SOTA – VK1AD 2017 QRP Update #4 – Booroomba Rocks

Saturday 15 April 2017 – QRP activation of Booroomba Rocks 1382 metres (4534 ft) ASL, Namadgi National Park, Australian Capital Territory.

Purpose of today’s Summits on the Air (SOTA) activation is to:

  • experiment with 5 watts on the 17m band (18 MHz) SSB
  • experiment with low power output at 500 mW on the 30 and 40m bands (10 & 7 MHz) SSB
  • where possible qualify Booroomba Rocks at 500 mW output, that’s 4 unique QSOs at 0.5 watts
  • complete S2S QSOs with Andrew VK3JBL/1 at Mt Stromlo VK1/AC-043 and Gerard VK2IO/P at Mt Tomah VK2/CT-043 Mt in the Blue Mountains NSW, pre and post UTC day change.

Equipment: Radio Yaesu FT-817ND powered by a 4S 4.2 Ah LiFePO4, antenna 15/17/20/30/40m Inverted V linked dipole supported by a 7m telescopic pole. Essentials for self preservation; 2 litres of water, food, first aid kit, emergency shelter and the right clothing for this region.  Telstra 4G mobile phone reception is good at the summit.  No problems using android SOTA apps and SMS spots.

Left home at 6:30 am for a 40 minute drive to Booroomba Rocks car park (1160 metres ASL) off Apollo Road.  The first part of the ascent is a 205 vertical metre climb to 1350 metres ASL, taking 30 minutes to cover 1.2 km.  From a position known as the ‘middle knoll’ you get the first amazing view of Booroomba Rocks summit at 1382 metres ASL.  From where I’m standing in the picture below (S35.55931, E148.99077) the summit is 700 metres south-east.  I still have a further 20 minutes of scrub bashing through thick wattle regrowth, eucalypt trees and up, over and around a variety of small, medium and giant granite boulders known in these parts as granite Tors.  Photos below.

view of Booroomba Rocks summit marked by a small eucalypt tree. In the summer of 2003 the vegitation around Boorooma Rocks was all but destroyed in the well-known Canberra fire storm.

GPS track log overlay on Google Earth

Booroomba Rocks viewed from the east – courtesy of Google Earth

For directions to the summit review the following posts:

Arrived at the summit cairn for 2220 UTC (8:20 am local) 1 hour and 50 minutes after leaving home.  The view is spectacular having an uninterrupted 360 degree view of the surrounding national park and beyond. Standing here on the summit, one has a sense of being on top of the world!   For a well-earned break, I took my merry old-time to set up.  😉

At 1380 metres ASL I’m above the cloud base the air is completely still not a breath of wind anywhere.  The sun, now in the north-east is shining brightly, looking to the north I can’t see Canberra due to the low cloud base.

Canberra is within visual line-of-sight therefore VHF and UHF ops are relatively easy.  What’s not easy around these parts is encouraging VK1 radio amateurs to turn their radios on.  I don’t undestand why so many folk spend serious money on expensive radio gear and a radio amateur licence, only to have the radio sitting silent!  Or perhaps the radio is on and most are ignoring me, ha ha 😉

2017 is turning out to be a surprise for QRP SOTA operations, despite the sun’s predicted very low (almost zero) sun spot activity, QRP QSOs continue to be a realistic option at least for those who dare to experiment.   If you are looking for a new challenge and are bored with running 100+ watts at the home QTH, try a lower power setting known as QRP 5 watts or less.  Try calling a SOTA activator with your rig set to 5 watts output!   Summary of my QRP low power QSOs from Booroomba Rocks:

  • 500 mW – 6 QSOs, summit qualified at 500 milliwatts  🙂
  • 1 watt – 5
  • 5 watts – 36

Best long distant chasers:

  • at 500 mW on 30m SSB: Steve VK7CW 715 km (444 miles)
  • at 500 mW on 40m SSB: Paul VK4CPS 1100 km (683 miles)
  • at 5 watts on 18 MHz SSB:  At 22:48 UTC working Tom NQ7R in Arizona North America for a 5-6 signal report.  Short path 12,794 km (7950 miles), Long path 27,208 km (16,906 miles).

Summit to Summit (S2S) QSOs includ: Gerard VK2IO/P at Mt Tomah VK2/CT-043, Compton VK2HRX at Rocky Knob VK2/NW-019 and Andrew VK3JBL/1 at Mt Stromlo VK1/AC-043.  I didn’t recall seeing advance notice of Compton’s activation of VK2/NW-019 which turned out to be a bonus for an extra 6 S2S points ❗

Extract of VK1AD SOTA Activator Log:  15 April 2017 Booroomba Rocks QRP QSOs, duration 2 hours

