Category Archives: accessible summits

SOTA vk3/ve-237 Huon Hill 4th March 2016

Sadly, the last of the summits to be activated in my short VK ‘Road Trip’, Huon Hill (vk3/ve-237) turned out to be a whole lot of fun!

Driving across from Albury I was quickly at the start of the dirt road that would take me virtually up to the summit. driving past the new housing development at the bottom of the hill, I saw my first lot of kangaroos! (live ones that is, I have seen lots of dead ones at the side of the road!)
Did i mention I’m easily pleased? I got excited at the sight of 9 inch high penguins scurrying up a beach in Dunedin last week:)

Anyway, I digress, getting to the top, it was 37c in the shade, and i wasn’t too keen on sitting on one of the exposed viewing platforms that most other activators seem to have used. There is a picnic table, underneath a small roof that provided a little shade on the grass beside it. I didn’t have enough cable to run from here to the viewing platform, so i ended up velcro-ing the pole to the wire fence surrounding the small mast nearby. Discovering I’d left the pegs back in the hotel, i ended up just laying the ends of the dipole on the ground. . Not ideal.

bodged lash up of pole to the mesh enclosure

bodged lash up of pole to the mesh enclosure

In the shade, it was still showing 33c, but at least i was out of the sun!

Starting off on 40m, a range of vk chasers who had help qualify the previous summits did the same again, before drying up (well it was Friday evening, real people probably have better things to do!)

Switching to 20m provided lots of fun! 17 European contacts, one JA, one ZL and 2 further VK contacts ensued. Some of the European ones were particularly difficult to complete, so thanks to those who showed the patience to complete the contacts, it was appreciated.
There were, unfortunately some chasers who were just too weak, I could pick out the odd bit of audio, but not enough to get any details at all.
Half way through, a huge orangey-pink looking spider ran across the ground… no idea what it was, but having heard all about spiders here πŸ˜‰ , I moved all the stuff up onto the picnic table πŸ™‚

(Perhaps the spider was one of these Badge (Huntsman) Spiders Then again, maybe not, as they’re supposed to be nocturnal… I wasn’t going to ask it πŸ™‚

shack on the table away from the scary spiders.......

shack on the table away from the scary spiders…….

Finally briefly back on 40m for any outstanding locals who missed 40m earlier, before packing up before sunset as i didn’t have a torch with me.

view from the top

view from the top

Time Call Band Mode Notes
06:28z VK2IO 7MHz SSB s57 r32
06:30z VK1AD 7MHz SSB s57 r57
06:32z VK4RF 7MHz SSB s58 r52
06:32z VK4HA 7MHz SSB s58 r52
06:41z VK2YK 7MHz SSB s59 r57
06:50z S57S 14MHz SSB s33 r53
06:51z I5FLN 14MHz SSB s55 r53
06:52z IW2NOI 14MHz SSB s32 r55
06:54z RA3PCI 14MHz SSB s32 r57
06:55z DF1YQ 14MHz SSB s59 r57
06:56z S52KM 14MHz SSB s33 r33
06:56z F1BLL 14MHz SSB s55 r55
06:57z HA6OB 14MHz SSB s34 r55
06:58z VK4RF 14MHz SSB s59 r59
06:58z VK4HA 14MHz SSB s59 r59
07:02z ZL2AJ 14MHz SSB s57 r53
07:04z SA4BLM 14MHz SSB s46 r31
07:08z DL1EBR 14MHz SSB s32 r53
07:17z UT5PI 14MHz SSB s44 r55
07:18z ON4BB 14MHz SSB s44 r44
07:19z IK1GPG 14MHz SSB s58 r55
07:20z SV1IZY 14MHz SSB s58 r54
07:20z VK6JON 14MHz SSB s57 r57
07:25z EA4DTV 14MHz SSB s44 r55
07:26z ON4VT 14MHz SSB s33 r44
07:38z VK3PF 7MHz SSB s44 r57
07:41z VK3FQSO 7MHz SSB s59 r56
07:51z JA8RJE 14MHz SSB s57 r55

Many thanks to everyone who took their time to chase on all of the ZL and VK summits, it was greatly appreciated!

Equipment used 817nd, mp-817 amplifier and linked dipole

As an added bonus, driving back in the gathering gloom, I managed to take a pic of the roos too!

