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.
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.
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.
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.