My first SOTA activation occured on 14 Feb 2014 at Mt.Granite VK2/SW- 015. First contact was Col VK5HCF on 40metres. Here are a few photos of the setup.
The Equipment used was a Yaesu FT-897D using 20w. A modified 10m squid pole, a link dipole for 10,15,20 and 40m and a swag of 7Ah and 12Ah SLA batteries. The SLA batteries work well but they are too heavy to lug for any great distance. As you can see from the photo I had six batteries ready to use. Considering this was my first portable operation with the 897, I was concerned I would run out of battery life rather quickly,even though I knew otherwise. I need not have worried the activation went without a hitch and I could have easily operated on just one of the 7Ah SLA’s!
The link dipole in position on top of the squid pole.
Following on from Mt.Granite I drove along the Alpine Way until I entered the track to MT.Youngal (VK2/Sm-047).
Once I finally arrived at the summit I was greeted by Rod the fire watch person who lives on site during this time of the year. After a conversation regarding SOTA and what it’s all about I had a keen observer.
On site there are a number of antenna poles and towers belonging to various organisations , Telstra ,GRN, and others. You can see the fire watch tower and the link dipole setup at the Trig point.
After completing a stack of contacts and a few S2S contacts with Rod VK2TWR it was time to move along to my next planned Summit Mt.Grey Mare (VK2/SM-012). It took considerable driving/walking time to access the Grey Mare track but the trip was well worth it. The site is located in the Jugungal wilderness area and the view is excellent, even though there was a lot of smoke haze from the Victorian bush fires. On site there are remains of a wooden/metal Trig marker which was destroyed during the 2003 fires. All that is left is the black and white metal marker.
A star picket has been proped into a crevice between two rocks on site and this made a great attachment for the squid pole base.
Once again when I activated the site there was an immeadiate pile up of chasers looking for that 10 point contact. All I can say is this is the most fun I have had in years with Amateur Radio. SOTA has become very popular and I think will continue to gain a large following. Three summits in one day was a great adventure and my legs certainly let me know I had worked them hard. I am looking forward to my next summit assult.