As Andrew VK1AD was going out using the VI10SOTA special event call sign to celebrate 10 years of SOTA in the ACT, I decided to go out at the same time and try for an S2S and an H2S. If the long path band conditions were as they have been, it should be possible with a little luck.
Mike 2E0YYY/P and Ernie VK3DET would get on as well.
The set-up would be the tried and tested G90 plus OCF dipole from Aerial-51 and the 6m mast, all of which packs into, or onto my medium sized rucksack.
All was prepared and put in the back of the car for a 7:30 am start on Sunday morning.
I decided that I would go to my closest summit, Berndorfer Buchet, which is a HEMA summit as well as a SOTA summit and so I alerted in both award systems of my intention of activating it.
Berndorfer Buchet – HEMA DL/HCN-004 and SOTA DL/AM-180.
The good drive down in just over 30 minutes and I was parked at my usual spot by 8:05 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 07:40 UTC. I messaged Mike 2E0YYY who had just arrived in his local park and Ernie who was heading to his radio shack.
Tuning around 20m was already active with me but dead with Mike in the UK but as time went on this changed. I heard a JI1 (Japan) station but could not get a reply from him to me calls. I also heard and worked very easily EA5S/M in Spain, so I knew I was getting out. VI10SOTA was spotted on several different frequencies, Andrew was obviously having to move to get away from the normal weekend QRM. On some of his spotted frequencies I could hear the chasers calling him but not Andrew himself and that was to be the story of the activation. Although I eventually got an easy contact with Mike in The UK, I couldn’t manage one with Ernie. On a couple of occasions I could hear someone in the noise but I couldn’t say if it was Ernie or not. He of course could not hear anything from me.
As well as 20m, I also got lots of contacts around Europe on 40m. I tried 10 metres as well but it was the DARC 10m contest and so the band was full of loud, wide stations. Even if the band had opened for DX I would not have been able to get through the QRM from the contest stations.
One positive point from the outing, was that the new power lead which I made after the problems I had on the last activation, worked perfectly. Overall this activation in the cold (maximum +5°C) was a bit of a let down compared to “what could have been” but propagation is like that. I would have like to have worked Andrew on his summit in Australia and although some home stations in Europe managed it, it was not to be from where I was.
At least this time, i did not come home with a list of problems to fix, the equipment worked correctly for the whole 2 hours that I was on the summit.
- 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 (not used).
- Aerial-51 404-UL OCF dipole antenna
- 4000maH LiHV battery (not used).
- 4 Ah LifePO4 Eremit battery.
- Painters thick plastic sheet and gardeners kneeling pad.
- Lightweight headphones.
- Smartphone to spot and back-channel comms.
- Band conditions at the time of this activation were not as good as I had hoped they would be and 10m was totally unusable with the local contest being in full swing.
- The equipment all worked as it should. The combination of the Xiegu G90 with it’s 20 watts and the Aerial-51 OCF dipole even 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.