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Multiple SOTA Activations in the Fischbacher Alpen

My first double activation went well today. I got to the Plankogel (OE/ST-227) pretty much on time, although it was still quite cold in the morning. Got a nice pile up as reward and moved on to the Frießenkogel (OE/ST-233). There is a lovely mountain hut on the ridge halfway between the two, so I stopped there and had something to drink. There was also a reasonable mobile internet signal, so I uploaded the .csv file while I was there. After applying suncream it was time to head off for the Frießenkogel. Things got a bit more complicated from here on in: the summit is privately owned and well fenced off. Luckily, it is possible to perch on the steep ridge on the other side of the fence just within the activation zone. The antenna had to be strung in the branches, so not really as good a signal as in the morning, but the activation went well; after a bit of QSY-ing. Right now, I’m stretched out in the sun waiting for dinner to finish rehydrating.

Looking good for Osser (OE/ST-223) tomorrow morning, the alert is up on the site so fingers crossed for the weather, which will be more thundery in the afternoon. I’ll be in the area till Thursday, so hopefully at least one activation per day.
de OE6FEG/P
Matt

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Day 2 went very well, much less complicated than day one. It was cool overnight, but soon warmed up in time for a morning bath in the Mixnitzbach. My timings were bang on and I got to Osser (OE/ST-233) nice and early before the QSB really sets in. The view from the summit was spectacular:

The activation went very smoothly; I’m getting into the swing of things now. I also had to adjust my Pico Paddle for more tension and wider contact spacing, so less QRD hopefully. My knees have held out well and I got to a nice spot 350 meters below the summit of the Hochlantsch (OE/ST-183). I will make a quick dash for the summit early tomorrow, leaving all non essential gear in the tent. After that I’m not sure what the weather will do, but I should get the Schweineck (ST-244) and the Rote Wand (ST-230) in before I head for home on Thursday or Friday. I may take a rest day sometime before then, but again, depends what the weather is doing.
73 de OE6FEG/P / M0FEU
Matt

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Day 3
Unfortunately, the mobile signal is not as strong at the far end of Teichalm, so I decided to wait until I got back home to finish off the report. There was quite a big thunderstorm on the evening of the 31st. Luckily, there was no lightning on the Hochlantsch. I was able to collect about a litre of water off the roof of the tent, which was one advantage at least. The next morning was bright and fine and I set off for the Hochlantsch as planned:

The view from the summit was stunning with a strong inversion in the Mürtal:

The antenna was a bit rough and ready, but I had a nice desk to operate on:

At first there were no takers when I called CQ, so I tried 20m, to no effect whatsoever. Luckily, it was just a case of chasers finishing off their breakfast, and when I went back to 40m the contacts started to flow. With the Hochlantsch in the bag I packed up and headed back down to the tent; which had dried out nicely in the morning sun. I certainly needed the extra water as the temperature was now getting into the upper 20s. I had a nice swim and a bath in the Teichalm See, which was deliciously cool and refreshing. After a large bowl of salad and plenty to drink I headed off towards the Schweineck and Rote Wand. The forecast had improved since the day before and no thunderstorms were expected in the evening, I could just lie back and relax:

Unfortunately, I forgot about the cows lower down the mountain; the cow pats should have been a clue here. As I was dozing off in the evening the tink tink of the bells got louder and louder. I had to quickly shove everything back in the rucksack and head off up to the summit of the Schweineck, which funnily enough, being somewhat overgrown, is a bit of a schwein to climb last thing in the evening. To cap it all off, the soles of my boots came off:

They hadn’t done that many miles, certainly not as many as my old Scarpa SLs which never failed me. I can only assume that at €70 they were seconds and thus defective in some way. I was able to sacrifice some line from the antenna reel in order to tie the soles in place. They still flapped ridiculously, but at least they held out till the end off the trip.

Day 4

The next morning I broke camp and got ready to activate the summit. There was a Hochsitz a bit lower down the slope that I decided would provide a nice seat and desk from which to operate. A Hochsitz is like a bird watching cabin, only it is used by hunters for shooting instead. This one was in good condition (many hunters are killed every year when they collapse) so I opened the door and started unpacking my my gear. Suddenly, I heard a buzzing sound. I looked round and there was a wasp hovering round. I batted it away, as one does, but this one got quite angry for some reason. Then I heard more buzzing, and three more wasps appeared low down around knee height. I realised there must be a nest somewhere and I leapt out of the door with my rucksack. I looked under the bench, and there was a nest about the size of a grapefruit with the inhabitants piling out to see what all the noise was about. My water and fuel were still inside, so I had to quickly lean in and grab them, before making a sharp exit and bolting the door. Oh well, back up to my original position I went and activated the Schweineck. Because I had changed campsite the day before, I was quite early in getting to the Rote Wand. This was good, because it meant I would get home early the same day, but it also meant I was well ahead of the alert time I had posted the day before. A quick call to OE6RDD (Gerhard), and I managed to get a new alert posted. It was incredibly hot on the Rote Wand and I had a hard time keeping my phone and radio cool in the heat. With the Rote Wand activated my trip was complete and I headed down into Mixnitz and the awaiting furnace in the valley. 36 points in 4 days was pretty good going, certainly, the weather was on my side this time. Thank you to all the chasers who worked me, this trip would not have been possible without you.
73 de OE6FEG / M0FEU
Matt

