Mt Coree, VK1/AC-023, Namadgi National Park, VKFF-377, 8th May 2015

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.

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

Mt Coree Log

Mt Coree MapcartaMap: courtesy of Mapcarta 

http://www.planning.act.gov.au/tools_resources/survey-data-maps/surveying_data/surveyors_information/field_books/border_survey

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.

 

SOTA Peak Huon Hill, VK3/VE-237, 14th April 2015

On Tuesday 14th April the day started with showers but it was not cold. It was our first full day with our son and his family. They travelled from Sydney to Albury to spend four days with us. The reason for getting together was to celebrate the birthdays of our two Grandchildren. After shopping and finding our way around Wodonga for supplies we decided to visit Huon Hill.

Huon Hill Parklands JCD photo

Huon Hill Parklands
JCD photo

This hill is located very close to Wodonga and has been activated frequently. I thought I would activate the location: a spur of the moment decision! If the truth be told I couldn’t help myself! We drove to the parking area and walked the 200 metres (approximately) to the summit. I set up my station on one of the lookout platforms and quickly secured six contacts. I have uploaded my contacts to SOTA. In order, on 7.090, beginning at 04:43 I had contacts with VK3OF, Rex of Swan Hill, VK3EMU, Graham, VK3UH, Kent, VK3NBL, Melton, VK2IO, Gerard and finally, VK2HFS, Frank. I used my FT817, a 4.200 LiFePO4 battery and 40/20 linked dipole. I thought band conditions were good. All signals were received at 5 and 9, except for Gerard at 5 and 6 and my reports ranged from 5 and 9 to 5 and 4. I appreciate those who gave me a call, especially those dedicated chasers who monitor 7.090 Mhz.image It is difficult to spend much time on the radio during family time but my grandson was facscinated with what I was doing. I find the Pilates ‘child pose’ works well for SOTA. I can usually sustain such a pose for half an hour or more, but I do practice regularly and am a Pilates devotee!

Mount Lofty, VK5/SE-005, Cleland Conservation Park, 27th July 2014

Today, Sunday 27th July was the VK1 SOTA mass activation day. I indicated I would activate Mount Lofty, VK5/SE-005, in the Cleland Conservation Park, and for a short time attempt to become an honorary VK1!

I can look out our family room window and see Mount Lofty. Most days Mount Lofty is visible, but over the last few weeks there have been many days when it has been shrouded in cloud. Even though, as the RF travels, at least by ground-wave, we are only about eight kilometres away, the weather is different at Mount Lofty compared with Scott Creek. The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) even provides a district forecast for Mount Lofty. The Bureau predicted winds from the North West of about 45 kilometres per hour: and they were! Nevertheless, tucked away in our favourite activation spot on the north-eastern side of the summit, it wasn’t too uncomfortable. This was my third activation of Mount Lofty summit and the activation spot in on the Heysen Trail. This is the famous walking trail which traverses the State from Cape Jervis (the departure point for the Kangaroo Island ferry) to Parachilna Gorge in the Flinders Ranges, a total of 1200 kilometres.  It was VK5PAS, Paul, who showed me this spot and there were many walkers who gave me a wave and lots of trail bike riders were struggling up the hill or going fast in the opposite direction. Mountain bikes are permitted in the Cleland Conservation Park on this section of the trail, but it is a trial and it is subject to review.  I suspect that the Park authorities will be concerned about erosion.

I was able to set up and get on the air at about 23:19 UTC and the 40 metre band was really busy with SOTA stations. Here is my log for the 40 minutes before UTC roll-over. It was great and thanks to all of the operators who gave me a call. I managed 31 contacts, including 15 summit to summit contacts.

