Brown Hill Range, VK5/ SE-004

After our activation at Mount Ngadjuri, Marija and I drove back down into Jamestown, and then out on the Jamestown-Hallett Road, heading for Brown Hill Range, VK5/ SE-004, which is 755 metres ASL and is worth 4 points.  About 5 kms out of Jamestown, we turned right onto the Booborowie Road and travelled south.  About 5 kms along this road, you will see a sign for the Hallett Power Station, which is a further 4.5 kms west along this dirt road.  At the end of the road you will come to a T junction.  Turn left and about 50 metres down on your right is a set of double gates.

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The summit is located on private property (owned by Mr. Vaughan Semler) amongst the wind farm, and I had sought permission from the land owner prior to entry.

Enter the paddock through the gates.  There is a dirt road leading all the way to the top.  Please remember to shut all gates, as at the time I activated this summit, it was lambing season.  Marija and I drove up this road and parked the car at the top of the ridge line at the next set of gates.  To get to the actual summit you need to go south along the ridgeline.  We walked about 1.5 km south along the dirt road, until we reached the actual summit.  The trig point consists of 4 light blue metal poles and a pile of rocks on the top of a sharp rise, directly underneath one of the wind turbines.

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We set up the equipment on the eastern side of the rocks as there was a wild westerly wind blowing.  It was incredibly windy as you would expect amongst a wind farm.  I used one of the blue metal poles to secure the squid pole with 2 octopus straps.  I strapped the SOTA flag to the squid pole, along with the dipole and hoisted it up into the air.  The SOTA flag certainly got a work out that day.

Much to my disappointment, when I turned on the radio onto 40m, there was a terrible squealing noise which was between strength 3 to 4.  Not sure where it was coming from, but it was only on 40m.  I have done activations before amongst wind farms, but this was the first time I had experienced such a noise, so I am not sure where it was coming from.  Anyway, there was not much I could do.  I didn’t really feel like taking down the squid pole and relocating, so I decided to ‘box on’ where I was.

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My first QSO was again with Nev, VK5WG.  Nev must have been there patiently waiting for me to come up.  Second QSO was with Ernie VK3DET with a strong signal as always.  Third was a summit to summit with Brian VK3MCD who was on VK3/ VE-080.  And my fourth QSO was with Col VK5HCF with his normal good signal from the south east.

This was followed by the regular crowd of SOTA ‘chasers’ from VK1, VK3, VK5, & VK7.

After 40m had gone quiet, I decided to go over to 20m to have a listen and my first contact there was with Wayne VK7NET with a very strong signal out of Tasmania.

I forgot that the IARU HF Championships were on, and 20m was alive with very strong signals from Europe, despite the fact that it was still very early on in the afternoon.  I heard a Spanish station calling CQ Contest so I decided to try my luck and to my surprise he answered.  This was followed by DX contacts into Austria, Croatia, Slovenia, Romania, Serbia, Hungary, Slovak Republic, and the USA.

I also spoke with VK1, VK3, VK6, & VK7 on 20m SSB.  Things were going really well until a Russian station came up alongside of me, just 1 kc away, and that was the end of that !  Anyway, it was time to pack up.  I had pushed my luck enough with Marija sitting on the top of 2 hills in the cold and the wind.  So we packed the gear up and headed to Clare and stopped in to have a coffee with Ian, VK5CZ, before heading back home to the Adelaide Hills, some 200 plus kms away.

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The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:- Nev VK5WG; Ernie VK3DET; Brian VK3MCD (summit to summit); Col VK5HCF; Allen VK3HRA; Steve VK5ST; Ian VK5IS; Fred VK3JM; Rhett VK3GHZ; Matt VK1MA; Tony VK3CAT; Rick VK3KAN/m; Rod VK5FTTC; Brian VK5FMID; Peter VK3FPSR; Ian VK5CZ; Paul VK7CC, Andrew VK1NAM/p; Ian VK5IS; Nick VK3ANL/m; Mark VK1MDC; Robin VK5TN; John VK5FMJC; Graham VK3JE; Roger VK5NWE; Larry VK5LY/qrp; Al VK7AN/p; Chuck VK2SS/p; Mark VK5QI, and Andy VK5AKH.

The following stations were worked on 20m SSB:- Wayne VK7NET; EF1HQ; OE1A; 9A28HQ; S50HQ; YR8D; YT0HQ; Albert VK3KLB; Andrew VK2ONZ/qrp; Roy VK7ROY; Al VK1RX; Ian VK1DI; Rhett VK3GHZ; Mike VK6MB; Glen VK3YY/m; HG3R; OL3HQ; HG7T; and K5TR.

The end of an enjoyable day.  Some terrific views can be had from the top of this summit, and it is very easy to access.

I have placed a video on You Tube of this activation.

