VK7 SOTA Peaks Available for Preview

VK7 SOTA Peaks Available for Preview

In the early hours of this morning, Justin (VK7TW) shared what may be (still needs final confirmation) the peaks and ARM for VK7 go-live. You can find them in the files section of the SOTA Australia Yahoo Group.

So now it’s possible to start planning ahead for the big day. I’ve just had a quick play with the list and provide the following images for your viewing. It includes:

  • A view of all of VK7 and its peaks – gives you a good idea of just how many there are;
  • The a focus around Hobart – still heaps just around the capital
  • The a look up at some peaks that caught my eye around Lake Pedder
  • And finally a zoom in on those interesting peaks/islands in Lake Pedder – plus a 50m contour overlay to give an idea of difficulty – it’s not just a quick whip around in a kayak to all three. 🙂



New Locator Tools


I’ve put up an early release of some maidenhead locator web tools I’ve been playing with. Full details can be found on the locator tools page or you can just jump straight in and have a look over at http://loc.vk7is.net/.

It’s currently just using various free hosting services, but if I find there is any use of it I may change that. So don’t expect anything too superfast (or reliable). 🙂

Feedback welcome.


Reading through the various SOTA doco on the sota.org.uk sites, I felt it was missing one key element. A simple documenting the steps for getting started – ie. your first chase/activation.

Thankfully in VK land, Andrew Davis (VK1DA/VK2UH) has come to the rescue with yet another great addition to his VK FAQ.

I highly recommend if you’re keen to get started in SOTA and you’re after some good concise info – with links out to all the other stuff – then you can do no worse than visiting Andrew’s Summits of the Air section of his FAQ. I especially point you to the section titled ‘What next? How do I join in?’ – as that’s what I’ve found lacking on the official SOTA sites.


Bendix Radio – Cape Bruny

Was taking another visit down to the Cape Bruny (Tasmania) lighthouse a couple of weeks back. While there I took some time to capture the Bendix radio setup in the museum there. It’s a transmitter and receiver combo made up of:

  • Receiver: Bendix RA-10FA
  • Transmitter: Bendix TA-12D

These were WWII era and there are some snippets of info online (especially regarding the TA-12 series of transmitters). Also, they seem to pop up for sale on eBay and the like from time to time.

Enjoy the pics!

RTL-2832 and Raspberry Pi for ARPT and FUNcube

RTL-2832 and Raspberry Pi for ARPT and FUNcube

Last year I was playing with a cheap USB dongle for weather satellite reception. Eventually though I gave up on it, as although I could receive reasonable pictures with it, the device kept causing my machine to freeze.

Anyway, I recently dropped a raspberry Pi in the shack to act as a router between my shack and my wireless network. It got me wondering as to the possibilities of running the dongle via it. Turns out, it was as easy as… pi! (Sorry… 🙂 )

It really only takes a few simple steps:

  1. Download the rtl tools source code via git from OsmoSDR
  2. Build up the tools (make sure you’ve installed the build-tools package on your pi)
  3. Make sure you unload an DVB kernel modules with rmmod (after checking with lsmod)
  4. Run rtl-tcp on the raspberry pi
  5. And then connect via TCP from something like SDRSharp

Doing this I’ve had no problems with anything freezing, and have captured images with as much ease as I did before – although I have a dodgy coax cable I need to fix.

Further, I’ve gone on to receive beacons (6m, 2m and 70cm) as well as the FUNcube telemetry. Actually, to my surprise I’m the only VK7 to have recorded reception of any telemetry (according to the FUNcube Upload Ranking page).

To finish, here’s a couple of images received via this setup (one from NOAA-15 and one from NOAA-19). And the title picture of New Zealand is from NOAA-19.

SOTA in VK7 Imminent!

Attended the REAST SOTA presentation last Wednesday night, and to my great excitement Justin (VK7TW) informed the group he’s been told by the SOTA organisers that most likely VK7 will go live 1st October 2014!! I can’t wait!!

So I spent the week-end scoping out and hiking up one of the local candidate peaks and making another antenna. On both accounts things didn’t go quite according to plan, but fingers crossed, the first week-end in October I’ll be hilltop activating something! 😉

And here’s a copy of the short write-up I did for the news:

Wednesday, 3rd September at the Queens Domain saw another interesting presentation by Justin (VK7TW), this time on SOTA – Summits On The Air.

The presentation started with the exciting news that SOTA is expected to go live in VK7 on the 1st of October 2014. In preparation for this Justin ran the group through the important aspects of SOTA. This included the rules and reference manual, the possible awards, along with the common frequencies and considerations when going summiting.

Of great interest, a preview and discussion was provided of the 695 candidate summits. This was followed by a discussion of some potential portable setups people may wish to consider, including a look at an FT-817ND, portable tuner and squid pole arrangement – not to mention the key concern of portable power.

Sources for additional information online were provided, including the Yahoo mailing list, SOTAwatch and the SOTA Australian FAQ by Andrew Davis (VK1DA/VK2UH).

Thanks go out to Justin, Peter (VK3PF) and the team for all the work of getting SOTA active in VK7 and following it up with an informative presentation.

Links are available on the text edition of the broadcast.

SOTA Australia FAQ – http://vkfaq.ampr.org/opersota.php

Mailing list – https://au.groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/SOTA_Australia/info

SOTA Watch – http://www.sotawatch.org/

(73, Ian, VK7IS)