11th March 2017
It has become something of a SOTA tradition to attempt as many S2S contacts between VK and EU each year around the spring and autumn eqinoxes. March 11 was designated as the autumn (southern hemisphere) or spring (northern hemisphere) date, so I thought I’d go out and give it a try. I wanted to activate a Summit with a respectable point value and which would be accessible in terms of getting back down after the activation, probably in the dark. Mt Emu fit the bill: it’s worth 8 points and the trail, although requiring a 4WD, is not too hair-raising and is quite manageable in the dark, given a halfway decent set of headlights.
As the primary reason for this activation was to make as many S2S contacts with Europe as possible, I decided to make this a late afternoon expedition. This allowed my lady and I to have an easy day beforehand, making our way in a very leisurely way towards Mt Emu where we arrived at about 1730 local time. It took 15 minutes or so to decide on the best operating location with a suitable tree from which to hang the antenna. I switched the rig on at 1745 and it came up on 7090 where Paul, VK5PAS, was running a small pile-up. So I got amongst it and made a quick QSO with Paul before moving off to do my own thing.
After adjusting the link dipole to 20m I spent the rest of the activation on that band, where I found many European and Japanese stations coming in at good strength. I made a good haul of S2S contacts into Europe, New Zealand and Japan, closing down at about 1915 local time.
This was a most interesting experiment, given that propagation conditions haven’t been all that favourable lately. It proved what can be done from a good location, even with a simple antenna and relatively low power.
I used the Barrett 940 running about 20W into an inverted-V link dipole with the apex at 7m above ground and the ends at about 2m. The 940 auto ATU was disabled for this as the antenna is resonant and delivers a SWR of 1.2 to 1.3 which the rig is quite happy with.
Stations worked on 7MHz SSB:
VK5PAS/P (S2S VK5/SE-005),
Stations worked on 14MHz CW:
DK7RC, RM0F, S58R/P (S2S S5/BI-053), JS1UEH/1 (S2S JA/IB-022), F5LKW, JH1MXV, RN6K/P (S2S UT/CR-051), OE5AUL/P (S2S OE/OO-330), EA2IF/P (S2S EA2/NV-151), HB9SOTA (S2S HB/SZ-025), EA2BD/P (S2S EA2/NV-092), SA4BLM, ON4FI, EA2LU, DL3HXX, HB9BIN/P (S2S HB/LU-026), EA2BD/P (S2S EA2/NV-092), JA1VRY, HB9CBR/P (S2S HB/LU-026), GW4ASZ/P (S2S GW/MW-013), DL1FU,
Stations worked on 14MHz SSB:
ZL2ATH (S2S ZL1/WL-153), VK6NU/P (S2S VK6/SW-042), 2E0YYY/P (S2S G/SP-004),