Building on earlier successes, we decided to combine two of them this spring. The first one was to invite both ARK members and license course participants on a portable trip before the license exam, and the second was to activate our nearest SOTA summit early in the year.

The view from the top. Photo: Øyvind

LA/ST-009 Gråkallen is likely one of the lowest-threshold SOTA-summits in the vicinity of Trondheim. The bus goes all the way to Skistua, which is a relatively short walk from the top. In addition, there are a wealth of ski slopes around the summit, meaning skiing is also an excellent alternative for reaching the top. Same as last year, we decided to split into two groups. The ski group started at Sverresborg while the walking group took the bus to Skistua.

The red line follows close to the actual route led by the skiing group, while the green line follows approximately the remaining route walked by the rest of the participants accompanied by bus. Screendump from

After some last-minute cancellations from the pre-registered participants, the remaining two finally departed from Sverresborg. The weather forecast when planning the trip far ahead is typically very uncertain, so the actual weather we end up with might prove better or worse. This time we were lucky as we ended up with both exceptionally good weather and great snow for the skiing group.

View from the ascent, Tobi looking at our destination for the day. Photo: LB5DH

The walking group got to the top first and started planning the antenna park and making the bonfire. We had brought both FT-891 and FT-857D and intended to set up two shacks during the activation. By LB5FJs suggestion, we used one of our two Spiderbeam masts as the centerpiece of our inverted-v doublet and the other to raise one of the elements, making the inverted-v more dipole-like. We tied the other element to a nearby hill to raise it slightly higher. In the end, the elements were still slightly sloped, but we expected more gain from it than our usual setup. The second antenna was a quarter wave vertical attached to the mast furthest away.

Taping the ladder line to the mast. From left: LB5FJ, Tobi, Sigve, LB9JJ and Cameron. Photo: LB5DH

We usually encourage the license course participants to join these trips, as they offer valuable practical experience that complements the theoretical knowledge gained in the course. During the trip, everyone got the opportunity to participate in setting up the portable shack and making a QSO.

The inverted V, centered on the leftmost mast, and the 20m vertical attached to the rightmost mast. From left: LB5FJ, Tobi and Cameron.

Regularly, when activating SOTA-summits the conditions prove to be good and this time was no exception. Regardless of the ionospheric conditions, we probably still would have had this impression from the pileup we typically get after spotting ourselves on SOTAwatch. All the licensed operators activated 40m on the inverted V antenna, while the aspiring licensees-to-be tried their luck on the 15m band. The luck was found and several people had their first experience on the air. One of them was even answered by LA9DSA, a well-known SOTA-goat.

The fire while we set up the antennas. From left: LB9JJ, Tobi, LB5DH, Cameron and Sigve. Photo: Øyvind

After a few hours, the bonfire finally burned down. With the darkness posed to approach and the last bus home from Skistua about the leave, we disassembled our equipment and packed everything together. Same as on the way up, we separated into two groups during our return home from the summit.

All the activators. From left: Ida, Øyvind, Cameron, Emil, LB5FJ, Sigve, Tobi and LB5DH. Photo: LB9JJ.

Thanks to everyone for joining and especially LB9JJ for organizing it all.