Do we still need winter bonus !?


Today I went for a little hike to F/PE-103 Pic de la Calabasse.

After a quick look at the summit from the road, I decide to leave my crampons and axes in the car and use my summer shoes. The beginning of the hike is a steep walk in the forest, which is kind of magical.

Exiting the forest, I realized that not bringing the ice gear was a good idea. There is a zone on the ridge where snow has completely melted, all the way to the summit! Then, after 2 hours 15 minutes and +1100 m of altitude gain, the summit is right there. The view is epic, with an extra-wide view of the Pyrenean chain. I let you climb the last few meters with me, watching the attached video:

After the sundden anticyclonic conditions here in the Pyrenees, the snow (already not so thick) has melted up to 2000m altitude. I have no memory of anything like this in 30 years of patrolling the Pyrenees. It’s May / June conditions in January!!!

Decided to try out the 10m challenge, I set up my newly assembled 10m special, a simple vertical + 2 radial, and call CQ … Surprise, I get Chris F4WBN, from only 200 km away. The signal is not very strong, but I’m impressed. I’m new to ham radio but somehow I believed that 28 mHz had a longer skip zone. Or … Could it be a direct wave ?

Well, It was a great day in the mountains !



Really nice report ! From my recent summits in the UK, i have also been impressed that F4WBN appears to defy the skip zone. Recently, on 10m with 1/4w vertical I get:

  • local ground wave contacts in near line of sight (Usually less than 100km)
  • Long skip distance with strong signal reports, usually 1000km+, locations like greece, USA, etc.
  • and F4WBN with a very weak signal both ways and I also don’t know why, he must have a great setup ! He is usually well within what i would ‘expect’ to be the skip zone !

From what I know he has a beast of a setup. I think I will visit him one day because it’s really impressive.


Yes, for all those who pass not far from Bayonne stop at the QRA to see. You are welcome !
On 10m there are 8 elements and 15.5 dB of gain on the antenna. Add a few hundred watts and the right orientation and the contact is in the pocket…but it’s not a win every time you should not dream…
Chris F4WBN


The question is still valid … do we need a winter bonus if there is no more snow … perhaps we will go toward a “summer bonus”, when the weather is so hot than activate a summit is a nightmare … 73 Nico

Yes, winter bonus should stay! Regardless of temperature and snow, generally the weather is less attractive during the shorter days.

The bonus points definitely persuade me to get out on the hills to provide sport for the chasers, but if I deem the weather to be too bad, I don’t value the extra 3 points over my safety. I’m still keen to get out for winter bonus but we’ve had two named storms in the UK recently and I’ve sat them out, rather than taking a risk.

73, Colin

The winter bonus is not entirely about snow. In the UK, even in GM, you can get long periods when even on the highest summits there is little or no snow - paradoxically summits can even be easier under snow! The enemies that the bonus rewards you for defying are cold, wind, and above all short daylight hours, in the north of GM you get just six hours of daylight in mid winter, and no daylight if you go far enough to the north!

There is indeed a summer bonus for those Associations that need it, but you cannot have both bonuses!


The title is a bit of clickbait, as you understood. But I cannot hide my concern and sadness about it. At the moment in the Pyrénées, it feels like the winter has just renounced. The 0°C isothermal is almost at 4000m altitude! There is still snow above 2500 m, and the high-altitude roads are still closed, making the 10 pointers quite inaccessible without full winter gear on a multiple-day expedition. It’s probably temporary, and the winter will come back in February, but oh dear…

Anyway, the purpose was to say that global warming is really crazy in our region. Even though I do not care about points, I guess at some point we will need a summer bonus and a winter bonus. In 20 years, only the summer bonus will be relevant here.

To illustrate the idea, here is one of the last Pyrenean glaciers during summer season, or what’s left of it. Soon, the summit will be accessible in flip-flops, I guess.