Wednesday, 1 May 2019

OK8CDX Czech Tour May 2019 - Day 1

On 1st May 2019 I caught the 09:11 train from Malton to Manchester Airport to catch an EasyJet flight to Prague where I was to meet up with Victor GI4ONL for another week long SOTA Tour in the Czech Republic.  Security clearance at Manchester was without issue. I've been travelling on aircraft with radio equipment and batteries now since 2014 and if anything, it has become easier with time. I put this down to the proliferation of people who are now carrying more electronic equipment and spare batteries for phones.
The flight, once underway, was the worst I have experienced.  My seat was surrounded by members of a foul mouthed stag party group. Unfortunately my earbuds were packed, so I had to listen to the intoxicated group... At one stage I managed to doze off - but when I woke up a member of the group had stolen a Twix bar from my tray table, which I had been looking forward to eating in the latter part of my flight.  I decided it wasn't worth challenging them about it so I left it. Was I glad to get off that plane!

Victor's flight from Dublin arrived a short time before mine and we met up at the luggage carousel in late afternoon. As in the past we used the affordable services of Firefly to provide us with a Skoda Fabia - our hire car of choice in Eastern Europe. Firefly is the budget arm of Hertz, and the cars are just as good, but are hired at a reduced rate. 

We were on the road by 17:30 local time and making our way east of Prague to the first of two summits, OK/ST-070 Horka. A track from the south leading to a quarry took us to a parking place by a wood. A short walk of around 200m took us into the woodland and our operating positions, where we set up two stations as we were to do on all summits visited on the tour. It takes us less than ten minutes from arriving to deploying our KX2 transceivers and link dipoles, and after the horrendous flight it was great to get on the air and make some contacts in the great outdoors...
Our plan was to activate as many summits as possible during our time in the country, so we were thankful that SOTA Chasers were happy to keep the contacts brief and "contest style" allowing us to maximize our totals. This meant we would often operate for as little as 10 minutes before packing up. In the case of ST-070 I made 11 contacts in just 11 minutes on 7 MHz CW/SSB before packing up and moving off to our second summit before dusk. This was ST-080 Na Hradku where just five contacts were made in five minutes on 7 MHz CW before my CQs went unanswered - Europe must have been eating its dinner.... 

As the day drew to a close we needed to check in to our first nights budget accommodation in the nearby town of Kourim, where despite May 1st being a Bank Holiday, we were able to find a meal and enjoy our first glass of Czech Beer in a small restaurant on the town's square.

Go To: Czech Tour Day Two

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