Autumnal Sunshine on Patschaberg OE/ST-363

I had a few days holiday this week so I decided to put it to good use and activate some summits not quite in walking distance of my QTH. I decided to camp out a few nights and took the tent as the winds were light and the weather set fair. I caught the bus round to Weiz and then up the Weizklamm, where three summits were within easy reach. I went for Patschaberg first, as the other two were in the direction of my home village, so I would be heading back to base as I ticked off the Stroßberg and Katerloch. It was a very fine afternoon and I even found a nice farmhouse that let me fill my water bottle. I got to the summit at about 16:30, it turned out to be a wide grassy meadow at the top of a fairly narrow ridge; ideal for an overnight camp and activation. As soon as the sun went down it got pretty cold and I was very glad to have brought my down over-quillt along. I got the antenna up as quick as I could (I use a full size end connected off centre fed dipole for 40 thru 6m)

I got straight in the tent and into my sleeping bag and self spotted; luckily there was a good mobile signal at the top. Apparantly, there was a bug with the Italian SMS gateway that was stopping my messages getting through. The operator was good enough to email me out of the blue today and let me know it was fixed. The activation went pretty smoothly, I even got some nice stateside DX (thanks Dick and Robert). I managed to dig EA8/DL3PB out of the noise, god knows what power he’s running on 20m. It was so cold I called QRT pretty quickly, perhaps too quickly. At about the third attempt I got away with it and no one came back, except Dick, to wish me well. I must apologise for the bad QRT message which gave the summit as ST-367 rather than ST-363. I forgot to update it from my previous activation on the Burgstaller Höhe. I cooked dinner and got nicely tucked up in both my sleeping bags, which kept me warm as toast it must be said. The sunrise was fantastic:

The view north to the Fischbacher Alpen was also pretty amazing:

And as if that were not enough, ZL7G was 559 on 30m. Unfortunately, my 3 watts out were not quite enough to break the pile-up. I would have gone for the other two summits, but the cold affected my paddle and one of the contacts went closed circuit. Warming it up helped a bit, but I decided to take it home for adjustment, i.e. widen the contact spacing a little. It’s something else to remember in very cold weather. I can take in the Stroßberg and Katerloch another weekend. To cap it all off, I got sunburn walking back into Weiz, but for the 1st of November, who’s complaining!