18th August 2019 – OE/KT-263 Spitznock – First activation

After yesterday’s failed activation of OE/KT-060 Latschur I wasn’t leaving anything to chance for Spitznock. Everything was charged up and all HF kit packed, my back weighed a fair bit. To cut the journey down slightly we cycled from our campervan 6.5km down the road and locked the bikes in the trees.

Bikes hidden as best as we could

We started the ascent through the forest tracks, the day had started cool but the temperature was rising.

The route was fairly bland with not many views. We did come across what we thought was a hunting cabin, which was a refreshing change from the monotony of the forest.

Hunting cabin

After about 6.5km of ascent we were faced with a decision, take the left or right track. Neither went to the summit but the right track went closer, so we took that route. I had tried asking around about this and another couple of summits be could not find out any information.

We kept looking for possible ascent routes and finally just further than the summit we saw s possible route up a gully. Karen went first to try and find a possible route, after 50m or so she came across some animal tracks and followed them to a summit ridge trail. It wasn’t the best route, as we found out later, but it was the best route we could take from where we were.

Karen trying to find a route
I’ve lost Karen, can you see her

Once we made the ridge it was a lot easier towards the summit. Once at the summit I quickly got set up with my Sotabeams 6m Tactical mini, 20/40 dipole and Viper 7/8 2m antenna. My Yaesu FT-65 and Xiegu X5105 were connected ready.

I put up a spot, after arriving an hour earlier than my alert and gave 145.5 FM a try. As the previous day nothing was heard, I tried for 5 mins then decided to try 20m. I checked what was free and they’re didn’t appear to be anyone on 14.285 so I put up a spot and called CQ, after a little while SA4BLM, Lars in Sweden, replied. I was very happy to be off the mark, then I had a mini pile up with lots of stations replying. SM5LNE, Jan in Sweden, then EA1DHB, Richardo in Spain, EA2DT, Manuel in Spain. EC2UV was next with good reports, then G0RQL, Don in Devon. It was really nice to have a contact back in to the UK. There were other people but I couldn’t make them out. I tuned around a little bit was hard to be heard over the more powerful stations. Tried 40m and had the same issue with more powerful stations.

Not a bad summit but not too much space to set up

With only 6 QSOs but lots of stations trying the lighthouses on the air it was hard to be heard, we decided to pack up and get away from the fly’s. We decided on a different descent route, as the forestry people had been on the summit felling trees we thought there might be an easier way down.

After battling through some felled trees and low branches the path opened up with an easy route to follow where the forestry vehicles had driven up. We found the original tracks and headed back down to the bikes. 17km and 649m of ascent.

Wooded ridge opens up
Slight easier descent than the ascent

Unfortunately the ride back to the campervan was uphill and in to a head wind. I made it to the final climb before our campsite and my legs refused to keep pedalling. A push to the top and Karen had returned to see where I was, then a gentle freewheel to finish the 6.5km return cycle.

Thanks to all the chasers, I could hear some people but couldn’t make out callsigns. Also massive thanks to my wife Karen, M7KAZ, who puts up with being dragged up various hillsides and also route finds.