After our little activation at the Belair National Park, Larry VK5LY and I headed over to the nearby Mount Lofty summit. I have activated Mt Lofty many times before as it is very close to my home, but this was Larry’s first time to Mt Lofty, which is also located within the Cleland Conservation Park. So this was a ‘double whammy’ activation for both SOTA & the VK5 National and Conservation Parks Award.
Mount Lofty is 727 metres ASL and is worth 4 SOTA points. Mount Lofty summit is located in the Mount Lofty Ranges ‘Adelaide Hills’, and is just a 20 minute drive from the city of Adelaide. Each year more than 350,000 people visit the summit to enjoy the breathtaking and panoramic views of the city of Adelaide. There is a restaurant and a cafe at the summit, and also a visitor information centre.
Mount Lofty was first climbed by a European, when in April 1831, explorer Collet Barker climbed the peak. This was almost seven years before the city of Adelaide was settled. The summit was named by the famous explorer, Matthew Flinders, on the 23rd February 1802, during his circumnavigation of Australia.
View of the city of Adelaide from the summit (Photo courtesy of WIkipedia).
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.
We set up in my favourite spot on the eastern side of the summit, away from all the tourists at the restaurant and the lookout. It can be really busy there. The advantage of the eastern side of the summit is that there is also a lot of shade under the tall gum trees. And it was a warm afternoon, with the temperature reaching 35 degrees C, and any shade was appreciated.
We set up my 40m/20m linked dipole, inverted vee, using the 7 metre squid pole. Larry and I brought 2 radios with us for this activation. The Yaesu FT-817nd for the local contacts on 40m (running QRP 5 watts), and the bigger Yaesu FT-450 with a bit more power (running 30 watts), for trying our luck on 20m with the DX. But with the FT-450, also came the heavier load. Because this is an easy summit, it was not so taxing, but still involved lugging the extra kg’s into the activation zone. Nethermind, both Larry and I agreed that we needed the exercise.
Larry started off on 40m on 7.090, and was soon welcomed with a pile up. Larry’s first contact was with Richard VK5ZRY who was still portable in the Ramsay-Way Conservation Park on the Yorke Peninsula. This was a great start to get a ‘park to park’ contact for the VK5 Parks Award. Many of the ‘normal suspects’ called in from VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4, and VK5, to say ‘g’day’ to Larry. Conditions were very good, with excellent signals from all parts of the country.
We also worked a Summit to Summit with Doug VK2FMIA, who was portable on VK2/ NT-008. This is an un named summit in the Northern Tabelands region of New South Wales. The summit is 1,456 metres and is worth 10 SOTA points. Doug (who is a very keen Parks activator) had a very nice 5/6 signal coming in to Mount Lofty.
Larry’s backside was starting to get numb, and he wanted to stretch his legs. So this was a good opportunity for us to swap operators, and to venture over to 20m. We saw a SOTAWatch spot for Klaus DF2GN, who was portable on a summit in Germany. In fact Klaus was sitting on the top of Rainen DM/BW-042. Both Larry and I worked Klaus (a genuine 5/9 both ways). Klaus’ signal was very strong all the way from Germany to the Adelaide Hills. This was Larry’s first ever DX summit to summit. I also worked Klaus and this was another first….my first ever DX summit to summit. Larry and I were both very excited about this contact.
Rainen is 1,006 metres above sea level and is worth 10 SOTA points. It is located in the Bathe Wuerttemberg region of the Low Mountains German Association. It is near the little village of Schomberg.
We then chose a quiet spot on 20m and started to call CQ. I say ‘quiet’, but it didn’t stay like that for long. The 20m band was very busy, and it was only within a minute or 2, and we were getting QRM from nearby stations. However, not much we could do, and we continued to battle on calling CQ. We soon got a pile up going from Europe & the UK and worked stations in England, Germany, Spain, Belgium, Austria, Slovak Republic, and the Czech Republic. We were also called by Gerard VK2IO who was mobile with a very strong 5/9 signal. Other VK’s to call in included Matt VK2DAG, Andrew VK2UH, and John VK6NU in Western Australia. It is always nice to get a VK6 in the log, because they are a long way away from the rest of Australia. For anyone reading this outside of Australia, it is nearly 4,000 km from Perth in the west, to Sydney in the east.
Larry and I then saw a spot for Mike 2E0YYY, who was portable on Shining Tor G/SP-004 (559m ASL & 2 SOTA points). Mike was my very first ever SOTA contact a few years ago, so I was very keen to work Mike. I had spoken to Mike a number of times whilst he was on a summit. But that was while I was at home. Never whilst I was sitting on the top of a summit.
Photo courtesy of http://www.walkthehills.co.uk
So Larry and I headed off to 14.328 and there was Mike, with a nice 5/6 signal. We gave him a call and got through first time, with a 5/5 signal report being returned by Mike.
Whilst operating we had a few interested onlookers. Some of those were even brave enough to approach us, to find out what we were up to. This included a couple of British tourists who were extremely interested to hear that we were working all the way back to their homeland. We also had a young lady out bushwalking with her children, and they were very interested in what these 2 strange guys were doing in the bush with a squid pole and talking strange lingo. It is always pleasing to have a chat to people and passing on information to them on this unique and very interesting hobby.
After working Mike 2E0YYY, we ventured to 14.323 and called CQ again, working a further 12 DX stations in the USA, England, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, Germany, and the Netherlands. And not forgetting Paul VK2KTT who was a very strong signal.
It was starting to get a bit late, heading towards 7.00 p.m. local time, and we had strict orders from our wives to be home by 7.30 p.m. for dinner. Yes, we are good husbands !! It was very frustrating, because we still had European & UK stations calling us. But it was time to pack up and head home to the girls, a few bottles of red, and home made lasagne.
Larry and I had a total of 55 QSO’s in the log, including 2 S2S DX, and 31 DX contacts into the USA, Europe, & UK.
The following stations were worked by Larry:-
Richard VK5ZRY/p; Peter VK5KPR; Ian VK5CZ; Roger VK4YB; Glenn VK3YY; Adam VK2YK; Steve VK3FSWB; Rod VK2TWR; Tony VK3CAT; Peter VK3PF; Peter VK3FPSR; Marshall VK3MRG; Matt VK2DAG; Matt VK1MA; John VK2YW; Andrew VK2UH; Ian VK1DI; Doug VK2FMIA/p (summit to summit); DF2GN/p (summit to summit); and Mike 2E0YYY/p (summit to summit)
The following stations were worked by me:-
Richard VK5ZRY/p; Doug VK2FMIA/p; Klaus DF2GN (summit to summit); G6TUH; VK2DAG; VK2UH; VK6NU; G0RQL; G4UXH; VK2IO/m, DL1DVE; EA2CKX; EB2CZF; EA2IF; EA2DT; ON5SWA; OE7FMH; OM1AX; ON2JF; OK1SDE; OE7WGT; 2E0YYY/p; KD7FMC; G6LUZ; G4OBK; G3XQE; IK1GPG; M6NNA; HB9MKV; EA2LU; DL3JPN; G0LGS; EB2JU; PA0SKP; VK2KTT; and EA4GJT.