Galore Hill VK2/ RI-047

After packing up at Oolambyean National Park, I drove back to the Sturt Highway and continued east towards the town of Narrandera.  My next planned activation was a summit, Galore Hill VK2/ RI-047, for the Summits on the Air (SOTA) program.

As I left the National Park I had a chat with Ian VK5CZ and Craig VK3WAR on 40m from the mobile.  Both had 5/9 signals into the vehicle.

Prior to heading to Galore Hill, I stopped off at Narrandera and met up with Ian VK5CZ and his wife Halima.  We enjoyed a coffee and some fattening cake at the Red Door Cafe.

IMG_1719

We then hit the road again.  Ian and Halima headed for Wagga Wagga, whilst I headed for Galore Hill, which is situated about 64 km west of Wagga Wagga and about 11 km south of the little town of Galore on the Sturt Highway.

As I drove towards the park I spoke with Peter VK3PF who was portable in the Chiltern-Mount Pilot National Park (5/9 both ways).  Peter was also heading to Wagga Wagga for the SOTA & Parks gathering.

Screenshot 2015-10-31 09.26.16

Above:- Map showing the location of the summit.  Courtesy of goole maps.

Mount Galore, or Galore Hill as it is known locally, is 386 metres above sea level and is worth just 1 SOTA point.  It is easily reached by taking the Narrandera to Lockhart Road off the Sturt Highway and then turning left into Slocums Lane.  There is a large brown sign here stating ‘Galore Scenic Reserve’.

The summit is clearly visible from the Sturt Highway.

Towards the end of Slocums Lane you will reach the junction with Tinamba Road.  This is where the entry to the Galore Hill Scenic Reserve commences.  Slocums Lane then becomes Fletts Road.  Simply follow the signs to the top of the summit.

Galore Hill summit is located within the Galore Hill Scenic Reserve which covers an area of over 500 hectares of thriving native bushland.  A wide variety of native animals and birds can be located here including Western Grey kangaroos, echidnas and over 140 species of birds.  Over 850 different varieties of Australian native plants grow within the Scenic Reserve including wattles, grevillias, hakeas and ecualyptus.  The area was formerly a Forest Reserve under the control of the Foresty Commission.  In 1912 the area was let for a grazing lease to a local farmer.  This was despite the fact that the Council strongly opposed the granting of the lease at the time.  In 1968, the local Council gained control of an area of 376 hectares and this was proclaimed as a Recreation Reserve.  In 1978, about 200 hectares were added to the Reserve.

There is a walking track at the summit which takes in the caves of infamous Australian bushranger, Daniel ‘Mad Dog’ Morgan.  The caves were reputedly used as a refuge by Morgan from the persuing authorities.  Although this has not been confirmed, the caves are known today as Morgan’s Caves.

Mad_Dog_Morgan

Above:- Daniel ‘Mad Dog’ Morgan.  Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

The summit had previously been activated by Allen VK3HRA, Ian VK1DI, Warren VK3BYD, and Mark VK3OHM.  And although it was only worth the 1 point, this was to be my very first SOTA summit activation in New South Wales.

It is reported that the hill got its name after a comment made by Henry Osborne, an explorer, who travelled from Wollongong to Adelaide.  Osborne climbed the hill in 1840 and it is reported that he exclaimed, ‘there is land, and galore‘.

Screenshot 2015-10-31 09.30.28

I ran the Yaesu FT-857d and about 30 watts for this activation, with the 40m/20m linked dipole supported on the 7 metre telscopic squid pole.  There was a nicely positioned wooden table and bench at the top of the summit looking out to the east.  It was quite a warm, but stormy afternoon, so I tried to shade myself as much as possible as the afternoon sun certainly had some bite.

I called CQ on 7.104 and my first taker was Peter VK3TKK mobile with a very good 5/9 signal.  This was followed by another mobile station, Rex VK3OF, and then Eric VK3BSG, and Gerard VK2JNG portable.  I had qualified the summit.

I went on to work a total of 43 stations on 40m in VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5 and VK7.  That included a summit to summit contact with Nick VK3ANL who was on the top of Mount Disapointment, VK3/ VC-014.  I also had a few other interesting contacts including one with John VK3PBX.  Our QSO was his first time on 40m since 1980.  Welcome back John.

I then headed to 20m hoping to pick up some DX.  I found that 14.310 was clear and I started calling CQ and this was answered by Rick VK4RF.  It wasnt long before the first DX started calling.  First up was Hinko S52KM in Slovenia, followed by Luciano I5FLN in Italy, and then Joan EA3GHZ in Spain.

