Mount Lofty VK5/ SE-005 and Cleland Conservation Park VKFF-0778

HAPPY NEW YEAR to all. 

Today being the 1st day of January 2019, means another New Years Day SOTA event.  It has become custom now in VK & ZL to head out to activate a summit on New Years Day, and take advantage of activator points either side of the UTC rollover for the two calendar years.  And also plenty of Summit to Summit opportunities.

A few times now Marija and I have headed north to activate Mount Bryan in the Mid North of South Australia.  We have stayed overnight in Burra on New Years Eve, and activated the summit bright and early on New Years Day.  But this year we were not sure what time Marija would get off work on New Years Eve, so travelling to a summit we had not activated in 2018 was not going to be an option this year.

So at about 8.45 a.m. on New Years Day, with no hangover,  we headed to our closest summit, Mount Lofty VK5/ SE-005.  Marija and I had both activated Mount Lofty during 2018, so we wouldn’t pick up the 4 SOTA points until after the UTC rollover.

Mount Lofty is just a short 15 minute drive down the road from home.  The summit is located about 17 km (by road) south east of the city of Adelaide, and is located within the Cleland Conservation Park VKFF-0778.  It is in the Mount Lofty Ranges ‘ Adelaide Hills’.

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Above:- Map showing the location of Mount Lofty.  Map courtesy of Open Topo map.

Mount Lofty is worth 4 SOTA points and has been activated a total of 82 times.  Not surprising that it is so popular, as it is in very close proximity to the city of Adelaide, and is very easily accessible.  It was first activated by Andy VK5AKH in November 2012.

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Above:- Map showing Mount Lofty, in close proximity to the city of Adelaide.  Map courtesy of Open Topo map.

Mount Lofty is the highest point in the southern Mount Lofty Ranges.  Its elevation is 727 metres above sea level.  Mount Lofty was named by the explorer Matthew Flinders on the 23rd March 1802 during his circumnavigation of the Australian continent.  But the summit was not climbed until 29 years later in April 1831, when the explorer Collet Barker climbed to the top.  This was six years prior to the settlement of Adelaide.  Barker was speared to death later that year after swimming across the Murray Mouth.

In 1855 an obelisk replaced the old stone cairn at the summit, which was originally used to mark the trig point.  In 1902 the obelisk was named the ‘Flinders Column’.

A cafe-restaurant and gift shop can be located at the summit, which is incredibly popular with tourists as it offers spectacular views of Adelaide and across Gulf St Vincent to the Yorke Peninsula.

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Above:- An aerial view of Mount Lofty summit.  The arrow indicates our operating spot.  Image courtesy of google maps

We parked just inside the gates leading to the summit and walked about 500 metres down the Heysen Trail and set up in our normal spot.  This is within the activation zone, but away from the hoards of tourists.

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Above:- Aerial shot of the summit, showing our operating spot.  Image courtesy of google maps

We were set up and ready to go just before 9.15 a.m. local time (2245 UTC).  I called CQ on 7.100 and first in the log was Sid VK4/ZS5AYC and Adele VK4/ZS5APT who were activating Tennison Woods Mountain VK4/ SE-177.  It was a great way to start the activation with a couple of Summit to Summit contacts.  Next was Andy VK3AJA, Chris VK3PAT, and Nev VK5WG.  It was soon evident that the 40m band was in good shape, with good strong signals.  And absolutely no man made noise on the band.  One of the many reasons I enjoy working portable.

A little pile up soon ensued which I was very pleased with.  I logged a total of 39 stations from VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4, and VK5, before swapping the mic with Marija.  Summit to Summit contacts logged were as follows:-

  • Sid VK4/ZS5AYC – Tennison Woods Mountain VK4/ SE-177
  • Adele VK4/ZS5APT – Tennison Woods Mountain VK4/ SE-177
  • Peter VK3PF/2 – Great Yambla Ridge VK2/ RI-018
  • Leigh VK3SG/p – Mount McKay VK3/ VE-007
  • Malcolm VK3OAK/p – Blue Mountain VK3/ VS-015
  • Gerard VK2IO/p – Mount Elliot VK2/ HU-093
  • Brian VK3BCM/2 – Mount Black Jack VK2/ SW-010
  • Compton VK2HRX/p – Mount Loch VK3/ VE-005
  • Andrew VK1AD/2 – Mount Mundoonen VK2/ ST-053
  • Hugh VK5NHG/p – Hallett Hill VK5/ SE-003
  • Hugh VK5/M6OVY/p – Hallett Hill VK5/ SE-003

