Day 8 Sat 20th June
VB-454 Hintere Niedere and VB-476 Vordiere Niedere
There could be no excuses on this day - we could easily complete two six point summits within one KM of each other as the crow flies but with a 130m height difference between them. VB-454 had been done before on VHF but VB-476 was to be a unique. There are hundreds in the VB region that have still to be done. You are spoilt for choice. Both summits are located on a “Panoramaweg”. This is a popular circular walk in Bregenzerwald, located at the top of a cable car route north of Bezau.
After we left the cable car we had a short 20 minute walk with 100m ascent. Clag greeted our arrival at VB-454 Hintere Niedere. This was a superb operating site on a grassy ridge about 25m wide with vertical drops on boths sides, north and south.
Running QRO (50w) the pile up on 7032 KHz was enormous, so if you didn’t work me on this one on CW then you weren’t in the shack. After 71 QSOs in 45 minutes it felt like I was some “Big Gun” on a major DXpedition to some rare Island…This was despite some deliberate QRM - not from some disaffected ham but from these:
The noise from the cow bells on the beasts adjacent to where I was operating!
I went over to SSB and this only produced 3 QSOs before things dried up on 7118 KHz, which as usual was noisy… Only ON4CVL, S57D and G8ULM were worked. I’m convinced that to effectively make a decent number of QSOs on 40m SSB quickly without being able to self spot is nigh on impossible, and I don’t have that facility. So I turned to 30m CW to fill some propagation gaps as a few of the deserving were missing from my 40m log. A contact with GW0DSP was completed here and I finished with 90 QSOs including S2S contacts with HA5TI/P and DL3VTA/P. During the activation we had a chat to some German, Swedish and American people who were out for a walk and explained what we were doing. The American lady, walking on her own, was attending the annual Schubert Festival which is an annual event in the area.
A 40m stroll took us around the ridge and across a large drop to VB-476 Vordere Niedere, on the other side of the Panoramaweg. This seemed an unlikely summit to me but the lat/long co-ordinates were correct with the ground falling away sheer to the north. There was a farm nearby with an adjoining cafe. Contacts had to be made quickly or the Bezau Chairlift (which closed at 1415z) would not be available to us, and as everyone with degenerative knees knows, going steeply downhill is more painful than going up, so we did not want to miss the chairlift.
DL3JPN was first into the VB-476 log at 1235z with G4SSH/A in Cornwall soon after. Plenty more UK stations were worked and a move to 10118 KHz saw G0NES, G4USW, G4ZIB, G0BPU and EI2CL into the log. I went QRT after 52 minutes with 71 stations logged and thank everyone for being so brief in making QSOs. I spent 5 minutes trying for SSB contacts with CQ calls on 7118 KHz but only Steve G1INK was worked. I was to meet Steve a few days later at Friedrichshafen, along with several more of the chasers worked whilst I was in Austria. We made the chairlift with ten minutes to spare after a thrilling SOTA day for me and a rather boring one for XYL Judy who had sat around in the clag for several hours, reading a book whilst I extinguished my SOTA Fever. I think one activation is sufficient when accompanied by my XYL (I am still getting the earache from doing two in the same day!)
To be continued with Day 9 Kojenkopf…and Day 10 a trip to HB0 Liechenstein.