I activated FL/NO-082 and FL/NO-035 today although sadly I wasn’t able to get to the 3rd planned summit FL/NO-038 for which profuse apologies.
As I was driving a 3.5t vehicle I had done some preparation beforehand to assess accessibility and parking. I was unsure about the parking on the summit of FL/NO-082 so I parked a little south east of the village of Torcé Viviers en Charnie beside a small lake. You will find this marked on Google Maps as Plan d’eau.
A 15 minute walk up a steep road and 100m of ascent brought me to the summit - where I found a large parking space! Those who follow can thank me for this information.
I set up by the side of the track, the antenna running north to south, leaning the top of the 6m pole on a tree and myself sitting on a felled one. It was very comfortable.
There were a lot of felled trees.
This was where I was, the true summit was a few metres west of me. OSM mapping calls the summit Signal de Viviers. The SOTA name for the summit, Le Sacré Cœur, is the name of a statue erected in 1946. I saw a sign pointing to it but didn’t go and look as it was in the wrong direction and time was short.
Éric F5JKK had recommended, given the odd propogation conditions, I try 30m CW. This was excellent advice as the map below shows. Several familiar callsigns, there should have been more QSOs but I think a few gave up as I tried to pick out callsigns from the pile-up. My CW is improving but slowly!
On the walk back I took this photograph.
FL/NO-038 is on the right and very hard to see but FL/NO-035 is on the left. You might be able to see the masts.
I was fairly sure I could drive to the summit of FL/NO-035 but it needed close observation of the map to spot the approach road as there are no signs.
I was able to park just outside the compound containing the huge masts. Note the razor wire!
As before I set up beside the track with the wire running north to south. There was no theory behind the orientation, it was just a lot easier to put it here. With no tree to sit on I used 2 stools, one to sit on and one for the equipment.
I tried opening on 40m SSB and heard Érik sending his callsign but he obviously could not hear me.
A switch back to the recommended 30m CW brought things to life!
And hiding in there is my first ever CW S2S which would have been more enjoyable at the time if I had realised this was what it was. DL1CR/P was on DM/NS-127 but I didn’t realise this until later - the joy of the IC-705 sound recording system. Although the recording of me repeatedly replying to Manuel, EA2DT as EA3DT was painful to listen to! I knew it was Manuel, I’ve learned to recognise his characteristic style but as usual my brain wasn’t functioning.
A huge thank you to all chasers. It was a fairly demanding day with a few hours of driving, turning around on narrow tracks and some short intense CW work.