Time Call Band Mode Notes
23:20z VK3ANL/P3 7MHz SSB VK3/VU-002
23:21z VK3ARR/P3 7MHz SSB VK3/ SE 018
23:23z VK1RX/P1 7MHz SSB VK1/AC-025
23:24z VK3MCD/P3 7MHz SSB VK3/VE-006
23:26z VK3YY/P3 7MHz SSB VK3/VC-002
23:28z VK3FPSR 7MHz SSB Peter at Cobram
23:29z VK3PF 7MHz SSB Peter
23:30z VK3FQSO 7MHz SSB Amanda
23:31z VK2YK 7MHz SSB Adam, Newcastle
23:33z VK3BHR 7MHz SSB Phil, Bendigo
23:34z VK3MRG 7MHz SSB Marshall, QRP
23:35z VK3WE 7MHz SSB Rhett
23:37z VK2GAZ/P2 7MHz SSB VK2/CT-082
23:39z VK3CAT/P3 7MHz SSB VK3/VC-030
23:41z VK3XL/P3 7MHz SSB VK3/VC-031
23:42z VK3AFW/P3 7MHz SSB VK3/VC-007
23:42z VK1DI/P1 7MHz SSB VK1/AC-023
23:43z VK1MBE/P4 7MHz SSB VK4/SE-094
23:44z VK6MB 7MHz SSB Mike
23:45z VK5WG 7MHz SSB Nev
23:46z VK2DMT 7MHz SSB Dean, Ulladalla
23:47z VK5LY 7MHz SSB Larry
23:48z VK3YSP/P3 7MHz SSB Joe, French Island NP
23:49z VK1MA/P1 7MHz SSB VK1/AC-042
23:50z VK5FTRG 7MHz SSB Tom, Millicent
23:52z VK3PI 7MHz SSB Mark
23:53z VK1NAM/P1 7MHz SSB VK1/AC-032
23:54z VK3HRA 7MHz SSB Allan
23:56z VK3FOWL/P3 7MHz SSB Julie, French Is NP
23:57z VK2AET/P2 7MHz SSB VK2/NR-038
23:58z VK3DET 7MHz SSB Ernie, Ballarat

After 00:00 had gone by I enjoyed another burst of activity, totalling 34 contacts, including 14 summit to summit contacts.

Time Call Band Mode Notes
00:00z VK3IL 7MHz SSB David
00:02z VK3PF 7MHz SSB Peter
00:03z VK2FAJG/P2 7MHz SSB VK1/AC-038
00:07z VK3PI 7MHz SSB Mark
00:08z VK5TX/P2 7MHz SSB VK2/MN-067
00:10z VK3DAC 7MHz SSB Fred
00:15z VK3AFW/P3 7MHz SSB VK3/VC-007
00:15z VK2UH 7MHz SSB Andrew
00:18z VK3EK/P3 7MHz SSB VK3/VT-041
00:19z VK1RX/P1 7MHz SSB VK1/AC-025
00:20z VK3WE 7MHz SSB Rhett
00:28z VK2AFA/P2 7MHz SSB VK2/MN-067
00:32z VK3FKSA 7MHz SSB Bandar
00:36z VK3WG 7MHz SSB Nev
00:37z VK3CAT/P3 7MHz SSB VK3/VC-030
00:38z VK3FPSA 7MHz SSB Peter
00:39z VK3ARR/P3 7MHz SSB VK3/VC-018
00:41z VK3XL/P3 7MHz SSB VK3/VC-031
00:43z VK5NQP/P5 7MHz SSB David, Sandy Creek CP
00:44z VK1DI/P1 7MHz SSB VK1/AC-023
00:46z VK3CBV 7MHz SSB Brenton
00:48z VK5IS 7MHz SSB Ian
00:50z VK3FIAN 7MHz SSB Ian, East Bentleigh
00:52z VK2IO/P2 7MHz SSB VK2/CT-082
00:54z VK3MCD/P3 7MHz SSB VK3/VC-006
00:55z VK3BHR 7MHz SSB Phil
00:56z VK5FAKV 7MHz SSB Shawn, Renmark
00:57z VK3DET 7MHz SSB Ernie
00:58z VK5CZ 7MHz SSB Ian
01:02z VK5FTRG 7MHz SSB Tom, Millicent
01:08z VK5TD 7MHz SSB John
01:10z VK3AV 7MHz SSB Bernard, VK3AMB
01:21z VK2SWD/P2 7MHz SSB VK2/CT-019
01:23z VK1NAM/P1 7MHz SSB VK1/AC-032

 

I said on air to at least one VK1 station, VK1NAM/P1, Andrew, that the mass activation day was a great idea and thanked him for his part in getting it organised. I have not checked the VK1 blogs, but I suspect that many of the amateurs would be activating summits already activated this year and thus would not accrue additional activator points. Sadly the same is true in my case.

