SOTA – Mount Tumorrama on 23cm

Saturday 4 May 2019 #maythe4thbewithyou

I have taken receipt of a SG-Lab 23cm (1296 MHz) 25 watt RF amplifier and today Compton VK2HRX and I will attempt a SOTA Summit to Summit (S2S) QSO over 190 km (118 miles).

It’s Star Wars Day! Travel time from my home in Canberra to the summit at warp speed is 1 hour and 40 minutes, my departure time was 05:30 am in the dark. After 30 minutes of setting up 2m, 23cm and HF antennas I was on air at 7:50 am local (21:50 UTC).

Bearing from Mount Tumorrama to Mount Wanganderry VK2/IL-002 is 58 degrees.

I made a successful 23cm S2S QSO with Compton at 22:55 UTC just over 1 hour after setting up. Why did it take so long? I initially set up the 13cm transverter and connected it to the 23cm amplifier (oops). I spent 30 minutes faffing around trying to work out why I couldn’t hear the VK1s on 23cm 1296.150 MHz only 50 km to my east. I happened to look down at the blue tarp and noticed the 23cm transverter sitting in its plastic case, oh dear!! I need to put dymo labels on the outside of each transverter case. 🙂

With a 23cm 1296.150 MHz S2S at 190 km (118 miles) completed and signal reports at 5-7 and 5-5 there is ample headroom to work a 220 km (137 miles) Summit to Summit QSO.

Mt Tumorrama to Mt Wanganderry path

Mt Tumorrama to Mt Wanganderry 190 km

Mt Tumorrama to Mt Wanganderry 190 km Curved Earth

Path profile at 1296 MHz

Mount Tumorrama Trig Station at 07:10 am

VK1AD SOTA Shack at Mount Tumorrama

VK1AD/2 SOTA shack at Mt Tumorrama VK2/SW-027

I left the tripod top platform on the bench at home

23cm transverter and 25 watt RF amplifier wedged into the tripod frame, not ideal!

ZS6BKW HF antenna on 7 and 14 MHz

VK2HRX at VK2/IL-003 4 points

VK2HRX at VK2/IL-003 4 points

Extract of VK1AD SOTA Activator Log: Mt Tumorrama VK2/SW-027 3 May 19 UTC

Time Call Band Mode Notes
21:55z VK1MA 144MHz SSB QF44MT Matt s58 r57
21:56z VK1KW 144MHz SSB QF44MT Rob s59 r59
21:57z VK2COW 144MHz SSB QF44OX Dimitris s59 r59
21:59z VK2HRX 144MHz SSB Compton s51 r55 S2S
22:04z VK1AT 144MHz SSB QF44MQ Jim s59 r55
22:20z VK1BG 144MHz SSB QF44MS Ian s59 r59
22:20z VK1AI 144MHz SSB QF44MP Greg s59 r59
22:34z VK1JA 144MHz SSB QF44NO Jason s59 r59
22:35z VK1RX 144MHz SSB QF44NN Al s58 r58
22:39z VK1DA/P 144MHz SSB Andrew s58 r S2S VK1/AC-042
22:41z VK1JA 1240MHz SSB QF44NO Jason s58 r59
22:46z VK1DA/P 1240MHz SSB QF44NR Andrew s58 r57 S2S VK1/AC-042
22:47z VK1KW 1240MHz SSB QF44MT Rob s59 r59
22:48z VK1AT 1240MHz SSB QF44MQ Jim s54 r54
22:50z VK1MA 1240MHz SSB QF44MT Matt s55 r51
22:55z VK2HRX/P 1240MHz SSB QF55DQ Compton s57 r55 S2S VK2/IL-003 190 km @ 25 watts (118 miles)
23:01z VK2IO/P 7MHz SSB Gerard s59 r56
23:03z VK3ZPF 7MHz SSB Peter s59 r55
23:05z VK6MB/3 7MHz SSB Mike s56 r52
23:06z VK3PF 7MHz SSB Peter s59 r47
23:07z VK4ZD 7MHz SSB Bill s59 r59
23:08z VK7JON 7MHz SSB John s59 r59
23:10z VK3CAT 7MHz SSB Tony s59 r49
23:13z VK7FOLK 7MHz SSB Helen s59 r59
23:16z ZL1SKL 7MHz SSB Soren s55 r52
23:17z ZL1IU 7MHz SSB Nick s58 r55
23:20z ZL3GA 14MHz SSB Geoff s59 r59 S2S ZL3/CB-650 new summit
23:26z ZL3GIG/P 14MHz SSB Ian s59 r59 S2S ZL3/CB-650
23:30z ZL1BYZ/P 14MHz SSB John s56 r55 S2S ZL1/WK-158

