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G4OBK OE Tour


#21

OK - I have a little time before the evening meal, so I will report on how the various activations on this trip went, and continue the reports when we get home.

Sat 13th June G/SE-013

Our main holiday this year was to be a motoring trip in Europe, which we last did five years ago, when we also visited Friedrichshafen. This was before SOTA Fever kicked in and on that trip we cycled the 120 miles around Lake Constance (not in one day). Our tour destination this time was the Vorarlberg (VB SOTA Region) of Austria which is around a 75 minute drive from FN.

Mid afternoon on 13th June found us in Kent, with our B&B booked in Dover (East Lee Guest House - highly recommended). We made for White Horse Country Park which lies on top of the well activated Detling Hill SE-013. The QRO station was set up on a picnic table (FT-857 & 13 AH SLAB) after paying a £1.20 parking fee. I started on 80m CW but only logged ON4ON G4SSH and G4ELZ with a dipole and 75w. Dissapointing. 60m SSB was much better and 40m CW produced a huge pile up. I finished with 49 QSO’s by logging as many chasers as I could in the limited time, as I was accompanied on this whole trip by a “non radio companion” (XYL Judy) and I knew she had more hours suffering whilst I enjoyed using the radio in the outdoors during the two weeks to follow…

To be continued next week with a report of my midge ridden activation of ON/ON-001 on June 14th…once we found it!

73 Phil


#22

In reply to G3VQO:
I worked Old King Arthur a couple of weeks ago his book is 405 :wink:
Not worked you this year Les for the Ruby Award.

Roger G4OWG


#23

In reply to G3VQO and G4OWG:

146, 1063 and 2065 - but I started young!

73

Reg G3WPF


#24

In reply:

to G4OBK: very pleased to have met you Phil.
I have some nice pictures with you, G1INK and F6ENO
and will send them to your e-mail-adress.
Have a save way back home and dont forget to invite your
xyl to some good french food, or borrow her your purse
whilest you work some pile-up’s :wink:

to G4OWG: my book# 2850,2851,5059.
Hope to meet you soon.

Vy73 es GL,GB de Fritz HB9CSA,DL4FDM


#25

In reply to DL4FDM:
Hi Fritz, Les, Ric et al

We made it to St Quentin - the Ibis in the town has free WiFi!

Thanks first to Fritz DL4FDM - I look forward to seeing the pics when I make it home - great. No way Judy will get my purse (or credit card) she doesn’t like mussels so I think tonight a half roast chicken will suffice… We spied a decent restaurant around the corner here!

Les G3VQO - your precise directions for the NO-026 are a great help, so I am hopeful I reckon we should find NO-026 now and want to be QRV around 0745 tomorrow for about one hour max including setting up time…we mustn’t miss the Calais Boat or it may cost us more money I guess.

Ric G3CWI - thanks for info on Google Maps - I will put the theory to the test on NO-026 after this message is sent.

I was QRV at lunchtime today and many thanks to the chasers (and Steve DL/G1INK/P on BW-228 who I worked from a layby off the motorway, even though I wasn’t on a summit. Thanks to a few of you who alerted me to Steve when the skip was wrong for us - we made a 4/4 - 4/3 QSO on 7118 KHZ.

NO THANK’S to the chaser who tried to force me off 7032 KHz because I wasn’t on a summit and then when I made a last few quick QSOs tried to jam my transmission.
You will work me on 7032 OM and give your call when I am on a summit to get a point but you abuse me, a fellow SOTA enthusiast with your jamming when I am not. You would not give your callsign to me but YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE> SHAME ON YOU. Don’t bother calling me when I am QRV from summits tomorrow, or any other time please.

7032 is useful as an activity centre for SOTA but when the frequency is quiet it can and should be used by any station who wishes to use it.

73 to everyone else reading this.

Phil F/G4OBK/P

PS OK on all those with more decrepit WAB Book numbers than mine!


#26

In reply to G4OBK:
Hi Phil and all,

I’m just back home after an 11 hour travel; I’m a little bit tired but I want to write few words before going to bed.

It was realy great to see you in Fried !
Thanks again for the good bier…
There, we found Hamspirit which is not the case on air nowadays (as I can read in your post).
All together, we could speak freely on SOTA future.
At last, I could put many faces on calls, and now it will be great to have SOTA QSOs with known friends.
I know that it is a very expensive weekend for UK friends, but next year, I hope that you will come in large number (there is enougth bier for all…).