Mount Skene, Sota Summit VK3 VE 031, 28th April 2014

After some encouragement from VK3PF, Peter, I decided to activate Mount Skene VK3 VE 031. We left Bairnsdale at 08:00 and arrived at Mount Skene at about 12:00 noon. We enjoyed the drive. Licola is pretty much as we remembered it. The road is gravel a few kilometres after leaving Licola and returns to a sealed tarmac just before Jamieson. We saw only four vehicles on the road after Licola. There are a few pot holes and the usual corrugations on corners. The road is two-wheel drive capable providing care is taken. Travelling slowly and picking your path is the key to success. Some kind person had recently cleared a break through a fallen tree.

Tree over road between Licola and Mt Skene

Tree over road between Licola and Mt Skene JCD photo

It is an easy summit. You only have to walk from the parking area to the summit and carry your gear about 200 metres. The trig point is in great condition and make sure you read the plaque under the trig point. The altitude is given as 1551 metres. The old track is just visible, but if you look for two large rocks put in place by the authorities to stop vehicles going off road, you will see the track.

Mount Skene summit track JCD photo

Mount Skene summit track JCD photo

After setting up at the summit, 13 contacts were enjoyed. I am really appreciative of those who gave me a call, given that most of the regulars were probably back at work. The first contact was at 02:17 UTC and the last at 02:58.  At 02:17 I worked VK3FQSO, Amanda; VK3YN, Mark at Bendigo; VK2JNG/P2, Gerard QRP; VK3UH, Ken; VK2IO, Gerard; VK2AMI, Ross; VK5HS, Ivan; VK2UH, Andrew; VK3AFW, Ron; VK1MBE, Andrew; VK5LY, Larry; VK3XD, John and at 02:58, VK3YN, Mark.

The first picture shows me kneeling on a rug and operating the FT817. While I had my rain coat on and there were a few spots it was not really cold. My nine metre squid pole is inserted into a tube and tied to a stump. Power for the five watt radio was supplied from a 4.2 amp hour LiFePO4 four cell battery.

VK5BJE at Mt Skene

VK5BJE at Mt Skene JCD Photo

FT817 and 4.2 Amp hour LiFePO4 battery

FT817 and 4.2 Amp hour LiFePO4 battery

Sota peak Mount Arapilies, VK3 VN 022, 4th January 2014

Mt Arapilies - summit

Mt Arapilies – summit

I decided to activate Mount Arapalies today, 4th January 2014.  The temperature was in the low twenties, there was no rain but the wind was blowing a gale. I drove up the single lane sealed track to the top: an easy drive and from the car park, walked to the summit where the trig point is located and also the site of the CFA fire-watch tower. The tower was occupied and I could hear radio chatter through the door of the building. I resisted the urge to knock and make myself known!  And I resisted the urge to call on the Mount Arapilies two metre repeater on 146.850 and try and stir up some business. As it turned out I made the right decision. There was no shortage of contacts. My first contact was at 01:02 and my last, 34 (33 successful) was at 02:42. The discrepancy was because of my obsessiveness over my signal report to a NSW mobile station. He just couldn’t understand his report.  He was 5 and 0 with me and the zero proved the problem.

I decided not to set up on the summit as the wind was ferocious. I tucked myself away in a secluded spot and it wasn’t so bad. There are plenty of activation spots for the less adventurous, like me, if it is really windy. The place was busy: mainly walkers and rock climbers.

My first contact was with VK3CAT/p, Tony, in the Alpine National Park. Then followed VK5WG, Nev; VK5LY, Larry; VK3FB/p, Len; VK3FPSR, Peter; VK5CZ, Ian; VK5PAS, Paul; VK3YSP, Joe, at home; VK3FD, QRP 2.5 watts, Ian; VK3AMB, Bernard; VK5STU, Stu; VK5FUZZ, Paul; VK3IL/p, David; VK3ARR, Andrew; VK5FMID, Brian; VK5JDS/p, Darryl at Port Lincoln; VK3VBI, Ron; VK2DAG; VK3ANL, QRP, Delta Loop, Nick; VK5FRCP, Rex; VK3SOL, Fred; VK2YW/m, John; VK3YN, Mark; VK3BYD, Warren; VK3UT QRP, Greg; VK5HCF, Col; VK5IS, Ian; VK3MEG, Steve; VK1NAM, Andrew; VK3YDN, John, VK2PDW, Wayne; VK3VEK, Kevin and VK3JP, Ron.