23cm on 23rd #2 – 23 March 2019

Saturday 23 March 2019. I have organised a VK1 SOTA ’23 on 23′ event where SOTA tragics, that’s like minded SOTA activators, have the opportunity to join others for a local Summit to Summit (S2S) fest on 23cm 1296 MHz, SSB, CW and FM modes.

Today’s SOTA activators include:

  • Compton VK2HRX/P at Mt Gibraltar 163 km north-east
  • Jim VK1AT/2 at Mt Cowangerong 43 km east
  • Andrew VK1DA/P at Mt Mundoonen – 70 km north
  • Al VK1RX/2 at Spring Range – 40 km north
  • Bill VK1MCW at Mt Stromlo – 17 km north
  • Chris VK1CT at Mt Majura – 24 km north-east

Our local VK1 23cm enthusiastic chaser group is just as impressive which includes: Rob VK1KW, Jason VK1JA, Ian VK1BG, Matt VK1MT, Chris VK1DO/VK2DO, Rod VK2TWR, Dale VK1DSH and the occasional contact with Dimitris VK2COW. In Sydney 276 km north-east Mike VK2FLR and Compton VK2HRX take an interest in the hunt for 23cm signals emanating from VK1.

Today my plan is to activate Tuggeranong Hill VK1/AC-038, 855m ASL in grid square QF44NN. I left home at 6:30 am, yep it’s dark outside, for a 20 minute drive to Callister Crescent, Theodore at the base of Tuggeranong Hill. From the car park the walk to the summit takes 30 to 35 minutes to cover 1.5 km along a fairly steep gravel fire trail. See below screen shots.

Tuggeranong Hill GPS Track Log

Tuggeranong Hill GPS Track Log

Tuggeranong Hill track Profile

Tuggeranong Hill track Profile


Sunrise 7 am local

23cm equipment:

To drive a 23cm transverter one needs an IF source, conveniently SG-Lab’s 23cm transverter is designed to operate with a 144 MHz IF input between 0.5 to 5 watts all mode. What is the most common portable QRP SOTA rig around and ideal to work as a low power IF on 2m and 70cm, yep the Yaesu FT817! The rear SO239 antenna port is driving the 2m yagi while the front BNC port is driving the 23cm transverter.

You can of course drive the 23cm transverter with a 2m HT operating on FM, as I did last month from the summit of Mt Taylor.

Map courtesy of SOTA Maps. Furthest contact is Compton VK2HRX at Mt Gibraltar VK2/IL-001 162 km north-east, next is Rod VK2TWR 120 km south at Nimmitabel.