Real, live, kangaroos :)

Real, live, kangaroos πŸ™‚

SOTA vk1/ac-040 Mount Ainslie 3rd March 2016

After the successful activation of Mount Gibraltar earlier in the day it was down the Hume Highway before turning off down towards Canberra. Such a pleasure driving on roads that weren’t bumper to bumper! Only things I didn’t see, were kangaroos.. well, except the ones at the side of the road that had obviously come worse off when meeting cars and trucks πŸ™
Time was getting on,so after I’d found the hotel and checked in, I drove backup Mount Ainslie, vk1/ac-040, to the fairly large car park, with only one of two cars parked. Menacing clouds were starting to gather, and the distant rumble of thunder meant that I probably wouldn’t be on top of the hill too long!

40m into the linked dipole quickly rattled off 4 QSOs that meant, at least, that I’d qualified the summit, and had it as a ‘complete’ too, which was nice!
Switching to 20m provided another 2 QSOs on the linked dipole.

hf setup, ends of dipole in the trees

hf setup, ends of dipole in the trees

A further one qso back on 40m before I wimped out and pulled down the dipole, putting the 2m moxon on the pole for 3 further 2m fm QSOs

Tiny moxon antenna on the pole

Tiny moxon antenna on the pole

After numerous ground strikes from lightning, getting visibly closer, I hastily decided enough was enough and packed up, apologies if I missed anyone.

Time Call Band Mode Notes
05:22z VK3PF 7MHz SSB s58 r44
05:24z VK3CAT 7MHz SSB s59 r46
05:25z VK1MA 7MHz SSB s58 r34
05:27z VK3LED 7MHz SSB s57 r53
05:46z VK4RF 14MHz SSB s21 r41
05:47z VK4HA 14MHz SSB s21 r41
06:04z VK2IO 7MHz SSB s58 r57
06:20z VK1MA 144MHz FM s59 r59
06:29z VK2COW/M 144MHz FM s59 r59
06:32z VK1LWW 144MHz FM s59 r59

I would have liked to have stayed longer, but safety comes first!

angry clouds, bit like the UK, but with warm rain ;)

angry clouds, bit like the UK, but with warm rain πŸ˜‰

Equipment used 817nd, MPP-817 amplifier, linked dipole (For HF) 817nd, moxon 2m antenna (for VHF)

SOTA vk2/il-001 Mount Gibraltar 3rd March 2016

Only a couple of days left before I leave the southern hemisphere πŸ™ so it was time for a couple of easy vk activations!
Both virtually drive on summits, so that was niceΒ  first one, just off the Hume Highway between Sydney and Melbourne, vk2/il-001, Mount Gibraltar, I drove past the gate to the many transmitting towers, so I did have to walk up to the activation zone. I was stopped by a couple of tourists who wanted to know where the viewpoint was.. they said they thought I would know as i looked like a “professional walker” ( Huh?. They’d obviously been out in the sun too long! Damned tourists…. oh.. yes… err… πŸ˜‰ )
Anyway, there appeared to be a lot of work happening on one of the towers, installing another dish, so i kept out of the way, finding an old tree to bungy the pole to, one end of the linked dipole in a tree, the other wrapped around a rock on the ground.


pole bungied to the tree, rig on the ground being investigated by ants πŸ™

The RF noise from the transmitters made things a little difficult in hearing chasers, my reports to most being significantly worse than the reports i received in return, however, all QSOs were successful in the end, 10 on 40m, and a further 6 on 20m.

It was quite ple:)asant, in the shade of the trees, the thermometer showing 32c, a nice change from 32f πŸ™‚

Time Call Band Mode Notes
00:29z VK2YW 7MHz SSB s33 r55
00:32z VK2IO 7MHz SSB s33 r55
00:34z VK2YK 7MHz SSB s58 r58
00:36z VK2UH 7MHz SSB s48 r58
00:38z VK3PF 7MHz SSB s44 r42
00:39z VK1AD 7MHz SSB s22 r57
00:51z VK5CZ 14MHz SSB s53 r53
00:57z VK5PAS 14MHz SSB s44 r57
00:59z VK5WG 14MHz SSB s33 r55
01:01z VK4RF 14MHz SSB s58 r55
01:01z VK4HA 14MHz SSB s58 r55
01:05z VK5IS 14MHz SSB s21 r52
01:13z VK3LED 7MHz SSB s47 r59
01:19z VK1AT/P2 7MHz SSB s22 r53
01:21z VK4RF 7MHz SSB s21 r55
01:22z VK2NP 7MHz SSB s45 r54

