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23092018 – VK3/VS-004

VK3/VS-004 (Mt Langi Ghiran)

WWFF Langi Ghiran State Park (VKFF-0760).

Quick activation to pick a S2S from VK3BYD Warren who was out in the Grampians. Given the distances 80m was the band.  Mt Langi Ghiran is essentially a rocky ridge with summit at the top. It has enough room for an 80m antenna but you have to be careful weaving through the trees and watching the rocks as you climb around. Usied the 7m Tactical 7000hds compact pole for height reducing the distance across. This pole fits inside in pack leaving my hands free and allows for scrub negotiation essential for the hike in.

Once antenna up I turned on the KX and Peter VK3ZPF was on channel. Worked him then went to CW for S2S with Warren and eventually 40m to keep the regular CW chasers happy.

23082018 – VK3/VE-073 & VK3/VE-123

2018-08-23 – VK3/VE-073 Mt Timbertop

2018-08-24 – VK3/VE-123

I had the week off for a planned trip to Deal Island. The plan was to charter a boat for drop off and pickup spending the weekend on the island. Always weather dependent keeping an eye on forecasts for the  return trip as did want a Gilligan’s Island situation.

This was cancelled (re-scheduled) due to the rough conditions.

I had the leave booked so decided to head up to into the Alpine NP for an overnight trip anyway.

I wanted to checkout the conditions in preparation for an upcoming hike out to The Governor. I have all-ready activated most of the summits in this area and those left have serious access considerations.  This trip was to see the snow lines so given road closures and being winter did not expect to gain deep access.  Anyway headed up Thursday morning intending to pickup Mt Timbertop on the way in.

VK3/VE-073 Mt Timbertop

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Arrived late in the afternoon with enough time to walk up, activate and safety get back. The track is in great condition. I was expecting light snow so dressed to be wet. Key will be to be past the snow for the walk out as will be in dark.  Not a but risk just needed buffer in case of issues. Parked at the bottom and headed up. Activated in the ‘clearing’ just below the peak. Well in the AZ and room to rolled out the 80m antenna. 80m is compulsory these days to ensure local contacts. For this activation I used 80 SSB and comfortably qualified. This summit is worth the walk for the views. On sunset the red sky was reflecting off the snow and provided an eerie view.

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Drove in and camped at Eight Mile Flat as this site in in the Alpine National Park.

It was cold the next morning.

Progresses down Brooks Rd. There were trees and rocks on the road. The trees had been cut and I move some rocks but got to a point where a new tree brought my plans to a stop. I could see snow on the ridge lines so not too fussed. It was a beautiful clear crisp day and worth the drive out any way.

Decided not to proceed out to Eagle Peaks. I have been before so know there is a track but the last 200m is a rock scramble. Given the snow though not a risk worth taking. Access also removed Rocky Ridge  and The Bluff from my agenda. Never really though the Bluff was an option. So headed back to pickup VK3/VE-123.

VK3/VE-123 UnNamed.

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Parked Subie at the base of Three Chain Track. It was wet and the first section torn up so not an option. There was patches of snow in corners so must of been low heavy snow recently but the track clear, just muddy. It is an easy walk with great views.

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Both these sites are worth consideration as clear access even in harsh weather. Mt Timbertop also qualifies for the seasonal 3 point bonus.

04082018 – VK3/VC-024

04082018 – VK3/VC-024  

Went to Mt Beckworth for the VK1 S2S Party.

Third attempt to activate Mt Beckworth this year, first failed as the KX3 battery was flat and didn’t take a spare up to the site, second was changed to Mt Bunnyioung as slept through the alarm. Made it this time

This is a good site for such activities as close and clear.

VerticalSetup

QRPGuys 20/30/40 vertical with an additional 6 ground wires making 9 in total.

It is hard to pick differences without actually running all the antenna up at the same time, but a much better response with the additional ground over the original 3 wires when deployed at Mt Bunnyioung recently.

Didn’t run the end fed out to gain 80m as comfortably qualified and the other sites ended on on these bands.

PackLoaded

This was also a run with the new ‘Compact heavy-duty 7 m mast from SOTABeams’. As you can see the mast nearly fits into my backpack.

This will be great as now will not be harassed when hiking through dense bush (still not returning to Hells Gate !) Bit heaver but figure I just need to get fitter.

Good activation with 15 S2S in the fog. Also 1mm rain but not complaining about that given the drought in NSW.

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anyway, great activation. Ready for VK JA ZL – EU S2S QSO Party Saturday 20 October 2018 – 06:30 UTC to 08:30 UTC  (Melbourne, Australia*AEDT (UTC +11) Sat, 20 Oct 2018 5:30 pm)

072018 – Upcoming Activations

Upcoming Activities;

  • VK JA ZL – EU S2S QSO Party Saturday 20 October 2018 – 06:30 UTC to 08:30 UTC  
    • (Melbourne, Australia AEDT (UTC +11) Sat, 20 Oct 2018 5:30 pm)
  • KRMNPA Activation Weekend – Fri 9th – Mon 12 Nov 2018 – Tony VK3XV
  • VKFF Activation Weekend – Sat 24th – Sun 25th Nov 2018 – Paul VK5PAS

 

30112018 – Christmas Island

Overview

7 days from 30th November 2018. 

