One of the problems with the winter is that the days are so short. When planning SOTA trips, we have to plan trips as short as the days, often shorter. This meant that time had come for Sjåvidthøgda, which is a reasonable tradeoff in being a not-too-long drive and not-too-long to ascend. The only downside was that there were no obvious winter routes up to the top, but we hoped we would find some when we got there.

Pernille, Emil and LB8WJ(Front to back) at the beginning of the path. Photo: LB5DH

We set the date to January 14th, 2024, which made this our first SOTA activation in the new year. Coincidentally, it was also the date of NARU-BALTIC. After a quick participation in the contest, it was time to prepare for the SOTA expedition.

The snow-covered road and forest. Photo: Emil

The driving conditions turned out to be particularly slippery that day, but after careful driving, we eventually reached our starting point, Saksvikvollen parking lot. From there we tried to find a path, but it was partly hidden by trees bending down into it. They had been weighted down by the heavy snow covering them.

Pernille and Emil scouting for the best available path. Photo: LB5DH

This turned out to be a recurring theme during this trip. We had to shake the snow off many trees to clear the narrow path. The deep snow, together with the trees, made the experience nearly magical.

The path ahead of us before shaking the snow of the trees. Photo: LB5DH

For a while, we followed a summer path that allowed us to pass through the dense forest, but that ended before the final ascent up to the top. That ascent turned out to be very steep and quite tough to climb in the deep snow. Still, all four of us got up. After that, it was just a short walk until we were within 25 m of the top.

Approxamentley the path we took to the top.

By now, sundown was nearing quickly, and we wanted to reach the car before it became completely dark. We had brought two antennas, but with a sense of urgency, we chose only to set up our tried and trusted 20m vertical. LB8WJ and Emil set up the antennas, while LB5DH and Pernille set up the radio. Fortunately, Emil had brought a sleeping mat, which when used as a shack table, protected the radio from drowning in snow.

Assembling the antenna in the snow. It was sufficiently deep to support the mast without guy wires. From left: LB8WJ, Pernille and Emil. Photo: LB5DH

After LB5DH had secured his activation, it was LB8WJ’s turn. This was his first SOTA activation with his two-month-old callsign. He ended up getting his first QSO, second QSO, third QSO, fourth QSO, first pile-up, and first SOTA activation all at once. Despite the vanishing daylight, the conditions had proven very favorable.

LB5DH having a QSO while LB8WJ supervises. Photo: Pernille

We hastily packed everything together and descended down with the last sunlight. All in all, we were very pleased with the snow conditions and had a nice trip.

LB8WJ getting his first QSO while Emil logs it. Pernille eating in the background. Photo: LB5DH