Booroomba Rocks VK1/AC-026 Sunday 31 October 2021

There is hardly a square inch of this area that was not impacted by the fires of 2019-2020. Booroomba Rocks summit is in the distance.

When I last activated Booroomba Rocks in September 2019, little did I (or anyone else) know what was coming. Since then – save for Andrew VK1AD in November 2019, and he again just one week ago, it has been off limits.. It was completely burnt out. The damage is still clearly evident…..

Today’s activation started in the usual manner…. The Booroomba Rocks carpark is about a 45 minute drive ( allowing for….. yep, coffee!) The hike is quite steep – but there is a well established access path with (I did not count them) MANY rock steps/stairs. One further risk caused by the fires …. falling trees and or branches. One of these was very recent – the other maybe within the last week.

The bushfires went all the way to the summit. Little is left, except for one small lonesome tree that bravely lives on.. On the ground there are more signs of a slow recovery.

Aside from the radio activities, when one goes through all that effort to reach a summit one should take advantage of the situation and appreciate the beauty of this great country…. Even with the devastation left by the bushfires, it is breathtaking.

Oh that’s right – this is about my SOTA activation..

There was no way I would even consider using that sole surviving tree as an antenna support – so I took advantage of those poor unfortunates that did not survive the fire. For HF and 6m (52 MHz) I use an end fed “random wire” 9:1 dipole purchased from Nelson Antennas in the US ( they have an eBay site). One antenna to cover 80m to 6m – the ideal SOTA companion! Before anyone mentions home brew I have plenty of those. For 2m (VHF) I use a home brew “oblong loop” (right of picture), and my thanks to Andrew VK1AD who sets the bar at a very high level for antenna design and very generously shares his designs and ‘how to’ information. The antenna is a very simple design and very easy to make. It works incredibly well, and is light-weight and very compact – essential criteria for SOTA operations. Check out Andrew’s brilliant work here. https://vk1nam.wordpress.com/

My radios – HF Elecraft KX2, and for VHF and 6m Yaesu FT-817ND – which is also HF capable. I also carry a hand-held dual band Yaesu FT-60R.

There were several other local SOTA operators out and about. We all managed to grab valuable local Summit to Summit (S2S) points. My results below:

Tait VK1TRL S2S on Mt Gingera VK1/AC-002 2m FM / again after UTC rollover

Andrew VK1AD S2S 2m FM on South Black Range VK2/ST-006 and again after UTC rollover

AndrewVK1MBE S2S on Mt Ainslie VK1/AC-040 2m FM and again later 6m SSB

Matt VK1MA 2m FM / again after UTC rollover, also a 6m SSB

Peter VK1PDW S2S on One Tree Hill VK1/AC-035 2m FM

Mat VK1MF 6m SSB

Wade VK1MIC 6m SSB

Andrei ZL1TM 20m CW

Ian VK5CZ S2S 20m CW VK5/SE-010

Roly ZL1BQD 20m CW

John VK5HAA 40m CW S2S VK5/SE-010

Garry VK2GAZ 40m CW

Paul VK3HN 40m CW

JA5QJX/0J 15m CW

JH1MXV 15m CW

I packed up and made my way back to the car.. Along the way I encounted many small groups of hikers out taking advantage of the glorious weather… One was a young couple with their very young daughter (early primary school age) and it was so good to see the enthusiasm from someone so young after the long hike up from the car park. Her mother told me that kids gain far more from walking through the bush, avoiding trips and falls, than going for a walk along some suburban bike path or around the block…. and hopefully maybe both parents might look into ham radio!

Another great day – it was good to be back in the Namadgi Natonal Park.

One thought on “Booroomba Rocks VK1/AC-026 Sunday 31 October 2021

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