  • SOTA – VK9/CH-001 – Murray Hill
  • WWFF – VKFF-0098 Christmas Island National Park (Commonwealth)
  • IOTA – OC-002 Christmas in Christmas Island
  • DXCC – OC / VK9X
  • Grid Square OH2

 

 

 

Deal Island 2018 – Cancelled due to winds. 2019 ?

 

Basecamp

ILLW 2018 – 00.01UTC 18 August to 2400UTC 19 August 2018 (48 hours) 
leave Friday 17^th August, return Monday 20^th

  • Lat. 39°29.8’S, Long. 147°19.3’E
  • SOTA VK7/NE-059
  • IOTA – AU-0129 
  • OC-195 Deal Island in Furneaux Group
  • WWFF – VKFF-0260 Kent Group National Par

072018 – SOTA Activations

03062018 VK3/VC-007 (Mt Macedon)

16062018 VK3/VC-019 (Mt Warrenheip) – WWFF Mount Warrenheip Flora Reserve (VKFF-2402)

Closest WWFF to home and new listing so went to snag first activation. 

01072018 VK3/VC-003 (Mt Ritchie)

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MtRitchie 01062018

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21072018 – VK3/VC-018 (Mt Buninyong)

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Testing and activations for the set of it. More to come

26052018 – VK3/VE-012, VK3/VT-001, VK3/VT-002, VK3/VT-004

VK3/VE-012 – Mt Margorie

VK3/VT-001 – Mt Howitt

VK3/VT-002 – Mt Reynard

VK3/VT-004 – Bryces Plain

all in VKFF-0619 – Alpine National Park

APRS coverage excellent with the newly commissioned VK3RHO digi-repeater and Telstra 3G/4G once out of the valleys.

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View from Mt Howwit to The Razor and the Viking. This was typical of the views for the weekend, stunning.

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Spent the weekend with Glenn VK3YY and David VK3IL.

The aim was to tackle five 10-point summits before the weather turns and the winter road closures (Victoria Seasonal Road Closures) makes access next to impossible.

The weather (Mountain Weather) was holding and initial plans for the weekend of the 19th cancelled due to work so the 26th it was. Watched the forecasts and took Friday off. The week was spent packing and checking equipment. The plan was to base ourselves at  MaCalister Springs Camping ground. This will give us ‘easy’ access to Howitt Plains. The Vallejo Ganter hut and toilet facilities are excellent and spring water at MaCallaster Springs. We still have to carry in camping equipment as can not rely on access to the hut. Thanks to FaceBook (Australia Hiking & Bushwalking) I was able to confirm that the spring was active so no need to carry lots of water just to bring water filter. Still carried enough water to support return trip so with radio gear, tent, sleeping bag and matress, food, spare clothing, harsh weather clothing and first aid kit the pack came in just under 20Kg. Despite the brilliant weather you have to be prepared for harsh conditions.

This is the Alpine. You have to take responsability for your own saftey.

Overview

Friday up normal and down to meet David VK3IL and Glenn VK3YY at Glenns place to take Davids 4WD up .Friday was spent driving up to Mt Howitt car park then walking out the 4Km to the camping ground. We arrived at the hut before dark. We were able to use the hut  so setup and proceeded to watch the sunset behind the crosscut and have some tea. 

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VK3/VE-012 – Mt Marjorie

Early rise. We packed day packs ensuring enough water and food for the walk. rationalised the radio equipment to ensure we had full redundancy. No desire to spend two days getting to a summit to discover the battery is flat. Packed up the sleeping gear as can not expect to have access to the hut again. After filtering water we headed off. Walked through Mt Howwit (too early for chasers!) and out to Mt Margorie. The weather was perfect. Had to stop to take photos of summits in the mist. The walk out to Mt Marjorie is 6Km. It took us three hours. I was the slowest of the pack or as I prefer to frame it, enforcer of time to take in the views. 

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Glenn VK3YY declaring ownership of all he surveys.

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David VK3IL and Glenn VK3YY on Mt Marjorie with Mt Buller in the background. Despite the conditions still had to hike back and activate Mt Howitt so no leisurely activation here. 40m was poor so we used 80m and worked all comers.  Once completed packed up and headed back. 

VK3/VT-001 – Mt Howitt

Seriously, this is excellent. We made it to Mt Howitt  in perfect conditions. The walk back David and Glenn were off like rabbits but we made it comfortably to the summit with couple of hours up our sleeve. Then basically sat on top of Mt Howitt with 40m of wire and modern HF transceivers playing SOTA. Worked a treat. Getting cold but no rain. Qualifed on SSB then David worked the pile up. 

MtHowitt ILYY

Once all comers were worked we were all comfortably qualified so packed up and headed back to the hut at MaCalistor Springs. The weather was fine but the temperature dropping. Did not want to be out in the dark and still had over 2Km back to camp so the intent was to proceeded with haste. Its a great walk into the camp as basically down hill. I have been here in harsher times so appreciated the conditions.

