My second activation for Friday 3rd October, 2014, was Hogshead Hill, VK5/ NE-051, which is located about 7 km south east of the little town of Pekina in the mid north of South Australia (about 272 km north of Adelaide). It was just a short 60 minute drive north from my first activation at Mount Ngadjuri up to the town of Orroroo and then to Pekina.
Hogshead Hill is about 770 metres above sea level and is worth 4 SOTA points. I had previously activated the summit in August 2013 with Ian, VK5CZ. However, this was a new calendar year, and another 4 SOTA activator points were there for the taking. The summit is located on private property, so prior to access, please make contact with the owner (details can be found on the SOTA site under the Hogshead Hill listing).
Please refer to my previous post for some interesting facts on the summit and the nearby town of Pekina.
I accessed the summit via Hogshead Road. I had spoken to the land owner prior to access, and it appears that last time, Ian and I accessed the summit via his neighbour’s land. Fortunately there was no problem with us doing this, but this time I made sure I had very good directions regarding access. This time I parked my car on Hogshead Road, opposite a farmhouse on the eastern side of Hogshead Road. Directly opposite the farmhouse is a ‘cocky’s gate’. This is where I entered, following the scrub lined creek, up to a 2nd gate and fence line. As it turns out, there is a track leading through this paddock following the creek line which could be negated with care by a 2wd vehicle. However, I decided to leave my Falcon parked on Hogshead Road. At a recent service of my car, the mechanic had asked if I had gone off road, as there was a large build up of dirt under the car, along with some damage to the undercarriage.
The walk to the top of the summit takes between 45 minutes – 60 minutes. There is no formal track, and there is quite a bit of fence climbing and rock clambering to be done to reach the summit. It is a bit of a strenuous walk, particularly if the weather is warm, as it was on this day.
The creek line and summit were alive with kangaroos and euros. Many trying to shelter under the trees out of the sun. There were also quite a few sleepy lizards around in the long grass. This made me wonder, whether there were some snakes out and about as well. I am sure there were, but fortunately I didn’t encounter any.
Again for this activation I used the Yaesu FT-817nd and ran 5 watts. My antenna was the 20m/40m linked dipole, supported on the 7 metre squid pole. The temperature was creeping up into the mid 30’s, so I choose a shady spot under a tree to place the radio. I used a fallen tree to secure the squid pole with a few octopus straps. The top of this summit is a flat plateau, so there are plenty of options for establishing your station and erecting an antenna.
Just after setting up, my i-phone bleated at me, and I saw that Justin VK2CU was on the top of a summit in New South Wales. So I quickly tuned to 7.090 and there was Justin with a weak, but very audible signal. Justin was on the top of Mount Kaputar VK2/ NW-001, in north eastern New South Wales. The summit is also located within the Mount Kaputar National Park which qualifies for the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program. We exchanged signal reports (5/1 sent and 3/1 received), and I then moved up to 7.095 where I put out a CQ call, only to be greeted by the ever keen, Nev, VK5WG, with a very strong 5/9 plus signal.
It was a week day, and it was the middle of the day, so a lack of SOTA chasers and band conditions were conspiring against me. As we all know, the 40m band tends to ‘go to sleep’ during the middle of the day. But I pressed on and made a total of 10 contacts on 40m SSB into VK1, VK2, VK3, and VK5, before lowering the squid pole and removing the links in the dipole, for 20m.
I then tuned to 14.310 and my first caller on 20m was Matt VK1MA who had a very good 5/9 signal (5/8 received). Mike VKMB then called me, but despite our best efforts, I was just not able to get a signal report through to Mike who was very weak (5/1), but very audible on the summit due to the very low noise floor. If only it was like that in everyone’s homes. I had similar problems with Ron VK3AFW who called and called and called, but sadly I just could not exchange a signal report with him for a valid contact. Conditions however, to New South Wales, the ACT, and Tasmania appeared quite good.
I operated on the summit for about 50 minutes, before deciding to pack up and head down, and off to the next summit. I had a total of 19 stations in the log on 40m SSB and 20m SSB.
The following stations were worked:-