Quite an enjoyable time in the shadows of the trees,many thanks to all the chasers.
Rig was the 817nd, with the MP-817 Amplifier,into a linked dipole, not too far off the ground.
After close to an hour playing radio, it was time to pack up, and make my way down the Hume Highway again to Canberra

zl1/nl-076 Mount Parihaka 11th February 2016

After my last night in the Bay of Islands, it was time for me to drive back through Auckland to the Coromandel. A check on the sota mapping site threw up the possibility of activating zl1/nl-076 in Whangarei, just off my route, and virtually a drive on summit :smile:
I checked the location of the ‘car park’ using the app “what3words” and input them into navmii, the phone based GPS I’m using on holiday (I’d previously successfully used it to navigate to the parking spot for Kauri Mountain and found it to be excellent!)
Some hour and a quarter later I was indeed driving up the road to the car park virtually at the summit.
Only to be met with a sign “viewing platform closed” and another sign requesting “all suspicious activities to be reported to the police” I had visions of yet another run in with officialdom :wink: (apparently the suspicious activity is related to vehicle crime, according to numerous other signs regarding locking your car and removing everything from view)

Steps to the summit and numerous antennae!

Steps to the summit and numerous antennae!

Climbing the steps to the summit revealed the huge monument, and the viewing platform that was indeed, cordoned off due to workmen using power tools that were to prove rather RF noisy :frowning:

I wondered if the monument could be 'tuned' :wink:

I wondered if the monument could be ‘tuned’ πŸ˜‰

I ended up bungying the pole in a haphazard fashion to one of the pillars in the stone wall surrounding the monument, and spotted myself. Almost immediately, Paul, VK5PAS answered and did sterling work in trying to drum up contacts.. not many came :frowning: taking best part of 40 minutes to get the required 4 on 20m

The incredibly low slung linked dipole!

Giving up on the linked gp antenna i strung the linked dipole up, tying the ends to a couple of handy trees. A few CQs on 40m gave… nothing.. hearing some faint activity on 10m, i gave several CQs there too… nothing, so back to 20m I went, holding out until UTC rollover, just in case anyone needed points.

My 'work' position

My ‘work’ position

Just before I packed up, some old dear came past and remarked that I was sitting in such a lovely spot to do my work… i guess i must’ve looked hassled or something :wink: I neglected to say that i didn’t even have a work permit :wink:

Needless to say, a big thank you to everyone who called, and to those who took the time to try and drum up contacts, it was all appreciated!

Time Call Band Mode Notes
00:01z VK4RF 14MHz SSB s59 r57
00:01z VK4HA 14MHz SSB s59 r57
00:02z VK7CW 14MHz SSB s58 r54
22:47z VK5PAS 14MHz SSB s58 r55
23:00z VK2YW 14MHz SSB s45 r31
23:26z VK4RF 14MHz SSB s58 r58
23:26z VK4HA 14MHz SSB s58 r58
23:31z VK3PF 14MHz SSB s31 r31
23:40z VK7CW 14MHz SSB s58 r53
23:42z VK3PF 14MHz SSB s55 r41

‘Accessible’ SOTA Summits in the Welsh Borders

After some discussion on the SOTA Reflector regarding ‘accessible’ SOTA summits for less able potential activators, I was reminded of an old posting and the BurtonARC website, which although is now defunct, can be still found via

Following on from that work, originally done by Steve Warren, M0KPO, I thought I would use Google Earth, and the ‘flood tool’ as described by VK2GOM’s Ham radio and SOTA Blog to show the activation zones for a few of the G/WB SOTA summits that would possibly be of interest to people hoping to activate relatively easy summits.
I have activated all of these, and probably only Long Mynd Pole Bank (G/WB-005) would not be ‘drive on’ summit, although it appears from the ‘flood map’, the Portway may just skirt the Activation zone where it passes nearest to the south east of the trig point.

The other 3 summits have roads that actually run through the activation zone, one, Ruardean Hill (G/WB-021) does have seats next to the car park, which could be useful.