I worked a total of 26 stations on 20m in about 20 minutes from VK4, Slovenia, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Hungary, Ukraine, USA, Germany, and Russia.  Many of the stations I worked from Europe were the regular WWFF park hunters.

At the end of the activation I climbed to the top of the observation tower which was constructed in 1973.  There is a plaque on the tower with the story of the origins of the name of the hill.  Unfortunately, another plaque has  been stolen by vandals.

I was rewarded with some very nice views of the surrounding countryside.

So, after just a little over one hour on the summit I had a total of 69 contacts in the log.  It was time to pack up and head off to Wagga Wagga and try to avoid the kangaroos on the road.

The following stations were worked:-

Screenshot 2015-11-04 10.37.41

References.

Lockhart Shire Council, 2015, <http://visitlockhartshire.com.au/attractions/galore-hill.aspx&gt;, viewed 4th November 2015.

Mount Arden VK5/ NE-034

It was our last day, Monday 22nd June 2015.  It had been a terrific 11 days away.  Lots of laughs (spurred on by red wine), great scenery, and some great park and SOTA activations in some quite remote parts of South Australia.  Today we were heading home, but along the way we were to stop in to Argadells and travel along one of their 4WD tracks to activate the summit, Mount Arden VK5/ NE-034, as part of the Summits on the Air (SOTA) program.  We had intended to activate Mount Arden earlier in our trip, but the bad weather had conspired against us. So we all travelled together, heading south on The Outback Highway.  Along the way, there was plenty of native fauna to view, including kangaroos, emus, and a view photogenic Wedge Tailed Eagle who was sitting up on the top of some ruins between Hawker and Quorn.

Marija and I also briefly stopped off again at the Kanyaka Ruins.  Although we had stopped in there on the way up to Farina, the weather on that day was terrible, and our exploration of these amazing ruins was cut short.

We then travelled back down the Arden Vale Road, and through the Willochra Creek, which still had a bit of water in it.  Albeit, a lot less than the week prior.

And as we travelled south on Arden Vale Road, we were able to get some great views of Mount Arden in the distance.  The tower on the top of the summit was clearly visible.  This was a very different view of the mountains compared to the wet weather days we had experienced at Argadells, when the summit and the surrounding terrain was fogged over.

Once we arrived at Argadells we touched base with Judy, the owner, and then proceeded to the campgound where John unhitched his camper trailer, and we unloaded some gear from the back seat of his Nissan.  The plan was for David & Joy to travel with John and Jenny to the top of Mount Arden.  It wasn’t long before David and Joy arrived, and we were away to the top of Mount Arden, despite the very windy conditions. Mount Arden is located on the property of Argadells and is about 350 km north of Adelaide.  The summit is 844 metres above sea level and is worth 6 SOTA points.  This was to be a unique activation for myself, John, and David.  The summit has been activated once before, by Ian VK5CZ in October 2014. Screenshot 2015-06-29 13.58.19

Above:- Map showing the location of the summit.  Map courtesy of mapcarta.com

The 4WD track to to the summit, which is rated as ‘challenging’, passes through some amazing scenery on the Argadells property.  This includes creek crossings, and steep climbs, which requires low 2WD.  The views on the way up are truly inspiring.  I was amazed at how the terrain changed quite dramatically as we travelled to the top of the summit.  The Hannimans Gorge is a pretty area with lots of water flowing through the creeks.  The terrain here is very green and lush with some spectacular river red gums.

Once up on the top of the summit, we soon gathered that it would be a challenge in erecting the squid poles.  It was incredibly windy.  John was very keen to try some 6 metre action, so he tried calling on 6m, but sadly had no luck.  I set up a 40m station, and once I had qualified the summit, David VK5KC, and then John VK5BJE also qualified the SOTA peak.  Despite the towers and radio communication equipment on top of the summit, is is a very RF quiet location.

My first contact was with SOTA die-hard, Peter VK3PF with a good 5/8 signal (5/5 received), followed by Ian VK5IS at Beetaloo Valley (5/9 both ways), Rex VK3OF at Swan Hill (5/9 both ways), and then Ray VK3YAR at Mandurang near Bendigo (5/9 sent and 3/4 received).  There was quite a significant difference in the reports from Rex and Ray despite there only being a 190 km difference.