VK1AD 23cm QSO 20190322

VK1AD 23cm QSO around VK1 20190322

Extract of VK1AD SOTA Activator Log: 22 March 2019 UTC (23 March 2019 local) – Tuggeranong Hill QF44NN

Time Call Band Mode Notes
20:41z VK1FXNZ 144.2MHz SSB QF44NT John s59 r59
20:45z VK1JA 144.2MHz SSB QF44NO Jason s59 r59
20:46z VK1DO 144.2MHz SSB QF44PO s59 r59
20:47z VK2HRX/P 144.2MHz SSB Compton s34 r34 S2S 162 km
20:49z VK1DO 1296MHz SSB QF44PO Chris s59 r59 18 km
20:50z VK1AI 144.2MHz SSB QF44MP Greg s59 r59
20:51z VK1KW 144.2MHz SSB QF44MT s59 r59
20:53z VK1KW 1296MHz SSB QF44MT s59 r59 30 km
20:54z VK1JA 1296MHz SSB QF44NO Jason s59 r59 4 km
20:58z VK1DSH 1296MHz SSB QF44M Dale s58 r59 26 km
21:01z VK2TWR 1296MHz SSB QF43PL Rod s55 r55 120 km
21:04z VK1AT/2 1296MHz SSB QF44IS Jim s56 r58 S2S VK2/ST-001 43 km
21:06z VK1DA/2 1296MHz SSB QF45ME Andrew s58 r58 S2S VK2/ST-053 70 km
21:09z VK2HRX/P 144MHz SSB QF45FM Compton s57 r57 S2S VK2/IL-001 162 km
21:12z VK1MCW/P 1296MHz SSB QF44MQ Bill s59 r59 S2S VK1/AC-043 17 km
21:24z VK2HRX/P 1296MHz SSB QF45FM Compton s58 r55 S2S VK2/IL-001 162 km
21:26z VK1BG 1296MHz SSB QF44MS Ian s59 r59 26 km
21:30z VK1RX/2 1296MHz SSB QF44NV Al s59 r59 S2S VK2/ST-036 40 km
21:35z VK1CT 146.5MHz FM Chris s59 r59 S2S VK1/AC-034
21:45z VK1KW 2.3GHz SSB QF44MT Rob s55 r55 30 km
21:47z VK1RX/2 2.3GHz SSB QF44NV Al s59 r59 S2S VK2/ST-036 40 km
21:52z VK1AT 2.3GHz SSB QF44SI Jim s51 r41 S2S VK2/ST-001 43 km
21:55z VK1JA/P 2.3GHz SSB QF44NO Jason s59 r59 4 km
22:10z VK1MCW/P 2.3GHz SSB QF44MQ Bill s59 r59 S2S VK1/AC-043 17 km
22:13z VK1AT/2 2.3GHz SSB QF44SI Jim s52 r51 S2S VK2/ST-001 43km
22:15z VK1AT/2 144.2MHz SSB Jim s59 r59 S2S VK2/ST-001 43 km
22:23z VK1DA/2 144.2MHz SSB Andrew s59 r59 S2S VK2/ST-053 70 km
22:27z VK1CT/P 144.2MHz SSB Chris s59 r59 S2S VK1/AC-034 24 km

SOTA – Bobbara Mountain on 23cm 212 km to Nimmitabel

Sunday 10 March 2019 – Bobbara Mountain grid square QF45HI, 753 metres ASL is 86 km north-west of Canberra GPO, near the sleepy hollow township of Binalong, NSW.

I left home at 5:30 am for a 1.5 hour drive from Canberra heading north-west to Binalong.  Access to the summit is via a public gravel road within a private property.

The summit hosts an air navigation facility en route radar, mobile phone and commercial radio services.  The Trig station and summit surrounds are covered by a dense cover of dead thistle plants, it’s not a place to visit at the height of spring.   To prevent your legs turning into blood soaked human pin cushions one needs to wear long pants. Seriously a field of dead thistle spikes crack a major ‘punch’ on soft human skin!  😦

My aim for today’s activation is to work 2m, 23cm and 13cm chasers in Canberra 86 km south-east on voice SSB and FM.  To my great surprise Chris VK2DO located on the NSW south coast 188 km east (116 miles) and Rod VK2TWR 212 km south-east (136 miles) at his home QTH in Nimmitabel, NSW, popped up on 1296.150 SSB.  That’s right 212 km on 1296 MHz at 2.5 watts, pretty good if I do say so myself.  🙂

At the conclusion of the 23cm activity I wanted to test my new homebrew telescopic 2m 1/2 wave dipole.  I sent a message to Wade VK1MIC via WhatsApp seeking his assistance.  Wade called on 144.2 MHz using 2.5 watts QRP into a 2m 1/2 wave located at his home in north Canberra (QF44NT).  Signal reports were S52 and R51 over 76 km with mixed polarisation, I’m very happy with the results.