Phil, Steve and Andy, it will be different when I will hear your calls, (specialy when some of you will come in CW…)

Fritz (and papa), Kurt and Jurg, Switzerland is not very far from the land I’m born (dpt 01) and that is why I was realy pleased to meet you, speaking the same language than me.

Congratulations to Slovenians ! your booth was very attractive. Fantastic for an one year old SOTA association

Many thanks to German SOTA guys for your welcome.

And at last few words for DD1LD.
Dzianis, your organization was perfect. I have been very impressed by all the work you are doing for SOTA. I am sure that we will meet again, may be together on a summit !

73 to all and CU next year !
Alain F6ENO

PS: photos coming soon


#27

In reply to G4OWG:

Andy I think you will find G/SE-015 is not in France :wink:

Woops! Just saw the words ‘active’ ‘SOTA’ and ‘France’ and my beer adled brain did the rest. Too much Meckatzer methinks!

Andy
MM0FMF


#28

In reply to MM0FMF:

Woops! Just saw the words ‘active’ ‘SOTA’ and ‘France’ and my beer
adled brain did the rest. Too much Meckatzer methinks!

Beer ??? where were you last weekend Andy ?

73 Alain F6ENO


#29

Day 2 Sunday 14th June

Dover-Calais
ON/ON-001 Petite Hesse
Luxembourg

We disembarked the boat in Calais at 1145 CET (0945z)and faced a long drive into the Belguim Ardennes to ON/ON-001. It was when we got closer to our destination that I realised the Vauxhalls built in satnav only covered major roads of Europe, which meant motorways and dual carriageways. The scale of our Europe Map book was noted to be extremely poor and detail was lacking and I realised that advanced planning for this trip at least as far as SOTA was concerned, was also sadly lacking.

We left the Motorway near Malmedy and drove around the town like headless chickens looking for signs to the Botrange National Park where ON-001 lies. None were apparent, it was late Sunday afternoon and a mountain bike race was taking place causing disruption to traffic. We liked the look of the town though and could have spent some time looking around had there been time to spare. After the activation we still had a 100 miles drive to reach Luxembourg, so I was pleased when the 2nd garage I stopped at was prepared to sell me a local map of Belguim with a decent scale (the first of 7 maps purchased on this trip!).

ON-001 turned out to be about 8 miles north east from where we were and was shown on the map as “Signal de Botrange”, a most appropriate name I felt. It is 684m ASL and is worth 8 points and lays claim to being the highest point in Belguim. Most of the activation zone is afforested but two main roads cross into the activation zone, which is large. We pulled off the road and I set up the FT-857 about 50m from the car. The air and ground was full of midges and fly’s but once I had wiped a repellant tissue around my face, neck and hands they stopped bothering me. The 30/40m link dipole went up easily on the pole which was tied to a rusty old post. After a “3 rings” tip off Roy G4SSH was first in the log on 7032 KHz. This method was prearranged to save exhorbitant mobile phone charges. I got stung for these when I was in the Isle of Man last month. Roy knew that when I rang him that I would be on 7032 KHz within 2 minutes. The system worked very well indeed. Thank you Roy for the help.

63 QSOs were logged and this included 20 SSB contacts on 40m. There was no time for 30m CW on this one. G1INK Steve logged me first on 7118 KHz SSB with G6WRW/M Carolyn and M0YHB/M Helen also getting a QSO whilst travelling on the M6 in Cumbria on their way home from activating in the Lake District. Very good signals indeed from their mobile station.

We were late and needed to get to LX. We reached the hotel for our two night stay at 20.00 local time. Quite a poor hotel for the price and one which I would not recommend. The weather had been sunny and hot for the activation but in LX a storm was brewing and that set the scene for the next few days weather.

An activation to remember - even though it only meant a walk of 100m there and back and an ascent of zero…you will not find an easier 8 point SOTA!

To be continued with…a short CW only operation in the rain from a car park in Luxembourg and then on to Vorarlberg Austria and the first summit activated OE/VB-473.

