Yesterday was my 49th birthday, so after a Sunday morning sleep in, and then watching the V8 Supercars in bed, I surfaced from the bedroom and had a magnificent roast lamb lunch with the family. This was followed by a few beers on the couch watching the Aussies smash the English in the cricket. This was a bloke’s heaven !
My wife Marija then asked what i would like to do for the afternoon ! Bad move. Never give a bloke an option. Especially when he is a keen portable amateur radio operator. I told Marija that I would like to do my first SOTA activation for 2014. Fortunately my son Jake was at lunch and he offered to drive me over to Mount Lofty, a short 15 minute drive from home.
I have operated from Mount Lofty Summit a number of times previously because of its close proximity to home. But because it was a new year, this meant some more SOTA activator points for me. And the added bonus is that the summit is located within the Cleland Conservation Park, so it qualifies for the VK5 National and Conservation Parks Award.
Jake dropped me off at Mount Lofty, and I headed to my favourite operating spot on the eastern side of the summit and the obelisk, away from the tourists.
I started off on 40m first with a contact with John VK5BJE who was portable in the Mount Richmond National Park in Victoria.
I then QSY’d down to 7.090 to call CQ, but when I asked if the frequency was in use I was greeted by John VK2YW, who advised Bernard VK2IB/3, was on the frequency on a peak in Victoria, but he was fixing his antenna which had blown down. So I placed John in the log and went a bit lower to 7.085 where the pile up started. This included 2 Summit to Summit contacts. The first with Greg VK2FGJW who was on One Tree Hill VK1/ AC-035, and then Bernard VK2IB/3 who had followed me down. Bernard was on VK3/ VE-189.
QRP callers included Col VK5HCF, Peter VK3PF, Nigel VK5NIG, Andrew VK3ARR, Nev VK5WG, and Peter VK3NAD.
After working 21 stations on 40m SSB, I headed up to 20m, hoping to get the two hungry VK6 SOTA Chasers in the log, Mike VK6MB and John VK6NU.
My first caller on 20m was Andrew VK4OZY and this was followed by Matt VK2DAG, Rod VK5VRB, and then Gerard VK2IO. And then came to the two VK6 boys. Firstly John, followed by Mike. It was hard work with John but we got there (5/3 S and 4/1 R). It was a bit easier with Mike (5/3 S and 5/1 R).
Things slowed down after this on 20m, so I tuned across the 20m band to find very little activity. I did hear Stuey VK8NSB calling CQ and I tried calling him, but I just couldn’t quite make it. So I decided to check into the ANZA DX Net on 14.183. And this was a good move, because I had 3 great DX contacts.
I am trying to get DXCC on QRP 5 watts and portable, and I am currently sitting on about 30 countries since March last year. So I was very excited when on the net I was able to make contact with Andy E51AND from the Cook Islands, who had a booming signal. I then received a call from Dom 3Z9DX in Poland, who was running qrp as well, just 5 watts (5/3 sent and 5/0 received). And finally Maurice FK8HZ from New Caledonia gave me a call (5/8 sent and 5/5 received).
I then went back to 40m to hopefully get some more of the regular VK SOTA Chasers in the log. I worked a further 18 stations in VK1, VK2, VK3, & VK5.
QRP callers included Nick VK3ANL and Ron VK3MRH.
I then went back to 20m to have a quick listen before Marija arrived. I managed to sneak in another QSO with John VK6NU. Conditions had improved between the two of us. John was up to a 5/7. The 20m band was not all that busy as far as DX is concerned. But there was a lot of activity from a Russian contest ? which made finding a clear spot very difficult.
Thanks to Rod VK5VRB for passing the message onto my wife to come and pick me up, after my mobile phone went flat.
The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:-
John VK5BJE/3; John VK2YW; Brian VK5FMID; Tom VK5FTRG; Col VK5HCF; Ron VK3AFW; Greg VK2FGJW/p; Peter VK2NEO; Bernard VK2IB/3; Peter VK3FPSR; Phil VK3BHR; Peter VK3PF; Nigel VK5NIG; Andrew VK3ARR; Nev VK5WG; Ian VK5CZ; Keith VK5OQ/3; Marc VK3OHM; Allen VK3HRA; Peter VK5KPR; Peter VK3NAD; Tom VK5EE; Terry VK5ATN; Kevin VK3VEK; VK3XY; Bernard VK3AMB; Nick VK3ANL; Len VK3FB; Ron VK3MRH; Joe VK3YSP; Peter VK5PET; Ian VK1DI; Matt VK1MA; Julie VK3FOWL; Steve VK3VM/5; Mark VK3YN; Mark VK3PI; Rod VK5VRB; and Paul VK2KTT.
The following stations were worked on 20m SSB:-
Andrew VK4OZY; Matt VK2DAG; Rod VK5VRB; Gerard VK2IO; John VK6NU; Mike VK6MB; Andy E51AND; Col VK4CC; John VK4LJ; Dom 3Z9DX; Lynne VK4SWE; Maurice FK8HZ; and Terry VK4HQ.
Thanks to everyone that called. It was a good fun activation. And thanks to everyone who passed on birthday wishes. I think next year for my 50th I will probably be tied up with a bigger celebration….so no SOTA or Parks. Maybe ???