SOTA

25102020 – VK3/VS033

VK3/VS-033 – Point 585/Waterloo

It has been a quite SOTA year with COVID. Even though travel restrictions had been eased for us country folk, I still don’t want to travel great distances or stay overnight for an activation. That time will come again but for now just keeping the home fires burning and not attracting attention.

So close summits are being revisited. VK3/VS-033 is a close summit that I had not activated previously. The reason it has been sitting for so long as the summit ref is in private property. I had on two occasions earlier drove  to the house and was unable to raise anyone.

When new parks are added to WWFF or when CAPAD data is updated Marc VK3OHM will verify the data and then generates new boundary files that are hosted on ParksnPeaks.org.A by product of all this processing are SOTA AZ files. They are Google Map flood images and can be used to view the area 25m from the summit height.

Boundary and Site Files

I know that Google Maps fill was used s a part of the initial summits mapping. I understand that use automated methods now to map out and update associations however these ‘flood’ image can be used to highlight opportunities for activation where access the the AZ is restricted. Why are we so worried about the AZ, well simple, you have to be within 25m of the summit peak for a valid activation.

The Operating Position must be within the Activation Zone. The operating position must lie within a closed contour line at the permitted maximum Vertical Distance below the summit. (Typically the contour line is 25 metres below peak height of the summit). The Operating Position is taken to be the position of the operator.

SOTA General Rule 3.7.1 paragraph 4:
https://www.sota.org.uk/Blog/2017/07/08/In-The-Zone

To access the AZ files we want to download the SOTA KMZ files and view in Google Earth. The AZ files show the area within 25m of the summit peak.

AssociationLocalSOTA POISOTA KMZWWFF POIWWFF KMZ
VK0   VKFF Park Boundaries
VK1 – ACT SOTA SitesSOTA SitesVKFF Park BoundariesVKFF Park Boundaries
VK2 – New South Wales SOTA SitesSOTA SitesVKFF Park BoundariesVKFF Park Boundaries
VK3 – VictoriaKRMNPASOTA SitesSOTA SitesVKFF Park BoundariesVKFF Park Boundaries
VK4 – Queensland SOTA SitesSOTA SitesVKFF Park BoundariesVKFF Park Boundaries
VK5 – South AustraliaSANPCPASOTA SitesSOTA SitesVKFF Park BoundariesVKFF Park Boundaries
VK6 – Western Australia SOTA SitesSOTA SitesVKFF Park BoundariesVKFF Park Boundaries
VK7 – Tasmania SOTA SitesSOTA SitesVKFF Park BoundariesVKFF Park Boundaries
VK8 – Northern Territory SOTA SitesSOTA SitesVKFF Park BoundariesVKFF Park Boundaries
VK9 – Other SOTA SitesSOTA SitesVKFF Park BoundariesVKFF Park Boundaries
ZL1 – North Island SOTA SitesSOTA SitesZLFF Park PositionsZLFF Park Boundaries
ZL3 – South Island SOTA Sites
ZL7 – Chatham Islands SOTA Sites
ZL8 – Kermadec Islands SOTA Sites
ZL9 – Sub-Antarctic Territories SOTA Sites
All VK and ZL WWFF sites with select SOTA Peaks.
All VK & ZL SOTA Peaks

So I downloaded the latestest VK3 KMZ files, loaded into Google Earth, browsed down to the AZ files and selected the summit of interest. This is what I was presented with;

Activation Zone for VK3/VS-033

As you can see the blue is less then 25m with the AZ clear. Nic and clean, well no, you still need to verify your position. Despite the effort put into SOTA mapping there are visiable variations between SOTA data and Google maps. Its not to say the position is not correct, personally I would take the verified data from SOTA before a pin dropped on Google maps, it is just that height info presented with Google Earth can be out. In this case it was showing a very clear ridge line that is also obvious once on site.

Once on site you can check height but then even our trusty GPS units can’t be taken as valid. Ultimately, unless you’re a surveyor with survey grade equipment, it’s impossible to measure whether you are in the activation zone or not with any scientific confidence once you’re more than about 20m below the top of the summit with the tools available to the average punter.¬† Hence the “spirit of SOTA” coming into it. The spirit of SOTA is clear, if you taken all resonable steps to check and have verified your position and its clear to you on the ground that is within the AZ then proceed.

Again in this case it clearly shows the summit on a ridge line and there is public access from the SW.

So off I went and once on site I parked my car off track and walked down the ridge line until hit private property. Checked with GPS and in the zone and clearly on the ridge line. Setup with end fed EW and proceeded to activate the summit.

Qualified the summit with CW. Picked a S2S with VK3BYD on VK3/VE-230 which in current activity levels a rare event, and packed up before the looming rain came.

So its back to Goolge Earth to see if I can access the other handfull of summits I have not activated near me.

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