An opportunity for a short activation presented itself this afternoon when I left work. So while the car cooled down a bit from the day’s 30C heating I composed an alert for VK1/AC-041 Isaac’s Ridge. 7pm > 0800UTC > minus 11 hours for the sotagoat time error = 2100 yesterday UTC.
On site and having erected the antenna with all links closed, checked 40m. Very little activity. Ok, self spot via vk-port-a-log with the Lenovo android tablet connected to the iphone via wifi, wait till sotawatch receives it, then run a few cqs. On the third cq an answer from John ZL1BYZ, s9. After that more cqs, and a strong signal starts up 1 khz lower in the band. Went down to give him a call and log contact #2. After that no replies for a while so I wandered up to 10 mhz and looked for activity. V73NS was running a pileup of sorts, 10.118 or so, I disconnected the 30m links and called him when nobody else seemed to. QRZ? Etc and eventually extracted a report of 119 from him (barely detectable and unreadable, so how he cpied a report I don’t know, but he sent R and TU so that was me dealt with). So back down the band a bit, 10.113, QRL? Then a few cqs. The 703 has a memory keyer function, kit key 2 and it sends the canned cq again. During that you can drink water, check 2m fm, make sure the log is ready for a caller.
To my surprise I was being called by ON4VT, not strong signals but good enough. Then an EA who I didn’t recognise (and my log is in the car) but was very pleased to work. Then VK7CW much weaker than the Europeans. Very long skip conditions.
After a while, back on 40m, ssb this time. A few callers including ZL2ATH and finally Gerard VK2IO, who said my signal emerged from below the noise and within seconds was s9. Sporadic E most likely… distance from Canberra to Sydney is only about 250 km so some high angle reflection is essential.
11 contacts over 50 minutes, some not easy, but it shows that if you shop around and use the bands and modes that will most likely produce contacts, they often do.
Don’t really like Isaacs Ridge, some noisy gear up there and our local club has a repeater and a beacon on 2m. So the HT was probably flattened by that even if it survived the other RF up there.
Closing down right on sunset I was able to get back to the car in 20 minutes with a bit of light left to see the thistles and avoid the kangaroos. Ran into a spider web at one point, again not my favourite thing, but no big deal.
Rig: IC703, 10w output, has dual mech filters (W4RT) and home made linked dipole on a 7m telescopic pole, feedline RG58.