My first activation for Sunday 8th June, 2014 was Mount Burr summit, VK5/ SE-019. I have activated Mount Burr previously, but as this was a new calendar year, it was another SOTA point for me. Albeit, just a one pointer.
For details on my previous activation, click on the link below…..
I headed out from Mount Gambier bright and early, and travelled along the Princes Highway, and then right onto The Springs Road towards the little town of Glencoe. Before reaching Glencoe, I turned left onto Diagonal Road and travelled through Mount Burr forest, encountering lots of kangaroos along the way. I then turned right onto the Glencoe-Mount Burr Road.
Prior to reaching the summit I stopped again to view the site of the former Mount Burr Bush Inn, which operated between 1852 – 1873. My cold wasn’t much better this morning, and in fact I was now loosing my voice. I wished that pub was still open so I could order a couple of straight scotches.
I found the following from the South Australian Register, dated Monday 15th March 1869…..
I continued along the Glencoe-Mount Burr Road, and then turned left onto TV tower road which takes you up towards the summit. A few km along the road, there is a turn off to your left. This little dirt road takes you direct to the summit. Depending on the fog, you should be able to see the various antennas on the summit from this point on.
You can now no longer access the summit itself. Unlike last time I activated the summit, there are now signs on the gate saying ‘Warning. restricted Area. Authorised Personnel only’. There are also warning signs on the fence line. However, Col VK5HCF has advised that permission can be granted should you wish to operate beyond the gate. Please see the access instructions on the SOTA page for Mount Burr.
I didn’t bother, because you can legitimately activate the summit within the activation zone from near TV Tower Road. I set up on the eastern side of TV tower road and used a star dropper in the fence line to secure my 7 metre telescopic squid pole with an octopus strap.
This morning I ran QRP, with my little Yaesu FT-817nd. I didn’t fancy lugging the power pack up hill. I used a 7 amp hour SLAB battery to power the radio. I stretched out the legs of the linked dipole and tied them off to the fence line.
I started out on 40m on 7.090, and much to my surprise, my first caller was Mike VK6MB who had a very strong 5/9 signal. Mike gave me a 5/7 signal report, which I was very happy with considering the distance covered and the fact I was running just 5 watts. In fact it is about 3,000 km from where I was operating on Mount Burr to Mike’s location in Manjimup. It is truly amazing what you can do with QRP and a simple little antenna.
But Mike was not the only contact I would attain into VK6. My 5th contact of the morning was with Onno VK6FLAB who was running QRP 5 watts and yet still had a beautiful 5/8 signal all the way to the South East of South Australia. Two contacts later, I was called by Max VK6FN who was also running QRP 5 watts from his Elecraft KX3 and had a 5/7 signal. And that was not to be the end of my Western Australian contacts. A number of QSOs later I was called by Daniel VK6LCK who was struggling with me (4/3 signal report received), but who had a very good 5/8 signal to Mount Burr.
I had a few very good QRP to QRP contacts whilst on Mount Burr. They included Derek VK3XY running 5 watts (5/7 both ways); Onno VK6FLAB running 5 watts (5/8 both ways); John VK5FTCT running 1 watt (5/7 sent & 5/6 received); Max VK6FN running 5 watts (5/7 sent & 5/6 received); Peter VK3PF running 5 watts (5/9 both ways); Greg VK5GJ running 5 watts on his home brew TX (5/9 both ways)
I was also very pleased to work Ken VK2BBQ and to be his first ever SOTA contact. Welcome to the world of SOTA Ken. I’m sure you will have a lot of fun.
And it was also a pleasure to work Richard VK2BO, who was portable in the Willandra National Park, which qualifies for the WWFF program.
I also managed four Summit to Summit QSOs: Al VK1RX/p on VK1/ AC-032 (before and after the UTC rollover); Allen VK3HRA/p VK3/ VE-022; and Nick VK3ANL/p on VK3/ VW-007.
And every keen Peter VK3YE called in during my activation. Peter was ankle deep in water again, pedestrian mobile on a beach near Melbourne. And what a great signal Peter had….5/9 both ways.
At about 2320 UTC, after working 39 stations on 40m, I headed up to 20m. My first caller there was Gerard VK2IO who had a lovely 5/9 signal into Mount Burr. This was followed by Brenton VK2DDS. However LY1TR then came up on frequency and started calling CQ DX which made things a little tough. I did however manage to work Tom VK4ATH, Adam VK2YK, and Mike VK6MB, before I was forced to move. Sadly my little signal was not being heard all the way to Lithuania. I then tuned across the 20m band and heard quite a few USA stations coming through with moderate signals. I worked 3 VK4s who were participating in the VK Shires contest, before heading back to 40m for the UTC rollover.
After operating for a total of just under 2 hours I had a total of 66 QSOs in the log. I hadn’t planned on staying for the UTC rollover, however conditions were so good I decided to do exactly that. It was time to head off to Tantanoola Caves Conservation Park. My voice was very croaky and was slowly going, and it was quite ironic that a frog had taken up residence near to my operating position. Maybe he/she found my voice attractive. I’m sure the SOTA chasers didn’t!
The following stations were worked on 40 m SSB before the UTC rollover:
Mike VK6MB; Ian VK5CZ; Amanda VK3FQSO; Derek VK3XY; Onno VK6FLAB; John VK5FTCT; Max VK6FN; Theo VK3AP/,\m; Peter VK3PAH/m; Peter VK2EMU/p; Richard VK2BO/p; Nev VK5WG; Matt VK1MA; Phil VK3BHR; John VK2YW/m; Andrew VK1NAM/m; Leon VK3VGA; John VK5BJE; Peter VK3PF; Erwin VK3ERW; Peter VK3YE/pm; Daniel VK6LCK; Gerard VK2JNG/p; David VK5NQP; Errol VK2EGC/m; Tony VK2QW; Rob VK3EK; John VK5FMJC; Marshall VK3MRG; Tony VK5FTVR; Brian VK5FMID; Ron VK3AFW; Wayne VK5FWMT; Paul VK5FUZZ; Rhett VK3WE; Joe VK3YSP; Julie VK3FOWL; Scott VK7NWT; Mark VK1EM; Al VK1RX/p (S2S)
The following stations were worked on 40m SSB after the UTC rollover:
Al VK1RX/p (S2S); Ron VK3AFW; Marshall VK3MRG; John VK5BJE; Peter VK3PF; Ken VK2BBQ; Peter VK3FPSR; Amanda VK3FQSO; Allen VK3HRA/p (S2S); Gerard VK2IO; Gerard VK2JNG/p; VK5ET; Mark VK1EM; Phil VK3BHR; Nigel VK5NIG; Lee VK2LEE; Greg VK5GJ; and Nick VK3ANL/p (S2S0.
The following stations were worked on 20 m SSB:
Gerard VK2IO; Brenton VK2DDS; Tom VK4ATH; Adam VK2YK; Mike VK6MB; Stew VK4SC/m; Ken VK4WIL; and VK4DMC.