Mount Ainslie, SOTA, VK1/AC-040, VKFF-0850, 24th December 2015

After discussions with Andrew, VK1AD, I decided to activate Mount Ainslie, VK1/AC-040 (also VKFF-0850), on the 24th December 2015. I had previously activated this summit courtesy of Andrew, then VK1NAM, in May 2015. Here is a link to that activation:

Andrew planned to visit Mount Stromlo, VK1/AC-043, hoping to work six and ten metre contacts via sporadic E propagation. Six metre contacts to VK5 have been achieved and early morning 10m contacts into the USA also have also been fairly regular occurrences. I was keeping my fingers crossed in relation to six metres. After my experiences of six metres in Canberra in May 2015 during the Wireless Institute of Australia (WIA) Annual General Meeting, I decided to make a six metre dipole. It was that antenna I planned to use from Mount Ainslie on this occasion. However, I began my activation on 40 metres and my log is reproduced below. I had an hour and a quarter playing on 40 metres before the six and ten metre activity began. I had a great time.

Mount Ainslie 23122015

Mount Ainslie Log 23/12/2015

Mount Ainslie Log 24/12/2015

Mount Ainslie Log 24/12/2015

As can be seen from the log I had a number of contacts on 6 metres: all were with Canberra stations except one, VK2UH, Andrew at Yass. My radio was set for ten watts and I was using a half wave dipole. I was delighted with all of the six metre contacts, but especially the contacts with VK2UH. I also had a contact with Andrew, VK1AD, on two metres FM on 146.500. This was a first for me in the SOTA program. I used an ICOM 80AD set for 500 milliwatts. Signals were 5 and 9 both ways both before and after UTC roll-over. All contacts with VK1AD were, of course, summit to summit (s2s). I have resolved when I return home to add ten metres to my six metre dipole by turning it into a two band linked dipole. While there was no sporadic E on this occasion I had a great time and wish to thank Andrew, VK1AD, for being on Mount Stromlo and making the VHF s2s contacts possible. I also wish to acknowledge VK2HRX/P, Compton, who called me on 7.090 Mhz from VK2/MN-132 also a s2s contact.

The Park

Mount Ainslie rises 843 metres above sea level (or 2,766 feet). It is a hill in the City of Canberra and is visible behind the Australian War Memorial. The views from the top are great. There is a photo in my account of the previous activation in the archives for May 2015. Mount Ainslie is a summit in the Mount Ainslie Nature Reserve which now counts for the World Wide Flora and Fauna Award and has the VKFF-0850 number.


Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, VKFF-0989, 23rd December 2015

I planned three radio excursions while we stayed in Canberra. In the end I achieved two.  My attempt to activate Mount Stromlo, VK1/AC-043 was abandoned. While I did read a number of blogs about this SOTA summit which suggested that the second hump, about 500 metres away from the Australian National University’s new building and the telescopes was suitable, on the day I decided it was too warm and too humid for the walk. I tried two locations and the noise level was about S8. I wanted to activate this summit because it was one I was not able to visit during May when I attended the Wireless Institute of Australia (WIA) Annual General Meeting. So I then decided to travel to Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, VKFF-0989, about 37 kilometres from Canberra. This is a gated Park. On arrival I purchased an entry ticket ($7.50). This was a concession for Seniors. I didn’t ask for the concession. My hair colour probably did the trick! I didn’t regard this as ageist or reverse discrimination and I told the Rangers why I was visiting the Park and asked could they suggest any good locations. They were very interested in my radio activities. I took the liberty of giving them Andrew’s (VK1AD) blog URL and also mine. They produced a map, marked two spots, and suggested that I have a look. I checked out both locations and settled on the second away from any visitors. I had the area to myself for the whole time. I was impressed!

My spot at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve

My spot at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve

I enjoyed 22 contacts beginning at 01:25z on 7.095 Mhz and concluding on 14.310 Mhz.

01:25 VK2HPN 57s 51r, Phil

01:37 VK2FDAV 57s 55r, David Grafton

01:39 VK2IO 59s 46r

01:50 VK4RF 55s 55r

01:53 VK4HA 55s 55r

0152 VK3FQSO 53s 52r

01:54 VK2VW 59s 55r Brett

01:57 VK5FANA 54s 33r Adrian

02:02 VK3PMG 59s 43r

02:09 VK2NNN 59s 55r

02:07 VK1AD 52s 52r Andrew

02:08 VK2IO  59s 56r

02:10 VK2ZPF 59s 54r Peter

02:11 VK2YK/P 59s 55r Adam South West Rocks

02:17 VK3FLCS 52s 55r Brett Macedon Ranges

02:20 VK2EIR 59s 59r Joe Castle Hill

02:24 VK2VKB 57s 57r Kevin

02:26 VK3UH 55s 55r

02:28 VK6HSB/P2 59s 57r Steve at the Mystery Bay Caravan Park

02:32 VK2LKW 59s 59r Wolfgang Blue Mountains

02:47 VK2NBL 59s 58r Ray Melton

02:55 14.310 VK4ABJ 59s 58r  Jeff Rockhampton

Operating conditions at Tinbinbilla Nature Reserve

Operating conditions at Tinbinbilla Nature Reserve

On this activation I used the FT897 set for ten watts and LiFePO4 batteries. The battery just visible under my lunch bag (insulated), which was used to keep the direct sunlight off the battery. This photo was taken in a quiet spot between my contacts with VK2LKW at 02:32 and VK3NBL 02:47. The FT 897 travels in the black plastic case protected by an foam inner lining. The picnic table was about 75 metres from the car park. The drive from Canberra to the Park is well sign-posted and I recommend this Park to any visitors to the ACT.

Again I would like to thank all of the chasers who helped make this activation so enjoyable.

tID 2

The map shows a portion of the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve (Map courtesy of the ACT Government). The two areas coloured in red are the suggestions made to me by the staff. I chose Webbs which is near the turning circle in the top shaded area.