The dedication plaque for Fire Service lookout

The dedication plaque for Fire Service lookout

Sota Peak, Mt William, VK3 VS 001, Grampians National Park, 3rd January 2014, VKFF – 213

The start on the walking trail to the Mount William summit

The start on the walking trail to the Mount William summit

The climb to the  summit was quite strenuous and after checking out the Major Mitchell monument and the commercial radio installations I found a place  just four or five metres from the top where I could set up my station. Thanks to the 22 amateurs who made contact with me this morning on Mt William.

My first contact was with VK3HRA/P3, Allen who was on SOTA summit VK3/VS-001; VK3FPSR, Peter;  VK5WG, Nev;  VK3AMB, Bernard; VK3DET, Ernie; VK5STU/P5, Stu on Mount Gawler, VK5/SE-013; Vk5PAS, Paul;  VK5LY, Larry; VK2DAG, Matt; VK5WG, Nev; VK5NIG/P5, Nigel on SOTA summit VK5/SE-013; VK5CZ, Ian; VK3ANP, David; VK3FPSR, Peter; VK3IL/P3, David; VK3HRA, Allen; VK3AMB, Bernard; VK5MBD, Bill; VK1NAM, Andrew; VK3BHR, Phil; VK3BQ/P2, Andrew in Mount Kosciusko National Park and VK3XPT/P7, Perren at Devonport.

Sota Summit ‘The Horn’ in Mt Buffalo National Park, 31st December 2013, VKFF – 339

Sota Summit VK3 VE 014 is a special point on the Mt Buffalo plateau: called ‘the Great Granite Plateau’ in the ‘Park Notes’ published by the Victorian Government. Its elevation is 1723 metres and is at the end of a 1.5k track, which the sign board says takes 45 minutes, is a lookout giving spectacular views for 360 degrees. After arriving there I did not think I could safely activate from that point and proceed to look for a suitable location within the activation zone. I eventually set up my gear and called CQ on 7095. I did not get a response and tuned around to find a pretty quiet band. I did hear VK3YSP/p, Joe and VK3FOWL/p, Julie calling from the Lower Goulburn River National Park. They were attracting considerable interest. I joined the queue and after a successful contact with both of them asked Joe to let people know that I would be operating on 7095. I migrated there and enjoyed contacts with VK3BHE, Phil; VK3FMPB/p, John in the Kinglake National Park, VK3MJB, Tim in the La Trobe Valley and VK3AMB, Bernard. Received signal reports ranged from 5 and 0 to 4 and 3. Six contacts means I have successfully activated this SOTA summit. But it was a difficult activation. While I enjoyed the reasonably difficult climb, the views and speaking to quite a number of people, I thought I might be louder! It was not to be.

Back on top! 'The Horn'

Back on top! ‘The Horn’

I did propose to activate ‘The Hump’. I found the walk challenging as have some previous SOTA activators. I got quite a way up the track but decided to quit: it was warm and I was tired. My wife Jenny got to the top and she said the last bit was quite tough. I was sorry that I was not able to activate this peak – maybe next time! Perhaps I was being too ambitious?

Cathedral - Hump Track

Cathedral – Hump Track

The Hump - Just a mere pile of rocks!

The Hump – Just a mere pile of rocks!

