Sunday 10 April 2016, planned SOTA activation of Bobbara Mountain VK2/ST-044, 753 metres ASL Maidenhead Grid Locator QF45HI
Today’s plan is to activate Bobbara Mountain on 2m and 70cm SSB using a FT-857D at 45 watts on 2m and 15 watts on 70cm. I hope to work Bernard VK3AV and Ron VK3AFW both regular SOTA chasers on HF and VHF bands. Woke at 5 am and left home at 05:45 am for a 1 hour, 20 minute drive to Bobbara Mountain Road. Possible SOTA Summit to Summit (S2S) contacts include Al VK1RX with plans to activate Mt Budawang 160 km north-east of Canberra, Ian VK1DI planning to activate Mt Rob Roy in Canberra’s south and Mitch VK3XDM planning an activation of Mt Macedon north of Melbourne.
Bobbara Mountain SOTA 70cm activation
Radio: Yaesu FT-857D, UHF 70cm frequencies 432.200 and 432.160 USB
Power Level: 15 watts
Antenna: 7el Yagi
Distance to Canberra GPO (VK1): 87 km (54 miles)
SOTA Alert: Yes
Date posted alert: 6 April 2016
Notice Period: 4 days
Outcome: Qualified Bobbara Mountain on 70cm 🙂
Duration to qualify on 70cm: 24 minutes 😉
My 2016 70cm challenge: qualified 13 from 15 summits activated
Photos: © Copyright 2016 Andrew VK1AD
Weather on the summit: 20 degrees C, sunny day & light winds building to 25 km/h 🙂 Water consumption 1 litre
For directions to this summit see my post SOTA Bobbara Mountain 20 September 2014 The ascent to the summit is 158 metres over 1.1 km (0.6 mile) taking 25 minutes.
On the summit VK1AD SOTA shack next to Bobbara Mountain Trig.
Started the activation as planned at 2200 UTC (8 am local) calling ‘CQ Canberra’ on 144.2 MHz. Ian VK1BG was first respond with a strong signal on 2m. Ian offered a contact on 432.160 for my first 70cm contact over 76 km (47 miles). Next in the VHF Dx calling group was Col VK2BCC at 190 km followed by Chris VK2DO also at 190 km. After a successful 2m contact with Chris we moved to 70cm to complete a valid signal report exchange over 190 km (118 miles), a new SOTA 70cm distance record for me. My PB for a 70cm contact was with Dimitris VK2COW during a recent SOTA activation of Mt Perisher.
Speaking of Dimitris, Dimitris called in for the third 70cm contact over 67 km followed by Matt VK1MA in Canberra northern suburbs and Andrew VK2UH over 58 km near Yass.
At 10 minutes before UTC day change I received an SMS from Al ‘ready on 2m’. With our antennas set to horizontal polarisation we completed a successful 2m SSB S2S over 158 km. We turned our attention to 70cm calling on 432.160, Al’s SMS indicated his 70cm antenna (a 1/4 wave ground plane) was set in the vertical position. I rotated the 7el Yagi to the vertical position and listened for Al’s signal. The signal was weak and barely readable and after two failed attempts I ‘text’ Al suggesting he mount the antenna so that the radiating element is horizontal. (less attenuation of the signal)
It worked, signals went from unreadable to 5-1 where Al’s signal was now above the local noise floor. Thanks Al for persisting with the 70cm contact. We now have a 70cm S2S record completed over 160 km. Check out the photo supplied by Al of his 70cm ground plane mounted on the squid pole in the horizontal position. A lesson learned, horizontal polarisation is king for successful signal report exchanges involving VHF/UHF weak signals in the terrestrial-landscape.
On 2m 144 MHz, I achieved my goal of working SOTA chasers Bernard over 438 km and Ron at 483 km in Melbourne’s southern suburbs. Today’s 2m long distant contact was with Michael VK3KH over 507 km (315 miles) to Mount Eliza, signal reports were 5-5 and 5-1. Plenty of noteable 2m VHF Dxers in the log including Col VK2BCC, Greg VK1AI, Gordon VK3EJ, David VK2AUU, Russ VK2BJP and John VK2YW. Missing from today’s activity was Rob VK1KW, I can’t work out why I missed Rob?
