SOTA – 23cm from Mt Coree

VK1AD SOTA shack at Mt Coree VK1/AC-023 @ 1421 metres ASL, Namadgi National Park VKFF-0377, Grid QF44JQ

Australia’s Capital Territory (ACT) is experiencing 4 days of heatwave conditions with daytime temperatures up to 39 degrees C (102 F).  To take a break from the early morning heat my wife and I headed for the summit of Mt Coree where the ambient temperature is 10 degrees cooler than the landscape below.

In the picture below, an early morning (7:30 am) inversion layer has trapped smoke from bushfires north of Braidwood in NSW.

view east – Inversion layer trapping smoke from nearby brushfires. Today’s top temperature is 39C.

In close the fire watch tower, on the horizon a view north over a blanket of cloud.  The summit is 1421 m above seal level

View west – Brindabella National Park. To the right of the picture is Dingi Dingi Ridge VK2/ST-004 and Webbs Ridge VK2/ST-005

Extract of VK1AD SOTA Activator Log:  20 November 2017 Mt Coree

Today’s QSO of the day on 23 cm (1296.150 MHz) was with Michael VK2FLR in Sydney Grid (QF56OD). The 23cm signal path is 268 km, my antenna is a homebrew 12el yagi.

On 23 cm I did hear Trevor VK3VG confirming a QSO with Rob VK1KW.  I called Trevor two or three times without luck.  Distance to Trevor’s location QF42UK from Mt Coree is 263 km.

Bands worked 2m, 6m and 23cm.

Time Call Band Mode Notes
21:24z VK1AI 144MHz SSB Greg s58 r55  144.2
21:27z VK1DJA 144MHz SSB Dave s59 r58 144.2
21:30z VK2UH 1240MHz SSB %QRA%QF45LD% Andrew s58 r56 49 km 1296
21:32z VK1KW 144MHz SSB Rob s59 r59 144.2
21:33z VK1MT 144MHz SSB Matt s59 r57 144.2
21:34z VK1BG 144MHz SSB Ian s59 r59 144.2
21:35z VK1RX 144MHz SSB Al s59 r59 144.2
21:36z VK1FWBD 144MHz SSB Wade s59 r59 144.2
21:38z VK1KW 1240MHz SSB %QRA%QF44MT% Rob s59 r59 20 km 1296
21:39z VK1MT 1240MHz SSB %QRA%QF44NM% Matt s58 r58 33 km 1296
21:43z VK1BG 1240MHz SSB %QRA%QF44MS% Ian s59 r59 18 km 1296
21:52z VK2FLR 1240MHz SSB %QRA%QF56OD% Michael s51 r31 268 km 1296
22:09z VK1CT 144MHz FM Chris s59 r57 146.5
22:13z VK1RX 50MHz SSB Al s59 r59 50.160
22:16z VK1CT 144MHz SSB Chris s58 r59 144.2
22:21z VK1DI 144MHz SSB Ian s59 r59 144.2
22:37z VK1RZ 50MHz SSB Roald s59 r59 50.160
22:44z VK1MA 50MHz SSB Matt s59 r59 50.160
22:48z VK1WX 50MHz SSB Amanda s59 r59 50.160

VK1AD SOTA shack at Mt Coree VK1/AC-023 at 1421 metres ASL

3el 2m yagi and a 23cm Bi-Quad

Mt Coree Trig Station. The telescopic pole is supporting a 6m 1/2 wave coaxial dipole

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23cm Transverter – Tripod Platform and Bi-Quad Antenna Mount

At VK1AD Bi-Quad antenna construction I have had a hoot-of-a-time building 23cm antennas for SOTA and portable field ops.  🙂

“It’s time to cut my signal losses..”

For sometime I have used a 1 metre length of LMR195 coax feed line between the 2.5 watt 23cm transverter and my choice of antennas.   Due to the feed line length this option introduces losses in both transmit and receive signals.  Weak or marginal 23cm received signals are attenuated by feed line losses.  In the picture below you can clearly see the feed line length, yes you are right it’s too long!  (Mt Gillamatong 19 Nov 17)

VK1AD SOTA shack at Mt Gillamatong 19 Nov 17

It’s time to cut my signal ‘losses’ and move the transverter to the top of the tripod.  This option permits the full extension of the tripod to a height of 1.4 metres above ground level, every millimetre gained helps.

