Sota Activation – VK2/SM-001 Mt Kosciuszko

As part of our family xmas holiday’s, we are camping in the Kosciuszko National Park, a family favourite xmas camping location, we stay in a bush camping spot on the Thredbo river just down from the ski resort town. We enjoy this part of the world visiting most xmas times. This year, having recently become interested in SOTA, and with enough gear to make activations possible, i plan to activate a handful of the easier spots over the holiday’s.

I have a younger family, my biggest is 5 and my smallest turned 4 a couple of days ago, we haven’t ventured the full distance from the chairlift to the summit on previous holidays, only making the 4km return journey to the main lookout spot over the last couple of years with the small legs on the kids.

This year, we decided we would chance the full 13km return journey and watched the weather to ensure we found a nice day with light winds, a low temperature and minimum risk of rain or changing weather. The weather can change very quickly in the snowy mountains.

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So, Yesterday, Xmas eve, december 24 had a mid teens maximum, with no chance of rain and light winds, the perfect day for the walk, we left the campsite and caught the chairlift up the mountain (the steep first 900m of the journey) and were ready for the walk around 9:45am. I had pre alerted my activation on the sota website and australian sota email list, advising a midday-12:30 activation, we were already behind schedule stating the walk.

The kids were slow, slower than we anticipated, with my little one really slowing down past the 2km lookout, luckily, my wife had her backup plan baby carrier (my kids were both carried as babies and into their toddlerhood) and while the little one is now ~15kg, carrying on the back is easier than in the arms.

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The little one was carried from the rawson pass lookout/toilet up the last 1.5km assent to the summit. having taken 2 ¼ hours to get to this point, I headed on up the last section without the rest of the family quickly to ensure I had time to setup and activate before they arrived.

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I arrived and setup, finally getting on air at 12:45, a little later than my planned activation time. I had almost zero noise, and could easily hear everyone I worked. Operating a little longer than anticipated. Every time I went to move bands or shut down, other people would pop up and I worked everyone I could manage in the time.

Radio was the FT-817nd at 5w, battery used was my LiFePo 8.4aH pack, 7m squid pole wedged between some rocks and a 12.5m (random) length of wire in an almost inverted V configuration with the ZM-2 ATU and equally random ~20m length of ground wire as counterpoise.

Before shutting down, I moved to 2m and tried some of the canberra guys on FM, with my handheld and then the 817 and its internal antenna, but without much luck, but then was able to hear John, VK2YW from wagga on FM, and then work John on 2m SSB, My original 7MHz contact with john saw him become a shack sloth gaining 1000 chaser points.

I had given myself until 1:30pm local time to pack up given how slow the kids were, but my lovely wife had fed the kids lunch and we took some family photos on the trig marker before they set off down the mountain at 1:15pm while I was allowed to play radio a little longer. I finally shut down around 2pm, before a quick pack-up , and started my decent at 2:10pm.

The family had nearly 1hrs head start on me, but I caught them in around 40mins just before the 2km lookout spot, and we finally arrived at the chair lift at 3:45pm, having spent 6hrs on the mountain. As promised, the kids got an ice cream when we got down the bottom of the hill.

Thanks to all who I worked, sorry I wasn’t able to work any of the VK6’s on 14MHz, I did try, and could hear you very very weakly, not enough for a contact.

My little SOTA Goats on the top of the mountain

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Time Call Band Mode Notes
01:45z VK3MRG/P 7MHz SSB 53 and 53 thanks marshall
01:46z VK3BHR 7MHz SSB 51 out and 52 in, thanks phil
01:49z VK2DAG 7MHz SSB 53 in 51 out
01:49z VK3HRA 7MHz SSB 53 out, 23 in
01:56z VK3FPSR 7MHz SSB 57 out, 51 in peter cobram
01:57z VK3DET 7MHz SSB earnie, ballarat 5×5 both ways
01:58z VK3OHM 7MHz SSB mark 57 out 37 in
01:59z VK3PF/M 7MHz SSB 31 out 41 in peter mobile thanks
02:03z VK3MEG 7MHz SSB steve, 53 out 57 in
02:03z VK3AFW 7MHz SSB 55 out, 53 in
02:06z VK3CAT 7MHz SSB tony, 55 out, 22 in, hard work
02:09z VK2UH 7MHz SSB 55 out 42 in,
02:11z VK1MA 7MHz SSB 33 out and 21 in, hard hard work this one.
02:12z VK3ATA 7MHz SSB 31 in, 57 out
02:14z VK7NWT 7MHz SSB scott in tassie, 55 out and 44 in
02:15z VK2FAJG 7MHz SSB andrew, 31 out, 2×1 in
02:18z VK5EE 14MHz SSB tom, 53 in and 53 out
02:23z VK5PAS 14MHz SSB paul, 57 out and 59 in, strong
02:37z VK2YW 7MHz SSB 5×5 both ways and your 1000’th points
02:39z VK1NAM 7MHz SSB andrew, 4×1 both ways
02:47z VK2TWR 7MHz SSB 3×1 both ways
02:48z VK3ACT 7MHz SSB 51 out and 44 in.
02:55z VK2YW 144MHz SSB also on 2m
02:56z VK2YW 144MHz FM also on fm
02:57z VK2TWR 144MHz FM on fm also,

3 thoughts on “Sota Activation – VK2/SM-001 Mt Kosciuszko

  1. Pingback: 3 weeks in the Snowy Mountains | VK3BQ

  2. Hi Andrew,

    Well done mate on your effort there with the family. Ice cream always seems to work as a bribe. It was great to get you in the log on 20m with a terrific signal.

    Best 73 & HNY 2014,

    Paul,
    VK5PAS.

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