First activation (and my first ever contact)

I’ve been working to get my license this year, and finally had a chance to use it.

I was hoping to visit a few easy summits Mt Macedon (VK3/VC-007) & Mt Gisborne (VK3/VC-039) and do some activations on 2m or 70cm (I picked these summits as they face towards Melbourne, so would be ripe for contacts.

Sadly due to recent storms that hit the local area rather bad the access road to Mt Macedon was closed, and I didn’t discover until I came across the roadblock.

Headed over to Mt Gisborne, starting calling on 70cm and very quickly hit up Bill VK3CWF who upon hearing I was newly licensed put word out amount his friends that a newbie was about, and I found myself very quickly dealing with my first pile up too.

Spent about an hour on the summit before I needed to move on to other contacts, but had a great time, and was good motivation to get me out of the house. It may have been the middle on winter here, but was a beautiful sunny day.

Need to work out a better method to manage the notebook, pencil and radio with only two hands, but I’ll get here

Currently learning CW to get going on HF, and looking forward to activating some summits in the Otways / Great Ocean Road, as well as combating my lack of fitness

Big shout out to @ZL4RA who’s videos have been great encouragement to get out, while also appreciating the local bumps being a little shorter


Congratulations! I got my license just this week, and being an outdoor enthusiast my plan is to do my first QSO as a SOTA activation, probably on 2m FM. Thanks for your report, this encourages me, although I might need some help with chasers like you had.

Did you use a HT?


Yep, just a HT, with the built in antenna. I did spot, but not sure how many people found me that way.

I’ve seen multiple people suggest to jump on a nearby repeater to stir up some contacts too

Well done Alan. You’re right the first activation and QSOs are special! G/NP-014 (incl winter bonus) and G8YDC for me

Congratulations on your first activation! I made my first one a few weeks ago, so I can imagine how you feel. Good luck for the next one, and hope to work you S2S one day on HF CW!

73 - Matthew M0JSB

Hi Alan, congratulations on your first activation. Re the logging side of things the easiest way to do this is with the great little app “VK port-a-log” from VK3ZPF which runs on Android (phone or tablet). Most people have bought a cheap android 7" tablet for it and it certainly makes activating easy - with the best part being that it automatically generates log files for uploading to the SOTAwatch database. Having had to manually transcribe large logs after multi day activations, I was very happy when Peter released the app - went from hours of typing to 30 seconds or so to upload the auto generated log file.

By all means learn CW if you want to, but don’t wait until then to get onto HF - lots of chasers will look for you on SSB. You will be amazed at what 5-10W with a reasonable antenna will do on 40m.


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I’m a software developer, so have a mistrust of computers at the best of times :slight_smile:

For now I only have a CW HF radio, not quite ready to commit to a particular HF yet

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No worries, I get where you are at with mistrust of computers - it took me several activations (including manual logging as a backup) before I trusted a computerised setup. Have not had a single issue with many activations using VK port-a-log and completely comfortable with it now.

OK on CW only gear for now, limits you of course, but thems the limitations you have to deal with.


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