Tag Archives: SOTA

Homebrew 40m SSB rig gets CW, keyer, break-in, AGC and metering

A couple of ‘solder sessions’ finished all the wiring, debugging and testing required to deploy my Arduino Nano keyer and SWR/power meter, and the LED LDR AGC and S-meter modules into my homebrew 40 meter SSB rig (MST Mk1 from OzQrp).  Before reassembly I sprayed the front and rear panels, and added my preferred DecaDry white lettering and a protective coat of  clear satin sealer. It’s now resplendent with all the expected features of a SSB/CW monoband portable rig.

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , ,

Hotham SOTA weekend 2017

Q: How many SOTA activators does it take to change a light globe?

A: Nine. One to alert the impending globe change (subject to weather), one to take the bulb and socket to the top of a summit, one to spot when in sight of the bulb, four to replace the bulb while logging UTC and local conditions, one to take photos as the replacement is done, and one to upload the globe replacement details into an online database and write about it all on a blog.

Nine. That’s how many VK3s spent the weekend at Peninsula ski lodge on Mt Hotham for the 2017 SOTA Hotham weekend. It was my first attendance. I met Brian VK3MCD, Peter 3PF, Alan 3FDIM, Ken 3KIM, Ron 3AFW, Glen 3YY, Allen 3ARH, Tony 3CAT and Ron and Glen’s partners for two days of SOTA activations, map reading and socialising.

 Morning of Sunday 26th Feb 2017, looking out the Peninsula lodge window south.  

Continue reading

Tagged , , ,

Three summits on Mt Buffalo: The Hump (VK3/VE-019), The Horn (VE-014) and Mt McLeod (VE-034) 2017

The annual Australia Day holiday, Thursday January 26th 2017, set up an opportunity for a break and some alpine walking and activating.  Leaving Melbourne on Wednesday 25th I drove to Mt Buffalo and camped at Lake Catani on the Mt Buffalo plateau. Mt Buffalo is a mountain plateau (1400 meters) and national park, about 350 km north east of Melbourne.  This is a sub-alpine camp site which must be reserved ahead of arrival with Parks Victoria. There are lots of good camping spots under low snow-gums, a pristine fresh water lake that you can swim in, hot showers, no drinking water, and (apparently) a population of endemic dingoes.  Just down the road is former ski spot Dingo Dell, where I’ve ski’d many years earlier.  I had no idea that it is named after these Australian native dogs.

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , ,

Mt Feathertop (VK3/VE-002) 2017

Mt Feathertop (VK3/VE-002), 1922m, 10 Points, is the second highest mountain in Victoria.  Along with Mt Bogong and other summits and highlights along the Australian Alps Walking Track it is a popular hiking destination for more experienced and fit bushwalkers.  A number of sites offer advice and information for climbers.  So far there have been 6 SOTA activations (since first activated by Wayne VK3WAM in 2013).

Continue reading

Tagged , , ,

Mt Nelse (VK3/VE-004) first attempt: Or, how to blow an IRF510 on a 10 point summit

Day 3 of the Australia Day long weekend (Saturday 28th) was to be a 30 point day up on the summits of the Bogong High Plains, not far south of Falls Creek, starting with Mt Nelse (VK3/VE-004), Mt Cope (VG-001) and Mt McKay (VE-007). I chose Mt Nelse, a 5km walk each way, to start the day, parking at the second sign and car park after Rocky Valley Dam (first Heathy Spur, then Watchbed Creek).  The walk up is easy over rolling hill-like grades. After passing Marum Point track on the right, then Johnson’s and Edmonson hut turnoffs, the summit came up on the right, about 300m off the track. At the top the wind was buffeting. I found a threesome of hikers eating their lunch in the leeward side of the cairn which provided some limited shelter. These three mid-age walkers had met at Bogong summit 30 years ago and had got together for a high country walking weekend nearly every year since. It was their 30th anniversary walk this year.

Continue reading

Tagged , , ,

2016/17 rollover party on Mt Disappointment VK3/Vc-014, and the christening of ‘Summit Prowler Two’

I left my plans for 2016/17 rollover late, and when I checked sotawatch alerts 24 hours out, there must have been 15 summits manned. From lunchtime on I was due at my brother’s QTH in Doreen, north of Melbourne. So I chose Mt Disappointment, which is an hour’s drive from my place and 45 minutes drive from the lunch destination. This gave me time for a leisurely activation on the picnic table near the summit. This was also to be my first attempt to activate a summit on 30 meters CW with the newly finished Wilderness SST rig.  It all went to plan. With 4 CW QSOs on 30 meters bagged, I switched to 40 after rollover for a bunch of hunt-and-pounce QSOs. Here’s a video that offers a taste of the CW and SSB signals heard and worked.