Park to Park contacts logged were as follows:-

  • Peter VK3PF/2 – Benambra National Park VKFF-0029
  • Mike VK6MB/2 – Clyde River National Park VKFF-0102
  • Malcolm VK3OAK/p – Landsborough Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2129

It was pleasing to log a number of South Australian stations.  Close in propagation has been pretty patchy for quite some time now, so I was very pleased to hear 5/9 plus signals from Nev VK5WG, John VK5MJC, & Hugh VK5NHG/p in the Mid North, Les Vk5KLV at Port Augusta, Rob VK5TRM, Rob VK5TS & Ivan VK5HS in the Riverland , Rick VK5VCR & Dave VK5LEX south of Adelaide, Sue VK5AYL on the Fleurieu Peninsula, and John VK5NJ in Mount Gambier who was QRP with around 4 watts.

IMG_0247

With about 25 minutes before the UTC rollover, Marija started calling CQ on 7.100, after we had lowered the power down from 40 watts to 10 watts PEP, to abide by Marija’s licencing conditions.  First in the log for Marija was Phil VK3BHR, followed by Leigh VK3SG/p on Mount McKay VK3/ VE-007, and then Hugh VK5NHG/p on Hallett Hill VK5/ SE-003.

Marija logged a total of 15 stations before the UTC rollover, including the following Summit to Summit contacts:-

  • Leigh VK3SG/p – Mount McKay VK3/ VE-007
  • Hugh VK5NHG/p – Hallett Hill VK5/ SE-003
  • Hugh VK5/M6OVY/p – Hallett Hill VK5/ SE-003
  • Ian VK5CZ/p – Mount Gawler VK5/ SE-013
  • Matt VK1MA/p – Yellow Rabbit Hill VK1/ AC-039
  • Compton VK2HRX/3 – Mount Loch VK3/ VE-005
  • Col VK3GTV/p – Mount Macedon VK3/ VC-007
  • Ian VK1DI/p – Mount Taylor VK1/ AC-037

And the following Park to Park contacts:-

  • Col VK3GTV/p – Macedon Regional Park VKFF-0972
  • Ian VK1DI/p – Mount Taylor Nature Reserve VKFF-0854

I also logged some of the above stations who I did not already have in the log.

Marija continued after the UTC rollover and logged a further 8 stations including the following Summit to Summit contacts:-

  • Ian VK1DI/p – Mount Taylor VK1/ AC-037
  • Leigh VK3SG/p – Mount McKay VK3/ VE-007
  • Allen VK3ARH – Mount Saint Phillack VK3/ VT-006
  • Andrew VK3ARR/p – Mount Saint Phillack VK3/ VT-006

And the following Park to Park contacts:-

  • Ian VK1DI/p – Mount Taylor Nature Reserve VKFF-0854

I also logged these stations.

I then jumped back on the mic and logged a further 31 stations, including the following Summit to Summit contacts:-

  • Peter VK3ZPF/p – Mount Toorongo Range VK3/ VT-026
  • Malcolm VK3OAK/p – Blue Mountain VK3/ VS-015
  • Compton VK2HRX/3 – Mount Loch VK3/ VE-005
  • Matt VK1MA/p – Yellow Rabbit Hill VK1/ AC-039
  • Al VK1RX/2 – Livingstone Hill VK2/ SM-093
  • Brian VK3BCM/2 – Mount Black Jack VK2/ SW-010
  • Gerard VK2IO/p – Mount Elliot VK2/ HU-093
  • Alan VK3ALN/p – Mount Donna Buang VK3/ VC-002
  • Ian VK5CZ/p – Mount Gawler VK5/ SE-013
  • Ron VK3AFW/p – Mount Matlock VK3/ VC-001
  • Nik VK3ZNK/p – Arthurs Seat VK3/ VC-031
  • Peter VK3PF/2 – Great Yambla Ridge VK2/ RI-018
  • Col VK3GTV/p – Mount Macedon VK3/ VC-007
  • Craig VK3KLR/p – Mount Macedon VK3/ VC-007

And the following Park to Park contacts:-

  • Malcolm VK3OAK – Landsborough Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2129
  • Alan VK3ALN/p – Yarra Ranges National Park VKFF-0556
  • Nik VK3ZNK/p – Arthus seat State Park VKFF-0750
  • Peter VK3PF/2 – Benambra National Park VKFF-0029
  • Col VK3GTV/p – Macedon Regional Park VKFF-0972

I then decided it was time to try the 20m band.  I changed bands on the transceiver and was monitoring 14.310 as I was lowering the squid pole and removing the 40m links.  I could hear Andrew VK1AD/2 calling CQ, so I hoisted the squid pole up with haste, but found that Andrew had gone.  I had however, heard John VK6NU/p trying to get through (unsuccessfully) to Andrew.  So I logged John who was activating SOTA peak VK6/ SW-039.