Sunday 31 December 2017…its New Years Eve and I have nothing on my plate!   Starting with a tripod mount for the 23cm Bi-Quad antenna, I have also spent the afternoon fabricating a small platform for my SG-Lab 23cm transverter.

First let’s look at the the Bi-Quad antenna mount

Camera top plate – I purchased two standard top plates on eBay.  Remove the 1/4 inch screw from the center of the plate.

Tripod head – top plate receptor in the vertical position

Mount the spare top plate to the rear of the 23cm Bi-Quad antenna.  Do you like my nifty teeny-tiny G clamp?

Top plate secure at the rear of the Bi-Quad by two 3 mm screws, washers and nuts

Bi-Quad antenna fitted to the tripod head – it’s a neat fit.

Construction of a Transverter Platform

In the picture below you can see the tripod head locking knob has space behind the knob flange – Let’s be clever and make use of the space behind the knob and the flat surface of the head.   🙂

Platform

Homebrew double-sided copper clad PCB platform – I love fabricating stuff, useful or otherwise!    You are not restricted to using double-sided PCB, you may have other materials on hand such as sheet aluminium.  Go ahead explore the junk box.

Transverter platform secured by the tripod head locking knob – cool  😉

23cm Transverter and 6el Yagi antenna – LMR195 feed line is now 50% shorter at 500 mm

23cm Transverter and Bi-Quad antenna – For now ignore the feed line length, I will make up a shorter length of LMR195 close to 300 mm long.

That’s my ‘New Years Eve’ afternoon of fun playing amateur radio antenna construction!   I will test the B-Quad tomorrow from South Black Range, 40 km south-east of Canberra.

You have my permission to copy the design and build your own.  😉

Happy New Year to all and have a safe time playing SOTA in 2018  🙂

73, Andrew VK1AD

 

SOTA – 23cm from Mt Gillamatong

VK1AD SOTA activation – Mt Gillamatong VK2/ST-034 900 metres ASL Grid QF44VN near the township of Braidwood, NSW.

Sunday 19 November, left my Canberra home at 5:45 am for a 1 hour 15 minute drive along Kings Highway to Braidwood.  At Braidwood take Gillamatong Lane, park your car at the end of the lane.    The walk to the summit is a steep 700 metre walk taking 30 minutes, don’t forget to take the water.

Why did I leave home so early?  The east coast VHF Dx Net starts at 8 am local and operates for approximately 90 minutes.  I want to be on the summit and ready to go by 2100 UTC.

100 metres in to the walk looking back at Mt G car park

The climb to the summit will warm you up  🙂   Temperature is a pleasant 10 degrees with a forecast top of 18 degrees, wind is calm.

scrub bash taking 30 minutes

At the summit no noticeable QRM on 23cm and 2m.  On the other hand 6m 50.160 MHz was noisy at S3, not good for weak signal reception 😮

23cm gear:

2m / 6m gear:

VK1AD 23cm SOTA shack at Mt Gillamatong

Signal path from Mt Gillamatong at 900 m ASL to Canberra is 60 km over Mt Palerang and South Black Range 1200 m ASL, 300 metres higher than Mt G.

Canberra 60 km @ 285 degrees through the gap between trees and well over the horizon

Summit to Summit (S2S) contacts on 23cm and 2m:

  • Al VK1RX/2 at Bowning Hill VK2/ST-042 (114 km north-west) on 1296.150 and 144.240 MHz SSB.
  • Chris VK1DO/p at Mt Ainslie VK1/AC-040 (60 km west) on 144.200 and 1296.150 MHz SSB

All 23cm 1296.150 MHz QSOs were at 2.5 watts. Considering the 1200 metre terrain between Mt G and Canberra, I was pretty happy to make three unique contacts on 23cm, Chris VK1DO, Ian VK1BG and Al VK1RX/2.  I cannot workout why I didn’t hear Rob VK1KW.

