The weather forecast was again unseasonably good for the time of year here in Austria. I decided to make the most of this final winter bonus opportunity and go for a double activation involving about 17.5 km walking and 950m of climbing. I walked further and climbed higher to do the Speikkogel and Eiblkogel, so I felt I could manage the Peterer Riegel (OE/ST-098) and Ameringkogel (OE/ST-067) in one day. There were still some snow patches in places and at one point I ended up on a very steep patch of snow that would have lead to a long slide if I had slipped. I decided to play it safe and detour round. Boot chains are still advisable here in many areas. As I climbed, I noticed my lungs tightening. I haven’t had any trouble with asthma since last year and I now regretted not bringing my inhaler. My cough got worse as the day wore on, but thankfully never became a serious problem. The wind was quite cold and I had to wrap up well once on the summit. On the other hand, my new SOTA flag looked very nice fluttering away on the mast:
As you can see, even with the thin top section installed, my new Tactical Mini mast from SOTABEAMS has very little flex and the top section does not need any reinforcement.
Overall, I am very happy with this mast. It was a relief to get to a lower altitude and onto the lee side of the hill. I was able to find a nice sunny rock to sit on and eat a sandwhich. The ants were scurrying around making the most of the warmth. The walk up to the Ameringkogel is not so steep, just long and tiring. After what seemed like forever climbing up to the summit ridge, a quick check of the GPS showed that I was in the activation zone still a long way from the summit. I decided to save myself about 1.5km and set up where I was; I have been to the summit before, so I did not feel obliged to go this time:
I had hoped to get more NA DX in the log, given the late hour at which I was calling. Just as I had finished sending QSY on 20, AC1Z came back and his signal rose to 579 as I entered him in the log. The sun came out and warmed me up nicely as I started to pack up and contemplate the long walk back to the car. Thankfully, there is much less climbing to do on the way back and once off the tops it felt pleasantly warm. I got back to the car and slumped in the drivers seat, taking a few minutes to get my breath back and upload the logs. When I got home and got out of the car I suddenly started shivering uncontrollably. I dashed upstairs and got in the shower, which stopped me shivering. I then got straight into bed and was still feeling very feverish about an hour later. The reason for my earlier coughing now became apparent. I took some Ibuprofen and had a hot cup of tea, after which I started sweating heavily. I am now off work sick with a cold as I write this report. Hopefully it will not be as bad as last year. Oh well, it was a great day anyway.
73 de OE6FEG