SOTA 6m QRP – VK2 to ZL1 2340 km at 5 watts

Thursday 12 January 2017, Andrew VK1MBE and Andrew VK1AD activating SOTA peak Mt Budawang VK2/ST-015, grid QF44XM.  Surprising success at working ZL1 on 6m 50.120 MHz at 5 watts QRP SSB, that’s right not CW or digital modes, yep voice mode SSB from SOTA summit Mt Budawang VK2/ST-015 for two ZL1 QSOs over 2340 km (1454 miles).   Mt Budawang is 37 km inland from the Tasman Sea.

My 6m gear:  Yaesu FT-817 at 5 watts, antenna is a homebrew 6m 1/2 wave coaxial vertical supported by a 6 meter telescopic pole at 1137 metres above sea level (ASL)

Here is a link to an audio recording (7 minutes) of two QSOs from Mt Budawang, one after the other at 01115 and 0121 UTC.  The first QSO is with Dave ZL1AKW at Tauranga followed by Warren ZL1AIX near Auckland.   🙂

Special thanks to Andrew VK1MBE for holding the squid pole.   Andrew and I had arranged a scheduled QSO with Gerard VK2IO in Sydney, 214 km north of Mt Budawang on 50.160 MHz.  We did hear Gerard calling but very weak with a signal report at 2-1.  After listening for Gerard I tuned down the band and found a ZL working VK4 on 50.140 MHz.  With that in mind I called CQ on 50.110 MHz (6m call frequency) to have two ZLs reply.  The rest is history 😉

Extract from VK1AD SOTA Activator Log:  12 January 2017 Mt Budawang VK2/ST-015

Time Call Band Mode Notes
00:08z VK2JHG 144MHz SSB Jim S54 R59 144.200 60 watts 68 km
00:15z VK1RX 144MHz SSB Al S54 R53 QF44NN 144.200 60 watts 75 km
00:26z VK1KW 144MHz SSB Rob S57 R57 QF44MT 144.200 60 watts 90 km
00:31z VK2MWP 144MHz SSB Andrew S51 R21 144.200 60 watts 68 km
01:15z ZL1AKW 50MHz SSB Dave S58 R53 50.120 RF82CG 2340 km QRP 5 watts
01:21z ZL1AIX 50MHz SSB Warren S58 R57 50.120 RF72ND QRP 5 watts

Photos: © Copyright 2017 Andrew VK1AD

Mt Budawang grid QF44XM

Mt Budawang grid QF44XM

2340 km path at QRP 5watts

2340 km path at QRP 5watts SSB

Mt Budawang is a walk up summit with an ascent of 470 vertical metres over 4.2 km.  The walk is a constant grind without respite, all the way to the summit taking 1 hour and 30 minutes. With one set of radio gear, amplifier, batteries and numerous antennas Andrew and I shared the weight distribution in two backpacks.  Sun shade, sun screen, ample water and food were essentials for today’s activation.

Photos of our station set up on the summit of Mt Budawang VK2/ST-015.  Sorry, I forgot to take a photo of Andrew VK1MBE holding the 6 metre squid pole.  I did remember take a photo of myself holding the pole supporting a 40m inverted V dipole while Andrew worked chasers on HF 40m 7.090 MHz.


VK1AD and VK1MBE SOTA shack at Mt Budawang. The RF amplifier is for 2m 144 MHz only.  We should have attempted a 2m QSO with Dave and Warren 144.200 MHz.


2m/70cm yagi used to work chasers in Canberra (VK1) and nearby VK2.  Note the absence of trees for shade.  The summit is exposed to the elements however the panoramic views of the NSW south coast are spectacular!

VK1AD sherpa holding a 6m telescopic pole

VK1AD Sherpa holding the 6m telescopic pole.  You can see the 40m inverted V dipole

Andrew VK1MBE working chasers on 40m

Andrew VK1MBE working chasers on 40m

VK1AD self spots @ SOTAWatch

VK1AD self spots @ SOTAWatch

Thanks Andrew for your excellent company, a great day out of the radio shack!

Page Links:  6m 1/2 wave coaxial vertical antenna – no mechanical joints and simple to construct from one length of RG58CU!

5 thoughts on “SOTA 6m QRP – VK2 to ZL1 2340 km at 5 watts

  1. Pingback: SOTA – 6m 52 MHz Coaxial Dipole Antenna | Get out of the Radio Shack and Live Life

  2. Great post, Andrew VK1AD. Fantastic 6m. voice SSB contacts w/ audio record! Congratulations!

  3. Hi Andrew
    I haven’t met an Australian Sherpa before! A fantastic contact with so little power and conditions must have been just right. Interesting that there was little propagation to VK2IO/2. It just goes to show that trying different bands can sometimes reap dividends.
    John D VK5BJE/VK5PF

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