After activating Lower Glenelg National Park and Cobboboonee National Park, it was time for some action in the Summits on the Air (SOTA) program. After all, this was also the 2014 SOTA Spring Activation Weekend. So I headed to Mount Clay, VK3/ VS-051, which is located about 30 km north east of Portland.
Map courtesy of mapcarta.com
Mount Clay is 186 metres above sea level, and is worth just 1 SOTA point. It was first activated by VK3DEE in August, 2013, and has been activated a total of 5 times. Surprising really, because it is a very easy summit to access. The summit is a digital TV broadcast site, so there is a road leading all the way to the summit.
I called in to the Narrawong General Store for directions. Thanks to the very friendly people there, I found my way to the summit quite easily, via Mount Clay Road, then Tower Road, and then Angelino Road.
As the gate at the end of Angelino Road, has got a plethora of padlocks on it, I didn’t want to venture all the way to the trig point which was visible from the gate. Although there were no signs restricting access, I wasn’t 100 % sure, so I played it safe and set up at the gate. This is well inside the activation zone.
I tuned to 7.095 and started calling CQ SOTA and was greeted by Brian VK5FMID in Mount Gambier with a beautiful 5/9 signal. This was followed by Nev VK5WG in Cyrtsal Brook who was also 5/9, Ian VK5IS in the Beetaloo Valley, again 5/9, and then Tom VK5EE at Mount Gambier. I was pleased. I had my 4 qualifying SOTA contacts.
My 5th contact was with Tim VK3MTB who was portable in the Baw Baw National Park VKFF-020, as part of the 2014 KRMNPA Activation Weekend. And soon after this I was also called by another park activator. This time, Nick VK3ANL who was portable in the Point Nepean National Park, VKFF-628.
A steady flow of callers followed from VK2, VK3, VK5, & VK7. All had good signals and generally my signal with just the 5 watts appeared to making the journey to most parts of eastern and southern Australia.
My first Summit to Summit (S2S) contact was with Rob VK3EK who was portable on VK3/ VG-133. About 6 contacts later, I had my 2nd S2S with Tony VK3CAT who was portable on Mount Strickland, VK3/ VN-030.
After traffic had slowed on 7.095, I tuned down to 7.090 and found John VK2YW who was portable on Granite Mountain VK2/ SW-015. I gave John a call who was a good 5/7 signal to Mount Clay (5/7 received in return).
It was starting to get very dark, with rain threatening, and thunder & lightning nearby, so it was time for me to qickly lower the antenna and remove the links for 20m. I put out a CQ call on 14.310 and this was responded to by Mike VK6MB and then John VK6NU who had a very strong 5/9 plus signal coming in from Western Australia.
The rain was alomst here, so I quickly took down the gear and ran back down the road to car. Making it just in time, before the heavens opened up. I had a total of 34 contacts in the log.
Just as I had got back to the car I heard Rob VK2QR calling CQ from the top of SOTA peak, The Twins, VK3/ VE-017. I had just missed another S2S. But I did manage to make contact with Rob from the car (5/9 both ways).
I then worked Andrew VK1NAM/2 from the car. Andrew was on SOTA summit VK2/ SM-053, and then Peter VK3PF who was portable on SOTA summit, Monkeytop, VK3/ VE-041, which was also in the Snowy River National Park, VKFF-455. A new park for me. Yeeehhaa!
More information on Peter’s activation can be found on his WordPress site at…..
The following stations were worked whilst on the summit:-
Below is a video of the activation…..