Month: September 2014

SOTA activity again, near Predeal

I was planning for about a month to go for a SOTA trip to the Retezat Natural Preserve with YO2BP and activate some nice 10-point summits; the nature is really beautiful there and I wanted to see it for some time now, plus the weather predictions looked awesome. Unfortunately, something came up that made the trip not possible, and as I already had my bags packed and got into the SOTA mood, I decided to at least do a short trip to some acessible peaks I haven’t activated yet. So, in the morning of September 18 2014 I got in the car with a friend of mine and drove to the small touristic town of Predeal (about 140Km North of Bucharest), looking to activate something in the surroundings. The initial plan was to make this a 2-day trip so I could get 4 summits, but due to various reasons it ended up as a one-day trip so I could only activate two of them. YO/EC-252 Piatra Arsa (1258m, 6 points) was my first target: we took the car on DN73A for about 5Km, until a small road goes to the left (and on to a lodge, not sure about it’s name). Even if there’s paved road there is a sign that says something along “Natural Preserve Area, motor vehicles forbidden”, so we leave the car and start the hike....

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Ciucas X3 – a good EmComm exercise

Ciucas X3 is a once-a-year trail running event that takes place in Romania’s beautiful Ciucas mountains – you might have read about them in my previous stories, as i’ve made two SOTA activations from the region: YO/EC-049 and YO/EC-057. There are 3 circuits (21, 42 and 105km long) across mountains, hills, forests, a village and the outskirts of a small town, some passing trough wild areas (there were even two brown bear spottings !). Over 600 runners take part in this event, plus almost another hundred staff members, volunteers, mountain rescue, gendarms – mountain division, etc. Together with other members of the RVSU (“Radioamatori Voluntari pentru Situatii de Urgenta” – Volunteer Radio-amateurs for Emergency Situations) we have ensured emergency communications for this event, like we do every year. Our service was necessary as a large part of the area doesn’t have GSM coverage and the mountain rescue doesn’t have enough men or nearly enough equipment to cover communications troughout such a vast space; the mountain gendarmerie use the mobile phones to keep in touch where possible, as their fancy TETRA handhelds are completely useless in such areas. Our EmComm network used RVSU members with a handhelds in most checkpoints and a redundant system made out of 3 key positions: 1. solar powered UHF repeater installed in an optimal position. Initially made as a portable fast-deployment standalone equipment, this repeater...

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CQWPX 2014 – official results came in

As I was expecting after the claimed scores, I ranked #5 in 21Mhz single-op QRP category. This was my second time participating in CQ WPX SSB, the first one was in 2013 where I worked just for 4 hours to get the feeling for it. This time I wanted to be on the air for the full contest, but I was really sloppy: for some reason I thought the contest starts in the afternoon and I planned to do some antenna work in the morning. When I wake up Saturday morning and turn the radio on I hear the band full of contesters so I decide there’s no time to waste, I get on air and work the first 4 hours with the damaged antenna – a 42m long OCFD with a broken arm. I take a break, eat, get on top of the building, fix the OCFD and install a 7.5m fishpole vertical, take a shower and get back on the air. The break took about 3 hours but it was needed, for the rest of the contest I worked with the vertical wich proved slightly better. I managed a total of 260 QSO’s (but 252 validated), 3.1% error rate, 207 multipliers and a final score of 76797. The winner of 21MHz single-op QRP (YT1CS) had 403 QSO’s and 338 multipliers for a total of 225108 points; he...

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