After working Al VK1RX at 21:25 UTC, 10 minutes later we decided to take a 2nd shot at 23 cm.  This time instead of pointing the yagi on a 311 degree path I moved the antenna to peak Al’s signal.  Interestingly the yagi is now on a 324 degree path looking direct at Lake George wind farm (I can see the wind turbines) and Al’s signal lifted to 5-2 well above the local noise floor.  It seems we have an indirect signal path via a hard reflective surface in the vicinity of the wind farm.  Hmm… the weird and wonderful of 23cm any thoughts on reflections/refractions at 23cm?  😉

unusual 23cm signal path via Lake George wind farm

Best 2m QSO was with Mark VK2EMA near Dubbo at 421 km.  What a terrific result for 5 watts in to a 3el 2m yagi.  😉

Extract of VK1AD SOTA Activator Log:  19 November 2017 Mt Gillamatong

Time Call Band Mode Notes
20:57z VK1KW 144MHz SSB Rob s58 r56 QF44MT  70 km
21:00z VK1KW 50MHz SSB Rob s51 r41 QF44MT  70 km
21:03z VK1MT 144MHz SSB Matt s53 r55 QF44NM 62 km
21:05z VK2TWR 144MHz SSB Rod s57 r57 QF43PL  125 km
21:11z VK1RX/2 144MHz SSB Al s58 r59 S2S VK2/ST-042  114 km
21:13z VK1MA 144MHz SSB Matt s51 r31 QF44MT  70 km
21:17z VK1DO/P 144MHz SSB Chris s59 r55 S2S VK1/AC-040  60 km
21:17z VK1BG 144MHz SSB Ian s59 r59 QF44MS  65 km
21:20z VK1DO/P 1240MHz SSB Chris s59 r57 S2S VK1/AC-040 60 km
21:25z VK1RX/2 1240MHz SSB Al s51 r51 S2S VK2/ST-042  direct signal path at 311 degrees
21:27z VK1BG 1240MHz SSB Ian s53 r53  65 km
21:34z VK1RX/2 1240MHz SSB Al s52 r52 S2S VK2/ST-042 114 km – indirect signal path via Lake George 324 degrees
21:41z VK1RX/2 144MHz SSB Al s58 r58 S2S VK2/ST-042  114 km
21:54z VK2DVM 144MHz SSB Dave s59 r57 Sydney  200 km
22:02z VK2EMA 144MHz SSB Mark s55 r57 Tottenham  421 km

Mt Gillamatong Trig Station 900m ASL

A great morning to play SOTA, thanks everyone.     Next a compulsory stop a Braidwood Bakery for a bite to eat and coffee  🙂

SOTA QRP 23cm from Mt Gingera 1855 metres ASL

VK1AD SOTA activation – Mt Gingera VK1/AC-002 1855 metres ASL Grid QF44JK

Saturday 7 October 2017, I left home at 5:30 am, one hour before sunrise, for a 90 minute drive to Mt Ginini car park on the western ACT with NSW.  Mt Gingera is a one-way 2 hour, 7 km walk from Mt Ginini car park.  For Mt Franklin fire trail track details see this post.

Photos: © Copyright 2017 Andrew VK1AD

@ 5 km Priors Hut

taking a rest at Priors Hut – VK1AD backpack containing radio gear, tripod and a HF antenna

marker post missing the well-known blue rock – leaving Mt Franklin fire trail for Mt Gingera summit, 2 km to go!

Arrived at Mt Gingera summit around 9 am (2200 UTC)

23cm gear:

VK1AD 23cm SOTA Shack at Mt Gingera.  The 23 cm yagi is directed at Mt Coree for a 5-9 S2S QSO with Al VK1RX

Summit to Summit (S2S) contacts on 23cm, 2m and 17m:

  • Compton VK2HRX/p at Mount Wanganderry VK2/IL-003 (193 km north-north-east) on 1296.150 MHz SSB.  Nearest town is Mittagong.
  • Andrew VK1DA/2 at Mt Mundoonen VK2/ST-053 (87 km north) on 1296.150 MHz SSB
  • Al VK1RX/p at Mt Coree VK1/AC-023 (30 km north) on 1296.150 MHz SSB
  • Bill VK1FWBK/p at Mt Ginini (5 km north) on 146.5 FM
  • David VK3IL/p on Mt Kent VK3/VT-008 (261 km south-west) 18.140 MHz SSB
  • Glenn VK3YY/p on Mt Kent VK3/VT-008 18.140 MHz SSB

All 23cm 1296.150 MHz QSOs were at 2.5 watts.  It was fantastic to make eight (8) unique contacts on 23cm.    A huge thanks to Compton, Rod and all VK1 participants; Matt, Ian, Rob, Matt, Al, Andrew and Bill.    🙂