P.S.
Sorry about the panorama photo being on its side. You can download it and turn it round if you like. If anyone knows a way to post panorama photos the right was round, please let me know, thanks.

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Downloaded the graphic, rotated it in Windows 10 “Photos” program - all looks fine on the PC, but then when I upload it - it’s still the wrong way around! I suspect Windows only changes the attached data and this website doesn’t obey that - let me try a screenshot cut and paste from Windows…

Ah that works!

Ed.

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This is the way I always post my pictures. However, I need to explain that this only works when done with my Laptop using Windows XP. If I try it with other laptop I have, which uses Windows 7 Professional, it doesn’t work that copy-paste thing.
BTW, great picture, Matt.

73,

Guru

Hi Matt,

Great report - thank you!
We did the same set of summits in November last year (except Frießenkogel which we aborted due to the bisons in the enclosure and the fact that we were running out of time) and thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s a nice area!

This is a picture of our Hochlantsch activation. As it looks you seem to have been operating from the altar :wink:

73, Sylvia OE5YYN

Hi Guru,
rather than the paste command, try Ctrl+V instead, sometimes that works when shift+insert or right-mouse-button and paste don’t work.

73 Ed.

Thanks for the info, here’s another panorama I took from the Hochlantsch:

Dear Ed,
Excuse for this very late response but I’ve been having different internet access restrictions:

1- At my holiday QTH in EA1/CR, I only had a USB mobile device and I usually tried to be connected for activation logs uploading and then being as brief as possible because I experienced unexpected disconnections in various occasions.

2- I can read the Reflector on my smartphone but I can’t write any post at the present time. In the past I never could do it. Some day, I found I could do it and I actually did it some times. Then that ability got again disabled. Some weeks later, it got enabled again but quickly got back disabled and so it’s been since then. I have no idea of what’s doing this ability enabled and disabled. Any clues will be welcome.

3- After holiday, I’m back in Pamplona and I’m now in the new rented flat, not anymore in my owned house at the countryside. The internet service at the house is OFF. The new internet router at the new rented flat is, apparently, too modern and sofisticated, and my Windows XP personal laptop, that I mainly use for this hobby, among other personal stuff, was unable to connect to the new router. Only my work laptop could connect, but all my SOTA stuff is not in that laptop, so I try not to use it when I’m home playing my hobby :wink:

In these last days, I’ve been connecting to internet with my USB mobile device, but today I had a brilliant idea and I have managed to get my personal laptop to the new internet wifi router.

Well, after all this introduction, I’ll go with my answer to your post.

I always do Copy with Ctrl+C and Paste with Ctrl+V because I always work with laptops without a mouse, just the touchpad and it’s much quicker and easier to do it that way.

I didn’t know Shift+Insert can do the Paste function. I’ll try it.

I wrote my last activation report with my work laptop, the one with Windows 7 and it’s a real pain:
1- because of not being able to copy and paste images and having to create .jpg or .png files, then drag them onto the report edit window.
2- because for some unknown to me reason, as the report becomes longer and heavier with more pictures in it, the time between me clicking on a key of my laptop keyboard and the letter or number being shown on the screen starts increasing and increasing up to a point where I may write several words and none of them is shown on the screen, so I have to wait some seconds for them to start showing one by one very slowly.
When things are at this stage, loading any new picture may take ages…

I definitely prefer much better my trusty home laptop with Windows XP rather than the probably more powerful and better work laptop with Windows 7.

