On New Years Day 2017 holiday, Monday January 2nd, I headed out to Andrews Hill to try my luck on 30 meters CW for a second CW-only activation. The drive is not more than an hour north east of Melbourne into the Kinglake National Park, and traffic was light. Arriving at Mountain Gate Rd by about 5pm, the 1.8km walk up was steeper than I remembered from last time. The weather was excellent, temperature around 18 C and a light wind. Scattered sunshine. At the top I set up for 30 meters and tuned around. A number of DX signals from the Oceania region were audible and fading from barely there up to S5, easy copy, including HA8JV (Hungary), JH1CCN and JA1VND (Japan). I called them with no replies. QRPers have to be optimists. On a summit like this, it is possible to copy an S1 or S2 CW signal due to the wonderfully low noise floor.
Electrical storms associated with weather changes over south-eastern Australia were making some big QRN (static) bursts, generating pleasant rolling crashes in my earbuds, shaped pleasingly by the SST’s narrow filter. QRN heard through a CW filter has less acoustic energy than that heard through a SSB filter, and it is a far less harsh listening experience.
Operating morse for me is like fishing. You cast your line with an automated CQ from keyer memory and wait. A lot of the time you get nothing, but when you do get a response its a sensation not unlike getting a big bite and persistent tug on a fishing rod. I landed 2 CW contacts with 3 stations.
First up after spotting (18:37 EDST) I heard Gerard VK2IO weakly, and called him repeatedly, but we could not complete the contact. Next, Rick VK4RF/4HA called me and we exchanged good reports. Distance is 823 miles, or 164 miles/watt. My first VK4 QSO on the SST rig. Then soon after, ZL1BYZ called me, reporting 559, making my best ‘DX’ QRP QSO on the SST. That’s 1,612 miles, or 322 miles/watt. If I had been in London equivalent places would include Morocco, Moscow, Istanbul, Greece or Greenland. If in New York, Saskatchewan, Yellowstone, Albuquerque, El Paso, Guatemala or the Dominican Republic.
After that, lots of CQing, another few spots (18:53, 18:58, 19:11 EDST) no further replies. On Sota-spotter I noticed ‘no copy here, perhaps 40M ? (Posted by VK2AOH)’, so I took the hint and moved to 40 meters, working a bunch on 7.090 SSB. Forty by this time was working well for multi-hop. I worked ZL3CC Andrew in Christchurch (who has a visually impressive SOTA blog) and Tim VK6TM/P which would have been impossible anywhere else as he was strength 1 or 2 at the most. He was very impressed that he was hearing my 5 watts SSB across the other side of the continent.
Date:02/Jan/2017 Summit:VK3/VN-020 (Andrew Hill) Call Used:VK3HN/P Points: 2 Bonus: 0
|07:50z||ZL1BYZ||10MHz||CW||s599, r559, John, near Auckland, first ‘DX’ CW QSO, first ‘DX’ on Summit Prowler 2|
|07:53z||VK4RF||10MHz||CW||s599, r579, Rick near Brisbane|
|07:55z||VK4HA||10MHz||CW||s599, r579, Rick near Brisbane|
|08:20z||VK5KSW||7MHz||SSB||s59, r58, Steve|
|08:24z||VK2IO||7MHz||SSB||s59, r57, Gerard|
|08:33z||VK3LED||7MHz||SSB||s55, r33, Col|
|08:36z||VK7FPRN||7MHz||SSB||s59, r59, Peter|
|08:38z||VK5FD||7MHz||SSB||s59, r56, Allen|
|08:40z||VK3GGG||7MHz||SSB||s59, r59, Mike|
|08:42z||VK4RF||7MHz||SSB||s59, r59, Rick|
|08:44z||VK4HA||7MHz||SSB||s59, r59, Rick|
|08:46z||VK6TW/P||7MHz||SSB||s53, r52, Tim near Perth|
|08:48z||VK3CAT||7MHz||SSB||s59, r59, Tony|
|08:50z||VK5FANA||7MHz||SSB||s59, r59, Adrian|
|08:54z||ZL3CC||7MHz||SSB||s58, r31, Andrew in Christchurch|
|08:57z||VK5PL||7MHz||SSB||s58, r57, David|
|08:59z||VK3FLCS||7MHz||SSB||s59, r59, Brett|
With the sun down it got cold, the tag thermometer on my pack showed below 10 degrees C, so I packed up and shuffled down the hill, happy that Summit Prowler Two had let me reach out ‘across the dutch’ to the land of the long white cloud for the first time, all with a little hand made box of bits.