It was pleasing to have 40m open to chasers in VK3, VK4, VK5 and VK7.  Steve VK7CW and I completed our QSO at 500 mW.  The 17m band was open to New Calédonia working Mic FK8IK.   🙂

Extract of VK1AD SOTA Activator Log:  6 & 7 October 2017 Mt Gingera

Time Call Band Mode Notes
22:20z VK1MA 1240MHz SSB %QRA%QF44MT% Matt s59 r59 46 km
22:20z VK1BG 1240MHz SSB %QRA%QF44MS% Ian s59 r59 41 km
22:22z VK1KW 1240MHz SSB %QRA%QF44MT% Rob s59 r59 46 km
22:22z VK1MT 1240MHz SSB %QRA%QF44NM% Matt s57 r55 29 km
22:24z VK2HRX/P 1240MHz SSB %QRA%QF55FQ% Compton s51 r31 S2S VK2/IL-003 193 km
22:39z VK2TWR 1240MHz SSB %QRA%QF43PL% Rod s55 r53 115 km
22:59z VK1RX/P 1240MHz SSB %QRA%QF44JQ% Al s59 r59 S2S VK1/AC-023 30 km
23:10z VK1FWBK/P 144MHz SSB s59 r59 S2S VK1/AC-008 5 km
23:14z VK1DA/2 1240MHz SSB %QRA%QF45ME% Andrew s59 r59 S2S VK2/ST-053 87 km
23:20z VK5WG 7MHz SSB Nev s58 r55
23:21z VK7CW 7MHz SSB Steve s59 r59
23:22z VK7CW 7MHz SSB Steve s54 r53 QRP both 500 mW
23:23z VK3ARH 7MHz SSB Allen s58 r57
23:24z VK4RF 7MHz SSB Rick s59 r56
23:25z VK4HA 7MHz SSB Rick s58 r56
23:25z VK5FMAZ 7MHz SSB Marija s59 r59
23:31z FK8IK 18MHz SSB Mic s58 r52
23:34z VK3IL/P 18MHz SSB David s51 r51 S2S VK3/VT-008
23:36z VK3YY/P 18MHz SSB Glenn s51 r51 S2S VK3/VT-008
23:41z VK1D1 18MHz SSB Ian s59 r53
23:54z VK5IS/P 7MHz SSB Ian s59 r55
23:55z VK7XDM 7MHz SSB David s59 r59
00:00z VK1MA 1240MHz SSB %QRA%QF44MT% Matt s59 r59 46 km
00:05z VK1DA/P 1240MHz SSB %QRA%QF45ME% Andrew s59 r59 S2S 87 km
00:11z VK1RX/P 1240MHz SSB %QRA%QF44JQ% Al s59 r59 S2S 30 km
00:12z VK1FWBK/P 144MHz FM Bill s59 r55 S2S VK1/AC-008 5 km

VK1AD HF antenna – homebrew linked dipole supported by a 7 metre telescopic pole

In the distance Bimberi Peak VK1/AC-001 (center)

on top of the world @ 1855 metres ASL, among the slabs of granite a single snow gum

VK1RX SOTA station at the summit of Mt Coree on 1296 MHz.  Thanks Al for the photo.  😉

VK1RX 23cm station on Mt Coree VK1/AC-023. Photo courtesy of Al VK1RX

SOTA Bowning Hill 2m and 23cm

Sunday 28 July 2017.  Bowning Hill summit VK2/ST-042 is on private property.  During the week I called the property owner seeking permission to get access to the summit.  Bowning Hill is 6m km north-west of Canberra GPO near the township of Yass, NSW.  Marino sheep graze on the property, evidence of the activity is abundant, sheep poop pellets (manure) are everywhere!

Interest in 23cm SOTA activations is growing around VK1.  Today Al VK1RX has plans to activate Livingstone Hill while a team of three activators led by Tony VK1VIC inluding Andrew VK1DA and Matt VK1MA are heading to Mt Foxlow also with 23cm gear.  🙂

Livingstone Hill VK2/SM-093 is 111 km south while Mt Foxlow VK2/ST-010 is an even 100 km south-east.

