After a successful celebration of our centennial the first weekend in May, we decided to arrange a trip the following weekend to a SOTA summit that had not yet been activated. With initiative from one of our new licensed members, LB7JJ, we set our aim for the summit LA/ST-245 Storhaugen, just a 2-hour hike from Vanvikan, which is just across the fjord from Trondheim. This would then be LB7JJ’s first QSO and SOTA journey with the newly acquired call sign!

Thursday, a couple of days prior to the trip, we prepared the equipment we wanted to bring with us. We decided to go for our trusted FT-891 with the Heathkit tuner and a 15m vertical wire antenna with our fishing rod as a mast. For the other shack, we brought a 20m wire antenna and a Spiderbeam mast, while LB0VG brought his ATU-100 and FT-857D.

The journey started at ARK, where LB5DH, LB7JJ, and Oskar met up to distribute the equipment and began walking toward the ferry that would take us to the starting point of the hike.

LB5DH trying to get a sat-QSO on the ferry on the way back home.
Photo: LB7JJ

The weather was beautiful, with stable temperatures and almost all blue skies. Upon walking off the main road and starting the hike, we got a warning from a local resident that the trip would be challenging as the snow had not yet melted all the way. But pumped on account of the good weather, we still decided to try our luck and assumed we really didn’t hear anything from the locals as we began going off the road and up the trails leading to the summit.

LB7JJ leading the way in the snow, with LB9WI, Oskar, and LB0VG following in his footprints.
Photo: LB5DH

No later than a third of the way up, we already began traversing the expected snow and swamps that no one but LB5DH and LB0VG was prepared for. Nevertheless, we all got to the summit without any major inconveniences, apart from almost all having wet shoes upon arrival.

After arriving and taking a quick break, we started setting up the respective antennas, with our initial plan being to mount up a 20 and 15m vertical antenna. However, as we accidentally ended up bringing up 3 masts, we got a little creative and turned the 20m vertical into a dipole using two of the supplied masts as points for holding the dipole in the air.

LB0VG, LB5DH, and Oskar set up the antennas with hot dogs waiting on the grill.
Photo: LB7JJ

No more than 15 minuter later, the first 15m shack was ready for action, and LB7JJ eagerly got to calling a few CQs, though with little response, despite the antenna tuning up pretty much perfectly, gaining close to 1:1 in SWR. It took some time before we acquired enough contacts to activate as we could not interpret all the “possible pile up”. When LB7JJ finally had 4 QSOs and had activated the summit, LB9WI began operating the shack with a sudden flood of Japanese operators wanting to get in touch with a “YL”. Though afterward, as LB0VG tried to operate the shack, the conditions suddenly got worse again. Maybe just a coincidence, but who knows?

Oskar, LB0VG, LB7JJ and LB9WI trynig to get the first QSOs.
Photo: LB5DH

The 20m shack took a little more work to set up, but not long after, it was also QRV and ready to go. For this, the ATU-100 was used, which meant the tuner did all the work in matching the transmitter and antenna. With Oskar calling using the LA100K-callsign, we got just a handful of contacts, including MR0IQD. Henrik also got to activate the summit, though, with the 15m shack which ultimately proved more effective during the short activation.

With all operators fully activated and our socks finally starting to feel dry, the group began descending the summit. No more than 4 minutes into the hill downwards, most participants just gave up getting down with dry feet. One after the other, we walked through the swamps, snow, and wet ground with no worry as our feet were already drenched.

A happy group of SOTA activators. From the left: LB5DH, LB9WI, LB7JJ and Oskar.
Photo: LB0VG

All in all, the trip proved to be a big success. We got to enjoy the unusually nice weather in Trondheim, surprisingly, with only three of the participants looking hot pink and sunburned from forgetting to apply sunscreen. It was also a good experience for Oskar, which was preparing for an upcoming license exam. Thanks to LB5DH, LB0VG, LB9WI, LB7JJ, Oskar, and the weather gods for the beautiful weather this day!