EMDRC Club SOTA BBQ – VK3/VC-002 Mt Donna Buang

I decided we needed to get some more people interested in sota, a number of members of the Ham club I’m involved in (EMDRC) had mentioned they were interested in SOTA, and a number had even acquired some portable gear with the intent of operating portable and even activating some sota summits.

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With the weather getting nicer, i decided to organise a BBQ Sota summit activation for the club, and this was held last sunday 21st September on Mt Donna Buang VK3/VC-002, this summit is around 1hr east of melbourne, near enough to town to make it an easy trip for a sunday drive. The summit is also easily accessible. You can drive to the summit, and walk out of the activation zone, or park at the snow car park just down the hill and walk the last 200m up the road to the top!. The weather was expected to be good, so we locked in the day and publicised the activation and BBQ.

I set off from Melbourne early, as I was providing the radio gear, the aim was for me to park the car at the top and walk out of the activation zone with my sota gear, and back into the zone, to qualify the station, allowing the new people to walk into the zone and operate!, then set up the bbq, i had even planned for an open fire as the summit has a fireplace in a rotunda/shelter, however we were greeted with bright blue skies and a lovely day. So set up outside. The car said the temperature was only 3 degrees, but in the sun it was lovely and warm.

I arrived at the summit at around 9am, and then walked down the hill to the snow car park and back into the activation zone and began to set up the station. I then set up the BBQ and waited for the first people to arrive at around 10am.

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Some snow on the side of the summit road.

We were active just after 10am, on 40m, and we were able to get 5 club members to qualify for the summit, 5 new sota activators, it also showed some people just how well a bit of wire and less than 5 watts on the side of a mountain works when you have no local noise. you can work anything you can hear!

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Marc vk3ohm set up his sota kit on 20m and was active on the adjacent table, and was able to work some contacts as well. I was able to work some of the S2S contacts between the new activators as I had already activated this summit, but it helped build my chaser points. Marshall VK3MRG Popped in on the way to an adjacent summit as well to say hello and have a sausage.

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After some activations, we fired up the BBQ and had a nice lunch. A nice morning on the mountain with some club members and new sota converts!

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Thanks to everyone who came along for the BBQ, and to all the chasers and S2S sota people who helped us introduce so many new people to this aspect of ham radio.

** and for those who might be interested, 3 ½ hrs of battery use and 40-50 contacts, and in recharging, i put 1.7Ah back into the battery, with 8Ah, the setup can last a LONG time..

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