After leaving the cafe at Copley, John VK5BJE jumped in to my Toyota Hi Lux and Marija travelled with Jenny (John’s XYL) down to Beltana. John and I headed to Mount Scott, VK5/ NE-111 for an activation for the Summits on the Air (SOTA) program. This was to be a unique summit for John and myself, and in fact this was the first time that the summit had been activated.
Mount Scott is 526 metres above sea level and is worth 2 SOTA points. It is located on private property (Beltana Station) and is situated between the Nankabunyana Creek and the Arooma Creek which flows into the Aroona Dam. The summit is located about 20 km west of Leigh Creek.
Above:- Map showing the location of Mt Scott. Map courtesy of mapcarta.com
John and I travelled south on The Outback Way, passed Leigh Creek towards Beltana. We were keeping our eye out for a track on the western side of the bitumen just after passing under the power lines. Unfortunately we had missed it, but were lucky enough to bump into a 4WD with some local lads in it, who kindly offered to take us a short distance back up the road and point out the track to us, which they did.
John and I then drove up to the summit along the track. It was very low going. The track is definitely 4WD only, as it is very rocky and steep for most of the way. There were also a number of deep washaways. It took us about 35 minutes to travel the nearly 10 km to the summit.
We reached the Mount Scott radio station tower which is on the summit just below Mount Scott and continued further on up the track towards the second smaller tower.
Above:- Mount Scott topography. Map courtesy of mapcarta.com
We stopped the 4WD just outside of the activation zone and walked a short distance further up the hill and set up the station. As we didn’t have to walk far, we decided to take the small fold up table and chair, as the summit was very rocky and looked very uncomfortable.
John and I took turns on the mic. I qualified the summit and after working my fifth station, Mick VK3PMG, I handed the reigns over to John. My first four contacts were Peter VK3PF, Nev VK5WG, John VK2YW, and Don VK5NFB. I worked a total of 12 stations on 40m in VK1, VK2, VK3, and VK5.
After John had worked 9 stations on 40m in VK2, VK3, and VK5, we then lowered the squid pole and removed the links and tried our luck on 20m. John called CQ on 14.310 and first taker was Dave VK2BSY who was pedestrian mobile. Dave had a beautiful 5/9 signal and was hearing us a little weaker (5/3). I was also keen to get Dave in the log as well, so John handed me the mic. For more information on Dave’s pedestrian mobile set up, have a look at…..
John worked 6 stations on 20m in VK2, Russ,a VK8, and Italy, before we swapped operators again. I called CQ and this was answered by Albert S58AL in Slovenia, followed by Chris VK4BX and then John VK6NU. I worked a further 7 stations on 20m in VK2, VK4, VK5, France, and Belgium.
After we had worked a number of stations on 20m, we then decided to have a shot on 15m. John called CQ on 21.250 and this was answered by Phil VK2MWP, and then Hideo JA3BOA, followed by John VK6NU, Mick VK3PMG and John VK6AG. My first taker on 15m was Rob VK4FFAB with a 5/9 signal (5/9 received), followed by Phil VK2MWP, Mick VK3PMG, Taka JA0DCQ and Nick ZL4NY.
Local time was now about 3.30 p.m. and we still had a good drive down, and had to meet up with the girls at Beltana, before driving further south to Merna Mora. So we packed up the gear and commenced the slow decent. John and I were very happy with the activation.
John and I had a total of 50 contacts in the log for the activation on 20m SSB, 40m SSB, and 15m SSB into VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, VK6, VK8, Russia, Italy, Japan, Slovenia, France, and Belgium.
I worked the following stations:-