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SOTA Activators Meeting on F/AB-001

In the following a joint report of SOTA activations from Jean-Sébastien, F4CPJ, and me is given.

How does it come about, that two SOTA activators contribute to the same activation report?
That’s really a interesting story. Just read on…

F/AB-001, better known by its common name “Mont Blanc”, or “Monte Bianco”, is a summit with many facets: For some it is just a snowy hump, that hasn’t even deserved a decorating summit cross, and for the others it is the highlight of their mountaineering career.

Nevertheless, with a prominence of nearly 4700 m, this summit makes also an interesting destination for a SOTA activation. At the other hand, since the foundation of the French SOTA association in the year 2007, only two activations can be found in the history of this summit: In the year 2009 F/SQ9MDF made the first two SOTA-contacts by using a VHF hand-held, and in the year 2011 F/S56CW/P accomplished the first successful SOTA activation by using HF on the 20m band.

Jean-Sébastien attempted his first SOTA activation of F/AB-001 last year (i.e. 2015), but unfortunately experienced the more unpleasant facet of the Mont Blanc F/AB-001 summit but not txing . Being a very experienced mountaineer, he made the only reasonable decision and left his SOTA radio equipment some hundreds meters below the summit and succeeded his final ascent to the summit with a lighter backpack.

After such a long period of no SOTA activation, it was really an interesting coincidence that now two SOTA activators, that’s Jean-Sébastien and me, came independently to the conclusion to activate F/AB-001 at the same day :slight_smile:

Funnily, both of us spent our night in the Refugee Gouter without knowing each other. And I even cannot remember whether I did encounter Jean-Sébastien in this hut:

I was sleeping until 00:00 UTC and left the hut at abt. 01.00 UTC in order to enjoy the dawn while accessing the Bosses Ridge up to the summit:

At this time I was not aware that Jean-Sébastien finished his ascent to the summit already in the darkness:

After finally reaching the top of the Mont Blanc of course a splendid panorama opened up:

But at a second glance I also spotted a rather familiar object. Wasn’t there somebody sitting in the snow having set up an antenna beside him?

So I quickly ran over to his place and asked him whether he is doing a SOTA activation. Of course Jean-Sébastien confirmed that he was already calling CQ for some time in SSB on 20m.

That was for both of us really an astonishing moment!

After a quick smalltalk, where we introduced to each other, I let Jean-Sébastien proceed with his activation and set up my SOTA equipment a couple of meters away.

While Jean-Sébastien continued to call on 20 meters, I decided, in order not to disturb him, to start my activation with CW on the 30m band.

The SOTA activation turned out to be a very hard one.

Chasers seemed to live up to their name as shack sloths: It seemed that complete Europe was still sleeping.
Despite of plenty of RBN-catches (with W3UA being the farthest of them) even RBNHOLE did not even spot me a single time on SOTAwatch. After spending more than 30 minutes CQing on 30 meters without any contact I finally gave up on this band.

In the meantime Jean-Sébastien got already quite a number of SSB contacts and dismounted his SOTA station. Because he stayed already a longer time before me on this summit, he got cold and therefore started his long descent down to the valley. After exchange of some final friendly words, I made use of the now free 20m band and started calling with CW.

But even here on the 20m band it took nearly 20 minutes until a chaser spotted me on SOTAwatch. Thank you very much Lars SA4BLM, you are a hero :slight_smile:

After being spotted on SOTAwatch some more contacts made it into my log.

Finally after quite a long time activating on the summit I also got cold and headed down for the 2500 hm long descent down to the beautiful valley of Chamonix.

All in all, this activation was something extraordinary for me because I did not expect to meet another SOTA activator at the same time on this summit.
And of course it was a great pleasure for me to meet on this occasion Jean-Sébastien, such an experienced and pleasant mountaineer and SOTA activator.

Finally a picture from the Mont Blanc, that I took the next day from Le Brévent, to see this summit with its full magnitude:

vy 73 from

Jean-Sébastien, F4CPJ
& Stephan, F/DM1LE

24 Likes

What a curious coincidence ! and that gave the chance to even more chasers to get that summit in the log !
Congratulations to both of you !
It is quite an acomplishment to hike up Mont Blanc with all that equipement (weight). How satisfying that must be to achieve a Sota on this peak !

73
Eric
VA2MO

1 Like

Congratulations to both of you !
I have tried myself to activate from other high alpine summits on 2 m FM with no luck (the only exception being the 3 summits in Dachstein region with clear paths to Munich area). Now I know even the short wave activity may prove difficult.
Hats off !
73, Ruda OK2QA

Great achievement! Congratulations!

Stephan, could it be that you did not alert your activation and therefore RBNHole did not spot you?

Vy 73, Sylvia

1 Like

Hi Sylvia,

I did put an alert on the SOTAwatch site for the 19th of July 2016 at 06:00UTC with my call sign F/DM1LE/P. With the alerted time for the activation I’m sure I was in the timeframe of +/-2h for being spotted by RBNHole.

But I don’t want to make to much fuss about this issue. For me it proofs once more that you can rely more on human chasers than on technical gadgets. In my case I’ve to thank Lars, SA4BLM, for spotting me.

73 Stephan, DM1LE

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Hi Stephan,
Oh well, things like this happen. It’s great you made it in the end!

I also remember having great problems activating Hoher Sonnblick OE/KT-012 at 3106 m on 2m last year. It was only thanks to one chaser who rang around and asked his ham friends and their YLs to come on the frequency that we got the necessary contacts.

73, Sylvia

Hi Stephan,

congrats both Stephan and Jean-Sebastien for the success in your climb and activation.

When I saw the alert of Jean-Seb, I decided to wake up early (contrary to my Shack sloth Degree :wink:) and installed my portable setup in the park, where I can get rid of the permanent noise present in my apartment.

I was quite frustrated when I heard once the call of F4CPJ/P on 14 MHz SSB but couldn’t work him as I didn’t hear him any more.

Now that I know you were calling on 10 MHz CW, my frustration level is doubled, because I missed a second chance to get the summit in my log!
I stayed for about 25 minutes listening stuck on 14 SSB trying to catch any sight of Jean-Seb.
What a pity I didn’t know about your activation…

I hope to catch it next time…
Thanks for the excellent pictures.
73 de Ignacio

Very nice report and very nice pictures, well done!
73,
Arnaud

Many thanks to Stephan for his nice Reports.

This is very strange day for me : I can doing the summit , i can make radio, and at a moment a guy come and ask me : “F4CPJ” it was a big surprise for me !!! you have the story…
After reflexion it was nearly a perfect day : for the mountain it was a perfect day a little more perfect.
My probleme was i’m a the top near 5h00 local time and in the same way as Stephan everybody was sleeping :smile: ( i think arrive near to 7h00 local time )
Thanks to EA2LU who spot me. After 2H30 on summit, 7 contacts and a new Hamfriend i was go down.

Now i suggest to Stephan to try others summits when he come back in chamonix valley

Why not :wink:

73 Jean-Sébastien F4CPJ

Hi Ignacio,
You are lucky, as we did the QSO from F/AB-001 on 24/08/2016.
Congrats!
Gerald F6HBI

1 Like

Hi Gerald,
of course, you contributed a lot to relief my previous frustration in July!
I should invite you to a dinner at least!

Now, I should go to Mont Blanc and activate to get my complete… Who knows?
73 de Ignacio.

2 Likes