Phil ON/G4OBK/P


#30

Day 3 Mon 15th June
Luxembourg - No SOTA but a desire to be QRV from another country…

Wet Luxembourg - it’s a fine city which we have visited several times before but never when it was wet. We were stuck for something to do apart from shopping, so mid afternoon we drove out of the city to look at a few castles. In the corner of a wet car park in Echternach at 1600z I set up the FT-857 under the hatchback of the car. It was pretty wet but thanks to the ever willing chasers monitoring 7032 KHz I made 6 QUICK QSOs. Thank you to G4SSH, G0NUP, DL6UNF, HB9AAQ, DL4FDM and I1ZB for coming back to my calls. I got wet leaning WHILST into the back of the car to make the contacts but the gear did not. I packed up quickly and dried off in a local Pizzeria while we ate our meal and enjoyed a beer.

Day 4 Tues 16th June
Driving to the OE/VB region to check in at Hotel Rossle in Au, Bregenzerwald, no activity.

To be continued…with Day 5 and OE/VB-473 Diedamskopf…


#31

Day 5 Weds 17th June
OE/VB-473 Diedamskopf 8 points

One of the benefits of staying in a Hotel in Bregenzerwald, Vorarlberg (one hour drive from Friedrichshafen) in the summer is that the local tourist board provide you with a free pass for public transport and for several of the chairlifts and cable cars in the region. The only summit I had picked out in advance was VB-473 Diedamskopf as I had noted that a cable car served a mountain restaurant on the top. The cable car was within 2 Km of our hotel, so after the long drive the previous day this easy activation was just right.
The weather was excellent and we were soon at 2020m leaving us with a mere 70m of ascent to reach the top. The mountain was over populated with people - mostly like us, middle aged and sporting two walking poles. We walked across the top where the cross was located and there was no way with all the folk around that operation on HF there would be possible. Using the GPS to measure altitude we dropped down to a col 30m below us and then ascended another rise of 20m to our activation point where there were no other people. The top of the mountain was carpeted with wild flowers of all types and Judy was keen to take some close up pictures of these while I set up the station.

This was within OE association rules - the activation point must be within 50m of the top (not 25m as in England for instance). This makes sense for three reasons in Austria to my mind - the relative height of the mountains compared to UK, the likelihood on popular hills served by cable cars that the tops would be overrun by people (like on Diedamskopf) and the sharp peaked tops on many of the hills making it dangerous to try to string out an HF dipole if you had to operate very near to the top.

3 rings to dial-a-spot (G4SSH) brought in a horde of callers on 7032 KHz, then SSB on 7118 brought 11 QSOs including G1INK, G4BLH, G0RQL and GW3GUX. I finished off by filling in on 30m CW with several UK stations who missed me on 40m due to propagation. 80 minutes activity brought 73 contacts using 60 watts from the FT-857 and 7 AH SLAB.

We travelled back down via the cable car to enjoy a sausage and brot lunch with beer and I purchased two of the local Topgraphische Karte 1:25000 maps to help locate further local summits from the OE/VB list I had taken with me. We were spoilt for choice.

To be continued with Day 6 Giblenkopf OE/VB-480…


#32

Day 6 Thurs 18th June
OE/VB-480 Giblenkopf 6 pts (activated) & OE/VB-420 Hirschberg 8 pts (not activated)

This was a plan that did not work out!

A short drive took us to a chair lift in the village of Bizau - this took us from 800m to the 1500m level and was a great experience on the last fine day we had in Austria:

The unique summit of VB-480 was to be tackled first. We had around a 3 mile walk to reach the top with significant descent and ascent to get there. QRP was the way to go so the FT-817 and LIpo battery was packed making the rucksack feel fairly light. These helpful red and white markers on the rocks and trees helped:

as did the 1:25000 map, but the paths were still hard to locate along the aforested mountainside. I had the coordinates of the summit entered into my GPS as Lat/Long, taken from the ARM, however the coordinates are rounded to the nearest full minute and I found this to be the case on Giblenkopf. Activators are encouraged to determine the precise coordinates of the Summits on their expeditions using GPS and to communicate them to the Regional Manager for inclusion in the ARM. This I will do once I have written up these reports! This is how the top of Giblenkopf is marked:

Me on the top:

