Two Recent Activations in the Steiermark

Just thought I would share some pictures from my first two independent activations. The first was on the 9th of December on the Schöckl, and I managed to find a novel temporary operating station:

It is normally used by hunters in the early morning and early evening. It provided some much needed shelter from the stiff northerly wind (wind chill was about -15 C). The long wire went very nicely over an adjacent branch. However, the wind picked up as I began to call CQ and it became harder and harder to hear the chasers. I got home to find a few callsigns I couldn’t find on the web. Lesson learnt: the noise cancelling headphones would be part of the summit kit from now on.
Today did not go quite as smoothly. To begin with, I underestimated the amount of snow on the way to the Burgstaller Höhe:

Being a bit lower than the Schöckl, I thought it would be free of snow and thus wore only a pair of old trainers that gave up the ghost on the way there, leaving my feet rather wet and cold. I had planned to call on 10 meters as the band was in incredible shape this weekend. Unfortunately, it was in too good a shape, and was rammed with contest stations. I tried calling further up the band at 28.102.50 Mhz and edited my alert from my smartphone, but there was no answer. I felt the best way to proceed was to get away from the contest and onto the WARC bands. I called for a while on 12 metres and eventually got 3 QSO’s. I had to QSY at one point as I started to get splatter from a nearby station. Unfortunately, my mobile phone decided to lose its internet connection, so I was unable to edit my alert. Then it went dead again, so I moved to 17 metres. This time the pack descended quite quickly and I got my activation. Sorry to cause a lot of confusion for the chasers, I will probably stick to WARC bands next time there is a contest. I’m quite new to SOTA, and to CW in general, so I only really copy the callsign and RST at the moment. The view on the way home was very nice:

Thanks for being so patient with me, and sorry again for the confusion today and the QRD. Perhaps I will get out to activate some hills in England over Christmas whilst visiting my family, it depends on whether I can get transport out to Nidderdale.

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I was activating a 1 pointer SOTA this morning and saw your spot on sotawatch. I QSYed to try a S2S QSO with you but I didn’t copy either you or your chasers on the announced frequency. After reading your report I understand why.
I always try to stay away of the contest activity when activating SOTA. If they are on 10m, like today, I’ll go to any other band. If they are on CW, I’ll do SSB and I’ll do CW if they are on SSB. It’s the only way as I activate on QRP 5w and the contest QRM is far too much to let my tiny QRP signal be audible.
Thanks for the report and the nice pictures.
Best 73 de Guru - EA2IF