SOTA – VK1AD portable 70cm update #15 – Mt Coree

Saturday 24 April 2016, planned SOTA activation of Mt Coree  VK1/AC-023, 1421 metres ASL Maidenhead Grid Locator QF44JQ  Brindabella National Park VKFF-0054

Last Sunday I activated Mount McDonald VK1/AC-048 789 metres ASL situated close to the eastern flank of the Brindabella Ranges. Today I’m activating Mt Coree a prominent granite mountain in the Brindabella Ranges rising 800 meters above Canberra.  The rocky granite summit is void of trees, it’s an ideal launch-pad for transmission and reception of Dx VHF and UHF radio signals.  Aircraft Enhancement is possible by taking advantage of commercial aircraft flying along the Melbourne – Sydney or Melbourne – Canberra routes.  Large aircraft flying at 10 to 12 km (32,000 to 40,000 feet) above the ground offer a good reflective surface to enhance the range of amateur radio single-sideband (SSB) and Morse code (CW) mode transmissions in the 2m and 70cm bands.

Possible summit to summit contact:  Paul VK1ATP has plans to activate Mt Pinnibar VK3/VE-009 at 1772 metres ASL on 40m LSB and 70cm 432.100 MHz USB.  The direct radio signal path from Mt Coree to Mt Pinnibar is over 150 km and includes two 1500 metre peaks near Cabramurra which may attenuate our respective radio signals.  I will be very happy if Paul and I can make at 4-1 report each way.

Mt Coree 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):  30 km (18 miles) at 84 degrees
SOTA Alert: Yes
Date posted alert:  18 April 2016
Notice Period:  5 days
Outcome:  Qualified Mt Coree on 70cm  🙂
Duration to qualify on 70cm: 33 minutes
My 2016 70cm challenge: qualified 15 from 17 summits activated

Photos: © Copyright 2016 Andrew VK1AD

Weather on the summit: 15 degrees C, clear day & light winds  🙂  Water consumption nil. Tea consumption 3 cups  😉

For directions to this summit see my post SOTA Mt Coree 8 March 2014 The ascent to the summit is 282 metres (925 feet) over 2.7 km taking 30 minutes.  Avg Gradient is 10%

At the summit

view east from the Trig to Canberra

view east towards Canberra. Zoom in on the photo to see the Cotter Dam catchment and the new dam wall


view south and south-west across Brindabella and Snowy Mountains National Parks. The direction for an over the horizon VHF radio signal to Victoria and further on to Melbourne 450 km south west

HF antenna packed up

VK1AD at Mt Coree working VK2UH on 144 MHz

Final calls on 2m – VK1AD at Mt Coree working Andrew VK2UH in Yass on 144.2 MHz USB.  See my previous post for a picture of Andrew’s backyard 2 metre dipole.

Mt Coree’s elevation offers line-of-sight communications east to Canberra.  Prior to the activation I circulated an email to the VK1 SOTA enthusiasts with a heads up on my proposed timings.  I hope to find regular SOTA chasers in their shacks, keen to score 4 points on 432 MHz.  BTW in VK2 and VK3 a 1400 metre summit is scored at 8 points.

Weak signal 70cm Summit to Summit (S2S) contact.  As planned, I made the contact with Paul VK1ATP/3 at Mt Pinnibar over 154 km, Paul was operating at FT-817 at 5 watts output.  Signal reports were 5-1 each way, but towards the end of our QSO Paul’s signal lifted to 5-7 aided by aircraft enhancement from an aircraft en route from Melbourne to Canberra airport.

As has been the case for my last three 70cm SOTA activations Al VK1RX and I experimented with QRP power output levels down to 2 watts covering 30 km to Canberra’s deep south.  Signal reports between Al’s station and Mt Coree were 5-7 to 5-8.  Note to self, I really should try the FT-817 on 432 MHz with the power output set to 0.5 watts.  😉

On 2m 144 MHz the local VK1 chasers were active in their radio shacks. Later in the session and the FT-857 power output set to 45 watts, I had the pleasure of working Ron VK3AFW in Melbourne on 2m 144.200 at 441 km (274 miles).  🙂

Extract from VK1AD SOTA Activator Log – Mt Coree on 70cm and 2m bands

Time Call Band Mode Notes
00:55z VK1MA 144MHz SSB Matt S59 R59 QF44
00:56z VK1KW 144MHz SSB Rob S59 R59 QF44MT
00:58z VK1MA 433MHz SSB Matt S59 R59 QF44
00:59z VK1KW 433MHz SSB Rob S59 R59 QF44MT
01:00z VK1HW 433MHz SSB Hauke S59 R55 QF44
01:02z VK1HW 144MHz SSB Hauke S59 R59 QF44
01:09z VK1RX/P 144MHz SSB Al S59 R58 QF44NN 30km
01:14z VK1EM 144MHz SSB Mark S59 R59 QF44
01:28z VK1RX/P 433MHz SSB Al S56 R59 QF44NN 30 km
01:44z VK1ATP/3 433MHz SSB Paul S2S VK3/VE-009 S51 R51 QF43AL 154 km. 5-7 with AE
01:58z VK1RX/P 433MHz SSB Al S58 R57 QF44NN QRP 2 watts over 30 km
02:48z VK3AFW 144MHz SSB Ron S51 R41 QF22MC over 441 km Aircraft Enhancement
02:54z VK2YW 144MHz SSB John S55 R55 QF43QU 135 km
03:04z VK2UH 144MHz SSB Andrew S58 R59 QF45LD 52 km
03:05z VK2UH 433MHz SSB Andrew S56 R56 QF45LD 52 km

Chasers on the HF Bands

On 40m 7.090 MHz, 30 chasers.

Park Activations

With my HF antenna and HF radio equipment positioned on the west side of the Trig center plate, I am operating within the Brindabella National Park VKFF-0054.  SOTA/VKFF to a VKFF Park contact included Tony VK3VTH operating from VKFF-0745 Cape Liptrap Coastal Park, south Gippsland.

My SOTA VHF and UHF distance records
No 2m or 70cm distance records set today, the furthest 2m SSB contact over 441 km was with Ron VK3AFW located in Melbourne’s southern suburbs.  On 70cm I completed a S2S exchange with Paul VK1ATP/3 activating VK3/VE-009 Mt Pinnibar at a distance of 154 km  🙂

6 thoughts on “SOTA – VK1AD portable 70cm update #15 – Mt Coree

  1. Your blog posts are so well detailed, you leave nothing undescribed Andrew. An exemplar for other SOTA bloggers! 73 Paul vk3hn.

    • Thanks Paul your feedback is welcome. I am a little behind in my blog reading. I have a few blogs and posts to read, incluging your recent post on Bullfight.
      Andrew VK1AD

  2. Very interesting to read about the AE and the use on both 70 and 2M. Is there much use of digital on these bands? I saw today a JT65 beta for Android and I’m considering how (if) I can incorporate that into my portable work.


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