The first QSO was S2S with OK1CYC/P on OK/MO-023. Miro is the leading HF activator from the Czech Association and is a lot nearer to Mountain Goat than I am! Condx were poor to average and I found how much more difficult it is to make contacts with 5 watts rather than with 50 watts. I finished with 19 QSOs in 30 minutes evenly split between 30/40m CW. UK stations worked were G3TJE, G4SSH/A (Cornwall) on both bands and GM0AXY, G0NUP and also EI7CC on 30m only. We needed to move on if we were to activate VB-420 Hirschberg and still be in time to take the last chairlift down the mountain by (1430z) 4.30p.m local time to where I had parked my car. So we descended through forest and located an indistinct track towards Hirschberg VB-420. After a mile or so the plan started to go wrong. We finished up skirting the wrong side of the hill called Ober Hirschberg and ran out of time to reach the real Hirschberg VB-420. In fact we ran out of time to get back to catch the chairlift. Once out of woodland after a very steep descent to a track, I orientated our position and realised we were too far from the chairlift to reach it in time. We hadn’t seen a soul all day and our water was running low. The bottles were filled from a stream and we continued on our way. It was apparent that it was 6 miles back down the valley to our hotel or 8 miles back to the car and then a drive (it would have been 5 miles had we made the chairlift in time). No problem then, it was an easy decision and we reached the Hotel in Au by 7.00pm in time for a refreshing shower and dinner. I checked with the Hotel reception (a local girl) if we needed to notify anyone that the car would be left all night in case the emergency services came looking for us, but she replied that would not be the case as this was commonplace in Austria. We collected the car the next day in the rain when we travelled by local bus to Bizau…

Day 7 Fri 19th June

A rest day…raining all day

Day 8 VB-454 Hintere Niedere and VB-476 Vordiere Niedere
to be continued…


#33

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.


#34

Day 9 21st June Kojenkopf OE/VB-477

Another day in the clag and rain was forecast so a decision was made to take the Bergbahn (Chairlift) from Mallau and then decide once at Rostellalpe at the 1400m level what to do.

This is where we found out what the locals do on a Sunday lunchtime. They take the Bergbahn to the top and then drink beer, eat lovely German sausage and enjoy dancing and entertainment provided by a live band. Mingling at the food counter are the few walkers getting supplies in for the walk across the Voralberg mountains. We were well outnumbered by the revellers on this occasion! We got some food and drink and made off for the unique 6 pointer of VB-477 Kojenkopf which was reached in under 30 minutes after 200m of ascent. I wished I had taken the FT-857 and used QRO but this was “Plan B”. If the weather had been better when we left the Bergbahn “Plan A” would have taken us across to the 2044m Kanisfluh VB-349 and then we could have walked back to our hotel from there, collecting the car via public transport. The distance and ascent for this walk would have meant QRP lightweight gear was essential.

“Plan B” produced 32 QSOs from the 40/30m CW bands before rain stopped play after 30 minutes. Roy G4SSH/A just scraped into the log by returning his report to me at the correct time after several attempts but no other UK stations were worked. With QRO and 50w+ that would have not been the case. Skip was short and all the HB9 stations were 599 both ways. Our plan was to walk the 10 Km back to Mellau but as the rain started we returned via the Bergbahn station to our hotel.

Day 10 22nd June Liechenstein (No SOTA)

Another wet day so we drove via a mountain pass to Bludenz which is just inside Austria and then we continued on to HB0 Liechenstein. (Well done to Kurt HB9AFI on the first activation of HB0/LI-009 this morning). Luckily the rain stopped for 30 minutes and I was able to set up in a layby between Neindien and the capital Vaduz. I made 10 contacts including an SSB QSO on 7118 KHz with John GW4BVE who was transmitting on his 60m loop. HB0 was the only new country bagged on this trip for the DX Foot Club:

http://www.dxfc.org/index.php

Day 11 23rd June

We would have activated Kanisfluh VB-349 but it rained from dawn till dusk!

