The morning at 2500+m altitude is not your regular morning: winds tend to be strong and the clouds were flying really low – even lower than us.
We had to wait until almost 11:00 local time for the sky to clear so we could depart towards our next target: YO/MC-008 Bucsoiu, 2493m – 10 points.
The nearby YO/MC-074 Bucsoiul Mic, 2120m – 10 points was also in our plan, but the previous evening we decided to cancel it due to the long hike that also required serious climbing skills.
Finally on our way to YO/MC-008, the path looks great and the mountain show us their beautiful curves and angles.
There are even spots of live color amid this greed and rocky giants:
We find a nice spot not very far from peak and Petronel deploys the antenna:
We were worried that it’s too early in the morning for the rest of the Europe and not many stations were on the air, but everything turned out to be OK. We even squeezed a few VHF contacts in there.
Operation from Bucsoiu took almost an hour, and we quickly gathered our stuff, headed back to Omu and 3 hours later we were at the car. Next target YO/MC-009 Costila, 2491m – 10 points, the one with the 20KW VHF TV broadcast station on top.
We found the remains of a small concrete fence nearby and we attached the antenna in a very creative way:
The Elecraft KX3 seemed very resilient to such a strong EM field nearby, as the reception wasn’t visibly disturbed. Some of the stations were coming in pretty weak but we could work everybody in the end, with Petronel YO8SEP remaining the last activator to take the mic and also making the most contacts.
This was already looking like a long day; little did we know what laid ahead of us ! It took almost 2 hours to get back to the main road DN1, where we met what some call “a regular day on the Prahova Valley” but Sorin kept calling it “traffic jam” spiced with a rich mix of romanian curses :). It took about 2 hours to travel the 20km from Sinaia to Predeal, where we picked up our cars and headed for Rasnov.
Near Rasnov we were expected at the Himalaya lodge & training camp by Petrica YO9RIJ and YO3CPR (? not sure about the callsign, he just waited to meet us and then left for Bucharest) with a nice hot meal, more than a few cold beers and a clean bed courtesy of A.R.R. (Romania’s Radioclub Association). The owner of the place (Vasile Dogaru) is an ex-military radiolocation specialist and he was very interested in our activity – there’s even have a “Radiolocator’s monument” at the camp’s entrance. They organise various mountain and outdoors activities, children courses, teambuildings etc, lodge was full of children and teenagers from various groups, both romanian and foreign. Even if we were tired there’s no need to say: we talked until about 3 o’clock in the morning, found out alot of new stuff and we discussed alot of ideas.
Next morning we woke up, had a breakfast and split up, saying goodbye to Petronel YO8SEP who was going to pick up his wife from the train station. Me and Sorin YO2MSB took off towards Poiana Brasov (small touristic village near Brasov), took the aerial tramway than a 15 minute hike to YO/EC-011 Postavaru, 1799m – 8 points.
The peak is very popular, alot of tourists are always right on top:
The view is superb from here, no wonder alot of people come to visit just for the view:
We found a place to operate near another broadcast station, not far from the peak. It was pretty close to the actual peak:
First contact, Csaba YO6PIB, who was activating YO/EC-367 and was already waiting for 3 hours for this S2S. This was actually his last contact from that peak, leaving us to operate on 14.325 and coming down from the peak (we were supposed to meet up later in the day). Sorin bagged his contacts first and then I took the mike. Not too late into the activation Mike G6TUH (told you he was like the 4th member of our team) lets me know that NA stations are calling me, I call just for NA but can’t hear anything – the vertical and the broadcast station nearby can’t help, I’m sure :). But, I was happy to know that with 20W from the SGC-2020 and a portable antenna we were putting some signal into NA.
Another 8 points done, we come down and go to meet with Csaba YO6PIB, on the road to YO/EC-428 Lempes, 703m – 4 points. Unfortunately I feel worn out after the previous evening and decide to go back to see my family in Ploiesti, so after a 15min chat to Csaba I leave with my car and Sorin and Csaba go to activate the last peak of our journey. I listened for them on VHF while on the road but I was out of range by the moment they got on the summit, so I couldn’t work them :(. I hear everything went fine, so the chasers got the chance to add another 4 points to their collection.
Looking back, it was a great adventure and I’m sure it was the catalyst to a solid SOTA team in Romania (YO). The 5 activators that took part in this tour (YO2BP, YO2MSB, YO6PIB, YO8SEP and yours truly YO9IRF) are the the moment the top 5 activators in YO-land, and there are another activators that joined the program this year and they already have activated a enough summits in a short time. Our plan is to make this happen again the next year, with a larger team and much more impressive, so everyone that can join is welcomed to let us know.
I want to thank to all the people that made this possible, easier or helped us in any way, with a special mention for Sorin YO2MSB for putting the tour together, Adrian YO6HDF, George Porancea, Petrica YO9RIJ and our team’s “ghost member” Mike G6TUH.
Well, my SG-2020 can do much more than that, but I found later at my return home that the propagation was not our best friend all those days…
The last summit, YO/MC-428 Lempes was the amazing surprise in the end of this SOTA Marathon: such beauty I've didn't see for a long long time – a hill with a perfect forest, perfect crops on the valley and with fairy-tales sightseeings from the top all around you. And it was the occasion to work together with Csaba YO6PIB, something we discussed one year ago @ Szarvas ham meeting in HA.
A last mention for the weather: after a summer with showers every week, we had sunny days all the week. No rain, no snow encountered. Friday, 30 mins. after the returning from the last summit, it starts raining again… Call it luck if you want. But maybe it was to be like this.
Next year's Marathon hope to bring us in the team also Florin YO9IPF, Silviu YO6PSX or any of the other members of the growing group of activators in YO. GL to all of you in activations!
73 de YO2MSB Sorin