Yesterday morning I activated Mount Lofty summit, VK5/ SE-005, which is located within the Cleland Conservation Park, in the Mount Lofty Ranges ‘Adelaide Hills’. I have activated the summit and park many times, as it is just a short drive to my west towards Adelaide. But this was a new calendar year so there were 4 new SOTA points & a VK5 park point up for grabs. The night before I had seen a few ‘alerts’ on SOTAWatch for Activators, and that was my inspiration to head to Mount Lofty.
map courtesy of mapcarta
I was at Mount Lofty by 8.00 a.m. (S.A. local time) and it was already very busy, with lots of tourists. So I set up on the eastern side of the summit, with only a few competing bushwalkers and mountain bikers. For this activation I ran my little Yaesu FT-817nd and 5 watts, into the 40m/20m linked dipole. It was a chilly morning, with light misty drizzle in the air, and the occasional light passing shower from the west.
My first taker for the morning was Col VK5HCF in Mount Gambier. Col was not as strong as normal, although he was still a strong 5/8 signal to Mount Lofty from the South East of South Australia. And Col reported the same with my signal, giving me a 5/4. This was followed by Nev VK5WG at Crystal Brook who was his normal 5/9 signal. Peter VK3TKK then called in, running QRP, just 5 watts. Peter had a surprisingly, very good 5/8 signal. And my fourth and qualifying contact was with Andrew VK2UH who was also 5/8 and gave me a 5/7 signal report from Yass.
My fifth contact was with Andrew VK1MBE/p. I heard the ‘summit to summit’ call amongst the other callers, and picked up Andrew who was a good 5/4 signal. The noise floor on the summit was negligible, so I was able to receive Andrew extremely well. Andrew was on top of Tuggeranong Hill, VK1/ AC-038, in Canberra, at a height ASL of 855 metres. Andrew was one of the SOTA activators who had ‘alerted’ the night before on SOTAWatch. So I was very happy….one Summit to Summit down. Two more to go.
It was pleasing to get Mike VK6MB in the log on 40m, a few contacts later. Mike was only 5/3, but very readable. And Mike gave me a 5/1 signal report back from Manjimup in Western Australia. I went on to work a total of 21 stations on 40m ssb, until I had to QSY. Unfortunately a VK6 mobile station came up on 7.093 and was ‘bleeding over’ onto my frequency. It was making contacts very difficult. So I lowered the squid pole and removed the links in the antenna and headed to 14.310.
I managed just 2 contacts on 20m before the UTC rollover. Those QSOs were with Peter VK4JD in Jimboomba in Queensland, who had an extremely strong signal. And Paul VK2KTT in Bonville in New South Wales. I put out numerous CQ calls, but despite conditions being apparently very good, I had no takers. So I lowered the squid pole again, put back in the links, and headed back to 40m.
My first contact on returning to 40m was another Summit to Summit contact. This time, with Russ VK2BJP/3 who was on Mount Benambra, VK3/ VE-041, north east of Bright. Russ was very low down, but again, due to the non existent man made noise floor, I was able to work Russ very comfortably.
I returned to 7.095 and worked a few more stations in VK3 and VK5. Whilst doing so, I received an SMS message from Andrew VK1NAM to advise that he and Al VK1RX, were on the ridge line of their summit, and they had a further 400 metres to go before reaching the summit. So I patiently waited for them both to appear. Fortunately the weather had cleared at Mount Lofty. About 30 minutes later, I heard the ‘Summit to Summit’ call. It was Al VK1RX. They had reached the top of Wyanbene Caves, VK2/ ST-022. Al and Andrew were only 5/1, but very readable. I received a reciprocal 5/1 signal back from the Southern Tablelands of New South Wales.
I was very pleased now. I had worked the four stations Summit to Summit, that I was hoping to get in the log. I worked another 2 stations on 40m, before the UTC rollover, and then got up for a stretch and a walk. My operating spot was alive with birdlife. Of the feathered variety! There were dozens of Superb fairywrens. Mostly females, and not the males. Maybe the ‘blokes’ were having a sleep in. The females are plain fawn colour. Whereas the males have a brilliant iridescent blue contrasting with black and grey brown. I also saw a number of Yellow tailed black cockatoos, and Adelaide Rosellas. And there were some noisy Australian Ravens who decided to perch just above my operating spot.
image courtesy of wikipedia.
I returned to the radio, just after the UTC rollover and worked a total of 8 stations on 40m and 20m ssb. Not the large number of stations I expected. But I guess it was a workday. For some anyway! I am on 6 weeks holidays.
I worked a total of 40 stations in VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, & VK6 on 40m ssb and 20m ssb.
The following stations were worked:-