Continue reading

Tagged , , ,

Mt Little Joe (VK3/VC-027) and Mt Strickland (VK3/VN-030)

Sunday 23rd October 2016 promised to break a cold and wet spell in Victoria’s Spring weather that had deposited heavy rain, hail and snow down to 800 meters.  The night before, a bunch of keen activators had braved the weather to participate in a VK-ZL-G-Eu joint activation timed to capitalise on grey-line propagation.  Hats off to those who did go out because Melbourne’s weather was atrocious and a summit was about the last place most people would have wanted to be.  The next day, Sunday, dawned dry.  I considered going up to Lake Mountain for Federation Range but the snow cams showed a fresh coating of powdery white stuff, not enough to ski on but plenty enough to make it cold. What I really wanted was to christen my recently completed homebrew 7MHz SSB rig, codenamed ‘Summit Prowler One’.  The design and build story for this project in another post.  Mt Little Joe promised a good activation experience and a fresh mountain walk.

Continue reading

Tagged , , , ,

Return to Mt Gordon VK3/VN-027 and Mt Strickland VK3/VN-030

Sunday 10th July 2016 turned out to be my first SOTA outing for several months.  Weather was windy, overcast with intermittent showers forecast, not the worst of winter, so I headed up to the northern end of the Yarra Ranges. First up was Mt Gordon VK3/VN-027 on the way to Marysville, turning off opposite the trout farm, my second visit here (the first one was on June 8th 2015).  The summit was windy and cold. I set up the dipole which performs better than the vertical. Self-spotting and going on air at 1430, conditions were average at best, the spot bought out two stations who I could not complete QSOs with, Matt VK1MA and Geoff VK3SQ Both were weak signals and faded right out on second overs. Five QSOs followed quickly, VKs 3GGG, 5IS, 2IO, 5EE and 2PX with my signals varying between 3×5 and 5×7.

Looking north from the Mt Gordon operating spot.

 

Continue reading

Tagged , ,

Return to Mt Bullfight (VN-002) and Pyramid Hill (VN-005)

The Sunday of ANZAC Day weekend emerged as my first full SOTA day for 2016 and with perfect weather forecast (low 20 degrees Celsius) I was keen to have a second try at Mount Bullfight  (VK3/VN-002), this time approaching it from the ridge, not the creek. Last time, on 2nd December last year, I arrived later in the day after having activated two other summits, Mt Mitchell (VK3/VN-012) and the scenic Sugarloaf Peak (VK3/VN-011). On that occasion I left Bullfight Track about 300 meters further on and encountered the creek and thick undergrowth — not easy. There is a description of the two approaches in my previous post, and a map with the two paths here.  There are no paths or tracks in the vicinity of Mount Bullfight summit, so no two climbers take exactly the same way.  This time I wanted to cut in from Bullfight Track earlier, close to Stillman’s Lookout sign, which others had reported as being relatively clear of the dense undergrowth that slowed me down. I also wanted to tackle it as the first summit of the day, not the second or third, with plenty of time to spare. Whichever way you take, the final ascent to Bullfight summit is a decent climb.

image

Continue reading

Tagged , ,

Return to Mt Vinegar VK3/VC-005

Mt Vinegar is at the south western or Melbourne side of Acheron Way which runs north-south in the Acheron valley between two ranges.  The road is apparently popular with cyclists.  For SOTA activators it presents several good activation prospects (Mt Richie, Mt Vinegar) if you take a little time.  On my first activation of Mt Vinegar in June last year I  arrived quite late in the day after activating Mt Strickland.  Packing up in the twilight I walked down by torch light which is fine if you are on a 4wd track, which was the case for most of the descent.  This time I arrived at Mt Vinegar Track around 3.30pm, off Acheron Way at the 14km marker on the right as you drive south towards Warburton… plenty of time.  The gate was locked.
image

Continue reading

Tagged ,
Ripples in the Ether

Emanations from Amateur Radio Station NT7S

Hackaday

Fresh hacks every day

vk2yw

A fine WordPress.com site

vk3mel

Up the Hill

VK1VIC / VK2VIC Amateur Radio Blog

Summits of the Air , World Wide Flora & Fauna activations, CW (Fists #14192), (SKCC #14993)

VK7TW

Blog of Justin Giles-Clark VK7TW's SOTA and amateur radio adventures.

vk3cat

VK3CAT Radio Communications

Andrew White ZL3CC

amateur radio in Aotearoa / New Zealand

David "Mitch" Mitchell - VK3XDM Hawthorn, VK7XDM Hobart

My worpress blog site on amateur radio, skiing and all things outdoors.

Gerbrandt van Santen

cloud computing, haiku en dagelijks leven