SOTA – VK1AD portable 70cm update #12 – Mount Bowning

Easter Monday 28 March 2016, planned SOTA activations of three peaks in the vicinity of Yass township, NSW

After a hoot of a time on Mt Mundoonen Al VK1RX and I moved to Bowning Hill VK2/ST-042.  Did I consider the possibilities  of continuing the QSO with Jim VK3II on 2m SSB over 507 km, no I didn’t.  Did I consider completing a third short QSO on 2m SSB with Bernard VK3AV over 430 km yes I did.

Bowning Hill SOTA 70cm activation
Radio: Yaesu FT-857D, UHF 70cm frequencies 432 MHz USB and 439.00 MHz FM
Power Level: 15 watts
Antenna: 7el Yagi
Distance to Canberra GPO (VK1):  62 km (38 miles) at 154 degrees
SOTA Alert: Yes
Date posted alert: 26 March 2016
Notice Period:  2 days
Outcome:  Qualified Bowning Hill on 70cm  🙂
Duration to qualify on 70cm: 46 minutes, 10 minutes longer than Mt Mundoonen  😦
My 2016 70cm challenge: qualified 12 from 14 summits activated

Photos: © Copyright 2016 Andrew VK1AD

Weather on the summit: 18 degrees C with light easterly winds. Water consumption 500 mils, 2 cups of tea and an Easter Hot Cross Bun  😉

For directions to this summit see my post SOTA Activation – Bowning Hill 10 March 2014.  The ascent to the summit is 209 metres over 1.9 km taking 35 minutes.  On this occasion Al VK1RX had sought permission from the land owner to drive to the summit.

Al set up his HF station 10 metres north of the Trig and I set up the 2m and 70cm antennas a few metres west of the Trig with a clear outlook south-east towards Canberra and south-west towards Melbourne.

The aim of this SOTA activation is to qualify on 70cm SSB or FM and to work Bernard VK3AV on 2m SSB.  Both goals were achieved albeit taking 46 minutes to qualify on 70cm.  On 2m SSB and aided by FlightRadar24, Bernard and I completed two VHF weak signal QSOs over 438 km the first at 23:54 UTC and the second at 00:27 UTC, before and after UTC change.  🙂

Summit to Summit contact on 70cm.  I hadn’t paid any attention to SOTAWatch for updates to VK1 and nearby VK2 alerts.  To my surprise Paul VK1ATP was activating South Black Range VK2/ST-006 and called in at 23:58 for S2S on 432 MHz over 100 km or 62 miles.  Thanks Paul, great to make the 70cm S2S contact, for the life on me I can’t figure out why we didn’t follow-up with a second S2S after UTC change?

2m Dx Surprise!

Without the aid of aircraft enhancement, Jim VK3II answered a ‘CQ South-West’ call and as we did at Mt Mundoonen the conversation with Jim continued for 15 minutes, yes 15 minutes on 2m SSB over 504 km, amazing.  Jim’s signal was steady at 5-5 throughout the QSO, no signs of AE or multi-path propagation.  Later in the session Michael VK3KH at QF21MT Mornington Peninsula, joined the list of callers for a short QSO over 506 km, my first VHF Dx contact with Michael, thanks.  To finish off the 2m Dx session Gordon VK3EJ at Cobram 316 km called in with a 5-8 signal.

Extract from VK1AD SOTA Activator Log – Bowning Hill on 70cm and 2m

Time Call Band Mode Notes
23:36z VK1MA 144MHz SSB Matt S59 R59 QF44
23:38z VK1WX 144MHz SSB Amanda S41 R41 QF44
23:41z VK1KW 433MHz SSB Rob S57 R57 QF44MT    51 km (32 miles)
23:45z VK3AV 144MHz SSB Bernard S51 R52 QF22PL   438 km  (272 miles)
23:49z VK3CAT/P 7MHz SSB Tony S2S VK3/VE-008 S59 R59
23:54z VK1MA 433MHz SSB Matt S59 R57 QF44
23:55z VK1KW 144MHz SSB Rob S59 R59 QF44MT   51 km  (32 miles)
23:58z VK1ATP/2 433MHz SSB Paul S2S VK2/ST-006 S53 R51 QF44SN  100 km  (62 miles)
00:06z VK3II 144MHz SSB Jim S55 R52 QF21RN   504 km (313 miles)
00:21z VK2VIC/1 433MHz FM Tony S51 R51 QF44   68 km  (42 miles)
00:21z VK1VIC 433MHz FM Tony S51 R51 QF44
00:27z VK3AV 144MHz SSB Bernard S51 R51 QF22PL   438 km  (272 miles)
00:29z VK3KH 144MHz SSB Michael S52 R52 QF21MT   506 km  (314 miles)
00:32z VK3EJ 144MHz SSB Gordon S57 R58 QF24TB    315 km  (195 miles)
00:41z VK7LTD 7MHz SSB Tony S2S VK7/WC-027 S51 R53
00:44z ZL2AJ 14MHz SSB Warren S2S ZL1/WK-024 S52 R55

As you can see from my SOTA log, the last two entries are S2S contacts on 7 and 14 MHz.  After the 2m QSO with Gordon, Al and I moved over to Al’s HF station Icom IC-706 to work Tony VK7LTD on VK7/WC-027 and Warren ZL2AJ on a summit ZL1/WK-024 somewhere on New Zealand’s North Island.  🙂

VK1AD SOTA shack at the summit of Bowning Hill. Behind the 70cm yagi is Al's HF inverted V dipole

VK1AD SOTA shack at the summit of Bowning Hill. Behind the 70cm yagi is Al’s HF inverted V dipole

Bowning Hill Trig and Fire Lookout Tower

Bowning Hill Trig and Fire Lookout Tower

Next blog post on the subject of VHF Dx is Bobbara Mountain  😉



2 thoughts on “SOTA – VK1AD portable 70cm update #12 – Mount Bowning

    • At my operating power levels and SSB mode, I suspect the practical limit of AE will be in the 500 to 600 km range.
      I would love to make a long distance VHF/UHF QSO along a tropo duct.


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