Andrews Hill VK3/VN-020 for 2017

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.

Wilderness SST on top of the pack.

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

Time Call Band Mode Notes
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.

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