After LB5DH and LA2QUA had such a successful trip activating LA/ST-009 Gråkallen, we decided to try and continue the success by going for LA/ST-010 Storheia. This past Sunday, we set out to make it happen.
We planned to meet up at Ferista in Trondheim at 0900 AM Sunday morning, but we were delayed 50 minutes because LB9WI’s cat ran away. As the initiator for the trip, LB5DH had gone on a skip trip in the area the day prior to scout out the lie of the land.
Even though this trip was a very intense mountain trip, we showed up with very different equipment. LB0VG had skin skis, LB5PI and LB9WI had regular cross-country skis. LB8LI had skate-skis and our experienced tour guide, LB5DH, had alpine skis.
As we headed out, LB5DH mentioned that the trip up to Storheia would take around 5 hours, surprising the rest of us. But after skiing for an hour, we quickly realized it wouldn’t take that long, based on the pace we were going. We made it up the mountain by late noon, around 1300 PM.
LB5PI, LB8LI and LB9WI started setting up our tent shelter for the day (gapahuk in Norwegian) while LB0VG and LB5DH started setting up the antenna. We brought our 20-m vertical antenna and the same cable that we used and mutilated in Estenstadmarka last year, now fixed with a new N-plug. Our equipment was the usual portable suspects, the FT-891 radio and RF-9A ATU, powered by our lithium batteries.
After some tuning, we achieved an SWR of around 2. First out on the radioshack was LB9WI, who got one contact along with some feedback from the operator that we were quite hard to hear. She gave up quickly, which left room for LB0VG to take over. He switched frequency but the conditions were still quite bad, so as a last-ditch effort we tried fixing the 4 radials. We stretched the radials all the way out by burying the ends in the snow and made sure they were placed exactly 90 degrees from each other.
This seemed to help and LB0VG quickly got 4 QSOs, mostly with the M-prefix, i.e from the British islands. Could have been the conditions that day or maybe our vertical antenna somehow became directional.
After all the participants had gotten the minimum requirement of 4 QSOs for SOTA activation, we packed up and set out to make the journey home. It had started blowing and snowing quite a bit, quite a contrast from the windless start of the day.
Since LB5DH was the only one of us with appropriate skis for this portion of the journey, he speeded down the mountain with little effort apart from a quick trip back up after dropping his hand-held radio in the snow. As for the rest of us, it wasn’t quite as nonchalant. In hindsight, LB0VG’s strategy to take off his skis and go down on foot seems to have been the best option. Meanwhile LB5PI, LB8LI and LB9WI opted for skiing down the mountain, trying to slow down by plowing but more often than not just breaking by faceplanting into the snow. It was quite a comical sight.
After everyone made it down the mountain alive, the rest of the journey was much more manageable. The sun had set right after we left the mountain top, but we made it back to the lighted trail just before it got dark. Naturally, the journey home was both easier and quicker, mostly downhill, and took about 1.5 hours.
All in all, the trip was about 17 km and took around 8 hours. Thank you to LB0VG, LB5DH, LB5PI, LB8LI and LB9WI for participating and a special thanks to LB5DH for arranging!