On Sunday 6th October, for the 12 Months anniversary of SOTA in VK5, I activated Mt Cone, VK5/SE-002, a 4 point summit situated a few Km north of the rustic former mining town of Burra, about 2 hour nth of Adelaide.
Burra is about a 2 hour drive from my home in the Riverland, or 187Km to be exact. It’s a comfortable day trip, and my eldest lad Josh, who needs the driving hours up for his “L” licence eagerly volunteered to be chauffeur / manservant for my trip. The promise of the pub for lunch made him even more than keen.
Another reason I was keen to have Josh with me was because this was the first summit I had tackled as an Activator since suffering a heart attack back in the beginning of July. Although my recovery so far has gone well, having Josh around gave me peace of mind and a sense of safety, just in case! He is a fit, strong strapping lad and good fun to boot!
I had packed the backpack in the days before including the 20,30,40M Linked dipole I had constucted and my new 5000mA LiPo battery (after killing the old one!) Josh and I left home around 8am local time hoping to be on the Summit about 23:30 UTC. After an uneventful journey we decided to detour into Burra itself for a toilet stop, which actually added a bit of time to the trip I hadn’t accounted for…turns out we ended up getting on the summit at about 0:00 UTC, and after setting up the antenna we missed operating both sides of the changeover…next trip I’ll be more allow more time!
I had contacted the landowner earlier in the week about accessing the summit and was given the all clear. Please seek permission from the land owner when contemplating access to any summit that is on private property (most are in South Australia) and respect any decision about access. Once granted, treat it as a privilege and adhere to any restrictions advised. Shut all closed gates, and take any rubbish with you. Leave the place as you found it. Thank the landowner with a follow up phone call after your activation if appropriate.
We were able to drive all the way to the top, but parked the car around 40 vertical metres from the summit and walked up. It’s fairly steep, but I had no problem. Josh didn’t even raise a sweat!
The wind was reasonably strong, and quite cold coming from the west-southwest, While the outside temperature was showing 9 degrees in the car when we arrived, in the wind on the summit it would have been more like 3-4 degrees in that breeze!
There are 2 microwave communication towers at the site, and we sheltered behind the comms hut for the higher tower for the activation. It was nice to get the antenna up and get ourselves out of that wind!
I hit the air at 0:07 UTC on 40M and VK5AV gave me a reassuring 59 after the first call. At least everything was working! I was soon spotted and had a steady stream of callers including 4 Summit to Summit contacts. I then changed bands to 20M and managed 3 contacts including a S2S and a VK6. Heard a USA station calling me but couldn’t work him. Went to 30M and got 5 contacts there including another S2S.
Stations included VK5AV, VK7NWT, VK3PF, VK3YY, VK5PAS/P (S2S), VK5LY, VK3AFW, VK3DET, VK1NAM/P, VK2IB/P (S2S), VK3CAT, VK3FPSR, VK3AMB, VK3JM, VK3GHZ, VK2YW, VK1DI/2 (S2S), VK5FMID, VK1MA/2 (S2S) and VK5WG on 40M.
On 20M, I worked VK6MB, VK5TX/2 and VK2JI/5 (S2S)
On 30M I worked VK2DAG, VK3AFW, VK5CZ (S2S), VK3CAT and VK6MB
After this, it was getting near lunchtime, we decided to start packing up and getting ready to come down, but not before getting some photos of the magic views…
My good friend Ian, VK5CZ, who was out on Mt Horrocks, VK5/SE-012 for the VK5 anniversary, suggested we meet up in Burra for lunch at the local pub, which we did. It was good to catch up and talk SOTA and radio in general over a beer and a nice meal , after a successful day out on the Hills.
I certainly began to learn a lot about what works and what doesn’t, especially the little things like having spare pens and log book whose pages won’t blow around and trying to keep everything simple as possible.
Can’t wait for the next summit, Josh is keen as well, especially if I’m shouting lunch!
Andy – VK5LA