My fifth contact was a Summit to Summit contact with Gerard VK2IO who was on top of SOTA peak, Mount Meehan, VK2/ CT-042, north of Orange (5/7 both ways).

I also tried 20m briefly but could only manage 5 contacts there.  My first contact on 20m was with Ian VK5IS, followed by Phil VK2JDL, Peter VK6RZ (5/ sent and 3/2 received), Dave VK4DD, and finally Glenn VK6HAD (5/8 sent and 3/1 received).   It seemed as if it was one way propogation from/to Western Australia.  Band conditions on both 40m and 20m seemed to be very poor.  Not to mention the weather conditions on the summit.  Although it was quite a mild day, the wind was absolutely howling on the top of Mount Arden.  My squid pole collapsed on at least 2 occasions due to the very high wind speed.

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I ended up with just 11 contacts for this activation.  The bands were exceptionally quiet.  Not surprising when you look at the solar conditions.  The sun has been very unstable and there was a significant Coronal Mass Ejection (CME). It was a slow drive back down in low 2WD.  We enjoyed some amazing views and encountered quite a few kangaroos and euros on our way back to the camp ground at Argadells, where we enjoyed some lunch.

I worked the following stations:- Screenshot 2015-06-29 15.02.12

Mount Scott VK5/ NE-111

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.

Screenshot 2015-06-29 08.30.12

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.

Screenshot 2015-06-29 08.41.03

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…..

http://www.vk2bsy.com/index.html

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.

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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:-

Screenshot 2015-06-29 08.26.07

The Devils Peak VK5/ NE-080

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.
Screenshot 2015-06-24 16.04.14

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.

Screenshot 2015-06-24 16.03.48

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

DSC_0566

I worked the following stations:-

Screenshot 2015-06-24 15.59.18

 

Results from our travels to the north of SA

Arrived back home last night from my trip away with Marija, John VK5BJE & Jenny, and David VK5KC & Joy.

Marija and I travelled nearly 2,500 km in 11 days.  We activated 4 Conservation Parks, 3 SOTA summits, and 3 National Parks.  And we also operated as VK100ANZAC at Farina in the Far North on Wednesday & Thursday.  Total of 666 QSO’s (scary hey, the devil’s number).

I also squeezed in a bit of operating from the Argadells property near Quorn, and in the mobile as well.

John and David are still currently away, and I am sure that John will post his results & info on his WordPress site when he returns.

Thanks to everyone that called, and thanks to those who took the time to spot us on parksnpeaks, the DX cluster, here on the group, etc.  For most of the time away we had no phone coverage.

Here are the parks and summits I activated and the total number of QSO’s from each.

Saturday 13th June

Clinton Conservation Park VKFF-813

67 contacts

Winninowie Conservation Park VKFF-820

128 contacts

Monday 15th June

The Devils Peak VK5/ NE-080

18 contacts

Mount Brown Conservation Park

31 contacts

The Dutchmans Stern Conservation Park VKFF-817

47 contacts

Wednesday 17th June

VK100ANZAC at Farina

108 contacts

Thursday 18th June

VK100ANZAC at Farina

57 contacts

Friday 19th June

Gammon Ranges National Park VKFF-189

52 contacts

Mount Scott VK5/ NE-111

28 contacts

Saturday 20th June

Flinders Ranges National Park VKFF-176 (at Aroona Ruins)

43 contacts

Flinders Ranges National Park VKFF-176 (at Wilpena Pound)

29 contacts

Sunday 21st June

Lake Torrens National Park VKFF-278

47 contacts

Monday 22nd June

Mount Arden VK5/ NE-034

11 contacts

He is some quick audio from the WIA Broadcast re our trip…..

Black Mountain, VK1/ AC-042

After our activation at Mount Ainslee, we ventured over to Black Mountain, VK1/ AC-042, just a short drive across Canberra from Mount Ainslee

Screenshot 2015-05-16 11.44.58

Above:- Map showing the location of Black Mountain.  Image courtesy of mapcarta.com

Black Mountain is 812 metres above sea level and is worth 1 SOTA point.  It is situated to the west of the Canberra CBD and is on the northern shores of Lake Burley Griffin.  The summit is part of the Canberra Nature Park and is predominantly covreed in native bushland.  It is a haven for native wildlife.  Also on the summit is the Black Mountain Tower, a broadcasting tower rising a further 195 metres above the summit.  The summit was originally known as Black Hill.

Screenshot 2015-05-16 11.44.45 (1)

Above:- Black Mountain.  Image courtesy of mapcarta.com.