Mt Lofty, VK5-SE-005, a night time activation with VK5PAS/p, 6th November 2013

Paul suggested to me through the day that he was going to activate Mt Lofty at night. It was predicted to be a warm night and that is how it turned out. He invited me to come along. I could not resist. We shared his gear although I had three batteries in the car, two not used and antennas, squid pole and transceivers: all my gear from Port Gawler Conservation Park. I arrived at Mount Lofty at about 1900 hours local and Paul already had an impressive list of contacts in his log. He invited my to activate Mt Lofty, which is also in Cleland Conservation Park. I got to work and the following contacts were made on 7090 beginning at 08:52: VK3AMB, Bernard; VK5CZ, Ian; VK2JI, Ed; VK3YE/ pedestrian mobile, Peter; VK3OHM, Mark; VK3XL, Mike; VK2YK, Adam; VK3MRG/p, Marshall in his back yard; VK3FBCK, QRP, Nick; VK3ARR, Andrew; VK5MBD, Bill; VK3MRG, Marshall, QRO and VK2IWO, Romesh.  Later in the evening on the 7.130 net, I had contacts with VK5MJ, Mal; VK2HAA, Dennis; VK7DON, Don; VK4TH, Andy; ZL2ASH, Brian and VK7ROY, Roy. I did try to call FO5JV, William at Tahiti, but conditions had changed. Paul had a successful contact with William earlier in the evening: it was a highlight of a great evening. I enjoyed my 19 contacts and wish to thank all who gave me a call. I have now completed three SOTA activations.

Here is a link to Paul’s splendid video of the activation: http://youtu.be/nV6MNznDfYA

An alternative to a Buy and Sell

Today in South Australia our most significant ‘ham fest’ takes place which is organised by the Adelaide Hills Amateur Radio Society Inc. Many South Australian amateurs make their way to the Goodwood Community Centre. So do some from interstate: amateur suppliers and specialists with their cars and trailers loaded up with ‘goodies’. The motivations for the pilgrimages are varied: for some it is to purchase a new transceiver or a desirable bit of extra gear for the shack. For others it is to carefully search out someone’s no longer wanted items for something that will find a new home with a new owner. For others it is to share a special interest, for example, SOTA; DStar or the VK5 National and Conservation Park award and try and win others to these special interests.  And for still others it is a social event frequently followed by lunch at a local eating house!  I normally make this pilgrimage!

This time I could not go. I was required in Clare to play with the Payneham Community Band. We all had a great time on Saturday evening with the local community band. But Sunday was free. I decided I would indulge my amateur radio interest with some visits to parks and one Sota summit. I selected two parks near Clare.

Spring Gully Conservation Park, 3rd November 2013

Spring Gully Conservation Park

Spring Gully Conservation Park

Spring Gully Conservation Park is about 12 kilometres south of Clare. It conserves a beautiful section of local bush, 96 hectares, in an area otherwise used for grazing, cropping and known for riesling and shiraz, among many varieties, the famed Clare wine region. I enjoyed seven contacts: at 22:46 I called CQ and my call was answered by VK5EE, Tom from Mount Gambier; VK5YCP, Chris; VK2AWJ/ QRP, Gol Gol using a KX3; VK3AFW, Ron; VK5FMID, Brian; VK3MRG/p QRP, Marshall on VK3 VN-009 and VK5HS, Ivan, and completing seven contacts before UTC rollover. It was a magnificent morning, sunny and warm and I listened to the WIA broadcast and the local club news and tried to join the call back on 7.135 Mhz. Although local signals were 5 and 9 from Adelaide, none of the Adelaide stations could hear me. It is really a waste of time trying to get heard operating QRP, with such high noise levels for many city stations. After a little over an hour I decided I would dismantle my station and head for Martindale Hall Conservation Park.

Martindale Hall Conservation Park, 3rd November 2013

The mansion is not far from the heritage village of Mintaro in the beautiful Clare Valley. Martindale Hall became well known to film goers in 1975 when it was used in Peter Weir’s successful Australian film Picnic at Hanging Rock. There is plenty of material about Martindale Hall on the web and the mansion now functions as a boutique hotel. Opening hours on a Sunday are from 12.00 noon to 1600 hours. I arrived soon after 1100 hours, the weekday opening time. I took a few pictures and set up my station near some trees within the parking area about 150 metres from the mansion. One visitor asked my what I was fishing for: I said radio waves! However, there were not too many about on 40 metres at that time.

Propagation had changed for the worst and signals were attenuated but I still managed three contacts: at 00:54, VK2HF/3, Geoff near Swan Hill; VK5WG, Nev and VK5EE, Tom. I then packed my gear and drove to Auburn for some lunch and then down the Main North Road to Gawler before taking secondary roads to Mount Gawler.