Time Call Band Mode Notes
22:40z ZL1BYZ 18MHz SSB John S59 R59 18.145 5 watts
22:43z ZL1WA 18MHz SSB Jacky S59 R59 18.145 5 watts
22:48z NQ7R 18MHz SSB Tom S56 R43 18.147 5 watts
22:50z ZL2AJ 18MHz SSB Warren S59 R59 18.147 5 watts
22:50z VK1RZ 18MHz SSB Roald S59 R59 18.147 5 watts
23:00z ZL3JD 14MHz SSB Phil 14.310 5 watts
23:13z VK2IO/P 18MHz SSB Gerard S2S VK2/CT-043 S51 R41 18.147 5 watts
23:21z VK1MA 144MHz FM Matt S59 R59 146.5
23:27z VK1MA 10MHz SSB Matt S59 R55 10.130 5 watts
23:31z VK7CW 10MHz SSB Steve S53 R52 both QRP at 0.5 watt
23:32z VK5WG 10MHz SSB Nev S58 R55 me 1 watt
23:43z VK3JBL/1 144MHz FM Andrew S2S VK1/AC-043 S59 R56 HT 5 watts
23:45z VK3PF 7MHz SSB Peter S59 R55 me 1 watt 7.095
23:46z VK4TJ 7MHz SSB John S59 R53 me 1 watt
23:48z VK2RP 7MHz SSB Dave S59 R57 me 0.5 watt
23:49z VK4CPS 7MHz SSB S58 R31 me 0.5 watt
23:51z VK3GGG 7MHz SSB Mick S59 R42 me 1 watt
23:54z VK1ATP/M 144MHz FM Paul S59 R59  HT 5 watts
23:55z VK1FWBD/P 144MHz FM Wade S58 R54  HT 5 watts
23:58z VK2EWC/P 7MHz SSB Tom S59 R58 1 watt
00:01z VK3GGG 7MHz SSB Mick S59 R55 7.095 5 watts
00:01z VK2HAX/P 7MHz SSB Ben S58 R59 QRP 5 watts
00:03z VK7CW 7MHz SSB Steve S59 R59 5 watts
00:03z VK3PF 7MHz SSB Peter S58 R53 5 watts
00:04z VK5WG 7MHz SSB Nev QRP both 5 watts S54 R54
00:05z VK3FSTU 7MHz SSB Stuart S58 R59 QRP 5 watts
00:07z VK2IO/P 7MHz SSB Gerard S2S VK2/CT-043 S58 R59 both 5 watts
00:08z VK2HRX/P 7MHz SSB Compton S2S VK2/NW-019 S59 R59 5 watts
00:08z VK5PAS 7MHz SSB Paul S59 R55 5 watts
00:09z VK3MRG/P 7MHz SSB Marshall S58 R57 5 watts
00:11z VK2VW 7MHz SSB Brett S59 R59 me 0.5 watt
00:12z VK2KYO 7MHz SSB Ken S59 R55 me 0.5 watt
00:13z VK3FCMC 7MHz SSB Michael S59 R58 QRP 5 watts
00:14z ZL1BYZ 7MHz SSB John S52 R31 me 5 watts to ZL
00:15z VK2NP 7MHz SSB Cliff S59 R52 me 0.5 watt
00:16z VK1MA 144MHz FM Matt S59 R59  HT 5 watts
00:17z VK1FWBD/P 144MHz FM Wade S56 R54 en route
00:20z VK1MA 7MHz SSB Matt S59 R58  5 watts
00:21z VK3CAT 7MHz SSB Tony S59 R59 5 watts
00:21z VK3LED 7MHz SSB Col S59 R58 5 watts
00:22z VK5FANA 7MHz SSB Adrian S55 R53 5 watts
00:23z VK3JBL/1 144MHz FM Andrew S2S VK1/AC-043 S58 R55  HT 5 watts
00:25z VK7DW 7MHz SSB Andrew S59 R58 5 watts
00:26z VK3SL/P 7MHz SSB Steve Raymond Island S59 R59 5 watts
00:30z VK7JOH 7MHz SSB John S59 R56 5 watts
00:31z VK7FOLK 7MHz SSB Helen S56 R56 5 watts
00:32z VK3SFG 7MHz SSB Sergio S58 R47 5watts

Photos: © Copyright 2017 Andrew VK1AD

Rock pool plateau, looks like the foot print of a giant dinosaur, could it?  I guess the pools have formed over millions of years from a former lava flow combined with wind, water and ice errosion.  Any geo experts out there?

granite rock pools at 1350 metres ASL. In winter these ancient fresh water pools freeze over with a thin layer of ice

Granite rock pools containing microscopic life

Almost at the summit, looking back for a view of the rock pool plateau

Temperature on the summit is 13 degrees C (54 F), the air is completely still, not a single breeze

Booroomba Rocks summit marked by a stone cairn and a precious young eucalypt tree.  Nice to see the cairn reassembled.  🙂

Yaesu FT-817ND powered by a 4S 4.2 Ah LiFePO4 battery

VK1AD SOTA shack at Booroomba Rocks summit

Inverted V linked dipole supported by a 7 metre telescopic pole

View west from Booroomba Rocks looking over Namadgi National Park.  On the horizon Bimberi Peak VK1/AC-001 (left) and Mt Gingera VK1/AC-002 (right).  Zoom in on the picture to see a full moon setting in the west

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5 thoughts on “SOTA – VK1AD 2017 QRP Update #4 – Booroomba Rocks

  1. Hi Andrew, I could hear you load and clear on 40m into Samford Conservation Park VKFF-1639 but you couldn’t hear me no matter how many times I tried. Oh well, perhaps next time. I was also using 5W with my FT-817 and an endfed antenna.

  2. Hi Andrew,
    You had a good signal into the Adelaide Hills with your 5 watts. Above my noise floor here at home which is increasingly getting worse.
    Congrats on qualifying the summit with 500mw.
    Happy Easter,
    Paul VK5PAS.

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