On 13cm 2.403 GHz Jason VK1JA and I attempted a contact over 97 km via aircraft enhancement.  We failed to make the distance.

On 2m 144.2 MHz all contacts were made at 5 watts using a 2m 3el yagi antenna.

During the descent my friend Andrew VK1DA suggested I drop in at his property near Yass.  I was grateful for a very nice cup of tea.


Sunrise 7:15 am


View east at 7:30 am


Bobbara Mountain Trig Station 753 metres ASL Latitude: -34.6393 , Longitude: 148.5903


Dual band 2m/70cm yagi and 13cm yagi. 23cm yagi is leaning against the tripod


SG-Lab 23cm transverter and a homebrew 12el DL6WU yagi beaming south-east towards Canberra.  Operating frequency 1296.150 MHz


2m dipole mounted on a lightweight telescopic pole


close up view – 2m 1/2 wave dipole

Homebrew telescopic 2m dipole construction and assembly

Extract of VK1AD SOTA Activator Log: 9 March 2019 UTC – Bobbara Mountain QF45HI

Time Call Band Mode Notes
20:58z VK1KW 144MHz SSB QF44MT Rob s58 r55
20:59z VK2COW 144MHz SSB QF44OX Dimitris s57 r58
21:01z VK2DO 144MHz SSB QF54CH Chris s58 r55
21:03z VK1JA 144MHz SSB QF44NO Jason s55 r55
21:04z VK1MT 144MHz SSB QF44NM Matt s52 r33
21:14z VK1MIC 144MHz SSB QF44NT Wade s52 r51
21:15z VK1MA 144MHz SSB QF44MT Matt s51 r51
21:17z VK1FXNZ 144MHz SSB QF44NT John s55 r52
21:18z VK2TWR 144MHz SSB QF43PL Rod s52 r52
21:21z VK1JA 1296MHz SSB QF44NO Jason s55 r53 97 km
21:23z VK2DO 1296MHz SSB QF54CH Chris s55 r52 188 km
21:26z VK1BG 1296MHz SSB QF44MS Ian s58 r52 77 km
21:27z VK2TWR 1296MHz SSB QF43PL Rod s52 r51 212 km
21:28z VK1KW 1296MHz SSB QF44MT Rob s59 r59 74 km
21:32z VK2COW 1296MHz FM QF44OX Dimitris s59 r59 FM 71 km
21:37z VK1BG 1296MHz SSB QF44MS Ian s59 r59 74 km
22:11z VK1MIC 144MHz SSB QF44NT Wade s52 r51 75 km – 2m dipole

Photos: © Copyright 2019 Andrew VK1AD

SOTA – Mt Taylor 23cm on 23 February

Saturday 23 February 2019. Compton VK2HRX is visiting Canberra this weekend and he is planning to activate Black Mountain VK1/AC-042 QF44NR for ’23 on 23′. Compton posted a note at the VK1 SOTA forum seeking interest in local VK1 23cm S2S contacts. I answered his call with a planned activation of Mt Taylor VK1/AC-037 QF44MP. Distance between peaks is 12 km, uninterrupted line of sight.

Mt Taylor HASL is 856 metres with an awesome uninterrupted panoramic view of VK1. Mt Taylor summit is ideal for making VHF-UHF-SHF Dx contacts out to 300 km, at power levels in the order of 5 watts QRP.

