On Saturday morning (24th October 2015) I had a little time to kill. The SOTA & Parks gathering didn’t kick off until 12.30 p.m. So I decided to head to Mount Flakney, VK2/ RI-025 for a quick summit activation for the Summits on the Air (SOTA) program.
Mount Flakney is 536 metres above sea level and is worth 2 SOTA points. The summit is situated about 27 km by road, south of Wagga Wagga. I headed out along Mitchell Road and passed the Wagga airport.
I continued south on Gregadoo Road and then turned right onto Big Springs Road. I was hoping it was going to be a good omen, because as I drove towards the summit I passed a paddock full of goats.
As I drove along Big Springs Road, the summit became visible, with the communications tower on the top.
I then reached Flakney Road on my right. This is a narrow dirt track which has a ‘No through road’ sign and a cattle grid.
I travelled a few kilometres up Flakney Road, passed one property and then another, and then reached another cattle grid with a private property sign on it. So I decided to play it safe and I headed back to the second property where I spoke with a very friendly lady. She informed me it was fine to drive up to the summit, so long as I closed all the gates. She also told me to be careful. I questioned her about the road, but she replied it wasn’t the road to the top that was the issue. About one week earlier, two fugitives who had shot at the police had been in the adjoining property. And they were still at large.
So armed with that information, I continued on Flakney Road to the top of the summit.
I reached the first gate which was nice and easy to open. There were already some nice views out to the east from this point.
I then reached the second gate. Now this one wasn’t so easy. The chain was incredibly tight.
But I got through and made it to the summit. I parked the car in a clearing just off the track down from the summit and walked a short distance up to the trig point which is where I set up. I ran the Yaesu FT-857d, 30 watts and the 40m/20m linked dipole for this activation.
I was set up and ready to go on air at 2120 UTC (7.20 a.m. NSW local time). I called CQ on 7.098 and my first contact was with Fred VK3DAC, followed by Steve VK3FSPG, Brian VK5FMID and then Craig VK3WAR. Everything else from here was a bonus. I had about 15 stations in the log, when a couple of VK4’s came up onto the frequency. They were quite low down but very readable. Perhaps they couldn’t hear me, but I was surprised they couldn’t hear the stations who were working me.
After 50 minutes on air I had a total of 33 stations in the log on 40m from VK1, VK2, VK3, VK5, and VK7. All with good signals. This included a contact with Peter VK3PF who was portable in nearby Livingstone National Park, VKFF-0292,
I then decided to try my luck on 20m. But I only worked 2 stations there. They being Bob VK2XXM and Col VK5HCF. So I headed back to 40m and booked in briefly to the Riverland Radio Club Net on 7.115 and said hello to Ron VK5MRE, the net controller, and the rest of the gang on the net.
I decided it was time to pack up and head back to Wagga Wagga for a freshen up and then off to the SOTA & Parks gathering.
I had a total of 36 stations in the log.
The following stations were worked:-