SOTA – Summit to Summit – Chasing JA SOTA peaks S2S

Saturday 5 November 2016, Goorooyarroo VK1/AC-036

Early in the week I posted SOTA alerts for two 8 point SOTA peaks in the Brindabella Ranges, Devils Peak and Dingi Dingi Ridge.  Early Saturday morning I was woken by the sound of strong winds gusting 45 km/h.  I checked the Bureau of Meteorology forecast, yep Saturday would be a windy day with winds gusting 50 km/h at higher altitudes.  The risk of trees falling across a 4WD trail or worse falling on me was enough for me to change plans and head to ‘Goorooyarroo’ on the north-east ACT/NSW border.

My plan for today is a little ambitious, I want to work a Japanese SOTA activator S2S on voice SSB.  Where do you start?   Well the process starts with a SOTA alert containing comments like ‘seeking S2S with Japan’  or ‘seeking S2S with JA’.  The alert should be posted at least 5 days in advance, you want to give SOTA activators plenty of advanced notice and time to plan their corresponding activation.

One issue that isn’t in my favour.  The majority of JA activations involve the use of Morse Code (CW mode), yep Morse Code is alive and well in Japan.  Morse Code is a method of transmitting letters, numbers and prosigns, represented by a series or combinations of dits and dahs.  Unlike voice mode, there are very few language barriers to Morse Code.

As I see it there is little point sitting at home wondering if a CW or SSB activator might juts turn up in a JA summit.  I will take the risk of activating a local 1 point summit and try my luck.  Before leaving home I checked SOTAwatch for JA activations and as luck would have it JS6TQS (W6BJB) has posted a SSB alert for JA6/NO-009 starting at 0100 UTC.  🙂

Antennas:  I will take two telescopic poles, one to support a HF linked dipole and the second to support a 15m wire J-Pole.  I also have a separate 1/2 wave linked dipole for 15 and 17m which I plan to hang from a tree branch in the vertical plane.  My collection of J-Poles antennas includes a 12m version which I can deploy from a tree branch.

Left home at 08:20 local for a 20 minute drive to the base of the summit.  The walk to the peak is a pleasant 2.2 km taking about 30 minutes.  Made the summit by 09:30 only to find I had left a vital piece of my kit in the car, a 20 metre length of 3 mm cord with a 16 oz throwing weight on the end.  Bugger, my plans to hoist the 15/17m 1/2 wave dipole and the 12m 1/2 wave J-Pole antenna from tree branches just took a dive!  😦

At the summit.  View at ground level a typical Australian bush scene, a fallen eucalypt tree makes a perfect SOTA operating platform.  One note of caution, before setting up check the log for snakes, spiders and other interesting Aussie critters.

Photos: © Copyright 2016 Andrew VK1AD

20161105_112153 10m telescopic pole supporting a 15m J-Pole

20161105_112221Close up view of the guy kit and the 15m J-Pole feed point20161105_124912

The wind is gusting 15 to 20 km/h.  I have placed a slow four helical turn in the radiating element to secure the wire against the support pole.20161105_125001Inverted V linked dipole broadside north-east and south-west

20161105_125123Rig: FT-857D operating at 40 watts output, powered by a 8.4 Ah 4S LiFePO4 battery.  In direct sunlight the radio’s black case gets very hot!  The white cloth is draped over the radio to keep the case and internal circuits cool.

20161105_125731Extract from VK1AD SOTA Activator Log:  5 November 2016 – Goorooyarroo VK1/AC-036

Summit to Summit and Dx Chasers
Chasing SOTA DX requires a lot of patience, I had been on the summit for 3 hours when Brad JS6TQS (W6BJB) posted a spot for a JA summit Tanodake, JA6/NO-009 in Okinawa Prefecture.  I went on to work Brad on 12 and 15m, 24.955 and 21.300 MHz respectively. I’m very happy with that result, so too was Brad.   😉

Summit to Summit (S2S) QSOs: Hugh VK5NHG, Nick VK3ANL and Brad JS6TQS.

Great to work John ZL1BYZ and Jacky ZL1TZW in New Zealand on 18.140 MHz.

Time Call Band Mode Notes
23:40z VK5NHG 7MHz SSB Hugh S2S VK5/SE-001 S55 R55
23:48z ZL1BYZ 21MHz SSB John S55 R42  21.190
23:49z ZL1BYZ 18MHz SSB John S59 R55  18.140
23:50z ZL1TZW 18MHz SSB Jacky S59 R55
00:04z VK5NHG/P 14MHz SSB Hugh S2S VK5/SE-001 S59 R59
01:54z VK3ANL/P 7MHz SSB Nick S2S VK3/VN-029 S59 R59
02:38z JS1IFK 21MHz SSB S59 R44
02:51z JS6TQS/P 24MHz SSB Brad S2S JA6/NO-009 S56 R44  24.955
03:06z JS6TQS/P 21MHz SSB Brad S2S JA6/NO-009 S55 R52  21.300

Photo taken at my home QTH – three homebrew mono-band J-Pole antennas for 20, 15 and 12m

vk1ad-j-pole-20m-15m-12m

8 thoughts on “SOTA – Summit to Summit – Chasing JA SOTA peaks S2S

    • Hi John no tuner required, each antenna is mono band, you cannot use the antenna on a band its not designed to operate on. Performance estimate (observations of the radio’s S Meter) from on a hill top is around 2 S points over my inverted V linked dipole for the same band. For a set of four homebrew antennas, I’m pretty happy with their performance.
      Cheers
      Andrew VK1AD

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