Got back with time to collect water from the springs. Again no issues with supply. We had to share the hut as there were two other walkers there. This was welcome as they had the fire going and it was quite cosy inside. Still heaps of room. They had been out taking photos and reported excellent conditions as well as the presence of shooters. No issues nor late nights as it a case of eat and head to bed. It had been a big day. We were fortunate to secure the mezzanine level of the hut. The windows in the hut provided a magnificent view of the nearly full moon during the night.    

VK3/VT-004 – Bryces Plain

Up early again and this time after breacky and tea, packed all the equipment up and heading back to the car.  Our companions were up and gone. The walk out is straight forward as once you are up as it is across the top of the ridge back to the car.

Once ready to go the car decided it was not. It was not a case of flat battery more of a case of incorrect voltage. Well the fix involved a LiFe battery and 20 minutes of standing in the sun which I did not mind, we were off and  headed down down Howitt road.

Bryces Plain does not require hiking in. Access via a 4WD track off Howit Road to an open summit shared with comms and weather equipment.

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Glenn VK3YY and David VK3IL on Bryces Plain. This one photo is mine as I’m not in the picture.

Clean activation as even chairs were deployed. Setup up Davids antenna. You can see the size of the device in the photo again worked a treat and we qualified on 40m again working all comers. 

During the activation a National Parks Ranger turned up. This was surprising as Sunday. He was looking a bit agitated and once he understood we were harmless radio nutters he explained that he was looking into illegal shooters. There are deer hunters in the park as its in season and regulated. We didn’t have any rifles nor intended to kill anything so he left us to play radio.

VK3/VT-002 – Mt Reynard

Kellys road was closed but we had already decided to park high on Howitt Rd as checked it out the area on the way in. There are no great spots just a good one. Could see the summit, crossing point and were coming in high so all good. This was a walk in wonderland. We found and followed a track and it to the summit, well not quite but close.

It is a very large activation zone on a very open summit you can see it from the road as only a couple of k’s. Both I and Glenn had  been before. Glenn with Wayne VK3WAM and was aware of a track. The idea is to cross the marsh and head up the valley following the creek line but high turning right to head up to the summit at a suitable place.The vegetation is fine. Its not trying to kill you. Can see why its a favourite of the skiers. 

We went in high to avoid the marsh and followed the edge looking for a track. The track is on some maps and once located a easy run.

Once in a clear spot we setup up Davids EFHW antenna. This proved to be a excellent performer. The Alpine summits have more that enough room for the 40m of wire and having 80m available is essential.  Worked all on SSB and headed back the track to Davids 4WD. Followed the track to the clearing of the valley. Came out lower and hit the marsh early. The bridge is broken and only acts as a marker but still a good spot point to cross what can be a very wet area.

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Mt Tambortitha (VK3/VT-011) was on the agenda however decided to leave as we would not have qualified and made it back down in daylight. It was still 8 hours drive home for me from here so happy to leave Mt Tambortitha for another day and get home before tomorrow.  

APRS from 2M FM coverage in this area is now excellent with packets being relayed through the newly commissioned digirepeater VK3RHO on Mt Hotham. 

Great trip in what was perfect conditions. Lots of fun with capable experienced operators. This is SOTA. Looking forward to doing it again.

SOTA and WWFF Antenna

 SOTA Antenna

 

2M 

26.5m 80/40/20/10 EFRW

Went with 49:1 on a FT82-43 toriod with 3:24 ratio and a 120pf 500v mica cap (that was what I had) with 26.5M of wire.

Intentionally selected a length with no half waves. 26.5 m = 87  feet. (https://udel.edu/~mm/ham/randomWire/

 

http://www.qrpkits.com/sota.html with 19.5 m wire and counterpoise

 

Trap 20/40 Dipole based on SOTABeams pico traps – https://www.sotabeams.co.uk/pico-traps-kit-pair/

Trapped end feed also based on pico traps.

 

 

Loaded end fed – https://www.nonstopsystems.com/radio/frank_radio_antenna_multiband_end-fed.htm

20/30/40m Vertical

QRPGuys Portable Tri-Band Vertical Antenna – https://qrpguys.com/qrpguys-tri-band-portable-vertical-antenna

Looking for a DX antenna for S2S evenings. A 20m vertical appears to be the answer.

Considered  

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This will rock for 20 and 30 but doubt 40 will be much chop.

Got the switches 2m off the ground.
Had to keep the forth radial as it reduced swr, actually it flattened it. So three radials one down each guy and the forth just hanging down. Actually except you need the squid pole its quite a compact sturdy antenna.

Spreed the anti with clear acrylic

QRPGuysVertical

 

Tuned each segment with the VK5JST tuner. Also ordered the W8TEE and K2ZIA Antenna Analyzer – https://qrpguys.com/w8tee-k2zia-antenna-analyzer

 

Notes:

VDA – http://www.ph0no.net/2017/11/looking-at-vda-as-portable-antenna.html

http://www.66pacific.com/calculators/coil-shortened-vertical-antenna-calculator.aspx 

http://www.66pacific.com/calculators/coil-inductance-calculator.aspx