SOTA – VK1AD portable 70cm update #23 – 2 Peaks 17 km Hike

Sunday 11 September 2016, planned SOTA activation of Boboyan Divide, 1510 metres ASL, and Pheasant Hill 1455 metres ASL.  Maidenhead Grid Locator QF44MC and QF44LD

I’m out with Al VK1RX our focus for this SOTA activation is to have fun, earn 16 SOTA activator points and complete a combined 17 km walk starting at 07:45 and finishing at 16:00.  Al’s current activator score is 979 points, by the end of the day Al should be sitting on 995 points, only 5 points short of the prestige 1000 point SOTA Mountain Goat Award.  🙂

Our plan is to activate each peak on HF and VHF/UHF bands by running two stations, Al operating an ICOM IC-706 on 80 and 40m while I try to work VK1 and VK2 chasers on 432.2 MHz over 70 km along a path with many mountain peaks to attenuate the signal. Like my last activation at Bald Mountain and Big Badja the signal path and distance to Canberra is on the fringe of my SOTA station set up.  Never one to give in easily, I will push the boundaries of what’s possible with 10 watts and a 7el yagi.    To give myself a fighting chance I sent an email to club members plus Rod VK2TWR and Chris VK2DO.

Boboyan Divide SOTA 70cm activation
Radio: Yaesu FT-857D, UHF 70 cm frequency 432.200 MHz SSB
Power Level: 10 watts
Antenna: 7el 70cm yagi (see pic)
Distance to Canberra GPO (VK1):  70 km (43 miles) at 184 degrees
RF Signal Interference (QRM) on the summit: Nil
Mobile phone service: Telstra 4G three signal bars
SOTA Alert: Yes plus an email to club members
Date posted alert:  6 September 2016
Notice Period: 5 days
Outcome: Qualified Boboyan Divide on 70cm SSB but not Pheasant Hill 🙂
Duration to qualify on 70 cm:  11 minutes, that’s right only 11 minutes for 4 contacts on 432.200 MHz  🙂

Where is Boboyan Divide?  For route details see my post Boboyan Divide 22 June 2014

My 2016 70cm challenge: qualified 23 from 29 summits activated

Extract from VK1AD SOTA Activator Log:  10/11 September 2016 – Boboyan Divide

The S2S contacts on 432.200 MHz USB with Andrew VK1DA/2 at Mt Mundoonen are over 120 km.  What’s remarkable about the contact is Andrew’s rig is a FT-817 feeding a half wave 3 mm copper wire dipole, that’s right not a yagi antenna, just a simple half wave dipole!  Plus would you believe it, the FT-817 has a dodgy pair of push-pull finals with a max power output at 4 watts.   All true 🙂

Time Call Band Mode Notes
23:43z VK1KW 433MHz SSB Rob S59 R59 432.2
23:50z VK2TWR 433MHz SSB Rod S59 R59 432.2
23:53z VK1MA 433MHz SSB Matt S52 R51 432.2
23:54z VK1DA/P 433MHz SSB Andrew S2S VK2/ST-053 S54 R54 432.2
00:02z VK1DA/P 433MHz SSB Andrew S2S VK2/ST-053 S54 R54 432.2
00:03z VK2DO 433MHz SSB Chris S57 R57 432.2
00:03z VK2TWR 433MHz SSB Rod S59 R59  4342.2
00:05z VK1MA 433MHz SSB Matt S53 R51  432.2
00:06z VK1KW 433MHz SSB Rob S58 R55  432.2
00:08z VK1KW 144MHz SSB Rob S59 R58  144.2
00:11z VK1MA 144MHz SSB Matt S58 R54  144.2
00:11z VK1DA/P 144MHz SSB Andrew S2S VK2/ST-053 S56 R57  144.2
00:17z VK2DO 144MHz SSB Chris S59 R59 144.2
00:29z VK1EM 144MHz SSB Mark S52 R41 144.2

Photos: © Copyright 2016 Andrew VK1AD

Start of the 12 km return walk along a well maintained fire trail

Start of the 12 km return walk along a well maintained fire trail, starting from Boboyan Road at the ACT/NSW border

large Wombat den

Large Wombat burrow.  It’s okay Wombats are herbivores, humans are not on the diet. 😉     See the photo at the end of this post.