VK1AD SOTA shack at Mt Taylor summit
Conveniently and lucky for me the park bench seat, large enough for a portable radio station was unoccupied. I took advantage of the flat surface and set up my SG-Lab 2.5 watt 23cm and 13cm transverters.

I am using two FT-60R dual band HT transceivers one as the IF input to the 23 and 13 cm transverters (144.225 MHz FM & 435.150 MHz FM) and the 2nd for operation on 2m simplex 146.5 FM. Transverter output frequencies are 1296.225 FM and 2403.150 MHz FM respectively, output power is 2.5 watts. Both transverters are powered by a 13 volt 4S 4.2Ah LiePO4 battery.

For this activation I chose a PCB 850 MHz to 6 GHz Log Periodic antenna, perfect for a local lightweight SOTA activation. Transverter & antenna assembly are raised above the bench seat (240 mm) by a teeny tiny tripod.

Extract of VK1AD SOTA Activator Log: 23 February 2019 – Mt Taylor QF44MP

Time Call Band Mode Notes
05:58z VK2HRX/1 146.5MHz FM QF44NR Compton s59 r59 S2S VK1/AC-042
06:01z VK2HRX/1 1296MHz FM QF44NR Compton s59 r59 S2S VK1/AC-042
06:02z VK1MA 1296MHz FM QF44MT Matt s59 r59 21 km
06:03z VK1KW 1296MHz FM QF44MT Rob s59 r59 21 km
06:09z VK1MIC 146.5MHz FM QF44NT Wade s59 r59
06:11z VK1MT 146.5.MHz FM QF44MT Matt s59 r59
06:12z VK1MT 1296MHz FM QF44NM Matt s59 r59 13 km
06:15z VK1KW 146.5MHz FM QF44MT Rob s59 r59
06:20z VK1KW 2.4GHz FM QF44MT Rob s59 r59 21 km
06:25z VK1JA 2.4GHz FM QF44NO Jason s59 r59 5 km
06:35z VK1KW 146.5MHz FM QF44MT Rob s59 r59
06:46z VK1JA 1296MHz FM QF44NO Jason s59 r59 5 km

The next 23cm on the 23rd (23 on 23) is Saturday 23 March 2019.


23 and 13 cm Log Periodic


Log Periodic

Photos: © Copyright 2019 Andrew VK1AD

SOTA – 23 and 13cm from Mt Coree

Sunday 20 January 2019. Mt Coree (QF44JQ) 1421 metres ASL, Namadgi National Park, Australian Capital Territory

GPS track route is available here

“272 km via an A380 aircraft enhancement reflection en route to Sydney”

Mt Coree at 1421 metres ASL is a premier location for VHF-UHF Dx operations. Mt Coree dominates the Brindabella Ranges with it’s impressive granite structure with sheer vertical cliffs. The 360 degree view is commanding and for VHF-UHF radio purposes there are no vertical obstructions to the horizon. The summit is perfect for long distance (Dx) VHF-UHF-Microwave radio contacts out to VK2 and VK3.

Tony VK1VIC and I are undertaking a SOTA activation of Mt Coree. Tony is operating on 14 and 7 MHz and is very keen to qualify using CW mode. To qualify a SOTA summit the activator must complete valid signal report exchanges with a minimum of four unique callsigns. There is no upper limit to the number of stations worked on a SOTA summit, however for practical or safety reasons the activator has the choice to terminate the activation when deemed necessary.