Around Canberra (VK1) and the nearby NSW (VK2) mountain peaks it’s rare to find a summit that one can drive up!  On this occasion I took advantage of a 4wd maintenance trail by driving to the summit and deploying a small folding table to operate from.  My car is 30 metres away from my operating position.   If not for a small table, the other option is to sit on the ground in a thick film of sheep poo  😮

Station gear:  Yaesu FT-817ND, SG-Lab 23cm transverter, Yaesu FT-60R HT, dual band 2m/70cm yagi, 12el 23cm yagi.    Batteries; 2.4 Ah 3S 12 volt LiPo and a 4.2 Ah 4S 13 volt LiFePO4.

As you can see in the photos the sun is shining yet the temperature on the summit is a chilly 1.8 degrees C with a cold westerly dropping the feels-like to sub-zero.

For a ‘warmer’ my first chaser was with Rob VK1KW on 2m 144.2 MHz followed shortly by a 2nd QSO on 23cm.  One down three to go!   It wasn’t long before Al VK1RX called on 1296.150 MHz only to report a strange high VSWR reading from his HB9CV 2el PCB yagi.    Al mentioned ice, that’s right frozen-H2O ice had formed on the leading edge of his antenna as a blast of cold moist air descended on Livingstone Hill.  See phots.  Al went QRT for a couple of minutes while he de-iced the antenna by placing the PCB in his warm pocket.

Five or so minutes later Al was back on air however by this time ice had formed on the coax feedline and the casing of his 23cm transverter.  Meanwhile I grabbed a 23cm chaser QSO with Ian VK1BG.   Rod VK2TWR followed Ian with a huge 5-8 signal report over a 200 km path from Nimmitabel.   Great that’s 4 QSOs on 23cm, summit qualified!

On 2m 144.2 MHz chasers included Matt VK1MT, Lawrence VK1LLW, Mike VK2AFW and Dave VK2DVM in Sydney.  While listening to Rob VK1KW calling CQ, I heard Jim VK3II 500 km south-west (near Phillip Island) responding to Rob.   Rob worked Jim with ease at legal power.  I quickly check FlightRadar24 on my iPad for aircraft between Jim’s position and Bowning Hill.  Two commercial aircraft in close proximity to each other were heading south along the Sydney – Melbourne flight path.  I mentioned to Rob VK1KW two aircraft would be midway between Bowning Hill and Jim’s radio shack in about 5 minutes.  With my paltry 5 watts I asked Rob to pass a message to Jim asking Jim to stick around for 5 minutes which thankfully he did.  As the aircraft approached the midway position I called Jim VK3II and to my delight he responded with a weak signal report, yep that’s right, a 5 watt 2m 144.2 MHz signal from a 3el beam, using aircraft enhance over 500 km.  Jim’s signal to me was 5-5, readable and well above the local noise floor. I have since shared the audio recording of my contact with Jim, with the VK1 group.   It’s moments like this where the efforts of going portable are all worth while!   🙂

15 or so minutes later at 23:35 UTC Andrew VK1DA called CQ SOTA on 23cm 1296.150 MHz from Mt Foxlow 100 km south-east.  Andrew is also using a 2.5 watt SG-Lab 23cm transverter, feeding an all-brass 4el yagi.  Andrew’s signal from Mt Foxlow was peaking 5-9 at Bowning Hill.  See photo and Google Earth profile.

Keen to bag Bowning Hill on 23cm, Tony and Matt both called in quick succession.  After working the Mt Foxlow team on 2m FM 146.500 simplex, I stuck around for UTC day change to complete a 3rd 23cm summit to summit (S2S) QSO with the crew at Foxlow.  🙂

Photos: © Copyright 2017 Andrew VK1AD

VK1AD SOTA shack at Bowning Hill beaming south to Canberra

VK1AD 23cm yagi

Maps showing the radio signal path

Signal path – Bowning Hill to Livingstone Hill

Livingstone Hill to Bowning Hill terrain profile.  Courtesy of Google Earth

Signal path – Bowning Hill to Mt Foxlow

Mt Foxlow – Bowning Hill terrain profile.  Courtesy of Google Earth

Al VK1RX at Livingstone Hill.  Ice has formed on the leading edge of the HB9CV PCB 2el yagi.  Moisture on the PCB tracks is giving rise to a high VSWR. Photo courtesy of Al VK1RX.