As ever, it is necessary for the activator to ensure that theΒ SOTA rules are adhered to, in particular:

Operations must not be in, or in the close vicinity of, a motor vehicle. No part of the
station may be connected in any way with the motor vehicle. However, the use of a bike
(non-motorized) or animals to enter the Activation Zone is permitted.

For all of these summits, the ‘flood level’ was set to the height of the summit (From the G/WB summit list) minus 25m, rather than taking the height listed in Google Earth. As ever, it would be best to verify the activator’s position is actually within the 25m vertical limit from the summit as per the rules. Several smart phone apps are available to show the altitude at your location.

G/WB-005 Long Mynd Pole Bank


Approximate activation zone for G/WB-005


The Portway skirting the AZ















The footpath up to the trig point is not particularly steep, and mainly well maintained. From the Shooting Box car park (at the top of the image) there appears to be some water damage, from Pole Cottage car park (at the bottom of the image) it is well maintained, although some walking along the road will be necessary to get to the path.
The ‘road’ from East to West across the AZ is probably only suitable for 4×4 vehicles.


G/WB-018 View Edge


The road bisecting the approximate Activation Zone on G/WB-018


There should be room for one car at the entrance to the old quarry, towards the East of the road bisecting the AZ
















G/WB-023 Hegdon Hill


The trig point is apparently on private land, but there is parking on the road side, G/WB-023.









G/WB-021 Ruardean Hill


Seats are available next to the small car park! G/WB-021


SOTA CT3/MI-004 5th February 2015

Thursday 5th February 2015. CT3/MI-004

I was going to get up early.. but decided, looking out at the weather, I’d go back to bed for a little while smile I’d had the Tracer Battery on charge overnight, even though it was only about 1/3 used..

After breakfast, a final check I had everything, I jumped in the car, driving towards the middle of Funchal, to find the road up through Monte, on the way to CT3/MI-004.
Lots of windy roads, hairpin bends, all good fun (at least with not much traffic about!) The higher I got, the more the amount of water running down the sides of the road told me it wasn’t going to be a very dry day!

Soon I came to the junction, signposted to Pico do Areiro, and turned off, held up for a few moments by some workmen doing some logging work. Around half the way along the road, the clouds rolled in, visibility dropped to about 15m, and the ICE warning lit up on the dashboard!The thermometer showing 3C…
Eventually reaching the top, I missed the car park sign in the mist and ended up having to drive around the roundabout at the end, and back down to the car park.
Being such a nice day (not!), I think there were 4 cars in the car park! I parked close to the bottom, in order to do at least some walking up the hill!

Up the steps, past the cafe building it was impossible to even see the radar dome! I had a quick wander about, up the wheelchair ramp, up the steps to the ‘trig’, looking for somewhere suitable for the ‘shack’
ct3-mi-004eThere is a radar dome there… somewhere!
Since it wasn’t too busy (I probably saw less than 25 people all the time I was there) I bungied the pole to the fence post mid way up the steps, by a nice ‘seat’, which was rather nice!
Again, I unravelled the linked dipole to somewhere between the 20m and 40m links, and wrapped the ends around the fence top. I decided to use the amp from the start, so cabled it all up.
ct3-mi-004cThe ‘shack’ looking like it’s at the end of the world!
Close to 12:30, I spotted myself on 21Mhz, and within 20 minutes, had 18 QSOs in the log.
However, there appeared to be a problem.. The amplifier appeared to be intermittently powering off and back on again, a bit of further investigation showed that the 817 was intermittently using the internal batteries. It looked like an issue with the Tracer battery…
I had a similar issue with one on G/WB-004 last year which I’d put down to the cold.. being rather chilly here, it could be the same, I put it in the back pack, and it appeared to solve the problem.
Dropping down to 14MHz I recorded a further 17 QSOs in the next 20 minutes.
Going to 28MHz, I then recorded 50 QSOs in just over an hour, including a s2s with 9H3BT/P on 9h/ma-001, which was a nice surprise!

ct3-mi-004d‘Spot the battery’…. it’s in the bag!

