I have been pretty quiet recently but I thought it’s be time to see if I can try to activate a couple of JA summits in the winter time. In the next 2 or 3 days before the w/e I will see if I can activate Nippaku (JA/NI-021) and Naeba-san (JA/NI-005).
I will be on skis for Nippaku and probably ski + ice crampons for Naeba-san. I will have to gauge the snow conditions before committing. There is a lack of snow cover in general in Japan this year so I am not so sure I’ll be able to do Nippaku (it can be a bit bushy) but Naeba-san should be ok. I may have spotty DPRS coverage as JG1XMV-7 on aprs.fi if you want to try to follow me. I am hoping for good weather in the next few days. The activation will be solar with a FT-817 as usual, SSB & HF. I am guessing my go-to band will be 20m with possible tries on 40m & 15m.
I still have bronchitis so I hope I will not be coughing my lungs up too much on the way up. A non-ham friend will be coming along, who knows, maybe he’ll get the radio virus along the way.
I doubt I’ll have an internet connection up there on either summits so I’ll try to put the exact summits in the ALERT section the night before but I will not be able to put live spots most likely.
I should be on my way this afternoon planning to activate a summit tomorrow. Wish me luck and hopefully I’ll be able to make it to the summit. If worse comes to worse I’ll just do some radio in the field somewhere.
Good luck for your activation.
I hope we can meet on skype to discuss my next trip to JA in July!
Laurent de F8CZI
Yes I had added you and then did not hear back so I think I removed it as I have too many skype contacts. Please send me a request again and I will accept it. Cheers.
For tomorrow it is looking very very tough. I think we will try JA/NI-021 but the lack of snow makes any hope of reaching the summit doubtful.
Welcome to Japan.
Niigata is my old home town about 40 Years back.
It is very nice country side of Japan.
Enjoy your staying and take care mate,
Thank you. I have actually lived in Japan for 15 years. I love Niigata, it is a beautiful area. Today I managed to summit JA/NI-021 but it was too rushed and I did not make a single QSO. F4EGG spotted me on 20m but nobody called as a FK station started calling on the same frequency as soon as I was spotted. It is the first time ever I make 0 QSO from a SOTA summit. I do not know why but it is much harder to have QSOs in Japan when calling CQ SOTA compared to Europe. I could not stay on the summit very long and we reached the car back at nightfall after 10 hours of hiking… Thankfully I had a nice onsen and shogayaki tenshoku after that!
oh by the way, I will not attempt to summit JA/NI-005 tomorrow as I have busted a knee. Too bad.
Oh I never know it! Which area you living in?
Time to time, I came back to my home town Kashiwazaki in Niigata once or twice in a year. I do not have my old house there now but many friends are there. I usually come back to there after golden week in May to join JA0-VHF contest in camping in mountain with my old radio friends. I wonder if I can be there this year but I really wish to see you soon mate.
BTW take care on your knee…
I live in Tokyo but I have a small “mansion” apartment in Echigo Yuzawa. From there I try to go yama skiing/snowboarding from time to time.
Thank you for the knee, I am getting old
Hi Arnaud san,
Thank you for your yama skiing report of Nippakusan now.
I’m afraid the snow is not enough to enjoy yama skiing this year.
I climbed Higashiyasan about 1.5 km west from your peek last year, and made 3 QSO on 70cm. (1 QSO with another climber)
If you can speak Japanese, 70cm or 2m FM brings many QSO chance, and I’m monitoring 433.00 during climbing and skiing.
Hope your knee better.
Yes, it is very tough this year given the lack of snow, I agree. Nippakusan is always quite bushy, even in a regular snow year so it was a tough one. Yes, I know Higashiyama very well. I used to do yama ski there a lot a few years ago. It is a nice sheltered spot (except the top) when it is windy everywhere else. It also has a nice little start to the hike with the little tunnel below the road. Nobody used to do yama-ski there and it was a lot of fun. Then one year all of a sudden it started becoming very popular and tons of people started going there, it is very weird. Somebody probably posted something online and it started to become popular.
I can speak izakaya level Japanese and strike a basic conversation with people. 70cm & 2m FM are great as you only need a handheld but it gives you a limited range. I usually like to do HF as I can give points to chasers but for some reason compared to Europe it seems there are no chasers in Japan and the only HF QSOs I do are with regular hams not even looking for SOTA points. I think that when I call CQ SOTA people do not even know what “SOTA” is and therefore just do not reply. They probably think it is a contest, check if they find such a contest in their calendar, do not see it and therefore just give up. I think I should just do “CQ” and then explain that I am doing a SOTA when people answer.
The knee will heal with patience, thank you!
I agree with your CQ conclusions. Unless you have a good supply of SOTA chasers it is better not to say CQ SOTA, because it sounds like a directional CQ to anyone not knowing about SOTA and they think you only want certain operators or other activators to reply.
I tend to say CQ only, then add “a SOTA portable station on Mt X”, I also sometimes add “CQ any station”. When no qso has happened yet and I am desperate I make it “CQ for signal reports from anyone”.
Sorry to read of your injury. I have just had the cast removed from my wrist, a minor fracture I got on 6th Feb this year. But a knee injury is potentially much more serious. I hope it is healed soon and you can get out on the hills again.
Hi Arnaud san,
Great! You are at home there.
I’m not at home because the snow is wet and heavy for comfortable skiing there.
probably ski + ice crampons for Naeba-san
Yes, Naeba-san is a beautiful table mountain, but ice climbing is required at the ‘table’ edge.
Most of climbers in Japan say the word ‘Isen’ which means German word ‘Steigeisen’.
Some of them use the French word ‘crampons’ like Swiss.
Izakaya level Japanese is perfect in Japanese QSO.
SOTA number is not yet acceptable in the domestic QSO.
You can hear YU*** or LA### after JCC/JCG code in the QSO on 40m.
They are onsen number or lake number respectively for the awards.
Please explain them SOTA number is something like onsen number from UK.
They can easily understand the meaning and help you.
As for me, I’m basically a 6m band man, and VHF is still my home ground.
Hope CU at a summit anywhere in Japan!
I like the idea of a signal report. What I did in the past which seemed to work is call CQ and when they reply I explain to them what I am doing with the SOTA information. I’ll probably get back to that strategy. It looks like my knee is already getting better so only a very light sprain thankfully.
Yes I am ok with ice crampons/ice axe and the Kagura ski-jo takes you most of the way up but you do have to fill a form and hand it to the patrol before leaving the top of 5-ban roma ski lift.
I know the Japanese chase many things including highway rest stops! . So hopefully SOTA will become more accepted. I have to get onto 6m one of these days. I have never tried that band.
I am thinking to go to Tateyama in April or May if the conditions are ok, hopefully it will be more successful. I am still not sure about Naeba-san, it is really hot at the moment. Even Tateyama may open early due to a lack of snow (6m instead of 20m…).
Hi Arnaud san,
I have been to Mt. Kaguramine just before Naeba-san several times.
I could not see anyone going to Naeba-san beyond the gap.
Mt. Tateyama is good idea to enjoy bush free skiing this year.
My favorite yama-skiing spots are mountains in JA7 area.
Actually I went to Utsukushigahara (NN-067) for cross country skiing yesterday.
Hope to hear of your activation.
You are very genki, omedeto! Yes, almost nobody climbs Naeba-san in the winter as it requires crampons and an ice-axe. If I have the opportunity though I will try to give it a go. Nagano seems to have the highest concentration of high peaks in Japan. Regardless of where you go, it is nice to be outdoors!