Firetrail gradient is

Firetrail gradient 30% it’s bloody steep!

In my usual comfortable position, that is laying on the ground somewhere in Namadgi National Park  🙂

VK1AD at Boboyan Divide. Photo provide by Al VK1RX

VK1AD at Boboyan Divide. Photo courtesy of Al VK1RX

Pheasant Hill VK1/AC-021

Extract from VK1AD SOTA Activator Log:  11 September 2016 – Pheasant Hill

I struggled to make two unique chaser contacts on 70cm Matt VK1MA and Rob VK1KW plus two unique contacts on 2m 144.2 MHz Mark VK1EM and Paul VK1ATP.  Four unique chasers over 30 minutes to qualify the summit  Meanwhile Al VK1RX was fighting off a 40m pile up with chasers keen to pick up a new VK1 summit  🙂

Time Call Band Mode Notes
04:26z VK1MA 433MHz SSB Matt S51 R51 432.2
04:31z VK1MA 144MHz SSB Matt S51 R51 144.2
04:32z VK1EM 144MHz SSB Mark S51 R41 144.2
04:36z VK1KW 144MHz SSB Rob S59 R59 144.2
04:37z VK1KW 433MHz SSB Rob S58 R58 432.2
04:56z VK1ATP 144MHz SSB Paul S52 R41 144.2
VK1AD SOTA shack at Pheasant Hill VK1/AC-021

VK1AD SOTA shack at Pheasant Hill VK1/AC-021

This well known fallen tree is a popular operating position

Well known to VK1 SOTA activators this fallen tree is a very popular operating position

Pheasant Hill is known for it’s population of Pheasant Coucal birds.

Pheasant bird nest at Pheasant Hill

Pheasant Coucal bird nest at Pheasant Hill

Pheasant bird nest

Pheasant Coucal bird nest.  We left the nest containing one egg undisturbed

With both summits in the bag, Al VK1RX is now within 5 points of the SOTA Mountain Goat Award  🙂

My SOTA VHF and UHF distance records
No 2m or 70cm distance records set today, however I am very pleased with the S2S contact with Andrew VK1DA/2 over 120 km.

Reference / Links

Boboyan Divide – 22 June 2014

Pheasant Hill – 22 June 2014

Pheasant Hill – 8 September 2013

Next activation reportMt Domain VK1/AC-020  25 September 2016  (last activate in June 2013 with only one SOTA activation)

Wombat sighted near VK2/SW-027 Yankee Ned Hill

How cute is this Wombat?

How cute is this Wombat?

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3 thoughts on “SOTA – VK1AD portable 70cm update #23 – 2 Peaks 17 km Hike

  1. Nice post as usual Andrew. I’m inching closer and closer to SOTA operations. I’ve found that we have some “peaks” in Wisconsin (http://www.sota.org.uk/Association/W9/WI). I picked up an FT-817nd yesterday at HRO but they were fresh out of wombats. : )

    First contact was to an NPOTA station in Fort Laramie, WY on 20m about 1000 miles from my QTH. 59 report and he said he couldn’t even tell I was QRP! (My antenna was a Hustler 4BTV.) Nice first result! This thing is going to be a lot of fun! I’ve started to build up my 817 portable kit with help from your blog and that of VK3BQ. 73, Tim KA9EAK

    • Hi Tim
      Thanks for the feedback. Regarding the FT-817ND, I also built the BX-8×7 Dynamic Compressor kit V2.0 from BOX73.COM. The kit is easy to assemble and the on air reports were very good. Rather than solder the 8 pin IC direct to the circuit board, I used an 8 pin socket. One other modification not reported in the assembly manual is the rubber boot covering the microphone lead plug. To get the microphone plug in the BX-8×7 socket I had to trip about 3/16 inch off the boot.

      Good luck with your future W9/WI SOTA expeditions, I look forwarding to reading your reports. 🙂
      Safe travels.

      73, Andrew VK1AD

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