VK1AD SOTA shack at Mt Ginini, Namadgi National Park

Equipment at the summit

  • SG-Lab 23 and 13cm transverters
  • FT-817ND
  • 13 volt 4S 8.4 Ah LiFePO4 battery
  • 2m/70cm dual band yagi
  • 23cm 1296 MHz Bi-Quad antenna
  • 13cm 2.4 GHz Bi-Quad antenna
  • 70cm 433 MHz flower pot antenna
  • 2 x 1.4 metre tripods
  • Lenovo 7 inch tablet
  • Flightradar24 software
  • Compass
  • Backpack, food, water, first aid kit

2m/70cm Dual Band Yagi & 23cm Bi-Quad at Mt Coree

View east to Canberra, cloud covering the summit


Cloud descends on the summit

View west over Brindabella National Park


Hombrew 13cm Bi-Quad antenna

View south-west


Homebrew 23cm Bi-Quad antenna – working VK2FLR at 272 km north-east

Extract of VK1AD SOTA Activator Log: 19 January 2019 – Mt Coree

Six unique QSOs on 1296 MHz and 2.4 GHz and seven QSOs on 144 MHz

Summit to Summit QSOs: Jim VK1AT Mt Stromlo VK1/AC-043 (QF44MQ)

Best DX long distance QSO on 23cm (1296 MHz) at 2.5 watts using the Bi-Quad antenna was with Mike VK2FLR in Sydney. The over-the-horizon path is 272 km via an A380 aircraft enhancement reflection en route to Sydney. 🙂

Time Call Band Mode Notes
22:19z VK1JA 144MHz SSB QF44NO Jason s59 r59
22:21z VK1MT 144MHz SSB QF44NM Matt s59 r59
22:22z VK1MCW 144MHz SSB QF44NN Bill s59 r59
22:25z VK1AT/P 144MHz SSB Jim s59 r59 S2S VK1/AC-043
22:32z VK1RX 144MHz SSB Al s59 r59
22:35z VK1DSH 144MHz SSB Dale s59 r59
22:38z VK1DSH 1296MHz SSB QF44MS Dale s58 r55
22:39z VK1MT 1296MHz SSB QF44NM Matt s58 r58
22:40z VK1RX 1296MHz SSB QF44NN Al s58 r59
22:41z VK1JA 1296MHz SSB QF44NO Jason s59 r59
22:44z VK1MCW 1296MHz SSB QF44NN Bill s59 r59
22:50z VK1AT/P 2.4GHz SSB QF44MQ Jim s56 r59 S2S VK1/AC-043
22:52z VK1MCW 2.4GHz SSB QF44NN Bill s59 r59
22:53z VK1DSH 2.4GHz SSB QF44MS Dale s51 r54
22:56z VK2YK 146MHz FM Adam s59 r59
23:02z VK1JA 2.4GHz SSB QF44NO Jason s59 r59
23:03z VK1RX 2.4GHz SSB QF44NN Al s58 r59
23:09z VK1KW 2.4GHz SSB QF44MT Rob s58 r55
00:11z VK2FLR 1296MHz SSB QF56OD Mike s55 r51 272 km

Photos: © Copyright 2019 Andrew VK1AD

SOTA – Mt Marulan to Canberra 95 km on 23cm QRP

Sunday 9 December 2018. Mount Marulan (QF45XF) VK2/ST-039 868 metres ASL, Southern Tablelands NSW

GPS track route is available here. The walk is an enjoyable 2.1 km stroll, allow 45 to 60 minutes to reach the trig station.

Andrew VK1DA and I are undertaking a SOTA activation of Mt Marulan. Andrew and I have learnt that two stations operating on HF frequencies and within harmonic frequency range is a recipe for disaster. For this activation Andrew is operating in the HF spectrum mainly on CW mode while I operate in the VHF-UHF spectrum using voice single-sideband. Both stations can operate at the same location, at the same time without causing interference to each other 🙂

FT-817ND for operations on 2m 144.2 MHz SSB and the IF source 144.150 MHz input to the SG-Lab 23cm transverter

12el 23cm DL6UW Yagi and a 4el 2m Yagi both pointing south west to Canberra. To reduce the potential for feedline loss, the SG-Lab 23cm transverter is mounted as close as possible to the rear of the yagi. I have used a 150 mm length of 50 ohm semi-rigid RG402.

