Friday, 25 September 2015

SOTA Tour in Czech Republic OK/G4OBK/P Day Three

Day Three OK/G4OBK/P Tour 27th September 2015

My plan for day 3 of my tour was to drive south from Masaryk's Cottage through the village of Orlicke Zahori where I finished my round the previous day, and then turn right to climb an asphalt road into the high forest to a location named on the map as Mezivrsi. I could park there and could reach the summit of OK/KR-013 Komari Vrch quickly. After that there were three more summits on a round which could be reached on foot, and I could call in back at the car for my lunch before summit number four. This meant I did not need to carry much food and drink on my walk. If I had time at the end of the day I intended driving elsewhere to activate one or two "singleton" isolated summits. In reality, this turned into a lucrative 6 summit day for me worth a total of 46 SOTA points.

Here is a map courtesy of showing the proximity of the car park to my first summit of Komari Vrch KR-013:

I parked my small Skoda Citigo hire car near the 3111 road symbol on this map below where three of my GPS tracks join up. The car park was empty at 0830 am  but was full of cars when I returned there at 1315 pm for my lunch. It was then that I discovered that this was a Bank Holiday long weekend... 

Sunday's four summits OK/KR-013-063-071-012 followed later by two more isolated summits in late afternoon

OK/KR-013 Komari Vrch 8 points

I mentioned the chain of bunkers in my previous days blog. These were built to defend the country in the build up to World War II but the plan did not work and the area was annexed to the Germans before the start of the war in an attempt to maintain peace - this short term fix did not work and the country was later invaded by Hungary. There was a lot of resistance in the country and the Czech people suffered executions and deprivation.

The bunker on KR-013 with my antenna on it - I didn't translate the graffiti...

Back to the SOTA - OK/KR-013 is on the top of one of these bunkers, now situated in woodland. Like several summits in the Orlicke Hory now, there is no view. I was on the air working Hans PB2T in the Netherlands on CW using the 30m band just after 0700z. I operated for 25 minutes logging 25 stations before moving off to the next summit. Out of the four summits on this round this was the only summit  situated some distance away from a cycle / walking track. 

OK/KR-063 Kunštátská kaple 10 points

I found a track leaving KR-013 in the direction of KR-063 and from this I regained the main cycle track, however I soon lost the main track and bumbled through some woodland before regaining the main track again. I passed more bunkers and a cafe at a crossroads, which indicated to me how popular the area is for outdoor types:

I turned right at the crossroads where the cafe was located (see map) and took the gradual ascent to the chapel which is situated on the summit of OK/KR-063. Here I made myself comfortable, sitting on a bench with my station on a rustic table. Once again Hans PB2T, was the first one of the 27 stations logged:

The Chapel on KR-063

Inside the Chapel

My operating position on KR-063
Returning to the crossroads with the cafe I took a bearing right to proceed on another track to the summit of Zaklety OK/KR-071. 

OK/KR-071 Zaklety 8 points

The track passed over this rather non-descript unispiring summit. I set up the station in trees to avoid being disturbed by curious cyclists and walkers. There were plenty of people passing by and this had cost me time on KR-063 trying to explain what I was doing to people who couldn't speak English! There was nothing to photograph of interest here, but I did make 30 contacts, including a 2m band FM summit to summit with David OK4KOP/P who was on OK/OL-004. I didn't calculate the distance but I was just using a 5 watt handheld and 1/4 whip antenna for this contact.  I left the summit and decided to cut the corner off the track just before the cafe - not recommended - but I got through and joined an asphalt cycle track which took me back to the car park for my lunch, with 26 points bagged. Not a bad mornings work... Here you see the car park full up at 1315 pm:

OK/KR-012 Anesky vrch 8 points

Every man, woman and dog was out today on this independence day holiday. There was also a military exercise taking place en-route to the summit, and a few people had taken to hiring recumbent bicycles. This smiling gentleman had to keep stopping for a rest - it looked like hard work to me as he enjoyed riding his "quickie" (the name on the bike): 

Military vehicles - the exercise was based around a bunker - see next picture

With my SOTA plans I had no time to go inside this well maintained bunker...

The large tower viewpoint on Anesky Vrch OK/KR-012

Proceeding to the summit I noticed that this was also a target place for a family day out for many people. OK/KR-012 was another summit situated on top of a bunker, and a large viewpoint tower had also been built here. This was accessible to the public, although I did not climb this as my time here was spent on the activation and meeting up with another radio ham... This was young Jindra OK1NOR - who told me he was a member of the contest group that used the caravan on the summit of KR-009, which I had visited the day before. Jindra had heard the Morse coming out of my radio (I rarely used headphones when activating unless it is windy) and that was why he came to visit my SOTA station:

OK1NOR Jindra with the writer G4OBK

This was a really interesting meeting purely by chance, and Jindra stayed with me throughout my activation. Then he walked back with me to the car, pushing his bike, before riding it the 25 Kms back to where he lived. Jindra spoke English very well (as many young people in Czech do) and I learnt much about his country and history during our conversation. This was most interesting.

By the time I returned to the car park there was still time to visit two six point summits before nightfall. Jan OK2PDT had told me of a route used to access Spicak KR-072, but before that I drove into Destne and then up the hill to the west towards the summit of KR-075 Ovcar. From the parking place a short walk took me across a field to the activation point adjacent to a wood. 

OK/KR-075 Ovcar 6 points

An 8 minute walk from this parking place, near to the religious monument pictured and beyond an old church, took me to my operating position on the summit:

As I had found on every summit so far, there was something (a small tree in this case) to carefully fix the antenna pole to without causing any damage.

With over 20 contacts logged I packed up and headed for the final summit of the day on the north west side of Destne. I could see Spicak in fact from Ovcar, as it was only two miles away...

OK/KR-072 Spicak 6 points

Within 10 minutes I was parked up beside a cycle / pony track. The downward route (right side on above map) was preferable and this was the track I have loaded into the SOTA Mapping Project.  After crossing a few fields of cut grass I found a track into the wood. As I approached the highest point I left the track and headed into some sparse woodland where I set up my station in the activation zone. The setting up of an HF SOTA station becomes quite onerous and tiresome after doing it six times in a day, but it becomes a delight when you spot your activity, switch on, call CQ and hear the sound of Morse Code coming back at you from so many fellow SOTA enthusiasts....following that with a little phone work to finish off. Here is a shot of my point of activation, within 10m vertical drop of the highest point which was heavily wooded: 

One contact per minute is on par for me, and once I have confirmed that I have been spotted and callers dry up after 3 CQs I either change band, mode or close down.  It was getting dark so after 18 contacts I pulled the plug, packed up and headed into Destne for a meal and drink at the Hotel Alba where WiFi was available. 

Day Two Statistics

  • Distance walked / ascent: 11.7 miles / 1800 feet ascent 
  • Summits activated (6): OK/KR-013-063-071-012-072
  • Equipment used: Yaesu FT-817 (5 watts) link dipole 2m FM with 1/4 whip
  • Points claimed: 46
  • SOTA Complete: 6 out of 6
  • Contacts made on 20m CW/SSB & 30m CW bands: 148
  • Contacts made on 2m FM: 1 OK4KOP/P S2S KR-071 > OL-004
  • DX QSOs: VK5PAS VK2IO (20m SSB) KA1R (20m CW)
  • Total Summit to Summit contacts in the day: 6  

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