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Activation in VK9 Norfolk Island late May 2016

From 20th to 30th May 2016 VK9NT will be active as a DXpedition. Some team members may activate VK9/NI-001 Mt Bates. If the weather is favourable they will attempt to activate VK9/NI-002, Jacky Jacky.

I will be on Norfolk Island at the same time and will definitely be activating Mt Bates, probably on Wednesday local time - 25/5/16. I plan to post an alert and then hopefully a spot. 20 m and 15 m CW and SSB are planned. Other days and frequencies may be possible, depends on WX and YF.

The WIA is holding it’s AGM on the weekend (28, 29) and several other SOTA ops will probably be there for the week prior. There will be many VK’s there for the conference and some might find themselves calling CQ SOTA for the first time.

I will be signing VK3AFW/9 or VK9/VK3AFW/P.

While VK East Coast and ZL are a gimme, I will try to pick some times when chasers further afield can be worked.

73
Ron
VK3AFW

5 Likes

Hello Ron,

Thanks for information.

10 days is a good time spread for the DXpedition and if SOTA activations take place it improves the odds.

Time difference between UK-VK9 is UTC+11.5 hours. The way the bands have been not sure how it will work out but good luck in any event. :wink:

Cheers
Mike

Hi Ron,

I wonder how late you (or the others) can stay on the summit? around 0700 UTC could make long path into Europe possible.

I can head out to a DL summit to take a shot at an S2S if required (only SSB though - no CW from my station yet).

Ed.

Hi Mike,

Thanks. Interesting thing about NI time. On October 4, 2015 Norfolk Island changed local time observance to
UTC + 11 hours as the new standard time. Previously Norfolk Island observed GMT/UTC + 11:30.

73
Ron
VK3AFW

1 Like

Hi Ed,

0600 UTC should be feasible, not sure how much later I could stay. Sunset is 5:30 local or 0630 UTC with last light 30 minutes later. I will have a torch which would be OK for walking out but packing up in the dark is to be avoided.

73
Ron.

I have heard VK home stations from 0600 UTC recently - in fact as Norfolk Island is East from Aus, it should see Long Path earlier, so 0600 may be better in any case. Hmm, really have to drag myself out of bed to get to a summit at this end - but do-able - let us all know when you have a planned date.

I think Mt. Bates is a drive-up summit, so you shouldn’t have any problems with a long climb down in the dark, but as you say you need light to pack up safely.

Ed.

Hi Ed,

We will see what we can do, given the WIA AGM, tourist and YF constraints. Priorities are: Work 4 stations. Get visiting amateurs involved. Work as many stations as possible in time on summit. Try for Eu and other dx.

VK3PF, VK5PAS, VK3DAC will be there at the same time and all will be heading for Mr Bates at some time in the week. Hopefully they will be able to spread the activation times and frequencies around. VK9NT is likely to be there too. Others may turn up.

Mt Bates is only a couple of metres higher than Mt Pitt which is a drive-up peak. There is a 800 m walk on a clear path from the car park at Mt Pitt to the nominal peak of Mt Bates although the highest point seems to be 200 m further but only a m or so higher. There is a saddle between Mt Bates and Mt Pitt which drops maybe 30 m. Subtropical vegetation with some large pine trees - not sure if there are any in the activation zone.

Keep an eye out on the Alerts for times etc.

I’ll keep in touch.

73
Ron
VK3AFW

OK, will do. It would be better if the alert could be posted as soon as a possible date is decided upon, for me to make arrangements this end to get the car, that I share with my wife.

If there turns out to be multiple activators on the summit at the same time, I have no problems with working all, so that they each get the S2S contact of course, as you say on the SOTA_Australlia yahoogroup with so many amateurs present, there could well be some shared, group activations.

73 Ed DD5LP/VK2JI.

Hi Ed,

Both Paul and I have posted Alerts… Paul will be running 5 w and I will be running 18 W. I hope I can get some help to get the antenna up a pine tree. Otherwise the 4 m squid pole isn’t going to be helpful for DX but taking something bigger is a PITA.

73
Ron
VK3AFW/9

Hi Ron, I notice little or no difference with my Inverted-V with it’s centre at 5m or 10m - my contact yesterday with Andrew VK1MBE/P on VK1/AC-040 Mount Ainsley from DL/AM-180 Berndorfer Buchet was using the 5m pole (It used to be a 6 metre one, but you know what happens from time to time!). I was running 20w on 20m yesterday morning.

Ed.
P.S. Mondays NI activation, looks like being more of a home station contact from here but I’m still working on the possibility of getting out to a summit.

This morning, I attempted a s2s contact with Paul VK9PAS who was activating Norfolk Island. I was QRV at 0545z from my local summit G./SP-013 Gun and found Ed DD5LP already calling CQ. A s2s call and chat with Ed followed.

There was little chance of me hearing any VK’s before Ed and to be honest, when I took a look at the propagation map, I quickly came to the conclusion this was going to be a futile excercise.

There was nothing out of Norfolk Island and indeed VK, with IMHO, little prospect of any DX at all… Neverthelss, I stuck it out and after 35 minutes a very weak but workable Ernie VK3DET appeared out of the gloom and offered me a 3/3 signal report. After a number of attempts Ernie got my 3/3 report both ways.

Even the mighty Antron-99 has its limitations and Ernie was the only DX to make my log after one and a half hours of calling. Very difficult conditions on 20m DX wise, although plenty of EU to be worked albieit, with deep and rapid QSB…

Mike
2E0YYY

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They are on 21.027 right now, listening up, but not on the hill.

