Last autumn I visited Lauhanvuori, OH/JS-032 with SOTA-activation in mind. To cut a long story short, I missed the alerted QRV time by over an hour and it was quite a rainy day. So in the end I only managed to get one QSO with someone who wasn’t an active SOTA chaser. So, a second attempt was in order.
On Sunday, 7th August the forecast for the population centres surrounding Lauhanvuori was quite promising, with only small chance of light showers in the afternoon. So, my YL, her parents and I packed the car and turned it towards the national park. Instead of the bigger road, we took a more scenic route through some villages north from the municipality of Jämijärvi, where my YL’s parents live.
We turned to the road leading to the summit at about 10:00 UTC. I dropped out of the car a couple of kilometers before the summit, at the point where the hill starts to rise from the marshy surroundings. The weather was very good, sunny with a few clouds here and there. As I walked up along the gravel road, I could see many berry pickers in the woods. As I reached the top, the others were already there and had found a terrific blueberry spot. Indeed, there were a lot of berries, and quite big also. You don’t see wild blueberries more than one centimeter in diameter that often.
I found a good spot for my station between the GSM mast and the viewing tower, with suitable pines for the antenna. After some weight throwing exercise, I was QRV at about 11:20 UTC. I started with 20 meters CW and got 16 contacts altogether. As the pileup ended, I was just about to QRV to 80 meters, when I got one more call from IK1GPG. Tuning down to 80 meters required quite a lot of adjustment to the antenna. I had to take down the other end and throw it again to another tree a bit further to the west. I got the length right the first time, though, so I was back on air again.
The idea was to see if there were any OH-amateurs wishing to try SOTA chasing. However, quickly after reaching the 80 m band I noticed that there was a contest going on, actually the Basic Contest organized by SRAL, the Finnish Amateur Radio League. This monthly contest is aimed at newcomers and clubs, but all amateurs are welcome to join. So, my “yleinen kutsu, SOTA” was replied by eager contesters, who asked if I’m working the contest as well. I’m not so much into contesting in general, and I haven’t really participated more than one or two. The others managed to talk me over, although I had only a faint idea of the rules of the Basic Contest. I probably ended up breaking half of the rules, but the others corrected me QSO-by-QSO, so probably the last ones were almost correct.
I made about 10 contacts in the contest, also with Harri, OH6JYH, the top Finnish chaser. As the contest ended, I had a long chat with him as well as fellow contesters Alpo, OH6ALPO and Heidi, OH6SX, a young member of our local club in Jyväskylä. Heidi asked if she could join a SOTA-trip some time in the future, so expect to hear her voice in the future as well!
I worked a few more OH-stations who probably made their first SOTA chases, before the band got quiet. As it was getting a bit cloudier, I took down the HF-station and climbed to the viewing tower. As the Lauhanvuori summit is covered with trees, as usual with OH/JS summits, only the tower gives a mentionable view. But as it is one of the highest points of Western Finland, the view from the tower is all the better. I could see many neighbouring towns around Northern Satakunta and Southern Ostrobothnia with a faint sight of the factory chimneys of the towns on the western coast.
I browsed all the repeaters I could open from the tower, four on two meters and six on 70 cm. I only got a reply from 2 meters repeater in Seinäjoki. He was driving a car and soon reached a point where the driving required more of his attention, so I didn’t suggest trying a direct contact. I also tried the FM calling frequencies, but with no luck. So, no VHF/UHF SOTA this time. I climbed down and signed the guest book at the bottom of the tower.
At this point the sky was getting notably darker, so it was time to head back. Halfway back to Jämijärvi it started pouring and it rained pretty much for the rest of the day, but once again I was lucky enough enjoy good weather during the actual time outside.
Some pictures are available at http://www.flickr.com/photos/48619356@N00/sets/72157627279418425/with/6029744589/
Many thanks to all chasers and 73,