As long path band conditions on 20m were good I wanted to get out and work VK from a portable location, away from “metro noise” and with a simple antenna and low power. The problem was that the terrestrial weather was not nearly as good as the space weather and we were having constant rain most days. Friday and Saturday mornings looked like they might be better. while I saw that Ian VK5CZ was going out to celebrate 10 years of SOTA in South Australia on Saturday the 1st. October. I thought this would be the best option however as the summit planned for Saturday needed a two-hour walk-in / out it meant that Ian would not be there when the 20m band has been opening up around 0600 UTC so the alternative was to head out on Friday as Ian planned to camp on a summit overnight and hence being on the summit at 0600 UTC (8 am with me, 3:30 pm with Ian) would not be a problem. So Friday it would be and as it turned out with a CME hitting the ionosphere on Friday afternoon, it was the better day in any case.
I decided on going to my closest summit, Berndorfer Buchet, which I had already activated twice this year and hence would not get any points for the activation but that was secondary in this case. This is a HEMA summit as well as a SOTA summit and so I alerted in both award systems of my intention of activating it. I set the HEMA time 15 minutes before the SOTA time.
Berndorfer Buchet – HEMA DL/HCN-004 and SOTA DL/AM-180.
The drive down was uneventful and I was parked at my usual spot by 7:05 am. The walk from the parking spot to the summit takes 15 minutes and with another 15 minutes to set up the station, I was on the air by 05:50 UTC. As this was still too early for 20m, I started on 40m and having found a frequency spotted myself on the HEMA website and started calling CQ. Unfortunately, I got a limited response and so at 0600 UTC, I spotted myself on SOTAwatch where I got several more responses. Once these dried up, it was time to take the antenna down and un-link to make the linked dipole into a 20m antenna.
I was very happy to hear Ian VK5CZ/P on VK5/NE-093 come back to my call. he was followed by four other stations from Australia; Gerard VK2IO, Peter VK3ZPF, Andrew VK1AD/M and Ron VK3AFW. So in a matter of seven minutes, I had been called from four different Australian states and all from people I know from my time in Australia. Two more European stations finished the activation. I looked around to find other VK stations and one – Joesph VK3DXJ was hammering in but by this time there were a lot more people on the band and he had an enormous pile-up that I couldn’t break into. As it was starting to rain, I packed up and was home before 10 am (0800 UTC). This was a short but very successful activation.
The weather forecasts for the next few days (both terrestrial and space weather) don’t look very good, so it’ll be a few days before I get out portable again. perhaps next time with the new ultra-small G106 radio?
- Mountaintop travelling 40-litre rucksack.
- Xiegu G90.
- Komunica Power HF-Pro2-PLUS-T loaded vertical antenna. (not used)
- Modified mini photo tripod with clip-on radials (not used)
- Lamdahalbe 6m mini-mast.
- Screw-in sun umbrella support.
- SotaBeams linked dipole.
- 4000maH LiHV battery (not used).
- 4 Ah LifePO4 Eremit battery.
- Painters thick plastic sheet.
- Lightweight headphones.
- Smartphone to spot and back-channel comms.
- Band conditions at the time of this activation were very good on 20m, making the run of five contacts possible via the long path. the following day a CME hit the ionosphere and I wonder how I would have faired, had I gone out as originally planned on Saturday morning.
- The combination of the Xiegu G90 with it’s 20 watts and the linked dipole eve3n with the small (effectively 5m high) pole continues to work very well. This is definitely a good combination for single backpack portable operation.
73 ’til the next summit.