Elliott, K6EL

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My experience was similar to yours Mike although I could hear VK chasers calling VK9PAS and later VK3PF/9 including two VK5 stations who decided to stop and chat on 14.310 where the NI stations were spotted! On a couple of occasions I heard “something” that could have been the guys on NI but certainly not at a workable level. I heard your full QSO with Ernie (both sides, Ernie 3DET was weak but definitely workable, unfortunately he never gave me a calI). As you say QSB was very deep for the EU contacts.
I was lucky with the weather that the rain held off until 10am local, at which point I was already driving home. It’s now rained for 24 hours constantly.
Hopefully there will be another activation from Norfolk Island however after all this rain, I’ll need to find a different summit to operate from if I’m going to manage an S2S. “Grab and go” bags are ready.

Ed.

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I see Ron VK3AFW/9 has an alert for tomorrow morning at 0600 UTC.

interesting that both Ron’s callsign and the summit come up as unrecognised.
I think the ID is because Ron has registered himself as AX3AFW rather than VK3AFW and the Summit is beacuse the region for Norfolk Island is NO, not NI, so Mount Bates is VK9/NO-001.

In any case, the forecast here is that the rain should stop tonight and it be a sunny day tomorrow and Thursday, so subject to the wife getting alternative transport, I can try to get out to DL/AM-001 (AM-180 will be a bog now), in time to try for an S2S on 20m SSB with Ron. If Mitch also has 20m SSB might even get an S2S contact into there - both of these subject to propagation being a LOT better than it was yesterday of course!

Ed.

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Propagation is a funny old thing, Ed and yesterday, you were hearing VK’s in DL that I wasn’t. Therefore, I certainly wouldn’t rule out you making a contact.

It seems the path to G was just a hop too far, but we all know how quickly conditions can change and that’s why I’ll probably nip out somewhere and have a listen for Ron.

Another stupid 'o clock alarm call…

Maybe catch you for an s2s tomorrow…

73 Mike

Last couple of nights the LP to EU has been garbage - have been calling and calling with only 4 contacts over the two nights! Yet Sunday arvo was OK with about 25 EU from VK1/AC-048. My feeling is that it has been better earlier in the day (pre 0600Z). Central EU certainly better as I haven’t heard a UK station for almost a week now.

Matt
VK1MA

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Thanks for that Matt, just the encouragement I needed :wink:

I see the K index is 3 which is not too helpful.

Looks like I’ll need to find a summit with exceptional take-off.

73 Mike
2E0YYY

Could be something to do with the fact that Central Europe is at UTC+2 whereas the UK is only at +1. So the “unreal” time I have to get up at is an hour earlier (in local time) for Mike and the other UK stations.

K Index at 3 - not brilliant but I’ve made contacts back into VK at that level before. SFI is under 100 (currently 95) - that could be a problem but as always, all we can do is give it a try.

The summit I used yesterday (DL/AM-180) is my closest but the approach via walking tracks to it will certainly be bogs now after the constant rain we’ve had since 10am yesterday. So I’ll be heading to my second closest summit (DL/AM-001) as it is a “drive-up” summit and although further away, it will probably mean I can get on the air about the same time as yesterday. My usual location there means the antenna runs east-west, which is not ideal, so I’m looking to see if I can find another spot in the AZ that I can run the antenna north-south, so that I get my radiation pattern to go towards roughly West which is what I need. That being said with the antenna only 5 metres of the ground most signals will probably be going straight up and who knows in which direction! Perhaps I’ll take the 10m mast along.

Ed.

SPI now 93 but K =1 . on my way to DL/AM-001 hope this threatening looking sky holds off!

Ed.

UPDATE: unfortunately another unsuccessful attempt. Up until 0610 it seems skip was long as I could hear absolutely nothing of Mike 2E0YYY in the UK but Russian stations were strong. I’m guessing the Long Path window closed at 0610 UTC unfortunately the guys on NI were busy on CW and only switched to SSB after 0610. Bagged 12 chaser contacts all around Europe while I was waiting however, which isn’t bad I guess. (apart from the later S2S with Mike, no points for the activator on this one as I had already activated DL/AM-001 back in January).

Hi Ed, I left home at some ungodly hour and dragged a lot of gear up G/CE-004, Bardon Hill. Because of its great take-off, I’ve activated this summit plenty of times. I’d taken a belt and braces approach by adding an extra pole to the A-99 and allowing me to get it up to 20ft (6m). At 0452z, I self spotted, then at 0458, received a rock crushing signal from RW3XZ.

At 0512z, I was really surprised to hear Ernie VK3DET, the strongest I’ve heard him for some time. The very next call was SOTA Chaser Frederick, N7KRN in Washington State! Dunno who was more surprised, Frederick or me… I noticed your spot timed at 0511z and QSY’d to work you s2s…Absolultly nothing, and so I returned to my QRG.

Steve VK7CW was the next bit of DX at 0536, followed by Eduardo TI2EMG in Costa Rico. There was a steady run of EU, before I took my final DX call of the activation, John VK6WC, who wasn’t a SOTA Chaser, but had heard my CQ and gave me call. This was the first VK6 I’ve worked for four months, so was pleased to log this one.

When Ron VK3ACW/9 went onto phone mode, I couldn’t hear him although I could hear one weak VK Station working him and so, that was that.

It was the bitterly cold wind that finally got the better of me and so, I pulled the plug at at 0705z.

I’m not sure how much longer Ron and Paul are staying on VK9, but I’m probably going to accept defeat and wait for better conditions.

Thanks for calling me, for a s2s when the band finally worked between DL/G, Ed.

73 Mike
2E0YYY