Mount Ngadjuri, VK5/ NE-058

Early Sunday morning, 14th July, 2013, my wife Marija and I left home at Mount Barker in the Adelaide Hills, and ventured up to the mid north of South Australia.  It was about a 250 km drive north.  We intended to climb 2 hills, Mount Ngadjuri, VK5/ NE-058 first, and then Brown Hill Range.  It was dark when we left home just after 6.00 a.m. but by the time we got north of Adelaide, the sun was coming up and the sunrise was spectacular.


We drove north along the Horrocks Highway through the Clare Valley wine region, through the beautiful little towns of Leasingham, Watervale, Penwortham, Sevenhill, & Clare.  And then further north along RM Williams Way to Jamestown.

Mount Ngadjuri is 755 metres above sea level, is worth 4 points, and is located on private property.  It is incorrectly spelt on the SOTA site as ‘Nadjuri’.  It is correctly spelt as ‘Ngadjuri’, after the local Aboriginal tribe of the mid north of South Australia.

The summit is located on private property owned by Mike Nunan.  Please contact him prior to access.  His contact details are on the SOTA database.

Access to the summit is via Slant Road, which runs off RM Williams Way.  Travel north out of Jamestown along RM Williams Way for a distance of about 13 kms.  Then turn left onto Slant Road (a dirt road), and travel up towards the hills, and through the cutting.  You travel passed a beautiful homestead on your left.  On the right at the top of the hill there is a small parking area and a gate which has the rapid number ‘730 403’ on it.  Another 100 metres in the paddock from this gate is another gate.  We parked the car at this second gate and then walked to the summit from there.  It is about a 1.5 km walk to the top and is quite easy.  Just follow the track.  Please remember to shut all gates s you found them.  There were sheep and lambs in the paddocks.

It was quite an easy walk but was eery at the same time.  Fog completely covered the summit and it was extremely cold and windy.  The low fog was rolling across the hills like a scene from a cheap Dracula movie.

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There is no trig point at the summit, however there is a large pile of rocks, which formed a good break from the icy wind.  There is a strange set up in the rock pile.  There is a circular piece of metal, which looks a little like a truck rim.  And in the centre was a ceramic pot with a lid, which was partially buried.  Ian VK5CZ had told me about this and he had thought it might be someone’s ashes so he was loathed to lift the lid to have a look.  But curiosity got the better of me and I lifted the lid, only to find that the ceramic pot was full of water.  So what purpose it serves is still a mystery !

This is where Marija and I set up.  We used a heap of large rocks to hold the squid pole in place and tied if off, simply because the wind was so strong.  I propped myself up behind the pile of rocks to get out of the strong westerly wind.

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I was running a bit late, because the drive from home had taken longer than I thought.  So I was 30 minutes behind schedule.  I turned the Yaesu FT-817nd onto 7.090 mhz and asked if the frequency was in use, only to be greeted by Nev, VK5WG, with a great signal.  Nev has become a frequent ‘Chaser’ for SOTA, and ‘Hunter’ for the VK5 National & Conservation Parks Award.  This was followed by Matt VK1MA, Marshall VK3MRG, and Fred VK3JM, who made up my 4 qualifying QSO’s.  I could breath a sigh of relief.

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Following this a heap of the regular SOTA chasers followed including Rick VK3KAN/m, Brian VK5FMID, Rhett VK3GHZ, Ernie VK3DET, Tony VK3CAT, Mark VK1MDC, Allen VK3HRA, and others.

Had some great QRP QSO’s with Glen VK3YY who was using just 4 watts (5/6 sent & 5/4 received).  Larry VK5LY who was using just 8 watts (5/6 sent & 5/7 received).  Col VK5HCF who was using 5 watts (5/3 sent & 5/8 received).

I spoke with Brian VK3MCD who was about to get mobile on his way to his SOTA summit for the day.

I also had an enjoyable chat with Ken, VK5ASY, who is 90 years old, and still going strong,  Ken had a terrific signal, and I think from memory I was his first ever SOTA contact.

Conditions into the eastern states seemed average to poor, with below average signal reports being received.  However conditions within VK5 were extremely good.

I worked a total of 22 stations in VK1, VK2, VK3, & VK5, on 40m SSB.

The following stations were worked:- Nev VK5WG; Matt VK1MA; Marshall VK3MRG; Fred VK3JM; Rick VK3KAN/m; Brian VK5FMID; Rhett VK3GHZ; Ernie VK3DET; John VK2YW; Ian VK3TCX; Tony VK3CAT; Mark VK1MDC; Brian VK3MCD; Allen VK3HRA; Glen VK3YY/qrp; Ken VK5AKY; Larry VK5LY/qrp; Col VK5HCF/qrp; Robin VK5TN; Ian VK5IS; Grant VK5VGC; and Steve VK3MEG.

An enjoyable walk and great company of my beautiful wife, Marija.

I have posted a video on You Tube of the activation.