However, the battery problem appeared to have returned, meaning that I was sometimes running close to 50W, then dropping to 2.5W on internal 817 battery, then back up again.. Not ideal.
A bit of wiggling about with cables, seemed to have made things a little better, so I went to 21MHz and tried again..
A s2s with SP8RHP/P on sp/bw-003 ensued, followed by another 3 QSOs.. Finally going to 24MHz for a further 6 QSOs before taking a few pics, and packing up, once calls were being unanswered.
ct3-mi-004bView up to the highest point.

ct3-mi-004aThe path ‘PR1’, apparently to nowhere!

Thanks, once again to anyone who called in, and apologies if I missed anyone!

Time Call Band Mode Notes
12:27z G4WSB 21MHz SSB
12:27z EA2LU 21MHz SSB
12:28z ON4FI 21MHz SSB
12:29z HB9MKV 21MHz SSB
12:30z EI9GLB 21MHz SSB
12:30z OE7FMH 21MHz SSB
12:31z G8ADD 21MHz SSB
12:32z DJ6OK 21MHz SSB
12:32z OK1SDE 21MHz SSB
12:33z M3FEH 21MHz SSB
12:34z G6TUH 21MHz SSB
12:36z M0MDA 21MHz SSB
12:37z G0RQL 21MHz SSB
12:38z EB2CZF 21MHz SSB
12:38z DL8MLD 21MHz SSB
12:40z M6KVJ 21MHz SSB
12:42z OE7PHI 21MHz SSB
12:43z SV2OXS 21MHz SSB
12:53z EA8/PA7ZEE 14MHz SSB
12:55z G0RQL 14MHz SSB
12:57z GI4ONL 14MHz SSB
12:57z M6KVJ 14MHz SSB
12:59z G0HRT 14MHz SSB
13:00z DL3HXX 14MHz SSB
13:00z EA2CKX 14MHz SSB
13:02z DF5WA 14MHz SSB
13:03z PA0INA 14MHz SSB
13:04z AE4FZ 14MHz SSB
13:04z OE7PHI 14MHz SSB
13:04z EA1LQ 14MHz SSB
13:05z G0HRT 14MHz SSB
13:08z PE1RMO 14MHz SSB
13:09z G6ODU 14MHz SSB
13:10z OK2PDT 14MHz SSB
13:20z G6TUH 28MHz SSB
13:20z KB1RJD 28MHz SSB
13:21z KB1RJC 28MHz SSB
13:22z M0IML 28MHz SSB
13:22z G0TDM 28MHz SSB
13:23z M6KVJ 28MHz SSB
13:24z DL6ZG 28MHz SSB
13:25z DL2EF 28MHz SSB
13:26z KW4CK 28MHz SSB
13:28z M0MDA 28MHz SSB
13:30z DL6MST 28MHz SSB
13:31z AC1Z 28MHz SSB
13:32z W1OW 28MHz SSB
13:33z IK1GPG 28MHz SSB
13:34z UA3GJM 28MHz SSB
13:34z ON7DQ 28MHz SSB
13:36z F4HJP 28MHz SSB
13:37z DG5FEB 28MHz SSB
13:38z DK7DU 28MHz SSB
13:39z IK2ZEC 28MHz SSB
13:39z N2BTD 28MHz SSB
13:40z W8IZC 28MHz SSB
13:41z PA2BT 28MHz SSB
13:43z EI9JU 28MHz SSB
13:46z W4CLJ 28MHz SSB
13:47z DJ1SD 28MHz SSB
13:51z KI4AAU 28MHz SSB
13:52z R4FCJ 28MHz SSB
13:53z 2E0YYY 28MHz SSB
14:05z W4DOW 28MHz SSB
14:06z F6HFI 28MHz SSB
14:08z KD2FND 28MHz SSB
14:10z ON5SWA 28MHz SSB
14:11z HB9AGH 28MHz SSB
14:11z R2EA 28MHz SSB
14:12z N4EX 28MHz SSB
14:13z VE1WT 28MHz SSB
14:16z KV4WN 28MHz SSB
14:16z HB9BQU 28MHz SSB
14:17z M0DAZ 28MHz SSB
14:18z OE3GGS 28MHz SSB
14:20z M0JLA 28MHz SSB
14:20z RZ3AR 28MHz SSB
14:22z G3TJE 28MHz SSB
14:22z OE3JTB 28MHz SSB
14:23z 9H3BT/P 28MHz SSB
14:24z IK1VQY 28MHz SSB
14:26z G3ZKN 28MHz SSB
14:27z W5CL 28MHz SSB
14:28z DL3JPN 28MHz SSB
14:41z SP8RHP/P 21MHz SSB
14:45z VE2JCW 21MHz SSB
14:46z OZ4RT 21MHz SSB
14:48z DK7ZH 21MHz SSB
14:58z HB9AGH 24MHz SSB
14:59z HB9MKV 24MHz SSB
15:01z DK7ZH 24MHz SSB
15:01z WX4ET 24MHz SSB
15:04z OE5JKL 24MHz SSB
15:05z DL2BXE 24MHz SSB

