On a recent trip to Mitchell River National Park, I had the opportunity on the Sunday to head out and activate a couple of Summits on the Air peaks that were nearby (but not actually in the park). Both VK3/VG-107 and VK3/VG-121 are on a ridge that comes in towards Angusvale, which is where we were camping. I headed out alone, but intended to be back before a late lunch.
This is an unnamed summit that is to the north and east of the Dargo road. I approached from the east, although there may be closer access from the west. There is a 4wd track heading along the ridge. A proper 4wd with reasonable clearance and low range would be needed to access the summit along that route, but the west access may be better. I found a track that loops underneath to the south of the summit that looked quite high grade, almost 2wd. I did not follow this, so I don’t know if it is that standard all the way to the road.
The 4wd track follows the contours that are quite up and down. It was about 9km from where I parked the car on the boundary of the national park to the summit, which included passing VK3/VG-121, which I activated on the return. Conditions at the start of the day were quite mild, but the heat started building up. I had hoped to activate the summit on both sides of UTC midnight, but it became clear that I would not make it in time, due to both a late start, and slower progress as a result of the constant ups and downs. In the end, I desired most to get the 4 activator points rather than worrying about maximising summit to summit points from double dipping on UTC midnight.
Here’s a pic from where I activated, just a little down from the summit on the north-east side:
SOTA has certainly come along. Gone are the days of calling CQ for 20 minutes without anything coming back. Now, I can expect a few waiting for me, and then at least 10 more stations responding to “QRZ, QRZ” along the way. If the band is at least a little open, getting a summit activated on 40m is not too much of a challenge these days. On the positive side, it is good to see the increasing numbers of both activators and chasers. A number of chasers are getting tempted to activate.
With the increasing heat, I felt I needed to get moving back towards the car, and VK3/VG-121 was along the way. I am glad I passed it on the way out, as this meant less walking in the heat of the day. I was also a little low on water, because of the heat. I arrived a little later than planned and set down to operate on 40m using the end-fed, just like my earlier activation on vk3/vg-121. Again, the activation went quite quickly with plenty of stations calling. One station remarked that SOTA is quite good for F-calls. Some F-calls have observed that many people do not answer their calls, presumably because of their F-call license. On SOTA, there are no such problems. It is pleasing to see that SOTA is changing the culture of Amateur Radio for the better.
Speaking of F-calls, Rob VK3DN introduced me to Aldo VK3FADG. He was freshly licensed and was with Rob and others from the EMDRC who were holding an Amateur Radio exhibition over the weekend. I completed Aldo’s first SOTA QSO, which was also his very first Amateur Radio QSO. He was so fresh he did not know yet what QSO or 73 meant (QSO is a conversation and 73 is best regards for those who don’t know 🙂 ). Again, good to see that SOTA is out there being noticed, and even attracting people to Amateur Radio.
While up there, I learned that Peter VK3PF had acquired the 1000 chaser points to become a Shack Sloth. Congratulations Peter on Slothdom, and enjoy the ice block. I could have done with an iceblock today!
There were still stations calling more than 1/2 an hour later, but I knew it was 50 minutes back to the car, and I was out of water. Time to get out of there. I took a quick pic near the summit looking west from where I had come from VK3/VG-107:
When I got back to camp, I drunk more than 2 litres, so I certainly needed some more water!
73, regards, Wayne VK3WAM