Best 73,

Guru

FYI, now I can write posts with my smartphone back again.
Let’s see for how long.
Cheers,

Guru

Part 2

I had been eager to visit the northern section of the Fischbacher Alpen ever since getting back from my last trip at the beginning of August. As luck would have it, Karl (OE6LKG) suggested hiring an electric car and driving to Rennfeld for a day out. Rennfeld is right where I wanted to start my trip, so I jumped at the opportunity. Karl took his FT817 and new antenna, I took my MTR3b as I intended to stay on the mountain and camp out a few nights. The activation went well and Karl managed to make all his contacts S2S:


Unfortunately he had to get back to Graz early and wasn’t able to stay for something to eat at the hut. I got organised, put my alert for the afternoon in and set off for the Schwarzkogel. The day got warmer and warmer as I went on and when I got to the Schwarzkogel it was a perfect summer afternoon:

The activation went ok, only 5 contacts, but in the bag, or so I thought. When I came to upload the file I found that the summit is no longer valid as a SOTA summit. Oh well, it was a nice walk, and I would have slept on the summit if it hadn’t been rather rocky and uneven. That was a very good decision in fact, as the spot I found back on the main ridge is about the nicest place I’ve camped in quite some time:

Well, hopefully the Hochschlag will get me up to 99 points tomorrow. The best things come to those who wait as they say.
Matt

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Day 2
I started out later than expected after a rather chilly night. I also underestimated the amount of time it would take to get to the Hochschlag. Luckily, there was a really nice hut just before the Tiroler Schlag, so I was able to drink a nice cold coke and update my alert. The weather is ideal at the moment: nice and sunny, but not quite as hot as at the beginning of the month. Unfortunately, I left my long-life bread at home, so I do not have much to eat for lunch. The hut was closed as well, so only cold drinks were available. I was pretty tired when I got to the Hochschlag. There was a nice bench to operate from - after a long rest:


It was a good activation, about 18 contacts. There was a bit of QSB at times, and I got 2 Swiss stations mixed up as one faded out leaving the other (HB9BIN/P) in its place. Well, I got both in the log in the end; sorry about the mix-up fellas. My knees are a bit sore now, as today was quite a long day by my standards. I’m not sure yet which summit I will go for tomorrow. It would be nice to find a hut for some lunch along the way, but I’ll just have to wait and see. I’ve finally got the hang of VK Port-a-log, which is a great app I must say.
73 de OE6FEG
Matt

Day 3

I decided to have a light day and only activate the Aibelhöhe. The Sauernkogel is within spitting distance, but after yesterday I felt it would be wiser to get some rest rather than having a double activation day.
(EDIT): The cloud boiled up quite rapidly after sunrise, and the tent was drenched in dew. When I got round the corner and started to head downhill I saw why:

J

There was also a large hut on the way, which meant a proper breakfast and a chance to buy some bread for lunch. Breakfast was delightful: ‘Hemm n Ex’ served in the pan. We were also treated to some Styrian folk music courtesy of the owner:

The way to the Aibelhöhe was simple and undemanding. The weather gets better day by day. It was pretty hot at the summit, but no bench today:

I decided to cover all the bases and call on both 14 and 7 MHz. I certainly got more contacts, so I will definitely get into the habit of working multiple bands. I’m so used to switching about trying to get all my contacts, helping out the chasers is something new to me. Here I must give a quick apology for the incorrect summit ref I gave on more than one occasion. The Aibelhöhe is definitely OE/ST-468, and not OE/ST-469, as sent once or twice (sorry Jürg). Well, I have another good campsite, this time with tables and chairs, and some nice flat ground to sleep on. Tomorrow I will definitely activate the Sauernkogel, and then head over to Fischbach and the Reithkogel. It will be another long day, and I’m not sure if I will get there in one go to make it a double activation, or if I will have to stop and rest somewhere. I will just put the alert in for the Sauernkogel for now.
Matt

Day 4

It was a fine warm night at the Knappensattel:

All in all, I had some pretty nice campsites. You can usually find somewhere out of the way to put your tent for the night, and the view is usually fantastic. It was so warm and dry there was no condensation on the tent, so I could just pack up and head up to the Sauernkogel. The Sauernkogel is fairly easily accessed, the only difficulty is the abundance of ants nests; you have to be pretty careful where you stand or sit. The conditions on 7 MHz were excellent and I both sent and received a few 599 reports. It must have been too early in the morning, as I only just scraped my 4 contacts. I called on 14 MHz as well, but the band was dead as a doornail. There was nothing left but to pack up and head over to Fischbach and the Reitkogel. As I was coming down the hill towards the road, I noticed a large Porcini (Steinpilz) in the undergrowth. Then, as I went further, I noticed more and more just off the path amongst the trees. The forest had that rather sandy soil and thick moss that they seem to love. I was soon on my hands and knees levering out perfect specimens from just under the pine needles. With a hat full of prime wild mushrooms I was forced to reconsider my plan of attack. On balance, it seemed the sensible thing to go straight home and cook them with a nice piece of steak. Well, when your out on a SOTA expedition, you have to be flexible. So, that was it for this trip. Not as many summits as last time, and no double activations, but it still got me over the 100 point mark. Next week I think I will be heading over to the Roßbachkogel (OE/ST-349) with Karl, and again, hopefully, over-nighting and perhaps getting in a few double activations.
Cheers
Matt