If you’re into SOTA you’ll be well aware that the SOTA logs use UTC time. As a chaser, you can get points for contacting a summit once a day, which means that on the east coast of Australia in summertime, when we have daylight savings, you can contact a summit at 10:59am local time, and again at 11:01am, which is the next day when using UTC time, and get points for both contacts.
As an activator, you can only activate a summit once a year, so the date roll over doesn’t help. With the once a year exception of New Years Day, where the UTC roll over is from one year to the next.
This new year I thought I should make the most of the opportunity and head out. After looking at a few peaks, I chose to have a go at Mount Cole. I’d not been up there before and was aware that it wasn’t a drive up. Sadly I only had my little old Astra, where I really needed the 4wd Subaru.
Access is best via Mt Cole Rd, then there’s good quality unnamed track that runs up to the intersection of Frees Point Rd and Ditchfield Rd. The sensible thing in a 2wd to do is park here and walk up Frees Point Rd, and then round the mount on the Mount Cole Track. The last 50m or so will be through the bush.
I actually drove the Astra up and had no real issue. I parked where the track seemed to be at it’s peak, and tried to walk up the last 300m through the ferns. But they were quickly over my head, so went back to the track and walked around the mount to a point where the track was about 50m from the peak.
The summit has a lot of fern coverage and some rocky outcrops. I set up the EFHW after a bit of mucking around in the ferns, sat on one of the rocky outcrops, and started to spin the dial. Conditions proved to be kind and LOTS of activators were out and making the most of the good weather and the annual rollover.
I used my Christmas present, a 4200mAh zippy LiFe, which worked really well. After two and half hours of work the voltage had dropped by only 0.2v.
I managed 22 QSO’s, almost all by replying to other stations. Of the 22, 20 were summit to summit contacts. There were so many activators that at one point I heard a station ask for the ‘summit to summit’ call to come back, I reckon there were 15 stations that responded. Spinning the dial seemed to find a station calling about every 5kHz, between 7.080 and 7.160
I tried to get out via Frees Point Rd, but that was a disaster, and a story for another entry.