There is a popular band called ‘Five Seconds of Summer’. I honesty could not name one of their songs, but I do know they are good. The name describes this summer – it seems over before it began – and after the previous horrendous summer, I do not mind a bit! So, for the last weekend of Summer 20/21 and with yet another perfect day on offer, I just had to find a summit. I managed to post my SOTAwatch alert, but as I will show in this report, it pays to get your alerts posted with as much advanced notice as possible. I think 5 days is ideal, but even if it is just before you grab your keys to leave for your summit, make sure you post an alert!!
I took the 10 minute drive (yes, again via my regular SOTA Cafe – aka Maccas.. for a coffee), parking just off Long Gully Road at the entrance to the Isaacs Ridge Nature Reserve. The climb is reasonably steep, but quite short – so I arrived at the summit only 10 to 15 minutes later, but I wasn’t really counting!. I had not planned on opening until after the rollover at 11am local ( midnight GMT ), but as I got to the summit and had everything set up so quickly, I decided to give it a crack to see if I could qualify the summit (four contacts) in the 15 minutes remaining…. It was never in doubt!
I opened as usual on the local VHF FM simplex 146.5 MHz,-but I only logged the two contacts…Thanks Matt VK1MA and Andrew VK1AD. Here is where it is important to get your SOTAwatch alert posted as early as possible. If you want chasers, you need to let them know you will be activating! Anyway, not much happening on 2m, so I then moved to HF, firstly on 80metres (3.5 MHz) – nothing.. again I should not be surprised as this band is primarily used for close in contacts that are beyond the line of sight VHF… Then, with less than 5 minutes until midnight GMT (or if you prefer UTC, or, how about Zulu ?)…. I moved to 40metres CW. I logged five CW contacts in the 4 minutes prior to rollover… summit qualified thanks to Ian VK5IS, Peter VK3PF, Tony VK3CAT, Allen VK3ARH, and JUST before the rollover, Gerard VK2IO. No rest for the wicked though – the 40m contacts kept rolling in for the next hour. My good friend Garry VK2GAZ was my first contact for the new UTC day and was closely followed by VK3BYD, VK2WG, Peter VK3PF and Gerard VK2IO.
I gave 20m a shot expecting, or at least hoping for some Kiwi action, but sadly the usually reliable cross-Ditch frequency band was not playing today – but for one VK contact, Allen VK3HRA – yes I double checked that 😉 when reviewing my log I feared I had mixed up a similar, but related callsign!! Not so. I also had a disappearing 20m contact VK4BJS and I was unable to complete that QSO. ..So it was back to 40m with VK3ANL/P activating a park and James VK2TER/P – our first QSO. I made one final attempt on 20m, again no contact with ZL but thanks again Tony VK3CAT who gave me my second 20m contact for the day. One last splash in the local 2m FM simplex pool – Thanks Matt VK1MA who Top &Tailed my log! I could see some spots from Japan on 20m and 15m, but the DX propagation gods had not yet got out of bed….
In my previous blog report I mentioned the sorry condition of the ACT Nature Reserves. Sadly the Isaacs Ridge Nature Reserve is just as over-grown with weeds – especially Scotch Thistle. I have read that goats happily graze on this weed… I am some way off gaining such an appetite!! 🙂
An easy summit on a great day – and a lovely way to see off summer. Bring on Autumn – my favourite season living in the Nation’s Capital .