First activation of I/LO-038 (Monte Vago)

HB9/DH8WN/p: first activation of I/LO-038 (Monte Vago, local aka Al Vach), 22-08-18, 20m SSB, Unaccompanied

In the beginning of 2018 I was planning a SOTA holliday in August in Graubünden, HB/GR.
This Region has 350 Summits, more than 300 10-pointer and more than 150 summits not yet activatet. After choosing some Summits nearby my “base camp” I wonder if there is a not-yet-activatet summit right for my montain skills and not so far away. But within a radius of 1 hour by car there were only summits with a rating of T4+ and more. The solution was a look in the nearby region I/LO. I found Monte Vago (I/LO-038), only 1.5 km away from HB/GR and with a rating of T3+.

Starting point is Forcola di Livigno direct on the border HB9 - I at 2314 m. The path is well marked. The Path until 2910 m has a rating of T2 or T2+ (my opinion). The last 500 m distance and 150 m ascent to the Summit (3057 m) is on a ridge, rating T3 or T3+.

FT817ND, 5W, with internal LiPo-Battery 3Ah
Vertical 6m long on a 7.5 m telescope Pole
Tuner ZM-4

Every afternoon in this week it was raining, sometimes with thunderstorm. Two activations the days before ended in rain and hail on the way back. I decided to start to Monte Vago early in the morning. So I could be back to the car about noon. My alarm clock was ringing 4:30 (local summertime) in the morning. After an unhasty breakfast and preparation of some food for the summit I started by car and reached Forcola di Livigno some minutes after 7 (local summertime).

Start to Monte Vago (Al Vach)

The weather was well and the way up good to walk. Nobody was in front of me. It was beautyful silent and lonesome.

On the way up

View down to Forcola di Livigno, 600 m lower

On the last 500 m the terrain changed and I had to scramble a littel bit.

The last 500 m on the ridge

It had been worth to go on the summit only for the panorama view.

Bernina group, about 4000 m high

But my mean goal was the activation. After setup the station I asked “is this channel in use” and G4WSB answerd at once “not in use”. So we came to the first QSO without spotting and without calling CQ. This was my fastest QSO from a Summit.

On the Summit

After 13 contacts in 12 minutes and after the station was packed again two italien hikers reached my place. After a short talk about amateur radio and SOTA, a small lunch and looking around a last time I was starting the way back.

Looking back on the way down, people on the ridge, good to get an idea of scaling

Back to the parking place and sitting in the car the rain was starting after a few minuts. It was a perfect timing and a perfect activation. Thanks a lot to the hams who chased me!

see here for pictures from other activations


Nice activation!
Thanks for the S2S!
I was on I/LO-178