one local contact Matt VK1MT mobile. I continued calling CQ DX when at 0800 UTC Cyril TK4RB from Corsica Island in the Mediterranean Sea (IOTA EU-014) responded to my callsign. By now the Grey Line was forming with 1 hour and 15 minutes before sunset in VK and sunrise occurring in Eastern Europe and Russia.
After a successful contact with Cyril TK4RB I refreshed my SOTA and DX Cluster spots. During the last hour of VK sunlight stations called from Russia, Wales, England, Denmark and Norway and a second IOTA contact this time Bob MD0CCE calling from the Isle of Man IOTA EU-116 in the Irish Sea, between the UK and Ireland. The last hour of daylight is normally reserved for long path contacts into Europe using 14 MHz, to find 10m open short-path was very exciting and a first for me from a VK1 SOTA peak. For anyone interested in a 10m contact I will try again next week. 😉
My last contact 6 minutes before VK1 sunset was Torg LA4UOA in Norway for a S58 R55 signal report. I am very pleased I persisted with the activation and didn’t leave the summit after the S2S with Tony VK1VIC. 🙂
Thanks everyone for a terrific evening operating from Mt Ainslie VK1/AC-040, also Canberra Nature Reserve VKFF-0850 in Australia’s Capital Territory. I will try EU and Russia short path next week from Mt Taylor VK1/AC-037, also VKFF-0854 Mt Taylor Nature Reserve. Please look for my SOTA alert later in the week.
For Herbert OE9HRV, I constructed a 10m J-Pole antenna using your design specifications, I must say the antenna was perfect for this occasion. 🙂
Photos: © Copyright 2016 Andrew VK1AD
VK1AD SOTA activator log – Mt Ainslie VK1/AC-040 5 February 2106
|06:11z||VK1MA||28MHz||SSB||Matt S59 R59|
|06:28z||VK2UH||28MHz||SSB||Andrew S55 R53|
|06:50z||VK1VIC/P||28MHz||SSB||Tony S2S VK1/AC-037 S59 R59|
|06:51z||VK2VIC/1||28MHz||SSB||Tony S2S VK1/AC-037 S59 R59|
|07:01z||VK1NS||28MHz||SSB||Nick S59 R55|
|07:03z||VK5NS/1||28MHz||SSB||Nick S59 R55|
|07:18z||VK1OO||28MHz||SSB||Mike S59 R56|
|07:32z||S57S||28MHz||SSB||Aleksander S56 R43 Slovenia|
|07:42z||VK1MT/M||28MHz||SSB||Matt S59 R59|
|08:01z||TK4RB||28MHz||SSB||Cyril S55 R51 Corsica, France IOTA EU-014|
|08:15z||RY3D||28MHz||SSB||Oleg S58 R55 Russia|
|08:24z||UA9KB||28MHz||SSB||Sergey S59 R55 Russia|
|08:25z||R2AGM||28MHz||SSB||S59 R55 Russia|
|08:27z||MW0ZZK||28MHz||SSB||Steve S58 R52 Wales|
|08:30z||R3TGB||28MHz||SSB||Sergey S58 R55 Russia|
|08:31z||R1AC||28MHz||SSB||Alexander S59 R59 Russia|
|08:34z||UA5D||28MHz||SSB||Igor S58 R59 Russia|
|08:35z||R1DX||28MHz||SSB||Victor S59 R57 Russia|
|08:38z||VK1MTS||28MHz||SSB||Roald S59 R59|
|08:44z||UI8U||28MHz||SSB||Alexander S58 R55 Russia|
|08:46z||UA3DOA||28MHz||SSB||Alexe S58 R58 Russia|
|08:53z||MD0CCE||28MHz||SSB||Bob S56 R55 Isle of Man, IOTA EU-116|
|08:56z||M0MDA||28MHz||SSB||Mick S55 R42 UK|
|09:04z||OZ5HP||28MHz||SSB||Henn S58 R53 Denmark|
|09:06z||LA4UOA||28MHz||SSB||Torg S58 R55 Norway|
Example of SWS Vertical Maximum Usable Frequency (MUF) reporting