Bullen Range, vk1/ac-033, 17 May 2022

This summit features a 4.9km walk each way, with a steep climb for about 200m and 6 gates to negotiate. It is located in the Bullen Range Nature reserve which has a WWFF number and a POTA number. If you like variety, a bit of forest road work, climbing over some gates and being rewarded with 2 activator points for SOTA and activation credits for the parks awards, this is the summit for you.

I had posted a notice about this activation to the vk1 reflector, hoping to interest more of the irregular local chasers who may be able to be on the air this morning. My estimates were for a bit over 1 hour of walking after arriving at the trailhead at 8am, a bit of time to set up and some spare time if the walk took longer than planned. It turned out that I got to the parking spot almost 30 minutes late, then took a lot longer to walk up, it was more like 1h30. So I had some apologies for the vk1 reflector. Apparently a few locals did turn up on 2m fm at my original ETA and only a few of them were still there an hour later.

one of the six gates
Stairway not to heaven but just to the ridgeline
The log used as the operating bench. KX3, mike and paddle. ICOM HT on the right.

On the air finally

After reaching the summit and finding the log and the stumps in their usual places, I erected the guyed mast with the doublet hooked up the radio, mike, paddle, battery and antenna and looked at the recent spots.

On the way to the summit I had seen spots from Phil VK2JDL who was activating a summit in the Central Tablelands region of NSW (VK2/CT) and I had sent him a message to let him know I was running late and my new ETA. He said he would wait for me to arrive at my summit so we could make a Summit to Summit contact. The S2S contacts are highly prized so I appreciated his offer.

So I was glad to find him operating on 7 mhz ssb and after a few other callers made their contacts we were able to put the S2S contact into our logs.

I then looked at park activations on ParksnPeaks and found that Bob VK2BYF and Col VK2VAR were activating a park near Nowra on the NSW South coast. I called them and made contacts with them on both 40m and 80m.

One of the advantages of using the multiband doublet is that you can just change bands on the radio, press tune on the radio to check that the ATU is set correctly and you are on the air on the new band. Moving back to 40m is even simpler as you know the ATU is set correctly on that band, and the ATU in the KX3 memorises settings for each operating frequency band. Most modern ATUs do retain the settings for each operating frequency you have used recently on each band.

I then ran a few contacts on 40m CW, keeping up the practice of “qualifying” on each mode.

Then I remembered that I had alerted locals to my activation and there may be contacts to be made on 2m fm, so I set up the 2m half wave dipole and plugged it into my Icom V85 HT. Calling CQ on 146.5 fm yielded a contact with Kit VK1LL who told me that others had been around earlier but had not heard me so may have moved on to other activities. Serves me right for being so late and even when I did get there, I didn’t set up on 2m fm immediately. Very slack of me. Actually later I did have a call from Dimitris VK2COW and Rick VK1ARQ and was able to tell them why I was so late to air.

Finally I decided that one banana for the morning was a little light for 4 hours and I should pack up and walk back to the car. And as luck would have it, as I put the pack back onto my back and picked up the pole ready to start walking back down, a text message came from Phil VK2JDL, saying he was setting up on his second summit. I regretfully responded to him that I had just packed up and would not be able to give him the second s2s. I had expected that he would be later for his second summit, as he had left the first one later than planned. I should have asked him for his new ETA. If I had known he was nearing the next summit, I would have delayed my shutdown. This was embarrassing as I knew he had delayed his earlier activation so as to work me. I will have to do better on this score in the future.


  • 80m: 3
  • 40m: 16
  • 20m: 2
  • 10m: 2
  • 2m: 3

Summit to Summit contacts: 1

Park to Park contacts : 5

Number of contacts by mode

CW: 11, SSB: 12, FM: 3