Saturday 8 July 2017. Thee enthusiastic SOTA activators Andrew VK1MBE, Al VK1RX and myself have plans to activate three summits Bald Mountain, Big Badja Hill and Dampier in the Gourock and Deua National Parks, 2.5 hours south-east of Canberra.
Our plan is to rotate two SOTA stations between Bald Mountain VK2/SM-052 and Big Badja Hill VK2/SM-059 then take a convoy of two vehicles over to Dampier VK2/ST-007, 45 minutes south-east of Big Badja.
Left home at 6:30 am with Andrew VK1MBE, we met Al VK1RX 15 minutes later on the Monaro Hwy east of Calwell township. Travel time to Bald Mountain is 2 hours. Fastest route from Canberra is via the Monaro Hwy south to Bredbo. At Bredbo leave the Monaro Hwy and head east on Jerangle Road to Anembo. At Anembo turn right on to Anembo Road and head south to intersect Slap Up Firetrail. Follow Slap Up Firetrail to the summit of Bald Mountain. Slap Up Firetrail passes directly over the summit. One alternate route is via Cooma and Numeralla taking an extra 30 minutes.
Andrew VK1MBE and I set up at Bald Mountain while Al continued along Slap Up Firetrail to Big Badja Firetrail. Al established his station at Big Badja for S2S contacts with Andrew and I plus Tony VK1VIC at Mt Cowangerong, Captains Flat Wx Radar installation. Al at Big Badja, Andrew and I at Bald Mountain worked Rod VK2TWR at Nimmitabel on 23 cm for 5-9 reports each way, not bad for 2.5 watts output! For Al and Andrew this event was their first shot at a 23cm SOTA activation. We were grateful for Rod joining us on 23cm, thanks Rod. 🙂
23cm action from Bald Mountain VK2/SM-052 at 1469 metres ASL, Grid Locator QF44SB
I completed three 23cm QSOs including Rob VK1KW, Rod VK2TWR and Al VK1RX for a 23cm S2S QSO between Bald Mountain and Big Badja. Tony VK1VIC/2 checked in for a 2m HT S2S QSO on 146.5 FM from Mt Cowangerong, 32 km north of Bald Mountain. Meanwhile Andrew worked one chaser Nev VK5WG on 40m. 40m band conditions were so bad Andrew was forced to set up his 80m antenna extensions. If not for 80m, we wouldn’t have qualified before UTC midnight 🙂
Extract of VK1AD SOTA Activator Log: 7 July 2017 Bald Mountain
|23:15z||VK1KW||1240MHz||SSB||%QRA%QF44MT% Rob s51 r51 1296.150 94 km|
|23:23z||VK2TWR||1240MHz||SSB||%QRA%QF43PL% Rod s59 r58 1296.150 70 km|
|23:33z||VK1RX/2||1240MHz||SSB||Al s59 r59 S2S VK2/SM-059 1296.150|
|23:47z||VK2IO||3.5MHz||SSB||Gerard s59 r35, summit qualified|
|23:49z||VK1MA||3.5MHz||SSB||Matt s59 r59|
|00:02z||VK1RX/2||1240MHz||SSB||Al s59 r59 S2S VK2/SM-059 1296.150|
|00:13z||VK1VIC/2||144MHz||FM||Tony s53 r51 S2S VK2/ST-001 146.5 2m HT 32 km|
After 1 hour at Bald Mountain Andrew and I moved to Big Badja Hill. En route we met Al halfway for a short break and a hot brew. Although the sun was visible through scattered clouds the feels-like temperature at 1400 metre ASL was closer to zero degrees C brrr. Two layers of warm jackets, beanies (head and ear warmers) and glovers were the order of the day. Yep the local temp was bloody cold! 😉
23cm action from Big Badja VK2/SM-059 at 1362 metres ASL, Grid Locator QF43SX
Andrew VK1MBE operating on HF 80m 3.605 MHz. Antenna apex is a short 6 metres.
At Big Badja my best 23cm SSB contact for the day was a short QSO with Dave VK2JDS 322 km north near the townships of Orange and Bathurst NSW. The signal had a recognisable audible flutter, a characteristic of multi-path aircraft enhancement. Midway along the 23cm signal path are the main Melbourne-Sydney and Sydney-Canberra commercial flight path corridors.
Extract of VK1AD SOTA Activator Log: 8 July 2017 Big Badja
|01:28z||VK2TWR||1240MHz||SSB||%QRA%QF43PL%Rod s59 r59 1296.150 70 km|
|01:35z||VK1RX/2||1240MHz||SSB||Al s59 r59 S2S VK2/SM-059 1296.150 8 km|
|01:36z||VK1RX/2||1240MHz||SSB||Al s59 r59 S2S VK2/SM-059 1296.150 8 km|
|01:57z||VK1VIC/2||144MHz||FM||Tony s57 r57 S2S VK2/ST-001 39 km using 2m HT|
|02:28z||VK1MA||3.5MHz||SSB||Matt s59 r59|
|02:53z||VK2JDS/P||1240MHz||SSB||%QRA%QF46PV% Dave s51 r51 1296.150 322 km|
three 23cm 1296.150 MHz SSB contacts, VK2JDS 322 km, VK1KW 94 km and VK2TWR 70 km