A bit over a week ago, we decided to try another bike trip activation. As Antti, OH6FME started his compulsory army service a few weeks ago, it was just Teemu, OH6FYR and I, OH6FQI this time.
Our target was Murtolahdenselänne, OH/JS-054. This summit is located southeast from the city of Jyväskylä, on the other side of the northernmost part of the lake Päijänne. For a bird, it would only be 10 kilometers from my home qth in Lutakko, Jyväskylä, but with the lakes in the way the distance to ride along roads was about 22 kilometers one way.
The route was quite nice actually. Starting the trip a bit after 12:00 UTC we first made our way to the east along the northern shores of Lake Jyväsjärvi, to Vaajakoski. From there, we turned south, past Kanavuori, OH/JS-057. Finnish national road 4, the main route from Helsinki to the very north of Finland runs through there. During recent years, the road has taken a new route in this area, as the old route has a lot of curves and hills and is not very wide. But for us, the old route was just fine as there wasn’t that much car traffic.
At the village Oravasaari, we turned from the former road 4 to a smaller gravel road to the west. The road took us under the new road 4 and then started to rise. On the topo map we saw a smaller road or path that leads quite straight to the summit. However, it started in the edge of a barley field and was covered with bushes after the field. So, we decided to take a bit longer route that we could ride with the bikes.
About one kilometer from the summit, we found a forest harvester track. It was a couple of years old and already growing various kinds of plants, so riding was not an option from this point on. But we could push our bikes just fine, and that was quite preferable to carrying the gear in our hands.
The harvester track ended about 200 meters before the actual summit. From there, we started walking and ended up a bit to the south from the highest point, as we learned from the aprs-tracks afterwards. But the point was well within the activation zone and we found suitable trees. and set up the station. There were also plenty of ripe blueberries all around, which was a bonus.
We were finally QRV after 1500 UTC. I started working 14 MHz CW and managed to work 17 chasers. Then I laid down the key and Teemu, OH6FYR took the mike to worki 14 MHz CW. There seemed to be much fewer chasers but Teemu got the four QSOs to the log to get the activation point. We only had five watts, so many chasers probably couldn’t hear the SSB signals.
As the original frequency got quiet, we turned the VFO up and down. Suddenly, we noticed something that sounded like another SOTA activator working chasers. It was actually two activators, OE5RTP and OE5IRO on top of OE/OO-311. Their signal was about 55 in Finland, with some QSB. After some of the more powerful stations got their turns, Teemu tried with his call. After a couple of attempts, he decided to try 2 meters for a change, so I took the mike. After a while they picked up my call, but the letter Q in my call was problematic. Apparently our signal was even more quiet in Austria, as theirs was here. Peter and Inge were very patient, though, and after about ten minutes of spelling OH6FQI they finally got it.
At that point they wanted to give the turn to other chasers, so I didn’t get the chance to actually tell that I was also on a SOTA summit. But if I’ve understood correctly, it still counts as a S2S, doesn’t it? So, if you are reading this, OE5RTP and OE5IRO, you can also log the QSOs as chasers.
As for local contacts, we only got two. Teemu worked OH6FXL on two meters FM. I also tried calling, but couldn’t make a direct QSO. We didn’t have a proper VHF antenna with us, and we were on the opposite side of the summit from the city of Jyväskylä, which didn’t do good to our signals towards that direction. Before leaving, we adjusted the dipole for 80 meters for a quick CQ there. Teemu got one QSO there, with OH6MC in Jämsänkoski.
After eating some more blueberries, we took down the antenna, packed our things and started our way back. I was back home at about 19:00 UTC. A warm sauna was once again in order after a successful activation.
A few photos are available at First activation of SOTA summit OH/JS-054 Murtolahdenselänne | Flickr