Well guys, we had a busy two days travelling from our SOTA Dinner Gasthof in Pfrungen 20 miles north of Friedrichshafen yesterday (Sunday) up into the (SOTA French Low) Vosges Region.
I completed two SOTA activations yesterday - as we were travelling some distance I picked out two drive on activations. The first was Hochfirst - 1190m, 10 Points - DM/BW-015 near Titisee. I believe Andy F/M0FMF/P visited after we had our lunch in the Mountain top Cafe and left.
Then once in the Vosges in mid afternoon, we motored to Le Haut Koenigsbourg - 743m, 6 Points - FL/VO-073. Before my activation there was time here to do a tour of Koenisberg Castle which is situated on the summit itself.
Arriving at our Gites de France cottage No. 1570 in Breitenbach last night without provisions, ruled out an early morning activation today for me, and to be truthful, I felt rather knackered anyway after the Fredrichshafen Bash despite a good night’s sleep. Congratulations incidentally, to Juerg HB9BIN on yet another fantastic (almost) two hours Segued SOTA presentation and to the presenters who told us their stories. Did anyone else feel some emotion watching Emil Bergman’s (DL8JJ) film of his young daughter growing up climbing mountains and undertaking outdoor activities at such a young age? Don’t ask me why, but I certainly did!
Virtually everywhere in Germany and France closes on Sundays so we had no breakfast supplies in the Gite today - all we had was cake, wine and water. In the nearby town (called a village by locals) of Ville there is an excellent Super U supermarket where we had a petite dejeuner at 9.00am and then stocked up on €50 of food for the Gite. Returning back there we walked the village, found where the all important boulangerie was and then enjoyed our lunch.
At 3.00pm we headed off to FL/VO-070 Mt Ste Odile, La Bloss - 827m, 8 Points. This was a 20 minute drive from the Gite and a 25 minute walk to the summit (1.3 Km walk with 192m height gain). After reprogramming the KX2 Memory keyer with my French CEPT compliant callsign the first contact was with my great friend Luc DL/ON7DQ/P who was operating from DM/BW-046. Its brilliant to work someone you had been drinking with a few days earlier! It was then a mix of other EU stations including close friend Victor GI4ONL (Who accompanied me last month on a SOTA Tour of the Czech Republic) and Pete M0HQO from Pickering, my home town. Pete is using a new Hexbeam aerial on HF now and was putting a big signal into the Vosges on 20 metres, a true 59 despite the S5 noise from static as reported by Andy F/M0FMF in a SOTA Spot from this area this afternoon.
Moving on next, we had a 25 minute drive to FL/VO-116. This is Rocher de Grendelbruch - 610m, 6 Points and a wooded summit above the village of Grendelbruch. Parking by a log pile on the forestry track leading in, the summit was gained in 13 mins, on a walk of 770m with just 94m ascent. The route we found down though was shorter as we found a better path, however my app lost its Satellite position due to surrounding hills, so I am unable to state the exact distance and descent.
Condx on the summit on the 20m band in CW/SSB were excellent. A quick QSY to 10119 added another 3 QSOs with Victor GI4ONL, Frank G3RMD and Mariusz SP9AMH. Many regulars and not so regulars were worked - particularly noted working was Geoff G4WHA on 20m SSB which does not happen much due to Geoff’s limited aerial situation at work in Penrith, and Ron F4VSM (AKA Ron GW3YDX - an old friend and (the now retired) proprietor of Vine Antennas) who was operating from his holiday QTH in western France. So in 4 hours out and back from our Gite we activated a 8 pointer and an 6 Pointer - I’m saving the high scoring 10 pointers later in the week… We leave the FL/VOsges area on Saturday, but the weather forecasts looking bad for Thursday and Friday. I can see why operating SOTA here is so popular, especially in the sort of weather we are having here at present.
I’m planning an early morning run out before breakfast to a local FL/VO summit tomorrow (Tuesday) - I expect to be QRV around 0500z, and then after a trip to the town of Selestat and the market there with XYL Judy, I anticipate activating one other summit on the way back to our Breitenbach Gite. I will work on where I am going after writing this.
All in all it has been a good two days which I have enjoyed writing about - a few captioned pictures attached.
73 de Phil G4OBK