Yass to Coolum Beach

With a birthday approaching for Jack, one of my grandchildren in Queensland, I planned a road trip in April to get there in time for the birthday and along the way I’d be able to visit some SOTA summits.

Leaving Yass on Sunday 18th April I drove to Orange and up to the summit of Mt Canobolas. I had a sked with Andrew VK1AD to make contact on 144 and 1296 between Canobolas and Mt Taylor in the south of Canberra.

We made contact on 144 but didn’t quite make it on 1296 due partly to local interference at Canobolas. I didn’t identify the type of interference but it seemed to make reception on 1296 very difficult. Contacts on 1296 were made with Matt VK1MA at Mt Mundoonen VK2/ST053 and with Chris VK1DO at Carwoola east of Canberra, and with Dave VK2JDS near Bathurst, not very far from Canobolas. Other contacts were made on 144 including with Dave VK2DVM at Blackheath.

Leaving Canobolas I drove to Coonabarabran and stayed the night there.

On Monday morning 19th April I drove to Narrabri, stopped for a coffee and a snack, then headed east towards Mt Kaputar.

I set up at Mt Kaputar just off the side of the stairway leading up to the lookout. I set up a 3 el beam for 144 and the usual doublet for HF bands. While on 40m I was called by Mark VK2EMA and I told him I would like to try 144 mhz. Moving to 144.150 we were able to make an easy contact with signal levels around s8. Next time I’ll try 1296 from there.

I stopped at Narrabri again for some lunch, then drove north through Goondiwindi to Toowoomba where I stayed overnight. I emailed John VK4TJ saying I was travelling through the area and asked about summits I could activate. He suggested an activation at VK4/SE-024 Mt Perseverance. So the next morning found me at said mountain, setting up my gear when John walked around the corner of the compound. We had a good chat and were equally surprised when a beacon signal from the US was heard on 28 mhz. I have several frequencies in memories in the kx3 and one is in the beacon area of the band around 28.26 making it convenient to tune around and listen to the beacons that may be audible.

Leaving Mt Perseverance I drove a short distance to Esk and stopped for lunch. The rest of the day was spent driving to Caloundra on the Queensland Sunshine Coast, where my daughter lives with her family.

Activations at the Sunshine coast

Mt Ngungun vk4/se105. This was climbed with my daughter Annie and her three kids. The youngest Max is seen here striding up the steps and keeping up with the older ones. Sally is doing her own thing and Jack is climbing steadily. Annie is enjoying the view and the outing. I couldnt find photos of the operating position, but it was on the side of the final pathway up to the peak. Beautiful views to the west as the sun set.

Photos in the gallery can be clicked to show a full size view.

Mt Coolum VK4/SE114

I climbed this one by myself and carried a 3 element beam for 2m, making a few contacts into Brisbane and one northwards. I used the FT817 on both 144 and HF bands, with a T1 tuner to deal with the doublet impedance.

Mt Nindery VK4/SE-105.

Again I climbed this one by myself and operated from a clearing near the trig. FT817 and tuner used on HF, with some contacts made in to US and Japan on 21 MHz.

On the following Tuesday I drove from Brisbane out to Tenison Woods Mt vk4/se-117 which I had activated before, almost in darkness, so I was interested to walk up to the actual summit this time, rather than staying down near the roadway. I partly wanted to satisfy myself that operating from near the roadway was actually in the activation zone. That was all ok and according to my Garmin GPS there are a few metres in hand even at the road. The walk up to the summit was quite short, with the tower on the summit hidden completely by the surrounding trees until you reach the clearing at the top.

On the way home from Brisbane later in the week I visited Alan VK4SN who had kindly offered to explain the tasks I needed to do on the vklogchecker.com website, for the QRP Hours contest. He gave me a tour of his station which I found very impressive. Multiple towers and beams, just what every radio amateur would want.

The next day I set off again from Toowoomba, this time heading back southwards, via Goondiwindi to Narrabri where I stayed the night. The next morning I activated Mt Coryah in the Kaputar National Park. I took two HTs that would allow me to try to receive signals from the AO91 satellite which had a pass due while I was on this summit. I did hear some voices and callsigns but not at a good enough level for me to have a complete contact with anyone. It was encouraging that an HT could hear the satellite though.

The rest of the time on this summit was spent on HF and I made plenty of contacts on various bands.

After getting back to my car I resumed my trip back home, stopping at Dubbo overnight.