1st April 2017
This was one of those quirky SOTA events that seems to have caught the imagination of quite a lot of the VK SOTAnatics, and the chosen date of 1st April was quite appropriate for the occasion. This time the idea was to attempt to make S2S contacts on 160m and, at the same time, make as many contacts as possible using AM. Both of these present something of a challenge and some brave souls even went as far as trying both at the same time!
I chose Mt Granya for this activation as it’s easily accessible both before and after sunset and it has plenty of space for larger antennas, and plenty of trees to hang them from. With the target being S2S contacts on 160m I figured the best time to be on the air would be around sunset, so aimed to be set up and ready to go by 1700 local time.
I had hoped to be able to construct a respectable antenna for 160m but in the end I ran out of time to do that, so for this activation I used a simple 26 metre doublet fed via a balanced feeder from the Barrett 940 with its auto ATU. On top-band I joined the feeders together and ran the antenna as a top-loaded vertical against an elevated ground plane, which isn’t very efficient but at least allowed me to squeeze out a small amount of RF and make a few contacts. On 80m and above this antenna works very well, though for this activation I didn’t go any higher than the 40m band.
This was quite a leisurely activation with no pile-up anywhere and a string of enjoyable contacts, all but two of which were S2S. I didn’t quite manage to qualify the activation on 160m, but I was pleased with the three contacts I did make – my first ever activation on 160m.
I did at least make one AM contact on 80m with VK3GGG; signals were strong both ways or I think we would both have struggled with this one. It really brought home to me how much more efficient SSB is when compared to AM.
The weather was just about perfect for an autumn day, though when the sun started to go down and the wind picked up it got a little chilly on the summit. My lady and I decided to pack up while there was still enough daylight to see what we were doing.
Stations worked on 1.8MHz CW:
VK3BYD/P (S2S VK3/VE-105), VK2IO/P (S2S VK2/HU-054), VK3CAT/P (S2S VK3/VN-012),
Stations worked on 3.5MHz CW:
VK7CW, VK3AFW/P (S2S VK3/VC-024), VK3ARH/P (S2S VK3/VC-024),
Stations worked on 3.5MHz SSB:
VK1AD/2 (S2S VK2/ST-036), VK3CAT/P (S2S VK3/VN-012),
Stations worked on 7MHz CW:
VK5CZ, VK2IO/P (S2S VK2/HU-054), VK2WP/P (S2S VK2/CT-005), VK3CAT/P (S2S VK3/VN-012),