Walking tracks around the adjacent hills of Mt Ainslie and Mt Majura and to the top of each provide SOTA activators with ready made trails, with some steps where needed. The ascent from street level to mountain top for Majura is about 200m. The walk is in bushland, mainly eucalyptus trees and some bushes. The first 70% of the track to the summit is an easy grade with some steps and two switchbacks. There are paths leading along the western side of the mountain and to the top, with a rough roadway and a locked gate at the top where the new sealed road arrives at the summit. The last 400m of the walk up this fire trail is the most demanding part of the walk. I stopped several times to drink some water and let my HR drop back. The total time to the top was about 50 minutes. I notified a changed start time via SOTAWATCH.ORG.UK on one of these stops, due to a delay in getting started.
In some areas local conservation groups are undertaking rehabilitation of the bushland, planting new trees to restore the variety of trees on the hillsides. One sign about this activity mentioned that it had been used for sheep grazing. Sheep are particularly destructive to native trees and grasses due to their teeth which can reduce grasses to almost zero height so they cannot recover. Native Australian animals cannot do this as their teeth are set further back in their mouths so in drought, their numbers drop off and the grass survives.
At the summit there is a steel trig structure that is readily used for supporting a light fibreglass rod for the 7 mhz antenna.
- on 2m FM, VK1NAM/p on Mt Rob Roy, VK1BGT Ingmar in Kambah (south Canberra), VK1MDC Mark in north west Canberra, VK1DI in north west Canberra
- on 7.090 Mhz SSB, VK1BGT, VK1MDC, VK3PF, VK3FABA, VK3GHZ, VK2NA, VK3AFW mobile in Melbourne, VK2VKB, VK5PAS, VK1DI
SIgnal levels were good with some reports being s9 so this basic setup with 5 watts and a low dipole is quite effective for “local” contacts, ie. within a single high angle F layer reflection. The truly local contacts within line of sight do not require ionospheric reflection but sometimes can be affected by reflections causing cancellation or at least interference depending on the density of ionisation.
I did CQ on the lower end of the band using CW but got no replies. Some Europeans and Americans were heard but working dx on this band requires lower angles of radiation and a low antenna is not good enough. For that a vertical will be necessary unless a 15m high support point is available.