To be continued with Day 12 - The drive to Friedrichshafen via Switzerland and the roadside activation of HB/AI-011 St Anton…


#35

Day 12 Weds 24th June HB/AI-011 St Anton

This was the day we left the VB region of Austria to head for Friedrichshafen and “Ham Radio 2009”. A short detour into the AI region (Appenzell Interode)of Switzerland was possible providing a token summit could be located that was easily accessible. This region reaches down to the Bodensee (Lake Constance.)We crossed the border and went to the town of Altstatten to find a bookshop where a local map could be purchased. I found an excellent 1:50000 Carte de Randonee hiking map, however not possessing any Swiss Francs I used my credit card to fund the purchase. When I returned home and checked my statement I found that this map cost me £12.50! I also had the AI page of the HB Association Manual with me so with that and the map I noticed that the 2 point SOTA of St Anton AI-011 was just above Alltstaten. This was a summit with a road running across the top of it, on a bus route and with a cafe, which when we arrived was unfortunately closed. The weather was damp with minimal visibility and it drizzled for a while during the activation, which was done stting on a park bench:

I switched on the FT-857 and found Les G3VQO/P operating on 7032 KHz from G/SE-015 Cheriton Hill. We quickly made an S2S QSO before I moved HF of Les. Roy G4SSH had thankfully spotted my activity prior to start up and I was soon busy clearing the pile up. Condx were average to good on 40m with 43 stations worked on CW and 17 on SSB. A move to 30m CW brought another 17 QSOs. As it was the Sporadic E season I called CQ on 6m CW and SSB without success using my 30m band dipole - the SWR without matching is below 2:1, quite acceptable. There were no takers, however I moved up the band and worked EC1AJL 59 both ways over a distance of 566 Km (352 miles), so the skip was very short. This was the only contact made on 50 MHz, but it was my first on that band from a SOTA.

I packed up and we departed for Friedrichshafen, stopping en-route at an Aldi Supermarket to purchase some Weissbeer and 6 bottles of Australian Merlot at the bargain price of €12.

To be continued with Day 13 DM/BW-348 Gehrenberg near Markdorf.


#36

Day 13 Thurs 25th June DM/BW-348 Gehrenberg

With my laptop batteries discharged and having no mains charger I visited an internet cafe to try to find a summit local to Friedrichshafen. Andy MM0FMF responded by suggesting Pfander in the OE/VB area above Bregenz but I wanted to activate a token summit in the DM Association for the first time. gerd DF9TS suggested Gehrenberg BW-348 near Markdorf (Thank’s Gerd - Good One).

Another hiking map was purchased and the 753m high 8 point summit was located. We went to Markdorf - Thursday was market day and a local stall was selling Bratwurst and Brot - which was our lunch. We set off uphill by car to Gehrenberg and parked up at a Grillplatz (BBQ) area in the woods. Parking here would give us a nice walk in to the activation zone, but we could have parked much closer in had we wished to. With the map and the lat/long coordinates of BW-348 entered into the GPS we had no problems finding our way on the paths and tracks:

Operation was from a log at the side of a track in the woodland within 5m vertical incidence of the summit:

Apart from the flies and midges it went well with QRO power from a 7AH SLAB. Condx on 40m/30m were long skip with plenty of UK/EI stations logged. 55 minutes of operation produced 53 QSOs, with 42 on CW and 11 on SSB.

That evening in the Lokullum pub/restaurant in Friedrichshafen a group of French hams walked past our table to eat in the beer garden. After they sat down I introduced myself to them and asked if Alain F6ENO was amongst their number? Sure enough Alain was there and we enjoyed a brief introduction.

Day’s 14 and 15 were spent at the Ham Radio Event were I met many SOTA friends for the first time. Well done to Dzianis (Luk) DD1LD for organising the SOTA get together at the stand and to the op’s who made my XYL Judy so welcome at the lunch.

To follow: Day 16/17 operating in France from a layby near Reims and from the F/NO-026 Mont Le Communale 210m high Summit…


#37

In reply to G4OBK:

Hi Phil,
many tnx for your excellent activation report
from the continent (mainland? hi).
Like on DM/BW-348 are many of the DM-summits,
realy difficult for a 2nd time to motivate (to me),
even with 10 points…hi
Have a good time on IOTA EU-005
and cu on the air.

Vy73 Fritz DL4FDM,HB9CSA


#38

In reply to DL4FDM:

Hi Fritz

We could do with a few more 8 pointers here like DM/BW-348 to bring the Mountain Goat a bit closer! I would not be complaining…

This award is a formidable challenge and one which I think will take me another 5 years or so if I can maintain the fitness to climb the hills. I started in 2005 and I have still to reach 300 points! Anyone who has achieved this target is to be admired and must have dedication, fitness and be a good operator and technician.