Extract from VK1AD SOTA Activator Log – Bobbara Mountain on 70cm and 2m bands
|22:01z||VK1BG||144MHz||SSB||Ian S59 R58 QF44MS 76 km|
|22:03z||VK1BG||433MHz||SSB||Ian S58 R57 QF44MS 76 km|
|22:11z||VK2BCC||144MHz||SSB||Col S51 R55 QF56DI 190 km|
|22:14z||VK2DO||144MHz||SSB||Chris S57 R57 QF54CH 190 km (118 miles)|
|22:14z||VK2DO||433MHz||SSB||Chris S52 R53 QF54CH 190 km|
|22:16z||VK2COW||433MHz||SSB||Dimitris S51 R51 QF44OX 67 km|
|22:18z||VK2COW||144MHz||SSB||Dimitris S55 R55 QF44OX 67 km|
|22:20z||VK1AI||144MHz||SSB||Greg S59 R59 QF44MP 87 km|
|22:24z||VK1MA||144MHz||SSB||Matt S59 R59|
|22:27z||VK1MA||433MHz||SSB||Matt S55 R55|
|22:34z||VK3EJ||144MHz||SSB||Gordon S59 R59 QF24TB 307 km|
|22:35z||VK3AV||144MHz||SSB||Bernard S51 R31 QF22PL 438 km (272 miles)|
|22:45z||VK2UH||433MHz||SSB||Andrew S59 R59 QF45LD 58 km|
|22:46z||VK2UH||144MHz||SSB||Andrew S59 R59 QF45LD 58 km|
|22:52z||VK3AFW||144MHz||SSB||Ron S51 R51 QF22MC 483 km|
|23:06z||VK2NSS||144MHz||SSB||Steve S59 R59 QF45MA 55 km|
|23:09z||VK2BJP||144MHz||SSB||Russ S55 R55 QF33KW 223 km (138 miles)|
|23:11z||VK3AUU||144MHz||SSB||David S55 R52 QF21WU 460 km (285 miles)|
|23:15z||VK3KH||144MHz||SSB||Michael S55 R51 QF21MT 507 km (315 miles)|
|23:24z||VK2YW||144MHz||SSB||John S55 R53 QF34QU 126 km|
|23:53z||VK1RX/2||144MHz||SSB||Al S2S VK2/ST-015 S55 R55 QF44XM 158 km (98 miles)|
|00:01z||VK1RX/2||433MHz||SSB||Al S2S VK2/ST-015 S51 R51 QF44XM 158 km on 432.200|
The next two photos are from Al VK1RX showing his 2m and 70cm antennas set up at Mt Buddawang 158 km (98 miles) north-east of Bobbara Mountain!
Al’s 70cm ground plane mounted in the ‘horizontal’ position
View north from the summit of Bobbara Mountain
Extract from VK1AD SOTA Activator Log – Bobbara Mountain on 20m, 30m and 40m HF bands
After wrapping up the VHF Dx session I raised the HF linked dipole antenna for operations on 40, 20 and 30m. 27 chasers on 40m, including summit to summit contacts with Al VK1RX/2, Mitch VK3XDM/P, Ian VK1DI/P and Phil VK2HPN/1 activating Isaacs Ridge also in Canberra’s south.
