SOTA – Riley’s Mountain Blue Mountains National Park

Saturday 27 February 2016.  Andrew VK1DA and I (Andrew VK1AD) are heading to Wyong for the Central Coast Amateur Radio Club (CCARC) annual Field Day event, known to the VK amateur radio community as ‘Wyong Field Day’ to be held on Sunday 28 February.

A road trip to Wyong or anywhere for that matter can’t go by without one or two SOTA activations.  With very little thought and almost no planning, at the 11th hour the day before we decided a new summit in the Sydney basin, at least new to both of us would make for an interesting afternoon.  The Sydney basin has two, yes two peaks that meet the P150 guidance, Canoelands VK2/SY-001 and Riley’s Mountain VK2/SY-002.  P = Prominence, P150 is where the landform leading to a peak, has at least 150 metres of unbroken or continuous prominence around the formation.

Riley’s Mountain at 252 metres ASL in the Blue Mountains National Park (VKFF-0041) is a terrific place to visit with your family or friends.  If you live in Sydney and you own some form of portable radio transceiver, which should be in some form of working order and you are a licenced amateur radio operator, this is your opportunity to enter the Summits on the Air (SOTA) Awards Program.

How do you get to Riley’s Mountain?  Andrew VK1DA and I drove from Canberra therefore our route may differ to yours, nevertheless from the south navigate to the township of Wallacia while from the north find your way to Mulgoa Road.    From Mulgoa Road turn into Fairlight Road and stay on Fairlight Road, which changes from an asphalt surface to gravel, to Riley’s Mountain Walk car park.  see photos below

The ascent to the summit of Riley’s Mountain is 122 metres over 2.7 km taking 42 minutes to walk, quicker if you ride a bike!

Riley's Mountain GPS track log overlayed on Oz Topo

Riley’s Mountain GPS track log overlayed on Oz Topo

VK2:SY-002 track profile

Riley’s Mountain track profile an easy 2.7 km walk

Photos: © Copyright 2016 Andrew VK1AD

Blue Mountains information board

You are here! Car park and start of the walking trail at the end of Fairlight Road

You are here! Car park and the start of the walking trail

5.2 km return walk

Riley’s Mountain Trail – 5.4 km return walk

walking trail easy going

walking trail – easy-going

At Riley’s Mountain Lookout view north-west

View from Riley's Mountain Lookout

Riley’s Mountain Lookout

Photo supplied by Andrew VK1DA

VK1AD View North (Photo supplied by Andrew VK1DA)

Nepean River ??? metres below

Nepean River 250 metres below

At the summit the most practical place to set up a SOTA station is next to a sign post ‘Rileys Mountain Lookout’ a good support for a squid pole and HF wire antenna.  Make sure the wire antenna is sufficiently raised and isn’t a hazard for cyclists or pedestrians using the walking trail.

SOTA Activation.  Andrew and I operated in the 40m and 10m bands.  We did call on 20m 14.310 MHz for 10 minutes only to find poor propagation.  Summit to Summit (S2S) contacts included Compton VK2HRX and Marek OK1BIL both at Mount Alexander in the Southern Highlands close to the township of Mittagong.

Extract from VK1AD SOTA Activator Log – Riley’s Mountain 40m and 10m contacts

Time Call Band Mode Notes
02:42z VK2EJW 7MHz SSB Jock S59 R59
02:47z VK7CW 7MHz SSB Steve S58 R41
02:48z VK5WG 7MHz SSB Nev S57 R42
02:49z VK3CAT 7MHz SSB Tony S59 R52
02:58z VK2JDL 7MHz SSB Phil S51 R34
03:39z VK2HRX/P 28MHz SSB Compton S2S VK2/IL-005 S51 R42
03:39z OK1BIL/VK2 28MHz SSB Marek S2S VK2/IL-005 S51 R42
03:41z VK2NP 28MHz SSB Cliff S59 R54
03:48z VK3PF 7MHz SSB Peter S59 R59
03:50z VK3LED 7MHz SSB Col S58 R56
03:51z VK3ANL 7MHz SSB Nick S56 R33
03:52z VK3FQSO 7MHz SSB Amanda S57 R53
03:53z VK1MA 7MHz SSB Matt S59 R57
03:55z VK2YK 7MHz SSB Adam S57 R53
03:58z VK3CAB 7MHz SSB Tony QRP S57 R54
04:01z VK3DAC 7MHz SSB Fred S58 R54
04:03z VK2HHA 7MHz SSB Dennis S59 R56

Station Shack set up

VK1AD and VK1DA SOTA Shack

temporary SOTA Shack of Andrew VK1AD and Andrew VK1DA  (photo taken by Andrew VK1DA)

a very annoying March-fly bit my thigh through my trousers  😦

local Bush Fly attracted to the blue tarp

local Bush Fly known as a Horse-fly or ‘March-fly’

The female March-fly bites and draws protein from animal and human blood to help produce eggs.  The Snowy Mountain’s version of the March-fly (bloody huge)  are attracted to blue as this one appears to be.  Unfortunately my backpack is also blue, easy to see in the bush but a magnet for biting March-flies during the warmer months January to late March.

Don’t be put off by Aussie insects, Riley’s Mountain is a great place for a family day-out combined with a picnic and a SOTA activation.  You could limit your activation to 2m 146.5 MHz FM using a HT and an external antenna such as 2m Slim-Jim or a similar antenna arrangement.   Give it a go!     🙂



2 thoughts on “SOTA – Riley’s Mountain Blue Mountains National Park

  1. Great trip and write up.
    I especially like the map and track profile in your write ups as (if ever) I get the opportunity for an ‘impromptu’ SOTA a lot of the research has been done or I can determine it’s suitability, both fitness and time, for an activation.


  2. Hi Andrew, an excellent write up of your trip to the Blue Mountains. The photos are great.
    John D

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