Martindale Hall

Martindale Hall

Martindale Hall - entrance and start of the Long Drive

Martindale Hall – entrance and start of the Long Drive

Martindale Hall opening hours

Martindale Hall opening hours

My second Sota Summit, 3rd November 2013

Mt Gawler, VK5 SE-013

I used my vehicle based GPS to navigate from the Clare Valley through the town of Gawler and on to Mount Gawler. I visited parts on SA, especially around Gawler, that I have never seen before!  I then used the Country Fire Service maps to confirm that I had indeed found Mt Gawler. These maps are 1:50 000 and show Mount Gawler being about half way between Airstrip and Richardson Roads on Mount Gawler Road. The map even shows a symbol for the trig point (located on private property just a few metres from the road). Here are the coordinates and altitude measures: 34.78054 138.81216;  DMS 34º 46′ 49.95″ S 138º 48′ 43.79″ E;  Altitude 543.48m. I did quite a bit of looking around on foot and parked my 4 x 4 in a safe place and carried my gear to the activation point.

While I had to move around the 40 metre band a little to secure contacts, I finished with 10 in the log, a reasonable effort given the buy and sell. At 05:05 my first contact was with VK5NWE, Roger; VK5FACE, Andrew; VK5FMID, Brian and then VK5TW, Trevor, making four contacts. Up until this point the going was very slow and propagation poor. I then had contacts in fairly rapid succession with VK5EE, Tom; VK5NFB, Don; VK5CZ/m, Ian driving home from the buy and sell; VK5PAS, Paul; VK3EO, Tom at Swan Hill and VK3GFS/ QRP, Frank at Mount Evelyn.

My first SOTA activation: Dutchmans Stern, VK5/NE-028

Today I climbed to the summit of the Dutchmans Stern (no apostrophe, woeful English grammar in my opinion) and activated VK5-NE-028 (six points). I am delighted to report I had 23 contacts. Thanks to all who took time out on AFL Grand Final Day to give me a contact and thanks to those who alerted others. This summit is located within the Dutchmans Stern Conservation Park and also counts for the SANPCPA award (1 point). It took a little over two hours to climb the 4.2K route to the summit and about one hour forty minutes to descend. I was feeling pretty tired by then. I used my new seven metre squid pole and a couple of trees to support my dipole and a 4.3 amp hour sealed lead acid battery for power.  My gear is too heavy! I will be working hard to reduce the weight. I am considering Li Po batteries and I have a SOTA linked dipole (which I haven’t tried yet) and continue to use my home made dipole which is so rugged.

The following contacts were made on 40 metres: VK5CZ, Ian, who was unwell and could not join me in the activation; VK5IS QRP, Ian; VK5HS, Ivan; VK5WG, Nev; VK5NQP, David, who with some encouragement and slow use of phonetics was able to made a successful contact; VK5LA, Andy; VK2YW, John; VK3FPSR, Peter; VK2UH, Andrew; VK3CAT, Tony; VK3ANL, Nick; VK3DET, Ernie; VK5LY, Larry; VK5PAS, Paul; VK5AV; Tim; VK3MCD, Brian; VK3HRA, Allen; VK5PAS, Paul, with the AFL scores; VK5AKH, Andrew; VK5FMID, Brian; VK5HCF QRP, Col; VK5AR/p, Allan portable at Eagle on the Hill and undertaking antenna experiments and VK3YY, Glenn. The Dutchmans Stern Conservation Park is a great place for a hike. It is also very beautiful on the slopes and towards the summit. Unfortunately acres of Salvation Jane, a favourite with the bees, was not good for my lungs. You walk through this to get to the trail. We also noticed plenty of goats, four legged ones. However, the kangaroos were pretty quiet and did not rush away, but stopped and watched us make our way down the path. We saw lots, including plenty of juveniles. I commend to you the Walking Trails Support Group brochure if you are planning a trip. We spoke to a young woman training for her attempt at Mt Killimanjaro who left the car park at the same time as us and took the longer loop track to the top. We caught up with her again on her descent 100 metres from the summit. We also spoke with a couple, about our age, from NSW and a man, a bit younger than me, a Vietnam Vet, keeping fit. Otherwise the Park was ours! We left a note in the visitors’ book kept in a sealed container at the summit. It will tell future readers of the VK5 and SOTA awards.

On the Dutchmans Stern

On the Dutchmans Stern

The 'Shack' on board

The ‘Shack’ on board – the 7 m squid pole is in my right hand. Notice one of the locals on the path