VK1RX ice formed on the PCB antenna leading edge

Al’s frozen 23cm transverter and ‘iced’ coax feedline.  Photo courtesy of Al VK1RX

VK1RX at Livingstone Hill. Ice forming around the RG213 coax

Andrew VK1DA operating position at Mt Foxlow.  Photo courtesy of Andrew VK1DA

VK1DA’s 4el 23cm yagi antenna resting against a folding chair at Mt Foxlow

Extract of VK1AD SOTA Activator Log:  28 July 2017 Bowning Hill VK2/ST-042 on 23 cm 1296.150 MHz

Time Call Band Mode Notes
21:49z VK1KW 144MHz SSB Rob s59 r59 QF44MT 144.2
21:51z VK1KW 1240MHz SSB %QRA%QF44MT% Rob s59 r59 1296
22:13z VK1RX/2 144MHz SSB Al s59 r59 S2S QF44NG 144.2
22:14z VK1BG 144MHz SSB Ian s59 r59 QF44MS 144.2
22:15z VK1BG 1240MHz SSB %QRA%QF44MS% Ian s59 r59 1296
22:19z VK1RX/2 1240MHz SSB Al s59 r58 S2S VK2/SM-093 1296 111 km
22:22z VK1MT 144MHz SSB Matt s59 r59 144.2
22:25z VK2TWR 1240MHz SSB %QRA%QF43PL% Rod s58 r58 1296 200 km
22:39z VK1LWW 144MHz SSB s52 r53 144.2
22:43z VK2AMF 144MHz SSB Mike s57 r57 QF44PU 144.2
23:17z VK3II 144MHz SSB Jim s55 r51 QF21RN 500 km at 5 watts
23:18z VK2DVM 144MHz SSB Dave s58 r58 Sydney
23:35z VK1DA/2 1240MHz SSB Andrew s59 r59 S2S VK2/ST-010 1296 100 km
23:36z VK1VIC 1240MHz SSB Tony s59 r58 S2S VK2/ST-010 1296
23:40z VK1MA/2 1240MHz SSB Matt s59 r59 S2S VK2/ST-010 1296
23:42z VK1DA/2 1240MHz SSB Andrew s59 r59 S2S VK2/ST-010 1296
23:50z VK1MA/2 144MHz SSB Matt s59 r59 S2S VK2/ST-010 146.5
23:53z VK1VIC/2 144MHz SSB Tony s59 r59 S2S VK2/ST-010 146.5
00:01z VK1DA/2 1240MHz SSB Andrew s59 r58 S2S VK2/ST-010 1296
00:02z VK1MA/2 1240MHz SSB Matt s59 r59 S2S VK2/ST-010 1296
00:02z VK1VIC/2 1240MHz SSB Tony s59 r59 S2S VK2/ST-010 1296
  • 23cm Awards:
    • 23cm Summit to Summit (S2S) 111 km, working Al VK1RX at Livingstone Hill
    • 23cm 200 km working Rod VK2TWR at Nimmitabel
  • Personal best:
    • working Jim VK3II on 2m 144.2 MHz SSB over 500 km with 5 watts

SOTA – 23 cm S2S – Livingstone Hill to The Peak 78 km

Sunday 23 July 2017.  During the week I pushed an email to the VK1 SOTA group seeking interest in a 23cm SOTA activation planned for Sunday 23 July 2017.  Al VK1RX called me Saturday evening suggesting we try a 23cm 1296.150 SSB Summit to Summit (S2S) contact between Livingstone Hill and The Peak, that’s 78 km (48 miles) as the crow flies, locator QF44NG to QF43NN.   Al was very keen to activate The Peak (1230 m ASL) for 11 points and thought that a 23 cm SSB S2S contact whilst achievable, would present a good challenge @ 2.5 watts output.  We discussed expected signal reports over a 78 km path to which we pondered the possibility of achieving a S2S contact, we agreed a 5-3 signal report would be a satisfactory outcome at 2.5 watts.  Little did we know…

Livingstone Hill is a 40 minute drive south of Canberra near the country township of Michelago.   The Peak is a 1.5 hour drive south of Canberra along the Monaro Hwy via Cooma and Rock Flat.  Both summits feature in the New South Wales (NSW) Snowy Mountains region, of course Al is much closer than I to the actual Snowy Mountains Alpine region.