73 and thank you for all the QSOs from the German and Swiss SOTAs.

Phil


#39

Day 16/17 Sun/Mon 28/29th June
F/G4OBK/P Near Reims
F/NO-026 Mont le Communale
G/SE-015 Cheriton Hill Kent

We got away from Friedrichshafen by 8.30am on our way to St Quentin in Northern France, a drive of over 400 miles. We passed through the F/VO Vosges region where there are plenty of summits but the lack of a decent map prevented us from finding and operating from a summit on a day when we were pushed for time. I was determined to operate from France though for the first time so after lunch I set up the station in layby just off the A4 Motorway south of Reims and called CQ on 7032 KHz, which was quiet at the time. After a few quick QSOs with SOTA friends someone came on the frequency and tried to move me away with some persistence. This was because I was not a summit - some operators don’t seem to be aware about frequency allocations and the entitlement to use any frequency within the amateur bandplan that is not in use. The Operator seemed to think that SOTA owned 7032 KHz! I worked 8 stations and then moved to 7118 KHz where Steve DL/G1INK/P was active from BW-228. Thank you to the op’s who allowed me through to exchange reports with Steve (44/43) this consideration was very much appreciated. G3RMD and G3OHC were also worked on SSB a little higher up the band.

We arrived in St Quentin late afternoon to find a lovely town. We had booked in at the Ibis Hotel right across from the Cathedral. These Hotels are good value for money and most of them provide free wi-fi. I logged into the SOTA Reflector using this, having purchased a charger for the laptop at the rally for €10. I was feeling a little despondent that I would not activate a summit from France, then I found a message from Les G3VQO giving directions of how to get to F/NO-026 Mont le Communale, which is within a 40 minute drive of Calais, where we needed to be by 12.00pm local the next day. Thank’s Les, this information was very much appreciated.

We left the Ibis after a continental breakfast and took the fastest route we could to NO-026 using the A26 toll motorway and arrived at the summit by 0730z. This was a roadside activation near the junction of a track leading to what must have been a dump or a quarry judging by the number of heavy vehicles that were going down the track (Les will know where I mean). I sat by a road sign and set the station up - this was well within the activation zone:

Naturally the first station into the log again was Roy G4SSH - “dial a spot” was working well at no cost to me! Condx were excellent, the weather was fine and all operators were very slick on both CW and SSB allowing me to make 72 QSOs in 47 minutes so that I was not delayed for the boat. This was much appreciated. I wondered if the station who tried to force me off 7032 KHz the previous day because I was not on a summit, was amongst them!

We proceeded to Calais arriving at G/SE-015 Cheriton Hill early afternoon. The weather had stayed perfect with little wind, however whilst deploying the 80m link dipole I broke the 7m fishing pole at the second section. This was the second pole to break this year. I think I fastened the pole off too high this time against the fence - the second section of these poles is much weaker than the bottom section. You live and learn. SE-015 is another “roadside activation” and I operated from grid ref TR 1970 3976 beside the track that leads to the reservoir.

No one bothered us and despite the slightly lower antenna made 29 QSOs on the 80m 60m and 40m bands. The only station worked on 60m was Mike G4BLH and I worked GM6WRW/P MM0YHB/P and MM0USU on 40m SSB and no others. We made tracks down the extremely narrow lanes back to the M20 and were back home in North Yorkshire in good time via the M25/M11/A1M.

This had been a great holiday as far as SOTA was concerned despite poor weather which did affect other aspects of the trip. The experience of operating from G/ON/LX/OE/HB0/HB9/DL/F was brilliant and I am grateful for the CEPT licence.

Miles Driven: 2375
Summits Activated: 11
SOTA QSOs completed: 629
None SOTA QSOs (LX-HB0-F): 29
SOTA Points earned: 53
Bands used on trip: 80m 60m 40m 30m 6m
Rig: Yaesy FT-857 & FT-817
Antennae used: Link dipoles 40/30m and 80/60/40/30m bands

73 and I hope you found something interesting in my diary,

Phil G4OBK


#40

In reply to G4OBK:
Hello Phil,

thanks for a very interesting SOTA activation reports. It was really nice to meet you and other SOTA fans in FN ham radio fair.HPE CUAGN!

73, Milos S57D