This activation was timed to coincide with possible communications to European activators and chasers.
Although planned to be on-air by 18:00 local, heavy road traffic plus a small mis-navigation en-route meant that we (Rod VK2LAX and myself) only arrived at the car park at 18:00 after about 2.5 hours driving. On entry to this part of the Royal National Park where the summit is located (about 30km south of Sydney), we also saw signs warning us that the gates would be closed and locked at 20:30.
The 1.5 – 2 Km walk up Bulgo Hill took around 25 minutes to the actual summit, which is a good 150m past where the Lat/Long coordinates in the SOTA database indicate it as being.
Given the shortage of time we decided just to put together Rod’s 20m station as this is where we expected to have the best chance of DX contacts, hopefully S2S contacts as several European stations had indicated on SOTAWatch, their intention to activate summits around this time.
Rod started and quickly obtained the required 4 contacts to qualify as having activated the summit including Austrian, German and an Italian stations. He also managed a Summit to Summit contact with Dinos SV3IEG/P on SV/AT-033.
Band conditions seems to vary wildly with signals dropping into the noise and then coming back a minute or two later. Copy was also made very difficult by by both VK and DX stations close to the operating frequency splattering across the frequency which we could not filter out even using the DSP on the FT-857.
I was able to make the required four contacts to qualify the summit for me (2 VK, 1 German and 1 UK chaser).
By this time it was already 19:20 and with the time to take down the station, walk back to the car park and then drive back up the track to the park gates, we had to close down if we weren’t to be locked in. We got back to the gates by 20:20 and then had a 2 hour drive home.
My apologies to the stations, both chasers and activators who tried to call us and we simply could not hear due to the QRM.I also tried calling two other summits (YO6PIB & HA3LV) but they did not hear me – most likely QRM at their end. If we had been able to stay longer perhaps we would have managed the contacts but as you can see, time was our enemy on this activation. Note for next time – if activating an unknown location, I will plan an afternoon activation and let it run into the evening, so that all equipment is set up and running prior to the bands opening up.
Thanks to Rod VK2LAX for this video of my operation (click here).
Yaesu FT857 transceiver
SOTABeams linked dipole in Inverted-V format on a 9m squid pole
Stations worked by Rod VK2LAX:
Stations worked by Ed VK2JI:
Nigel VK5NIG Golden Grove, South Australia
Paul VK5PAS Mount Barker, South Australia
Mike DJ5AV Heiligenberg, Near Lake Constance, Germany
Don G0RQL Holsworthy, Devon, England