Getting back onto the main road, I managed to miss a load of very deep potholes… except one…
Convinced that I’d probably blown the tyre, or at least bent the rim, I stopped and had a look.. I couldn’t see any damage, and thought I’d got away with it…
However, in the middle of what passes for ‘rush hour’ in Funchal, some nice YLs, whilst stopped at traffic lights began to attract my attention (no, not in THAT way…) and pointing to the front of the car.. yes… tyre was just about flat.. typical..
No problem.. I called the ‘helpline’ as instructed, to be told that they didn’t do punctures, despite what I’d been told, however, they would come out for around 100 euros.. umm… no..
Having replaced numerous wheels in my time, I’m more than capable of doing so, but didn’t relish the prospect of doing so in some narrow back street, on the wrong side of the road.. The nice people at Avis, sent one of their guys out, who did it instead smile
Only downside, was, since there was a small tear in the sidewall, it wasn’t repairable, and hence, I ‘lost’ the 100 euro excess… ah well, At least Filipe called me, and apologised for the attitude of the third party ‘helpline’

So, all in all, 2 days of good fun, gamboling around somewhat scary roads, 2 SOTA summits activated, if a little expensively!
Next time… can someone remind me to actually take my floppy brimmed hat with me to a summit please? Sunburnt ears apparently cause quite a bit of hilarity!

SOTA Long Mynd Pole Bank (G/WB-005) 21st June 2013

Summer solstice 2013, and there was an unofficial SOTA Summer Solstice event, hopefully to grab a load of summit to summits!

I made my way up to Long Mynd Pole Bank, G/WB-005, not really fancying a long walk πŸ™‚ I parked up at the small car park at Pole Cottage, and took the short walk along the road, bearing left along the Shropshire Way to the trig point.

Short walk to the trig point

Short walk to the trig point

Despite being ‘Mid Summers day’, it was rather chilly to say the least, my hands had turned blue by the end of the fairly short activation!

Only 2M was used, 5W from the ft817nd into my home brew coaxial colinear, the bottom metre or so lying on the ground as the fishing pole bent so much in the wind!

Long Mynd 'shack'

Long Mynd ‘shack’ in the gloom

Long Mynd 'shack'

Long Mynd ‘shack’ in the gloom

All contacts on 2M FM using 5W:

Time Call Band Mode Notes
20:10z G0IBE/P 144MHz FM s59+ r59 Richard on G/CE-001
20:12z 2E0XYL 144MHz FM Karen s55 r53
20:15z 2W0TDX/P 144MHz FM s59+ r 59 Neil on GW/SW-010
20:20z G6LUZ 144MHz FM s59+ r53 Steve in Crewe
20:20z M0NTC 144MHz FM s59+ r59+ Gez in Dudley
20:22z 2W0WDS/P 144MHz FM s41 r59 Wayne on GW/NW-075
20:23z G6ODU 144MHz FM s41 r51 Bob in Ormskirk
20:25z G8IYE 144MHz FM s59+ r59+ Jess, Clee Hill
20:26z G1ZAR/P 144MHz FM s59+ r59+ Stuart on G/CE-004
20:26z M0JLA 144MHz FM s59+ r55 Rod in Hereford
20:28z G7SET 144MHz FM s59+ r55 Andy in Redditch
20:38z G0FBO 144MHz FM s56 r58 Clive in Brownhills
20:41z M1EYP/P 144MHz FM Tom on G/SP-015
20:42z G8XYJ 144MHz FM s59+ r59 Matt in Ludlow

By now it was getting very cold and gloomy, I packed up, removing several small caterpillars from the equipment! and made my way back the short way to the car.

Oh, and 2 points!Β  Marvellous!