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Ice needles on Mount Saldys (R9U/SO-150)

Ice needles on Mount Saldys!

Of course, this is not about the elements of the mountainous terrain, but only about the phenomenon of winter weather. But with such an amazing hoarfrost I have not yet met. Some crystals exceeded 2 inches in length. One can imagine how all this could sparkle in bright sunlight!
New Year’s holidays provided us with Marat (RA9WJV) the opportunity to get out into the mountains. Despite the mass of possible problems and obstacles, we were able to do this in the last two days of vacation. Mount Saldys (R9U / SO-150) - uncomplicated for winter climbing became our goal. In January, daylight hours in our latitudes are short, so we planned to spend the night on top, in a tent.
Climbing to the top took us more than 5 hours. To our surprise, at the summit we discovered the ruins of a wooden house. Old, rusty iron wires and isolates on a rotten wooden pole indicate that this is the point of an old telegraph line running along the ridge many, many decades ago …
Our radio shack is comfortably located in the tent. In down jackets it was not at all cold, the outside temperature was about minus 10C. The antenna is a long wire, it was simply thrown on a high birch. We used 14, 10 and 7 MHz.
It was very nice to meet on the air old friends - SOTA enthusiasts, and ordinary hams, wondering why we climbed into the mountains in winter with heavy backpacks.
What can I say? The crystal clear air of the mountains struck my heart with icy arrows.
Forever and forever…

Thanks to Marat for his movie:


I’ve spent a lot of time in the winter hills and I’ve never seen ice needles as large as those. I guess there must have been little wind and/or a lot of shelter. They are rare in the UK I think.



Dave, I was surprised at their size and sharpness. One could prick about the sharpest of them.


Hi Vlad,
Thank you very much for the new and easy QSO with good copy here.
Propagation was cooperative, but, your station has done a great job!!
Thanks to Marat RA9WJV as camera operator for giving me the opportunity
to hear my CW signal at thousands of kilometers away!
Congratulations for the nice video and photos, showing us all in wich hard
and spectacular conditions you activate SOTA in winter.
See you in the next one, take care Vlad and Marat.
Best regards from Pamplona.


Hi Vlad,

Thanks for taking us along on that activation. Winter camping with a little fire near the tent is very nice.
Your radio looks very interesting. Completed self developed including the autotuner? Or is there a kit available?

73 Joe

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Great Video Vlad here in vk5 it was 47c during your time in the snow, FB rig and cw ssb qso’s to your end fed wire.
73 regards
Ian vk5cz …

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Hi Jorge, it was a really nice meeting on the air!

Hi Joe,
Thank you for your interest. My radio is based on the Ukrainian SW-mini 2017 kit.
But, unlike the original project, my kit is slightly redone for a new form factor. In addition, the built-in ATU on the basis of the open project N7DDC is added. I decided not to waste time and bought ready-made, already configured boards.

An aluminum case from an old portable measuring device is used as a chassis and body. If possible, I get these cases, exchange them with friends.

In such a case - this is my second field transceiver. This radio is largely compliant with SOTA requirements and hiking conditions. But I already imagine what the next radio will be and what its circuitry will be …

Ian, thanks for the good feedback!

We once had a very fine hoar frost here in the Steiermark:

Not quite as long as yours Vlad, but it makes a nice QSL card. Thankfully, winter down here is mild at the moment and many 6 pointers are passable in normal boots with chains. I will take care of the skiing summits in March when I get back from Calabria :smiley:.

   73 de OE6FEG
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Matt, yes, they are! But only soft and kind. :smile:

Jorge, thank you for appreciating my work as a video operator! In fact, I shot the video on the camera of the old Samsung Galaxy A6 smartphone, which ensures the speed of work. Another advantage for climbing conditions is the low weight of this gadget compared to specialized photo and video cameras. But the small weight of the device, which you have to hold on outstretched arms, provokes a camera shake to the beat of the heart and rapid breathing. Towards the end of the shooting in the tent and not being able to hide in my sleeping bag, I slightly froze, which further increased the camera shake. :cold_face: In any case, I am pleased with the impression made by the film! This confirms Fromm’s idea, “It is important not to have, but to be!”
Marat RA9WJV. 73!

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