Apart from the excellent long distance contacts on 2m SSB, another big surprise was working Mike VK6MB on 7.100 MHz over 2970 km with signal reports exchanged at 5-1, a rare contact on 40m! I moved to 14.310 MHz hoping to work Mike for a second time on 20m and we did, with signal reports at 5-8 and 5-7. 🙂
The last few chasers to wrap-up 3 hours on the summit included a 2m S2S contact with Phil VK2HPN on 146.5 FM followed by a move to 10.130 MHz to work Matt VK1MA and Nev VK5WG. Nev was experimenting with QRP power levels operating a FT-817 into his HF dipole. I matched the FT-857Ds output power to Nev’s at 5 watts. We complete a QRP 5 watt exchange with signal reports 5-7 each way. Good work Nev 😉
|00:12z||VK1RX/2||7MHz||SSB||Al S2S VK2/ST-015 S59 R59|
|00:13z||VK3XDM/P||7MHz||SSB||Mitch S2S VK3/VC-007 S59 R58|
|00:16z||VK2IO||7MHz||SSB||Gerard S59 R59|
|00:19z||VK2HPN/1||7MHz||SSB||Phil S2S VK1/AC-041 S59 R59|
|00:20z||VK2NP||7MHz||SSB||Cliff S58 R56|
|00:21z||VK3PF||7MHz||SSB||Peter S59 R58|
|00:22z||VK3PMG||7MHz||SSB||Mick S59 R59|
|00:23z||VK5IS||7MHz||SSB||Ian S59 R57|
|00:23z||VK5PAS||7MHz||SSB||Paul S59 R57|
|00:24z||VK5WG||7MHz||SSB||Nev S59 R56|
|00:24z||VK3CAT||7MHz||SSB||Tony S59 R59|
|00:25z||VK3LED||7MHz||SSB||Col S59 R59|
|00:25z||VK3AV||7MHz||SSB||Bernard S59 R59|
|00:26z||VK3ZPF||7MHz||SSB||Peter S59 R57|
|00:29z||VK1EM||7MHz||SSB||Mark S59 R59|
|00:30z||VK7CW||7MHz||SSB||Steve S59 R59|
|00:30z||VK3HN||7MHz||SSB||Paul S59 R59|
|00:31z||VK1DI/P||7MHz||SSB||Ian S2S VK1/AC-031 S59 R58|
|00:32z||VK3FABT||7MHz||SSB||Allen S59 R58|
|00:33z||VK2YK||7MHz||SSB||Adam S59 R59|
|00:34z||VK3MEG||7MHz||SSB||Steve S59 R59|
|00:34z||VK3DAC||7MHz||SSB||Fred S59 R59|
|00:35z||VK3MIJ||7MHz||SSB||David S59 R59|
|00:36z||VK4AAC/3||7MHz||SSB||Rob S59 R59 VKFF-0959|
|00:37z||VK5FANA||7MHz||SSB||Adrian S53 R51|
|00:38z||VK2HBG/P||7MHz||SSB||Gerald S59 R53 Mogood VKFF-0032|
|00:41z||VK6MB||7MHz||SSB||Mike S51 R51 QF85BS 2967 km awesome|
|00:52z||VK6MB||14MHz||SSB||Mike S58 R57 QF85BS 2967 km|
|00:58z||VK2HPN/2||144MHz||FM||Phil S2S VK1/AC-041 S51 R55|
|01:01z||VK1MA||144MHz||FM||Matt S59 R59|
|01:05z||VK1MA||10MHz||SSB||Matt S51 R31|
|01:06z||VK5WG||10MHz||SSB||Nev S59 R57|
|01:08z||VK5WG||10MHz||SSB||Nev QRP 5 watts S57 R57 and me also 5 watts|
My SOTA VHF and UHF distance records
Today I set a new PB 432 MHz distance record which now stands at 190 km from a contact with Chris VK2DO.
My 144 MHz record stands at 560 km, a contact made with Ian VK3AXH on Monday 28 March 2106 from Mt Mundoonen.
My 432 MHz summit to summit record is shared with Al VK1RX at 158 km between Bobbara Mountain and Mt Budawang.
My 144 MHz summit to summit record is shared with Allen VK3ARH at 495 km between Mt Ginini and Mt Beckworth.
My 50 MHz record stands at 2343 km, a contact made with Simon ZL1SWW on Saturday 9 January 2016 from Yellow Rabbit Hill