It was no less cold and no less windy here on Black Mountain to that of Mount Ainslee.  In fact there was a lot of banging going on from something loose on the tower.  But we had dodged a bullet again, as there was no rain.  As we were setting up the gear, a very suspicious car approached us slowly and then pulled up in front of us.  It was Heath VK3TWO and his wife Monique.

We took it in turns to operate on the radio again, with John VK5BJE firing up first with me acting as scribe as it was very windy and cold and trying to hold the mic and write at the same time was a challenge.  Plus, us guys can only do one thing well at a time!

My first contact on Black Mountain, which was another unique SOTA summit for me, was Michael VK2CCW who was portable on SOTA peak, Mount Elliot, VK2/ HU-093.  A nice start to the activation….a Summit to Summit contact.  I worked another 9 stations and was then called by Keith VK5OQ/1 who was portable on SOTA peak, Mount AInslee, VK1/ AC-040.

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After packing up we all ventured inside Black Mountain Tower and enjoyed a nice cup of coffee in the warmth of the cafe.  This was another great activation and a lot of fun with Andrew, John, Heath & Monique.

I worked the following stations:-

Screenshot 2015-05-16 11.42.09

 

 

References.

Wikipedia, 2015, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Mountain_%28Australian_Capital_Territory%29&gt;, viewed 16th May 2015

Mount Ainslee, VK1/ AC-040

On Sunday morning (10th May 2015), Andrew VK1NAM picked up John VK5BJE and I from outside of our motel in Canberra, and took us up to the top of Mount Ainslee, VK1/ AC-040.  We had arranged with Andrew the day before at the WIA AGM, to head out for a couple of SOTA activations.

I had snuck up to Mount Ainslee the night before with Peter VK3PF for a quick 2m activation, but I was looking forward to going back to Ainslee during the day for a HF activation and to enjoy the views of Canberra.

I found the photograph below which shows a panorama of the site for Canberra, taken from Mount Ainslie, c. 1910.  Amazing how things have changed.

[Panorama of the site for Canberra taken from Mt. Ainslie, 1910s] [picture] /

Above:- Image courtesy of wikipedia.org

The views from Ainslee were excellent, but it was blowing an absolute gale.  Fortunately the rain was holding off, but it was very windy and very cold.  Not as cold as Friday’s activation of Mount Ginini, but netherless it was very chilly.

Screenshot 2015-05-16 11.32.17

Above: – Map showing the location of Mount Ainslee.  Courtesy of mapcarta.com

We had parked in the car park and walked up the steps to a walking track at the highest point of the summit.  Andrew used a metal point on the summit to secure his squid pole to with the use of some octopus straps.  With some difficulty due to the high winds, we raised the squid pole into place with Andrew’s home brew squid pole attached.  For this activation we ran 5 watts from Andrew’s Yaesu FT-817.

John VK5BJE started off first and had quickly accrued his required 4 contacts to qualify the summit for SOTA.  I then jumped into the ‘driver’s seat’ and made a quick 5 contacts on 40m, including a Summit to Summit contact with Peter VK3PF who was portable on SOTA peak, Livingstone Hill, VK2/ SM-093.

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I worked the following stations:-

Screenshot 2015-05-16 11.03.52

Mount Ainslee, VK1/ AC-040

After the WIA AGM, Peter VK3PF ‘collared me’ and we headed off to Mount Ainslee, VK1/ AC-040 for a quick 2m SOTA activation on Saturday night (9th May 2015).  Another couple of SOTA stalwarts, Gerard VK2IO and Andrew VK1DA were heading for Black Mountain, and we were hoping to get a summit to summit contact with those guys.  This was to be a unique SOTA summit for me.

Screenshot 2015-05-16 10.14.34

Above:- Map showing the location of Mount Ainslee.  Image courtesy of mapcarta.com

Mount Ainslee is 843 metres above sea level and is worth 1 SOTA point.  It is located in the north eastern suburbs of Canberra and lies within part of the Canberra Nature Park.  The summit borders on the inner Canberra suburbs of Campbell, Ainslee and Hackett.  It is named in honour of James Ainslee (1787-1844), a Scottish born pastoralist who was the overseer of the large property, Duntroon.  Ainslee was on the Duntroon property between 1825 to 1835 and he was in a relationship with a Ngambri aboriginal woman, Jya Ngambri.  After spending 10 years at Duntroon, Ainslee returned to Scotland, where he died in 1844, aged 60 years.  In fact he died at Jedburgh Castle after hanging himself while awaiting trial for a charge of assault.

