The weather on Monday morning (15th June 2015) was a little better than the previous 48 hours. It was still threatening, but the rain had stopped. So after an early breakfast we all headed out to activate SOTA peak, The Devil’s Peak, VK5/ NE-080. The Devils Peak is located about 12 km south of Quorn, and about 330 km from Adelaide.
Above:- Map showing the location of The Devils Peak. Map courtesy of mapcarta.com
The Devils Peak is 665 metres above sea level and is worth 4 SOTA points. It casts an impressive figure on the skyline. In the native aboriginal Adnyamathanha language the summit is known as the ‘eagle’s nest‘ or ‘soaring eagle‘. The Devil’s Peak was so named by the European settlers, as it appeared that it was the devil lying on his back looking skywards.
Above:- The Devils Peak. Map courtesy of mapcarta.com
To get to the summit, we drove back into Quorn along the Arden Vale Road and then out along McConville Road (which becomes Richman Valley Road) towards the summit. We then turned right into the Devils Peak Road. It is 6.2 km from this point to the car park at the summit. It is well signposted. The summit itself is actually located on private property, so you will need to open and shut the gate at the end of Devils Peak Road.
The walk up to the top of The Devils Peak is quite steep in places and is recommended for experienced and fit bushwalkers. The first part of the walk is quite deceptive. It is quite easy, following a well maintained track which is very slight in gradient. It progressively becomes more difficult and involves a lot of scrambling over rocks.
John’s wife Jenny decided she would undertake some bird watching rather than climb. Probably a sensible decision. And David VK5KC and his wife Joy were still on their way. So Marija, John and I headed off up to the top.
We set up just below the top of The Devils Peak in a small clearing. We had just enough room to stretch out the 40m/20m linked dipole which we supported on the top of a 7 metre squid pole. For this activation we ran John’s Yaesu Ft-817 and 5 watts.
Just after setting up, David VK5KC and Joy arrived at our operating spot.
We swapped the mic for this activation. My first contact was with Gary VK5ZK with a very strong 5/9 plus signal. This was followed by Mark VK7MK in Ravenswood in Tasmania (5/5 sent and 5/1 received), David VK2JDS mobile (5/7 sent and 5/1 received). My fourth qualifying contact was with Bill VK5MBD in Red Hill with a very strong 5/9 plus signal.
Not long into the activation I noticed that the FT-817 was showing that we were operating on 500 milliwatts. We checked the LiFePo battery and found that it was very low in voltage, so the Yaesu was defaulting to very low power. So out came another battery and we were back on deck again with a big 5 watts.
We each worked Phil VK2JDL who was portable on SOTA peak, Mount Canobolas, VK2/ CT-001, in the Central Tablelands (5/7 sent and 5/4 received).
After working a number of stations each and qualifying the summit on 40m, we lowered the squid pole and removed the links in the dipole for 20m. Our first contact there was with Phil again, VK2JDL on Mount Canobolas. Signal strengths had increased on 20m (5/8 sent and 5/9 received).
We then decided to give 6m a go. But despite a number of calls there, our only contact was with Ian VK5CZ at Clare, about 200 km south of our location. Ian was not strong (5/1) but was very readable. And with John’s little 6m home brew dipole, Ian also gave us a 5/1 signal report. Although we only made one contact on 6m, we were very happy to have a 6 m contact each in the log.
As we climbed back down the summit, the weather was clearing. By the time we got to the bottom, the cloud and fog had lifted and we were rewarded with a nice view of the summit.
I worked the following stations:-