Last Saturday I had my first Summits on The Air (SOTA) attempt on top of Mount Remarkable here in South Australia.
As a first step on Friday I registered my SOTA attempt on the Sotawatch web site
On Saturday morning I started by testing my FT-817 and Alexloop magnetic loop antenna at our camp. While tuning up I managed to talk to a VK2 (portable in VK5) who was few 100 km away in the Flinders ranges. Good test.
I then hiked for a few hours to get to the top of Mt Remarkable, set up my radio and antenna, and called CQ on 40m and 20m. Alas, I made no contacts. However it was so nice to experience S0 noise on 40 and 20m, so much different to my urban S9 hash experience on those bands. I couldn’t hear much activity on 40m but could hear many international stations on 20m. They just couldn’t hear me!
The members of the SOTA Australia Yahoo Group have been most helpful with many suggestions on how I can do better next time. In particular I can “self spot” using a smart phone app like sotagoat or a web site. I’ll certainly give it another go in future.
Some pictures of my little adventure:
In the last picture the magnetic loop is just behind my head, the FT-817 just visible above the white note book. I use a 1m dowel as the antenna mast which doubles as a walking stick for the hike. As you can see from the pictures a large part of this walk is over paths covered with large rubble. I was told this is from ancient volcanic activity. The rubble moves a bit under your feet, making for slow going. There is a light plane crash about 2/3 of the way up – the alloy remains of the plane still shiny after 30 years. The walk was about 6 hours return for me from the caravan park at the base of Mt Remarkable. However I am a slow walker, and had a sore knee from a bike crash a few days before!