After successfully activating Mount Ainslie, VK1/AC-040, we travelled the short distance to Black Mountain, VK1/AC-042. In 2010, at the 100th Anniversary AGM of the WIA we visited the Telstra Tower for an inspection and dinner later in the restaurant. This time we were looking forward to coffee!
While the sun was still shining the wind was ferocious. Andrew’s squid pole came down at least twice and on one occasion the operator at the other end gave a 5 and 9 report with the squid pole erected and 5 and 2 when collapsed! We were joined by Heath, VK3TWO and his partner, Monique and we persuaded Heath he should join the activation as well.
Despite the weather we successfully activated the Peak and also gain a six metre contact. After contacting VK1DI, Ian on 40 metres, he agreed to migrate to six metres and we all contacted him on 52.200 ssb. The six metre contact was a first for me portable and Paul and I both resolved to make dipoles for this band.
Here is my log.
Black Mountain, VK1/AC-042 log
VK1NAM, VK5PAS & VK5BJE
VK5PAS (log-keeper), VK5BJE (on-air) & VK3TWO (supervisor)
At last, coffee in the tower restaurant!
Here is a link to a video taken by Andrew, VK1NAM/P1 of the activation on Black Mountain.
On Sunday morning VK5PAS, Paul and I met Andrew, VK1NAM, who had arranged on Saturday afternoon at the WIA AGM, to take us out for more SOTA activations if the weather was reasonable. Well the weather was wet on Saturday evening and the weather bureau predicted strong winds and more rain for Sunday. Paul and Andrew had discussed the matter earlier and we agreed we would all go and take one peak at a time and stop the activations if it became necessary.
So we set out for Mt Ainslee, VK1/AC-040. This peak is right in Canberra and accrues one point for a successful activation. The winds were gale force. However, we successfully activated the Peak and took some photos before setting out for Black Mountain, VK1/AC-042, just a short drive away.
Eleven contacts were made. When the activation was finished we set out for Black Mountain, VK1/AC-042.
Canberra from Mount Ainslie
Andrew setting up squid pole in the wind
Black Mountain from Mount Ainslie
I would like to thank VK1NAM, Andrew, who so generously gave up a fair bit of his Sunday to enable me, Paul and Heath to enjoy these activations. The activations on Thursday and Sunday enriched an already splendid weekend at the WIA AGM. On Sunday evening we enjoyed a casual meal with members of the Canberra Amateur Radio Club. I also enjoyed the presentation of home brewed equipment from members of the Club which was on display during the AGM. This display was orientated to low frequency transmitters and audio equipment. The gear was impressive and mainly illustrated published articles from Amateur Radio Magazine. Finally, of course there are the chasers. Without chasers we would have become cold and wet for nothing!
After lunch we travelled to Mt Ginini. While the sun was still shining the temperature had dropped to 4 degrees Celsius and the wind was blowing really hard. It was also very cold! We all activated the summit successfully and I secured ten contacts. Mt Ginini, like Mt Coree is in Namadgi National Park, VKFF-377 and these ten contacts together with the 15 from Mount Coree means I have successfully activated the Park for the VKFF program. By the time we had finished our activation the temperature had dropped to two degrees Celsius. It was very cold and the wind chill factor was severe. I thought it was going to snow.
Mt Ginini log
Mt Ginini has been a place I have long wanted to see. It is, of course, the site of the ACT repeater, VK1RGI, 149.950 – 600Khz transmit, also 91.5 Hz tone, provided by the Canberra Amateur Radio Club: a repeater I have used on previous visits to the ACT and while in New South Wales. But Mt Ginini is also a very significant peak in the Brindabella Ranges also known as the Brindabells. Mt Ginini is 1,762 metres above sea level (5,781 feet). The NSW/ACT border runs along the ridge of the Brindabella Range and the surveyors would have had lots of challenges in their work during the early part of the 20th century.
The picture below shows VK5PAS/P1 operating a Icom IC703, ten watt transceiver, contacting European stations from Mt Ginini. He is in a prone position to minimise the cold wind.
On Thursday 7th May I flew to Canberra for the Annual General Meeting of the Wireless Institute of Australia (WIA). The WIA is the oldest national amateur radio society in the World and I had previously attended the 100th anniversary AGM in Canberra in 2010. That AGM was splendid. I knew this one would be different and I was looking forward to participating. But as the AGM did not begin until 18:00 hours on Friday I had the day to do other things. Some of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT/VK1) amateurs had promised to take me (and my colleague from Adelaide, VK5PAS, Paul) to the some of the local summits which we would activate for SOTA.
The Trig Point at Mt Coree.
Andrew, VK1DA was our guide, mentor and used his station to ensure we could activate two summits and see some of the peaks and natural areas which are so significant in the ACT. So after checking our arrangements with Andrew, VK1DA, we were on the road at 10:00 driving to two peaks in the Brindabella Ranges. The first peak was Mt Coree which has the SOTA reference, VK1/AC-023. It was a cool sunny day with a slight breeze. To get to Mt Coree was about an hour and a half over some sealed roads, but mainly gravel roads and, finally, a rough track to take us about 300 metres below the summit. We then walked to the summit and used the trig point to secure the squid pole. By the time we reached the summit the breeze had changed to a howling wind!
I was able to secure 15 contacts with amateurs in VK1, 2, 3 and 5 on the 40m band. Also Andrew and Paul activated the summit. It was cool and the wind was blowing hard, but it was great fun and I was delighted to secure my first summit in VK1, and my third SOTA Association as I have previously activated summmits in VK3 and VK5. After completing our activation we arranged to meet Marc, VK3OHM/P1 and Ono, VK6FLAB/P1 at a picnic spot on our route to Mount Ginini and their route to Mr Cooree. We were swapping peaks!
Mt Coree Log
Map: courtesy of Mapcarta
The ACT Government web page, link above, indicates that the survey of the border began in 1910 and was completed in 1915. A plaque is in place at Mt Coree, where the work began on the survey at the Trig Point, to commemorate the achievements of the survey team. I recommend a look at the ACT planning site (URL above) and particularly the page on the border markers and accuracy. It is impressive. So we were there in the Centenary Year.