Our Summit #100 in 2023 - A challenge with stumbling blocks

No, we are not professional SOTA activators. So Carine, HB9FZC and I are all the more amazed that we climbed and activated peaks no. 99 + no. 100 in 2023 on the 2nd last day of the year :open_mouth::open_mouth: After a short car journey from Entlebuch to Gitziloch above Flühli in the central part of Switzerland, we put on our snowshoes and set off on the ascent towards “Bleikenchopf” on perfect ground… The winter fairytale landscape soon presents itself in the most beautiful sunshine :sunny: We are the first to cross the Bleikengrat since the big snowfall - a real big fun with the compact base :grin::grin: The solitude in the fairytale landscape has a touch of Canadian wilderness :blush::blush:

We are at the foot of the “Hagleren” summit, HB/OW-025, and one last steep climb separates us from our 1st summit goal today - done! With a bright blue sky and breathtaking panoramic views, the small KH1 from ELECRAFT is set up in a matter of seconds, and just a few minutes later we have a total of 17 CW-QSOs in our logs :nerd_face::nerd_face: As the saying goes: “You should stop when it’s at its best”, and after all, there’s another item on our agenda today :grin::grin:

We enjoy the descent back to the Gitziloch and get into the car. As we also need our smartphone for logging on the 2nd summit, Carine plugs the device into the car charger…Smoke signals? Hmmm…:thinking::thinking: Has our smartphone just gone off? Yes, it has :rage::rage: At least it can no longer be recharged, and the battery level no longer allows a 2nd activation to be logged :smirk::smirk: A new smartphone is needed, as the 100th summit is to be logged today. The odyssey begins… While the Handy-Shop in Langnau (we had to drive both 45min to there and 45min back to the starting-point for the 2nd summit) prepares a new mobile phone for us with the data from the old one, we start looking for headlamps :sweat_smile::sweat_smile: Finally, all the stumbling blocks seem to be out of the way and we set off on the journey to Heiligkreuz… 4.15pm: We strap on our backpacks and, after a quick headlamp check, set off in the dusk towards “Farnere”, HB/LU-010… Somehow we had an ascent of around 200 metres in mind - a glance at the signpost with the altitude in Heiligkreuz resulted in a brief empty swallow: 472 metres are still waiting for us :astonished::astonished: We put our legs under our arms and step on the gas :sweat_smile::sweat_smile:

1h 5min later we’re standing on the summit - it’s almost pitch black :open_mouth::open_mouth: We start up the KH1 and when we switch it on, the thought hits us like lightning: short skip in the 20m band only works in daylight, and DXing with 5 watts and a telescopic antenna… :thinking::thinking: Carine gets to work: “CQ SOTA de HB9FZC/P K …”. And again, and again, …There, a quiet signal - Carine gives:“?”- “W2WC” comes back. WOW, indeed: an American :grin::grin: Carine continues, and continues, and continues… Either everyone is at dinner, or the propagation conditions are really playing tricks on us :thinking::thinking: After a lot of hanging around, there are 3 QSOs in the log - one too few for a successful activation :smirk::smirk:

Shift change is imminent, because I don’t have a single QSO in the log yet :smirk: I hit the button for all I’m worth, for minutes on end… After 2 logged QSOs, I’m shivering from the cold so much that I can’t give my callsign cleanly - abort!

We still have one option: 2m in FM :ok_hand: The Yaesu FT-5DE is pulled out, but oh dear: the battery is flashing :astonished::astonished: With short calls, “CQ SOTA” is hammered out at a high cadence on 145.500, and the missing connections are actually logged in flash QSOs - many thanks to HB9CTU and HB9FMG :nerd_face::nerd_face: Relaxation spreads: Summit no. 100 this year is in the bag :grin::grin: Now pack up, mount headlamps, a short photo shoot in the dark of night, and off we go on the descent through the forest back to Heiligkreuz, where we get into our car shortly before 8pm :nerd_face::nerd_face: 18.2km of walking in total, 1’230m ascent and the same amount of descent in total and 5h 20min. pure walking time in total.

That was really an awesome experience, and the Pizza and beer were well deserved :nerd_face: :nerd_face:

Thanks to all of our chasers and HNY to you all :grin: :grin:

vy 73 de René, HB9NBG + 73/88 de Carine, HB9FZC

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congrats for 100 Summits
maybe you will try 30m next time with 20m antenna and radial

Here are two excerpts from the KH1 owner’s manual:
Page 4: “The KHATU1 antenna tuner comes with a modified top panel that embodies a whip mounting screw, loading coil, and band-selection switch for use on 20/17/15 meters (and on 30 meters with reduced efficiency).”
Page 9: “Operation on 30 m is possible in the 20 m switch position. SWR may be high and power output reduced.”

73 klaus

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What a brilliant story, and well done for not giving up. You definitely earned your pizza and beer! Well done on activating your 100th summit of 2023! :clap: :clap: :clap:

73, Matthew M0JSB

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SOTA, pizza and beer? Sounds like a perfect day!

Thanks for the story, 73.

Colin

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I wonder what that would have been like to ski in and ski out again?

I’ve only managed to ski in and out on two UK SOTA summits.

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Hi Klaus, thanks for the hint :+1: We ever use the AXE1 + AX1 on the BNC-socket for activations below 20m with the KX2 - that’s why I didn’t even think about 30 metres. But on the other side we hope, that we’ll arrive before nighttime on our next summits :wink:

Have a nice time and vy 73 de René, HB9NBG

The idea is not bad, but at this time, there was snow only around the summit - we could accent with the normal hiking-shoes and didn’t need the snowshoes - so skiing wouldn’t have been possible :wink:

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