In November 2021 my good friend Andrew Moseley VK1AD became motivated to make S2S scores his priority for SOTA contacts. He told me he was going to try to make the 10,000 point level before the end of the year. This seemed like a very good goal and there were only 200 points needed at that stage.
After several activations in the VK1 area, supported well by other VK1 activators, his score had jumped up to within 14 points of the magic ten thousand. We discussed the options for achieving the 14 points, finally settling on a dual activation trip of Bald Mt VK2/SM-052 and Big Badja VK2/SM-059. Each summit had a score of 8 so an S2S between them would score 16. A date was set and on Monday 22nd November we found ourselves heading down the Monaro Highway from Canberra.
We drove via Bredbo, then to the Slap Up fire trail, arriving after about 2H15 next to Bald Mt. I got out of the car with all my gear and walked up the remaining minor incline to set up my station. It was fairly thick fog. Andrew VK1AD drove the next 10 km to reach Big Badja Mt and walked up from the car park to the summit, finding it virtually bare due to the fires in 2019/2020.
When we were both ready for our first contact we made that using 2m FM, then moved to SSB on 144.200 to work:
- Ian VK1DI at Mt Gillamatong VK2/ST-034
- Andrew VK1MBE at Mt Cowangerong VK2/ST-001
- Compton VK2HRX at Mt Burngoogee VK2/IL-003 near Mittagong
- Al VK1RX at Mt Stromlo VK1/AC-043
- Matt VK1MA at home
- Bill VK1MCW at home
- Mat VK1MF at home
- my brother Chris VK2DO, using his station at Batemans Bay remotely.
Signals in general were huge. Even Compton VK2HRX, the farthest away from us, was readily copied at s5-s7 at times.
After making enough contacts on 2m, we both moved to HF bands and I made contacts on CW on 40 and 20m. Conditions at Big Badja were not seeming too good and VK1AD did not make the usual number of contacts into ZL or even around VK on either 20 or 40m.
Then he packed up at Badja and returned to Bald Mt where he used my station to activate that summit. He was quite wet from the rain at Badja. Fortunately Al was still at Mt Stromlo, Chris, Mat and Matt were still available for contacts and Compton had arrived at his second summit, VK2/IL-006.
By then we were both wet from the rain and were glad enough to pack up and get back into the car, driving back to Canberra via Captains Flat, an old mining town southeast of Canberra.
At home I put up the shade tent in the backyard to let it dry out a bit. My bag of antenna bits, bungee cords and ropes was also fairly wet and needed to dry out.
Pics below show Andrew VK1AD on arrival back at Bald Mt and operating the VK1DA station there. The rectangular loop used for all the contacts on 2m SSB is visible in the second photo.
Thanks to Andrew VK1AD for suggesting this trip and doing all the driving. It was another great day playing radio in the hills. And also, thanks to Ian, Andrew, Mat, Matt, Compton and Chris for activating other summits or making time to chase us on this special event. And congratulations to Andrew VK1AD on a superb S2S score, the top S2S score in Australia.