There is a lot of information on the internet about James Ainslee which is well worth looking at.  His life story is very interesting.

Screenshot 2015-05-16 10.14.04

Above:- Mount Ainslee.  Map courtesy of mapcarta.com

After pulling up in the carpark, we walked a short distance to our operating spot on the eastern side of the summit, overlooking Canberra at night.  It was a very cold evening and quite windy on the top of Ainslee.  Peter started off first and his first contact was with Ian VK1DI, followed by a summit to summit with Gerard VK2IO on Black Mountain.

After Peter had reached his required 4 contacts he handed me the HT and I had a summit to summit contact with Gerard VK2IO and Andrew VK1DA on Black Mountain.  I then made contact with Ian VK1DI and then Andrew VK1MBE and with my 4 qualifying SOTA contacts, it was time to head off to the SOTA Dinner at the Hellenic Club.

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I worked the following stations on 2m FM:-

Screenshot 2015-05-16 10.11.15

References.

Wikipedia, 2015, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Ainslie&gt;, viewed 16th May 2015

Mount Ginini, ACT, VK1/ AC-008 and Namadgi National Park VKFF-377

After sharing a story or two with the guys at Bulls Head, Andrew, John, & I, hit the road again and headed for our second summit and park for the day…… Mount Ginini VK1/ AC-008, which is also located in the Namadgi National Park VKFF-377.

Screenshot 2015-05-15 18.24.27

Above:- Map showing the location of Mount Ginini.  Courtesy of mapcarta.com

Mount Ginini is 1,760 metres above sea level and is worth 8 points for the Summits on the Air (SOTA) program.  The summit is located in the Brindabella Ranges and is located on the border between the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and New South Wales (NSW).  The summit is the eighth highest mountain in the Territory.

For this activation we drove right up to the very top of the summit and walked to our operating spot, a short distance away.  Although it was a little less windy up here compared to Mount Coree, it was a lot colder.  In fact very cold!  Four (4) degrees celsius.

Screenshot 2015-05-15 18.22.00

Above:- Mount Ginini.  Image courtesy of http://www.sota.org.uk

For this activation we ran QRP 5 watts into a linked dipole.  John VK5BJE started off first, adopting his yoga position, and had soon racked up 10 contacts, thus qualifying the summit for Summits on the Air (SOTA) and the park for the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program.  I then tried my luck on 40m and had soon also accrued 10 contacts on 40m including three summit to summit contacts: Andrew VK1NAM on Mount Stromlo VK1/ AC-043, and Onno VK6FLAB and Marc VK3OHM both portable on Mount Coree VK1/ AC-023 (the mountain we had just come from).

Andrew then asked if I would like to try 20m.  I didn’t hesitate as I was hoping that I could reach 44 contacts for the Namadgi National Park.  I had ten contacts from the last activation, so with the ten on 40m here on Ginini, I just needed another 24 contacts.  So down came the squid pole and out came some of the links in the dipole.  We tuned to 14.244 but the frequency was already in use.  In fact it was Danny OT6V who was portable in a WWFF park, Mosterdpot, ONFF-447.  Danny had a few European callers but I patiently waited and gave Danny a call and managed to make contact.  Although Danny’s signal was not all that strong, we were able to hear each other very well (5/5 both ways).  For more information on Danny’s activation, have a look at the following……

http://www.on4vt.be/

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I then moved up to 14.250 and put out a number of CQ calls, and these were finally answered by Bruce VK4YS.  This was followed by a call from Dwight VE7BV in Canada, who was kind enough to place me on the DX cluster.  This resulted in a number of callers from Europe and North America.  I would also like to thank the other 3 stations that placed me on the DX Cluster.  It is a big help to drag in callers when this is done.

Screenshot 2015-05-15 19.17.46

It was so cold on the summit that Andrew and John went back to the vehicle and the warmth of the heater, while I braved the elements, and kept on working the DX on 20m.  But it became that cold that I could no longer hold the pen in my hand, so it was time to pack up and head home.  I am sorry to those stations that were still calling when I went QRT.  It was just way too cold.

By the time we had packed up the gear and got back into the car, the temperature had gone down to 2 deg C (as can be seen in the photograph below).

DSC_0281

I worked the following stations:-

Screenshot 2015-05-15 18.18.47

I would like to acknowledge and thank Andrew VK1DA who kindly took John and I out for the day.  It was a pleasure to meet Andrew ‘in the flesh’.  I had spoken with Andrew many many times previously on air, but this was the first time we had ever met in person.  Again, thanks Andrew.

