This afternoon (Saturday 11th March 2017) I activated Mount Lofty VK5/SE-005 and Cleland Conservation Park 5CP-042 & VKFF-0778 in the Adelaide Hills. This was as part of an afternoon/morning of VK/Europe/UK SOTA activations, in which it was hoped that a number of Summit to Summit contacts would be obtained between VK & Europe/UK. The event was organised by Andrew VK1AD, Mike 2E0YYY, and Ed DD5LP.
This also coincided with National Parks Week.
I have activated this summit and the park many times previously and it is just a short 20 minute drive from home to get there. So this was going to be a triple header. An activation for Summits on the Air (SOTA), an activation for World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF), and an activation for the VK5 National & Conservation Parks Award.
Above:- Map showing the location of Mount Lofty, located within the Cleland Conservation Park. Image courtesy of Open Street Map.
My wife Marija VK5FMAZ followed me over and we set up in our normal spot on the eastern side of the summit, away from the crowds of tourists who frequent the lookout and restaurant at the summit. Mount Lofty is 727 metres above sea level and is worth 4 SOTA points. It is the highest point in the Mount Lofty Ranges, otherwise known as the Adelaide Hills. The summit is about 15 km east of the city centre of Adelaide, the capital city of South Australia.
Mount Lofty was named by Captain Matthew Flinders on 23 March 1802 during his circumnavigation of the Australian continent. The summit was first climbed by a European when the explorer Collet Barker, climbed it in April 1831, almost six years before the city of Adelaide was settled. A stone cairn at the summit was originally used to mark the trig point, and in 1885 this was replaced by an obelisk which served as the central reference point for surveying purposes across Adelaide. In 1902 the obelisk was rededicated and renamed as the “Flinders Column”.
Above:- Aerial shot showing our operating spot. Image courtesy of google maps.
For this activation we ran the Yaesu FT-857d, initially 10 watts PEP (and later 40 watts), and the 80/40/20m linked dipole supported on the 7 metre telescopic heavy duty squid pole.
I started off, calling CQ on 7.090 and this was answered by Jason VK2FAVL. This was Jason’s 1st ever contact on HF. I handed the mic over to Marija who also logged Jason. Next up was Darrin VK3FDAP, followed by Geoff VK3SQ, and Peter VK3TKK/mobile. Again for each call, I handed the mic over to Marija who logged the callers in her log. We had qualified the summit.
Our first Summit to Summit contact of the day was with Andrew VK1AD who was portable on SOTA peak Mount Ginini VK1/ AC-008. Andrew had a beautiful 5/8 signal and reciprocated with a 5/8 for us. Marija had her fill, and decided to head home. I continued to operate on 40m on 7.090 and logged a steady flow of callers. At times, mini pile ups ensued. Please stick around if I do not get you initially. I strongly suspect that some people give up after trying 2 or 3 times. I won’t move off a frequency until I know for sure there are no further callers, so I will get to you.
I logged a total of 58 stations on 40m from VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, and VK7. This included two further Summit to Summit (S2S) contacts:-
- Bernard VK2IB/3, VK3/ VE-061
- Andrew VK1MBE/p, VK2/ SC-050
- Compton VK2HRX/p, VK2/ CT-043
And also the following Park to Park (P2P) contacts:-
- Mike VK3XL/p, Gippsland Lakes National Park VKFF-0747
- Bernard VK2IB/3, Alpine National Park VKFF-0619
- Neil VK4HNS/p, Bayview Conservation Park VKFF-1469.
Other interesting contacts included Duncan VK3LZ who was using an indoor magnetic loop antenna from his shack (5/8 sent and 5/6 received). Duncan was surprised I could hear him. I also spoke with Peter VK3YE who was portable at Chelsea Beach using his home brew BitX40 transceiver (5/7 both ways).
I then headed over to the 20m band where I found John VK6NU/p on SOTA peak Mount William VK6/ SW-042. John had a nice 5/7 signal.
I didn’t expect to work much DX during this activation, yet alone any of the DX SOTA activators. Band conditions on 20m, whilst I’ve been portable of late, have been poor to say the least. Well, was I surprised. I ended up logging 13 Summit to Summit contacts with stations in Europe and the United Kingdom. They are as follows:
- Jose EA2IF/p, EA2/ NV-151
- Ignacio EA2BD/p, EA2/ NV-092
- Tom HB9SOTA, HB/ SZ-025
- Mike 2E0YYY/p, Shining Tor G/ SP-004
- Anthony MoVED/p, G/ TW-003
- Andy G6PJZ/p, G/ TW-002
- Csaba YO6PIB/p, YO/ EC-426
- Karl M3FEH/p, G/ DC-003
- Carl 2E0HPI/p, G/ TW-001 and GFF-0012
- Steve 2E0EFP/p, G/ TW-001 & GFF-0012
- Colin M1BUU/p, G/ NP-008
- Adrian GW4AZS/p, Corndon Hill GW/ MW-013
- Ed DD5LP/p, DL/ AM-176
Carl 2E0HPI and Steve 2E0EFP were also in GFF-0012. This was Carl’s first VK Park to Park contact. And it was Steve’s first ever time on HF. Not a bad induction to the HF bands Steve.
I also logged Andrew VK1AD who was on VK1/ AC-008.
All up I logged a total of 49 stations on 20m from VK1, VK2, VK4, VK5, VK6, VK8, Spain, Italy, New Zealand, Germany, Croatia, Bulgaria, Switzerland, England, Slovak Rep, Romania, Wales, France, Sweden, Belgium, & Portugal.
To finish off the activation I spent a short time on 80m, logging a total of 5 stations, including Gerard VK2IO who was on SOTA peak Bulgo Hill VK2/ IL-017 in the Royal National Park VKFF-0435.
Above:- Gerard VK2IO on VK2/ IL-017 and VKFF-0435
This was a really enjoyable activation. Sadly I had to go QRT as I was eventually washed out by the rain. It became increasingly more heavy as the activation went on. I spent quite a bit of time in the latter half of the activation huddled underneath the bothy bag.
I had a total of 113 contacts in the log. This included twenty (20) Summit to Summit contacts and six (6) Park to Park contacts.
Thankyou to everyone who called and made this such a terrific activation, and as always, many thanks to those chasers/hunters who took the time to spot me. Your efforts are appreciated, and certainly affect the number of contacts that end up in my log.
I worked the following stations:-
Wikipedia, 2017, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Lofty>, viewed 11th March 2017