Radios for Goats


I have used four different radios for my Parks and Summit activation’s.

By far the majority have been done with either of my two KD1JV rigs the MTR and ATS4. Both these rigs run on little power and their compact size makes them quite portable. Batteries are external and if required the ATU is also external. This does make set up a little more time consuming but does provide other advantages such as rig cannot be turn on by accident in the pack, and an external ATU allows the active part of the antenna to be placed a little bit further away from the operator.

ats and mtr

ATS4a and MTR 2 bander

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My Four Years of SOTA or Four Years of taking small radios to Hill Tops

I always had an interest in small portable radio’s

During the early 80’s I obtained a photocopy of a 1972 QST article by Wes Heywood W7ZOI of his Mountaineer CW transceiver, this unit was a crystal locked transmitter with a tuneable DC receiver.


QST August 1972

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Burrowa Pine Mountain National Park 13th and 14th November 2015

For the 2015 KRMNPA weekend I headed off to the Burrowa Pine Mountain NP, this park has 4 valid SOTA summits, of which three are on walking tracks.


Rock Table

So after studying the maps my plan was to access the Hinces Saddle camping area via the Burrowa 4wd track. This would place me as close as I could get to Mt Burrowa and an easy walk back to Black Mountain. Black Mountain can be access by 2wd quite close to the summit via Black Mountain Track. For those without a suitable four wheel drive parking near Black Mountain and hiking into Hinces saddle would be an option.

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Wilsons Prom National Park VKFF-539 and Sparkes Lookout, vk3/vt-079, 19th July 2014


Starting Point

A hike in the Northern section of The Prom had been planned for some time, I had also hopped to visit a few SOTA peaks on this trip but the ban on off track walking permits meant that any activation would be invalid.

Since the planned walk would have two short days I felt it was worth carrying radio gear with a view to getting the 44 contacts required to qualify the parks for the WWFF. The only drawback was this was a mid week trip, but with the popularity of WWFF in the EU and being their Summer holidays I felt I was still in with a chance.


MTR, SLT+, Palm Single and SOTA Beams Flight Deck. At Johnny Souey Cove

In short the WWFF activation was a flop, without the ability to Spot easily (like the SOTA Watch page provides), it was endless calls and no answer.


Looking East on the Five Mile Road

The SOTA activation was always a maybe, we were spending two nights in Tidal River after the walk so after a bit of discussion I left my walking companions to do the shopping and I head off to Sparkes Look Out.


MTR and Palm Single, Great name for a SOTA summit


It was a great spot to operate with a great view, just wish I had taken photos first rather than waiting until I was packed up as the rain then reappeared somewhat hiding the view.

Mt Tabletop, vk3/ve-028, 26th April 2014

The long weekend allowed me enough time to head out for a SOTA activation.
Mt Tabletop is a 4 hour return walk from the JB Plain car park on the Great Alpine Road.

Whilst the views to the east are ok the escarpment is worth the walk.

With the ever increasing number of CW chasers I decided to start on the higher bands and work down.
I was called on 20 by a US and a Finish station but conditions were against us but I did work Rhett vk3ghz and nothing on 30mx this time. After that it was down to 40, here I managed 6 contacts include three S2S, vk3cat, vk2io and vk3wam Once 40 quieten down I gave 20mx one more try and pick up a different Finish station.

On the way home I saw Wayne vk3wam had spotted from Mt Hotham so I stopped on the side of the road, thru the antenna out the passenger window and we exchange 599 reports.
I discovered when I returned home that I was on the wrong frequency on 30mx which would have made it hard for the chasers to find me.

Mt Glenrowan, vk3/ve-230, 2nd March 2014

Mt Glenrowan is a summit I have visited many times over the years, however this was only the second time I have done a SOTA activation here.
As the number of SOTA participants and Associations increase in VK there has been an increasing number of stations willing to work the CW activator. This resulted in my first real pile up!, well maybe not a real pile up but I had answered one station and a second assumed I had answered them, Certainly a first for me 🙂 This confusion was compounded by an issue with the dit paddle not working and needing to change key when I went to answer the first station.

In the end I work 11 stations on 40m, none on 20m and one of the VK2’s I worked on 40 also worked me on 30m. Interestingly their signal on 30m was 3s points better than 40m.


The Hump, vk3/ve-019, Mt Buffalo National Park, 21st Sept 2013

With the good weather and the lure of bonus points The Hump was an easy choice for a pleasant day out.


View from the road, The Hump is on the left

This summit is an easy short walk off the road, and when activated whilst there is still snow about a simple matter of following you footsteps back. Unfortunately the snow is a doubled edge sword, because on the way back it had softened up and  a few times I found myself sinking into the drift.


Contacts were all made on 40m this trip and included a Summit to Summit with Tony vk3cat who was out on vk3/vn-004.



End Fed Half Wave with The Horn in the background

I can highly recommend The Hump for the SOTA activator, access is easy the views are great plus it also counts towards the Keith Roget National Park Award.