23cm 12el Yagi. Driven element is a folded dipole terminated in an N-type socket. 90 km over the horizon is Al VK1RX on Mt Ainslie VK1/AC-040

Hot day on the summit with limited shade

Mt Marulan stone trig station at 868 metres ASL

23cm 1296.150 MHz signal path over 90 km

Mt Marulan VK2/ST-039 to Mt Ainslie VK1/AC-040 95 km signal path overlay on Oz Topo

Extract of VK1AD SOTA Activator Log: 9 December 2018 – Mount Marulan

Grid Square: QF45XF. Operation is on 2m 144.2 MHz SSB at 5 watts and 23cm 1296.150 MHz SSB at 2.5 watts.

Summit to Summit QSOs: Al VK1RX and Tony VK1VIC both at Mt Ainslie VK1/AC-040 (QF44NR)

Time Call Band Mode Notes
23:37z VK1RX/P 144MHz SSB QF44NR Al s58 r59 S2S VK1/AC-040 95 km
23:41z VK1AT 144MHz SSB QF44MS Jim s57 r51 97 km
23:43z VK1MT 144MHz SSB QF44NM Matt s59 r57
23:45z VK1DI 144MHz SSB QF44MS Ian s53 r51
23:56z VK1KW 144MHz SSB QF44MT Rob s53 r53
00:00z VK1RX/P 1296MHz SSB QF44NR Al s51 r55 S2S VK1/AC-040 95 km
00:04z VK1AT 1296MHz SSB QF44MS Jim s41 r41 not on a summit 97 km
00:13z VK1VIC/P 1296MHz SSB QF44NR Tony s51 r53 S2S VK1/AC-040
00:14z VK2VIC/1 1296MHz SSB QF44NR Tony s53 r53 S2S VK1/AC-040
00:26z VK1MT 1296MHz SSB QF44NM Matt s53 r41
00:31z ZL3GIG/P 14MHz SSB Ian s57 r35 S2S ZL3/CB-759
00:40z VK1MA 144MHz SSB QF44MT Matt s51 r21

Photos: © Copyright 2019 Andrew VK1AD

SOTA – VK1 1.2 and 2.4 GHz from Booroomba Rocks 1382 m ASL

Sunday 1 July 2018 – SOTA activation of Booroomba Rocks 1382 metres (4537 ft) ASL, Namadgi National Park on 23 and 13cm (1296 and 2403 MHz)

To secure four unique callsigns on 23 and 13 cm, one needs to plan ahead by informing interested parties at least 2 days out, well that’s the story in VK1. It’s just as much fun organising chasers as it is hiking up the mountain. 🙂 I’m taking advantage of the well-known VK1 VHF Dx Net group who are on air from 0800h to 0900h local (2200 to 2300 UTC). For me and my plans to activate Booroomba Rocks it means a very early start at the base of Booroomba Rocks in the dark, it’s winter in this region of eastern Australia. The 240 metre vertical ascent over 2.2 km takes about 1 hour, I made the summit by 0730h local with 30 minutes up my sleeve to set up.

Looking south to Booroomba Rocks highest point. That’s my target, time is currently 7 am and the weather is looking good. I have just spent 40 minutes climbing in the dark with a headlamp. The summit is a further 20 minutes away.

Great view of the Moon

Sun just peeking over the horizon – I’m now at 1300 m ASL

At the summit and this is the view north to Canberra which is now under the clouds

90 minutes later

Rock Pools are solid blocks of ice, overnight temperature was minus 5 degrees C

VK1AD SOTA shack at the summit

Equipment carried to the summit

Yaesu FT-817 for 2m and as the IF for SG-LAB 23 and 13 cm transverters.