References.

Wikipedia, 2015, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Ginini&gt;, viewed 13th May 2015

Mount Coree, ACT, VK1/ AC-023 and Namadgi National Park VKFF-377

On Thursday afternoon (7th May 2015) I flew over to Canberra to attend the Wireless Institute of Australia (WIA) Annual General Meeting.  I spent a nice Thursday evening with John VK5BJE and a good meal and a few reds. And on Friday morning (8th May 2015), Andrew VK1DA was kind enough to pick myself and John up from our hotel, the Novotel and take us up into the mountains outside of Canberra for two activations for the Summits on the Air (SOTA) program and the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program.  We were very fortunate weather wise, as although it was a very cold morning, there was no rain, and it was quite sunny.  It was a beautiful drive out of Canberra up in to the Namadgi National Park.

Our first activation for the day was Mount Coree, VK1/AC-023 which is located in the Namadgi National Park, VKFF-377, about 56 km by road from Canberra.  It may have only been a short distance km wise, but it took about 90 minutes to get there due to the terrain. Screenshot 2015-05-14 21.27.27

Above: Map showing the location of Mount Coree.  Image courtesy of mapcarta.com

Mount Coree was formerly known as Pabral, and is 1,421 metres above sea level.  It is with 4 points for the Summits on the Air (SOTA) program.  The summit is located within the Brindabella Range on the border between the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and New South Wales (NSW).  The actual summit is located within the ACT.  The mountain is situated in the Brindabella National Park on the NSW side and in the Namdgi National Park on the ACT side. Prior to European settlement, the mountain was used by local Aboriginal tribes to hunt for Bogong moths.  In fact, ‘Coree’ is an aboriginal name for moth.  The Bogong moth is a temperate species of night flying moth.  The mountain was originally shown as ‘Pabral’ on an 1834 map of the famous explorer, Major Sir Thomas Mitchell. The Namadgi National Park was declared as a National Park in 1984 and covers an area of 106,095 hectares, almost half of the ACT.  About 35 species of native mammals can be located in the park including Swamp wallabies, Eastern Grey Kangaroos, echidnas, wombats, emus, pygmy possums and numerous reptiles.  There are 13 threatened species documented including the Smoky mouse, River Blackfish, and Northern Corroboree Frog. Screenshot 2015-05-14 21.30.47

Above:- Map showing the location of the summit on the ACT/NSW border.  Image courtesy of http://www.sotamaps.org

Andrew parked his car just off the track leading up to the summit and we walked the remainder of the way, a short distance of about 300 metres.

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This is a very exposed summit with some amazing views of the Namadgi National Park and the Brindabella National Park.  The summit is right on the ACT and New South Wales border and offers spectacular views of the surrounding countryside.  And because it was so exposed, it was very windy.  And I mean, very windy.

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Andrew used the trig point on the summit to secure his squid pole with his home brew linked dipole on the top.  John VK5BJE, started off first, followed by myself, and then Andrew.  It was very windy and cool on the summit, and after reaching 10 contacts each, John and I were very happy.  We had qualified the summit for SOTA and had qualified the National Park for the WWFF program. Of my ten contacts, four were summit to summit contacts: with Peter VK3PF/1 on Bobogon Range VK1/ AC-044, Andrew VK1NAM/2 on VK2/ SM-093, Onno VK6FLAB/1 on Mount Ginini VK1/ AC-008, and Gerard VK2IO/1 on Mount Gingera VK1/ AC-002

I worked the following stations:- Screenshot 2015-05-14 22.13.20 At the bottom of the summit, we stopped for a quick photo opportunity.  There was a great view back up to the trig point on the summit.  It certainly highlighted the sheer cliff face of Mount Coree.

We then headed to ‘Bulls Head’ picnic/camp ground, for a quick lunch break and a catch up with some other keen amateurs that were out activating summits and parks as well.  This included Onno VK6FLAB and Marc VK3OHM.  These guys had just activated Mount Ginini and were heading to Mount Coree.  And we had just activated Mount Coree and were heading to Mount Ginini.

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References. ACT Government, 2015, <http://www.tams.act.gov.au&gt;, viewed 13th May 2015. Visit Canberra, 2015, <http://www.visitcanberra.com.au&gt;, viewed 13th May 2015 Wikipedia, 2015, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Coree&gt;, viewed 13th May 2015