Photos: © Copyright 2017 Andrew VK1AD

Livingstone Hill near Michelago township

beautiful chilly morning at Livingstone Hill Trig Station

8:52 am – One hour in to the activation the temperature is a cool 3 degrees C at (22:52 UTC)

VK1AD 23cm SOTA station – Yaesu FT-817 IF on 144.150 MHz into a SG-Lab 23cm transverter.  Antenna feedline is a 1 metre length of LMR195 coax cable.   FT-817 is powered by a 12 volt 3S 2.4 Ah LiPo battery while the SG-Lab 23cm transverter is powered by a 13.2 volt 4S 4.2 Ah LiFePO4 battery.  The transverter draws 80 mA on receive and 800 mA (0.8 amps) on transmit.

VK1AD 23 cm SOTA Shack at Livingstone Hill.  My 23cm PCB antenna used later in the activation  is sitting on a plastic container.

VK1AD beaming south to The Peak VK2/SM-068

VK1AD 23 cm SOTA station.  View east Tinderry Range at 1560 m ASL

VK1RX SOTA Shack at The Peak beaming north to Livingstone Hill over a 78 km path.  Al is using an ICOM IC-706 IF at 144.150 MHz SSB mode feeding a SG-Lab 23cm transverter for output on 1296.150 MHz SSB.  Al’s transverter and antenna are both mounted above the tripod pan head.  You can see the IC-706 sitting on the concrete pad (trig point) below the tripod.  His 23 cm antenna feedline losses are negligible.

Al reported strong winds at the summit.  In the photo you can see AL gathered a few rocks to stabilise the tripod in the face of a strong north-westerly wind.

I started my SOTA CQ calls at 2155 UTC with the antenna beaming south to Nimmitabel.  At 21:59 Al responded to my call with an unexpected 5-9 signal report, a huge signal, way beyond our expectations.  🙂      You know what that means, that’s right we need a new 23cm S2S challenge with two summits 100 km+ apart working our way up to 200 km+.

Having over achieved with 5-9+ signal reports later in the activation we decided this 23cm S2S challenge would not be complete without one attempt at using PCB yagi antennas at our respective summits.  Did we make the distance, we sure did!  Signal levels were peaking 5-9 each way.  😉

On 23 cm Al and I went on to work Rob VK1KW, Ian VK1BG, Rod VK2TWR and Matt VK1MA.

VK1RX 23cm SOTA Shack at The Peak

Extract of VK1AD SOTA Activator Log:  23 July 2017 Livingstone Hill VK2/SM-093 on 23 cm 1296.150 MHz

Time Call Band Mode Notes
21:59z VK1RX/2 1240MHz SSB Al s59 r59 S2S VK2/SM-068 1296 78 km
22:08z VK1KW 144MHz SSB QF44MT Rob s59 r58 61 km
22:11z VK1MT 144MHz SSB QF44NM Matt s59 r59 30 km
22:15z VK1KW 1240MHz SSB %QRA%QF44MT% Rob s58 r58 1296 61 km
22:16z VK1BG 1240MHz SSB %QRA%QF44MS% Ian s59 r59 1296 56 km
22:26z VK2TWR 1240MHz SSB %QRA%QF43PL% Rod s59 r57 90 km
22:34z VK1RX/2 144MHz SSB QF43NN Al s59 r59 S2S 144.2 78 km
22:39z VK1BG 433MHz SSB QF44MS Ian s59 r58 432.15 56 km
22:39z VK1KW 433MHz SSB QF44MT Rob s51 r55 432.15 61 km
23:02z VK2NSS 144MHz SSB Steve s55 r55 45 144.2 86 km
23:18z VK1MA 1240MHz SSB %QRA%QF44MT% Matt s51 r31 1296 61 km

VK1AD 23cm 12el Yagi.  The mountain range to the right is Clear Range spanning 1300 m to 1500 m ASL.

looking down the barrel of a 23cm 12el yagi – Al VK1RX is well over the horizon 78 km south

23cm 12el yagi

23 cm signal from Livingstone Hill to The Peak bearing 180 degrees south over a 78 km path

SOTA – Microwave Award 300 km at 23cm

SOTA Microwave Awards – Simplex Operations on 23cm

Today I received a SOTA 23 cm Microwave Certificate Awards from Barry GM4TOE, SOTA Awards Manager, UK.

8 July 2017 – SOTA 300 km 23 cm Microwave Award – Operating on 23 cm 1296.150 MHz SSB from Big Badja VK2/SM-059, I worked Dave VK2JDS locator QF46PV, over a 322 km path at 2.5 watts output. 🙂

Images: © Copyright 2017 Andrew VK1AD

SOTA 300 km 23 cm Microwave Award – 8 July 2017