Monthly Archives: December 2015

VK3CAT on Dingo Ridge

Summit Information for VK3/VC-028
Dingo Ridge – 425m, 1 point.
Excellent phone coverage, activation time about 1 hour and 45 minutes for 35 contacts.

Time for another local summit, this time Dingo Ridge. I had a look at access the other week when leaving VK3/VC-037 but decided the shorter route via the Garfield North and Petigrew roads as described by Peter VK3ZPF was a better option.
All roads were well signposted. I could even put an address of 100 Petigrew Rd into my Tom Tom Navigator for directions and timing. With the weather starting to get hot (40 degrees on new years eve!) I decided to get there as quick as possible but still had to pick up some gear for my air-conditioner project at home.

I arrived at the end of the road where there is a gate into private property that is a wildlife for nature reserve straight ahead and a track of sorts to the left.
This track is signed a little further along as being “Private Property, No Vehicles”. Being a walker, no problems! 20151229_100333[1]






The track was possibly an old management vehicle track for most part with some deviations along the way. It is now used 20151229_100403[1]predominantly by horse riders and SOTA activators. This track is reasonably steep and I was glad that it was not too hot – high 20s. I met some horses coming down and was very happy for a rest while they negotiated their way past me. The track still retains some of its vehicle based origin in parts and in others is a single file trail through the not dense undergrowth. It took me about 35 minutes from the car to the end of the track where it intersects with Lupton Rd with Dingo Ridge Track only a few metres to the east and where I set up my station.

Note that this track is by far easier than that to Mt. Little Joe or Briarty Hill & maybe akin to Andrew Hill.

As per my alert, I arrived a short time prior to UTC and was able to work Matt VK1MA/3 on Mt. Macedon on both 40 and 10 metres for a S2S and 6 / 10 metre challenge contact; qualifying the summit on 10 metres prior to UTC with locals plus a surprise Es contact with VK5FANA Adrian. My antenna was more aimed to the north east for 10 metres.


Post rollover I worked Matt VK1MA again but this time on 6 metres despite my antenna not tuning as well as it should (since taking the bolt choke balun out – has been fixed by increasing the feeder length slightly). I also qualified the summit on 30 metres CW and had some good short Es with the regular VK1 crew before finishing up with the regular chasers on 40 metres with acceptable NVIS propagation.

I did try 20 metres and 6 metres without any further contacts.
I also had a walk a little way along the Lupton and Dingo Ridge Tracks to see if there were any views (none that I saw).

The walk down was much quicker than the way up. By now the car was in full sun and I was quite war. Air-conditioner on and back home (about 90 minutes) to continue my air-conditioner project.


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VK3/VC-037 Sunday the 13th of December 2015

Date:12/Dec/2015 Summit:VK3/VC-037 (VK3/VC-037) Call Used:VK3CAT Points: 1

Summit Height 415 Metres
Phone access is excellent.
Activation period 4.5 hours plus setup. 20 logged contacts
Access via Gembrook and the Gembrook to Tonimbuk Rd but home via the Tynong North Rd as I wanted to look at a potential route to Dingo Hill.
Travel time much the same albeit I expect the Princess Freeway rout home would have been quicker than the Sunday Afternoon Drivers often found in the Dandenong Ranges (About 1 hr and 30 minutes from home)

Whilst activating, I saw one 4WD vehicle, 3 walkers and 1 dog.
Good 2WD gravel Rd access via both routes. Shorter gravel section if coming from Gembrook. Good road signage.


A day at the office?

 It is not often that I activate with the luxury of my own table and chair plus thermos and lunch.
Lunch is more often on the run whilst heading to the next summit so, like Mt. Little Joe, it can be nice to take things at a much slower pace.

The going was quite slow. Only three contacts on 40m cw and those were Steve VK7CW pre and post roll over plus Gerard VK2IO/P. (This also reflects the 12/12/2015 activation date above!)
A solid 30m SSB contact followed with Andrew VK1AD/P who was also in contact with Peter VK3PF.
Tried Peter on 30m CW (he was 519 to me) without success. Worked Peter on 6m CW 559.
After this 30m SSB with Nev VK5WG and VK2XXM Rob plus Matt VK1MA and CW with Ian VK5IS.
Last 30m contact was at 0119 hrs and the first 10m Es contact was at 0136 hrs resulting in 4 JA contacts in about 25 minutes. It took some effort to make these contacts and I did try many more both CW and SSB. Many of the operators (non JA) were not that interested in persisting with a weak 10 watt signal when there were plenty of 5×9 ones on offer. The successful stations were all quite strong at my end.
0240 hrs had a quick qsy to 40m ssb for an S2S with Ian VK1DI/2 then at 0303 hrs I tail ended a qso and worked Brian VK4EK on 6m ssb my report 5×2.
0329 hrs worked Ian VK5CZ on 10m CW followed by a sota watch liaised contact with JS1UEH/1 (also on 10m CW) 519 both ways.
Very pleased with the 10m CW S2S contact with Takeshi who I have now chased many times but mainly on 15m. Takeshi moved up from 15m to work me. His 15m signal was probably 319 and I have worked him previously on similar signal levels but I could not break through his other callers. The 519 10 metre reports were vastly better.
Finished up with local contacts on 6 and 10m SSB plus Glen VK4FSCC on 10m SSB at 0413 hrs
Closed up at 0426 hrs
In summary, I tried all bands from 40 through to 6 metres except for 12 metres.
There were no local 40m NVIS signals earlier in the activation and all signals heard on 10m from JA, NA, VK were very readable but weak 5×1.
Propagation certainly altered during the day and it paid to concentrate on just a single summit.

Power levels from the KX3 were generally around 8 watts. The doublet antenna (20m extended double zepp) was used on all bands and with 10 metres, I experimented with its orientation to determine best performance.
I originally had it set up on a rough north west / south east alignment running sort of parallel with the road and changed this to being more across the road and 90 degrees opposite (beyond the locked gate).
I was not surprised to find the signal levels to JA were significantly better with the first set up.
I did not get a great match on the bottom end of 6 metres and am thinking of trying it in a folded dipole arrangement or extending the legs a bit?

FYI, the last few nights have seen good local single hop 6m ES and double hop ES to VK8. Also 49.750 Eurasian video S9 plus a number of JA stations via TEP on SSB and phone. Often these TEP signals need an ES extension to get down into VK3 and VK7. Home station =  FT847 and 6 element 6m Yagi at 15 metres
Until the next summit, Tony VK3CAT

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