I then moved up to 14.315 and logged a total of 18 stations from VK2, VK3, VK4, and New Zealand.  This included the following Summit to Summit contacts:-

  • Andrew VK1DA/2 – Mount Bowning VK2/ ST-042
  • Peter VK3PF/2 – Great Yambla Ridge VK2/ RI-018
  • Nik VK3ZNK/p – Arthurs Seat VK3/ VC-031
  • Andrew VK1AD/2 – Mount Mundoonen VK2/ ST-053
  • Alan VK3ALN/p – Mount Donna Buang VK3/ VC-002
  • John ZL1BYZ/p – Puketutu ZL1/ WK-158
  • Sid VK4/ZS5AYC – Tennison Woods Mountain VK4/ SE-177
  • Adele VK4/ZS5APT – Tennison Woods Mountain VK4/ SE-177
  • Matt VK1MA/2 – Yellow Rabbit Hill VK1/ AC-039

And the following Park to Park contacts:-

  • Peter VK3PF/2 – Benambra National Park VKFF-0029
  • Nik VK3ZNK/p – Arthurs Seat State Park VKFF-0750
  • Alan VK3ALN/p – Yarra Ranges National Park VKFF-0556

John ZL1BYZ was my first New Zealand Summit to Summit for this activation, so I was very pleased to get him in the log, albeit a little bit of a struggle.  I also logged John’s wife, Jacky ZL1WA, who was operating from home.

A few stations had mentioned that 15m was open, so Marija and I lowered the squid pole, and replaced the linked dipole with the 15m 1/2 wave dipole.  I called CQ on 21.250 and it wasn’t long before I had my first 15m caller, John VK4TJ.  What followed really surprised me.  A steady flow of callers from VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4, VK7, and New Zealand.  I logged a total of 36 stations including the following Summit to Summit contacts:-

  • Nik VK3ZNK/p – Arthurs Seat VK3/ VC-031
  • Gerard VK2IO/p – Mount Elliot VK2/ HU-093
  • Ron VK3AFW/p – Mount Selma VK3/ VT-013

And the following Park to Park contacts:-

  • Nik VK3ZNK/p – Arthurs Seat State Park VKFF-0750
  • Mike VK6MB/p – Murramarang National Park VKFF-0371
  • Mark VK4SMA/p – Moogerah Peaks National Park VKFF-0326
  • Peter VK3ZPF/p – Crossover Regional Park VKFF-0965

Some of the signals on 15m were exceptionally good.  It was so great to see this band open.

IMG_0249.jpg

I encouraged Marija to get up on 15m and I think she was pleased I did, as she does not normally make a lot of contacts on that band.  Marija ended up logging 25 including the following Summit to Summit contacts:-

  • Gerard VK2IO – Mount Elliot VK2/ HU-093
  • Nik VK3ZNK/p – Arthurs Seat VK3/ VC-031
  • Ron VK3AFW/p – VK3/ VT-013

And the following Park to Park contacts:-

  • Mark VK4SMA/p – Moogerah Peaks National Park VKFF-0326
  • Nik VK3ZNK/p – Arthurs Seat State Park VKFF-0750
  • Mike VK6MB/ – Murramarang National Park VKFF-0371
  • Peter VK3ZPF/p – Crossover Regional Park VKFF-0965

To complete the activation I put out a few final CQ calls on 21.250 and logged a further 8 stations from VK2, VK4, VK7 and New Zealand.

Our final tally for the day:-

Paul VK5PAS

  • number of QSOs – 142
  • number of Summit to Summit – 46
  • number of Park to Park – 18

Marija VK5FMAZ

  • number of QSOs – 48
  • number of Summit to Summit – 16
  • number of Park to Park – 7

TOTAL QSOS – 190

TOTAL SUMMIT TO SUMMIT – 62

TOTAL PARK to PARK – 25

During the activation we were also visited by John VK5FLEA.  John, who is a new ham, has become a very enthusiastic parks activator.  He also activated Mount Lofty, and this was his first ever SOTA activation.

IMG_0252

Marija worked the following stations before the UTC rollover:-

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Marija worked the following stations after the UTC rollover:-

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I worked the following stations before the UTC rollover:-

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I worked the following stations after the UTC rollover:-

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Screen Shot 2019-01-01 at 6.18.18 pm.png

 

References.

Wikipedia, 2018, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Lofty>, viewed 1st January 2019

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