Extract of VK1AD SOTA Activator Log: 30 June 2018 UTC Booroomba Rocks

UTC Callsign Band Mode Distance (km) Grid Square / Notes
22:28 VK1DSH 2.3GHz SSB 37 QF44MS DALE S59 R59
22:30 VK2COW/P 2.3GHz SSB 63 QF44OX DIMITRI S59 R59
22:32 VK1RX/P 2.3GHz SSB 19 QF44NN AL S58 R57
22:33 VK1KW 2.3GHz SSB 42 QF44MT ROB S59 R59
22:46 VK1KW 1240MHz SSB 42 QF44MT ROB S59 R59
22:47 VK1MT 1240MHz SSB 15 QF44NM MATT S59 R59
22:48 VK1DSH 1240MHz SSB 37 QF44MS DALE S59 R58
22:50 VK1RX/P 1240MHz SSB 19 QF44NN AL S59 R59
23:19 VK1AT/P 1240MHz SSB 28 QF44MQ JIM S59 R59 S2S VK1/AC-040
23:27 VK1MCW/P 1240MHz SSB 15 QF44NM BILL S59 R59 S2S VK1/AC-03

As you can see from my log extract, I qualified with a minimum of four unique callsigns on each band 23 cm (1296 MHz) and 13 cm (2.4 GHz). Furthest contact on 2.4 GHz was with Dimitri VK2COW at 63 km (39.1 miles), signal reports were excellent.

Summit to Summit (S2S) QSOs included Jim VK1AT at Mt Ainslie and Bill VK1MCW at Bullen Range.

4el 2m yagi, SG-Lab 23 cm transverter and an all brass 6el 23 cm yagi

SG-Lab 13cm transverter and a 13 cm Bi-Quad antenna

Photos: © Copyright 2018 Andrew VK1AD

SOTA – 2.4 GHz Yagi failed at Mt Tumorrama VK2/SW-027

Sunday 27 May 2018 7:30 am Mt Tumorrama. My homebrew 2.4 GHz Yagi had failed at when I noticed the 2.4 GHz 2.5 watt SG-Lab transverter SWR LED had changed to RED! Hmm.. bugger that wasn’t expected.

I didn’t have time or the tools to repair the antenna so I persisted with my backup antenna a 2.4 GHz Bi-Quad (below). I was pleasantly surprised by the performance of the Bi-Quad by successfully working Al VK1RX/P for two SOTA S2S contacts at VK1/AC-023 and VK2/ST-005, Dimitris VK2COW over a 64 km path and Matt VK1MA/P S2S at Mt McDonald VK1/AC-048 along a 39 km path of multiple 1200 m ASL mountain ranges.

Back to the 2.4 GHz Yagi. Today, using a pair on 2.5 magnification glasses I took a closer look at the folded dipole assembly. This is what I found 😦

2.4 GHz folded dipole assembly

Close up – 2.4 GHz folded dipole assembly – You never know what can go wrong at SOTA summit!

Let’s crack open the soldering iron and fix that bad boy.

Wow a clean break. A stress crack between the SMA center pin and the copper dipole

Earlier photo of the assembled 2.4 GHz Yagi

Balun impedance transformer – 43 mm length of RG402

For info – 2.4 GHz Bi-Quad photo taken earlier in March 2018

March 2018 – 2.4 GHz Bi-Quad photo courtesy of VK1MIC

73, Andrew VK1AD

Phishing Attacks and Scams

For the past month this blog has been under attack by phishing from * email accounts who masquerade as so-called interested followers. It’s a real shame criminals attack a harmless blog set up to share my experiences in the Amateur Radio, Summits on the Air Awards Program.

For the time being, and until WordPress can provide a comprehensive security option to block scammers and phishing attacks/hacks, I have been forced to remove ‘follow’, ‘comments’ and ‘like’ features offered by WordPress. The good news, while the attacks have slowed to one or two per week, I have the ability to immediately remove the offending * email address follower.

I wonder if WordPress have made the connection? Bloggers like me giving up on this free product and WordPress assessing the impact on their advertising income?

When will WordPress block Phishing?

73, Andrew VK1AD

Publised: 9 May 2018

Last Update: 10 May 2018