SOTA activations in South Australia.
I was very lucky to be able to combine a trip back to where I once lived in Adelaide to visit friends with the celebration of 1 year of SOTA in VK5 on October 6th. 2013.
I planned to activate two summits – Mt Gawler (VK5/SE-013) on Saturday the 5th. and Mt Lofty (VK5/SE-005) on Sunday the 6th.
I was surprised at the contrast between these two activations, with the lower scoring and lower in height Mt Gawler proving in many ways to be a better activation than Mt. Lofty. Perhaps it was just conditions or the direction I set up the antenna at Mount Lofty but contacts were harder to obtain from Mt Lofty on the Sunday than from Mt Gawler on the Saturday, despite the fact that the Sunday was the official celebration of 1 year of SOTA in VK5.
Activation #1 – Mt. Gawler VK5/SE-013
The actual summit for Mount Gawler is on private land. Ian VK5CZ had kindly given me the contact details of the land owner but as this was to be a “flying visit” and there was the possibility that I might have to cancel the Saturday activation if other commitments came up, I preferred to leave this open. When I looked at where the activation zone for Mount Gawler goes to I could see that a long stretch of the road (or rather track) was indeed in the activation zone, so I decided to risk the fact that I might not find somewhere to pull off the road to set up. In fact, the contrary was the case as I found a great spot at the junction of Richardson Road and Mount Gawler Road, that was perfect for my use.
Upon arriving a little earlier than planned after an hours drive from Glenelg near Adeliade and finding the site so quickly, I walked down Richardson Road which drops very steeply away out of the activation zone. Down was easy, back up somewhat harder. I did this to follow the accepted VK practice of walking out of and back into the activation zone when you arrive in a car and park it inside the activation zone. As clarified by the SOTA MT, this is not actually needed and there appears to be an incorrect linking between the activation zone definition and “final approach by non-motorised means rule.
In any case once I had done the walk and then rested a little I looked around at several possible points to set up and before I knew where I was, it was almost the time that I had posted on SOTAWatch to start the activation! It turned out to a busy day with many more activators on than expected.
Video of both activations follows the report on Mt. Lofty.
Activation #2 – Mt. Lofty VK5/SE-005
A little later start from the hotel for the Mt. Lofty activation as it was only about 30 minutes out of Adelaide. The weather was cold but the high winds of Saturday were gone. On this activation my wife joined me and I had her drop me out with my equipment down the road so that I could walk up into the activation area.
Rather than block the summit’s look out area, I decided to set up in the bush land, just away from the car park, near a small monument. I put up the antenna and set up as usual but this activation was a disappointment compared to the previous day. Perhaps the location was not so good, perhaps band conditions on 40, 30 & 20 were worse than on the previous day or perhaps I had put the antenna up facing in the wrong directions. Whatever the reason, contacts were fewer and harder to get. I operated before and after the UTC change-over but by lunch time, I’d had enough and decided to pack up and have a leisurely afternoon.
Unfortunately audio quality on this video was not good but I hope you find it interesting in any case:
Saturday from Mt Gawler
VK5LY Larry, VK3AZZ Mal, VK3FPSR Peter,
VK3WAM/P Wayne (S2S), VK3ANL/P Nick,
VK3CAT Tony, VK3PF Peter, VK3OHM Mark,
VK3UBY Colin, VK3YY, VK2UH Andrew,
VK5HCF Col, VK3GRW Greg, VK3DET Ernie,
VK5PAS Paul, VK3GHZ Rhett, VK5LA Andrew,
VK3HRA, VK3AMB, VK3BYD, VK1MA Matt,
VK2GEL/P Brendon (S2S), VK5WG, VK1RX Al,
VK2DAG, VK7DC/P David, VK6MB Dale,
VK3AFW Ron, VK3MRG/P Marshall (S2S),
VK5CZ Ian, VK3YAR/P Ray (S2S), VK3MCD Brian,
VK3XPT/P Perrin (S2S), VK2YK/P Adam (S2S),
VK3FTRV/P Ben (S2S), VK2AWJ/P3 John.
Sunday From Mt Lofty
VK5LY Larry, VK3FPSR Peter, VK3CAT Tony,
VK5WG Nev, VK5BJE John, VK3YE/PM Peter,
VK3UBY Colin, VK3PF Peter, VK3DET Ernie,
VK1RX/P2 Al (S2S), VK3JM, VK5CZ/P Ian (S2S),
VK2YW, VK3AFW Ron, VK5PAS/P Paul (S2S),
VK5FAKV, VK1DA/P2 Andrew (S2S), VK3YY,
VK2IB/P (S2S), VK5HCF/P Col (S2S), VK5TX Ben,
VK1MA/P2 Matt (S2S), VK5LA/P Andy (S2S)