16 September 2015

14. SOTA Party on 30 August Part 3: Mt. Cowangerong VK2/ST-001

On 30 August a number of VK1, VK2 and VK3 SOTA Operators participated in a SOTA party.
Operators tried to activate at least one summit, or if they weren’t able to get out on the day, to chase those who were.

I decided to do 3 summits towards the east of Canberra, two of which would attract the 3-point winter bonus.
I chose Mt. Gillamatong close to Braidwood, Mt. Palerang about *mmm* Km from Braidwood and Mt. Cowangerong, the location of the Captains Flat BOM Weather Radar.

Mt. Cowangerong

Mt. Cowangerong is a drive-up summit which means… you drive up. No bush bashing. Just the finish I needed after Mt. Paltering! I drove back towards Braidwood and jumped onto the Cooma road before turning onto the Captains Flat road. I have heard afterwards that there is a better road to get to Cowangerong from Palerang but I have not looked into it yet.

The drive was pretty uneventful, the highlight was driving over bridges with timber as the road surface. I have never seen that before!

The Captains Flat road is a pretty good unsealed road and I got to the Cowangerong turn-off in no time. That lead to about 2 Km of wheel tracks up the hill, to a clearing on the summit where the BOM radar towers over everything.

I walked about 70 meters away from the buildings and broke out my “gentlemen’s activation kit” as Andrew VK1DA refers to my Helinox Table and Chair. These are great, only 1.5 Kg for both of them and being able to sit down at a table in the bush while you operate is pure indulgence.

I was nearly set-up when I was joined on the summit by Paul VK1ATP who drove out from Canberra for the activation.
Helinox Table and Chair on Mt. Cowangerong

Special Permissions or Arrangements

No special arrangements are necessary. All access is via public roads and Mt. Cowangerong is on Commonwealth land.

Summit Information

Mt. Cowangerong’s summit is 1364 meters above mean sea level and it is worth 8 SOTA activation points, plus a 3 point winter bonus. Its Maidenhead locator is QF44si. There are a heaps of trees on the summit, blocking the horizon. Surprisingly I found no radio interference on HF but there were a few birdies on 2 Meters.

Paul VK1ATP on Mt. Cowangerong

Contacts Made

Paul and I operated our two stations on the hill for about 90 minutes before it got too cold to bother. In that time, I managed 8 contacts in total, 4 on 2 meters and 4 on 40 meters.

I got text messages from Andrew VK1DA and Roald VK1MTS, respectively on Mt. Tumorrama and Spring Hill,  who suggested we catch up on 2 Meters SSB.
This was the first day I used a new Tape Measure Yagi I had made and it wasn’t used in anger up to that point.

I was keen to try and managed to get Andrew on 144.2 SSB, whereafter I also made contact with Matt “Mission Control” VK1MA,  Roald VK1MTS and Gerard VK2IO on The Peak.
I switched to 40 meters and managed a few more with VK3AFW, VK4HA, VK4RF and VK4DI. Although the conditions were very depressed, at the end of the day, I was being heard 5/8 in North Queensland.

The contacts were:

Thank you very much to everyone who chased us on the day, and also to all the other SOTA Goats who were out there!

For interest's sake, here is a picture of the 144.2SSB activation between Me on Cowangerong, Andrew iDA on Tumorrama, Roald 1MTS on Spring Hill and Gerard 2IO on The Peak. From Andrew to me it was 103 Km, From Roald to me it was 74 Km and to Gerard form me it was 92 Km. But between Gerard and Roald the distance was 150 Km!

Useful Links

GPS GPX Track Log: N/A - drove up the summit.
VK1NAM Blog: https://vk1nam.wordpress.com/2014/04/13/captains-flat-radar-mt-cowangerong-13-april-2014/
VK1DI Blog: http://vk1di.blogspot.com.au/2013/09/sota-activation-mt-cowangerong-vk2st-001.html

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