On the first weekend of February, we went on a cabin trip to Oppdal, just one week after welcoming new members into the club. Eight of the newcomers joined us, bringing the total to 18 on the trip. It was a fantastic opportunity to get to know both each other and our favourite hobby: amateur radio!

We booked a cabin that the Omega Student Organization recently bought, about one and a half hours south of Trondheim. Many ARK members have ties to Omega, which is the student organization for those studying Electronic Systems Design and Innovation and Cybernetics and Robotics at NTNU. We were very thankful to have the chance to stay at this cabin, and what a lovely cabin it was! We all really enjoyed our time there!

The lovely Omega cabin before departure on Sunday. Photo: LB0RI

The cabin trip had been planned quite a few weeks in advance, long before we knew anything about what the weather would be like. The closer we got to the weekend, the more concerned we became about the weather forecasts, and we almost considered canceling the trip, as extreme amounts of rain, snow, and wind were predicted, particularly on Friday and Saturday. Our intention was to ski on Saturday, and several had planned for a SOTA-trip. There was also a significant risk of avalanches. Thus, the weather was not ideal for the cabin trip we had originally planned, where we wanted to spend most of our time outdoors… Fortunately, we decided to proceed with the trip, and despite encountering heavy rain and slippery roads on the way to the cabin, all 18 of us arrived safely at the cabin on Friday evening. However not all vehicles made it all the way up, and some had to park a short distance away. Four-wheel drive proved to be essential to reach the cabin…

Screenshot from yr.no of the weather forecast for Saturday. Not ideal ski weather… Strong gusts of wind and quite a lot of snow.

We had tacos for dinner and enjoyed good food, board games, and planning for the next day. Because of the forecast for more bad weather the next day, it was hard to make specific plans, and therefore we decided to wait until the next morning to finalize the plans. We knew however that we wanted to split into two groups: one to ski and set up a portable shack outside, and the other to set up a shack at the cabin. To gain some experience in how to set up a portable shack, we practiced the process in the living room under the guidance of LB5DH. This proved to be highly instructive for both brand new and also slightly more experienced members who were less familiar with the physical setup.

On Saturday morning, we woke up to heavy snowfall, and a big effort was put into clearing away the snow from around the cars. We needed to retrieve all the skis from one of the cars that hadn’t made it up to the cabin the day before so that the skiing group could head out.

André and Eskil wishing the skiers a pleasent trip out in the heavy snows, after hoisting a dipole antenna outside the cabin. Perhaps are they already here planning the future snowball ambush on the skiers when they return? From the left: André, LB8WJ and Eskil. Photo: LB5DH

When the skis were retrieved, 11 of us, LB5DH, LB5FJ, LB8WJ, LB9JJ, Emil, Pernille, Hannah, Isak, Mikkel, Julius and Sindre, set off from the cabin for a ski trip. Initially, it was snowing heavily, but eventually, the snow stopped, and even a bit of blue sky appeared. We headed north and east in search of an ungroomed ski trail and found a route through the forest from the cabin. Although the terrain was a bit rugged and occasionally steep for those on cross-country skis, it was relatively pleasant to ski uphill through the woods.

LB8WJ and Isak assisting Mikkel in duct-taping the sole on his ski-boot that fell off while skiing in the rugged terrain. Photo: LB9JJ
Pernille and Emil enjoying skiing in the snowy and beautiful surroundings. Photo: LB9JJ
It is steeper than it looks! From the left: Hannah, LB8WJ, Isak, Mikkel and LB9JJ. Photo: LB5DH
Some blue sky to the left and some stormy snow clouds soon approaching from the right. From the left: Sindre, Pernille and Emil. Photo: LB9JJ
The skiing group. From the left: LB5DH, Julius, Hannah, Pernille, Emil, Mikkel, LB8WJ, Isak and Sindre. In front: LB5FJ. Photo: LB9JJ

The skiing team eventually set up a small shack with a vertical 20m antenna and our FT-891. LB5FJ had a tent sheet that sheltered the shack from the wind. Many got the chance to operate the radio, with several having their very first QSOs. Since there was EU DX that weekend, we participated a bit in the contest. The conditions were relatively good, and some of the newcomers not only got their first QSO but also their first pileup. Unfortunately, due to poor communication, unforeseen delays, foreseen delays and a wealth of other poor excuses, the log was digitalized and submitted 15 minutes too late and thus not included in the contest.

From the left: Julius, Hannah and LB5FJ, setting up the antenna and shack. Photos: LB5DH

As it started to get both cold and dark, and it was time to head back down to the cabin, the group skied back down same way we came up, downhill across fields and through the forest, in powder snow and our own beaten tracks. It was a bit easier for those with alpine touring skis than for those with cross-country skis, but everyone made it down safely without too many falls. To the group’s great surprise, they were ambushed with a snowball fight by Eskil and André who had stayed at the cabin.

Skiing down to the cabin through the forest in the dusk. Photo: LB5DH

The group that stayed back at the cabin, LB1DJ, LB0RI, LB5GJ, André, Eskil, Anton and Jonathan, set up a shack there. With LB1DJ leading the way, they made a dipole for the 20-meter band. André and Eskil threw ropes up into two large trees just outside the cabin so they could hoist the dipole a little above the ground. Then, they ran RG-58 coaxial cable from the antenna into the cabin, connected it to a tuner, and then into the radio. After putting up the shack, they tried tuning the dipole to different bands and getting in contact with others.

LB1DJ gives a thumbs-up through the window from outside the cabin, signaling success in setting up the antenna. Photo: LB9JJ

However, they encountered a problem. They could hear people relatively well, but the antenna wasn’t good for transmitting. They were not sure why; perhaps the dipole wasn’t hoisted high enough above the ground, or maybe a mistake was made when measuring and cutting the antenna… Unfortunately, there weren’t many QSOs, but there was a lot of learning in listening to others operating on the band, where it was a lot of activity because of the EU DX contest.

Happy “cabin-crew” enjoying the comfort of a comfortable couch, discussing something obviously radio-related and soon ready to surf the radio-waves. From the left: LB5GJ, LB0RI and Jonathan. Photo: LB9JJ

In the evening there was sodd for dinner and good vibes throughout the evening, with various board games and card games, including some intense games of Unstable Unicorns, Ligretto and “bonde-bridge”.

Surprisingly, Sunday morning brought nice weather and sunshine, and the most eager ones naturally wanted to head out for another trip. After breakfast, LB5DH, Emil, and Isak set off for a ski trip. Despite the sunny weather, blue skies, and less wind than the days before, there was still a considerable risk of avalanches, which they had to consider. They started skiing on a very nice and freshly groomed ski trail, gradually making their way into the terrain and towards a summit. At the top, they set up the most beautiful doublet they had ever seen (it is usually difficult to keep straight up because it bends under its own weight). However, the power plug on the FT-891 was loose. A Powerpole version would later replace it, but back then they did not risk damage to the radio. Unfortunately, there were no QSOs on the trip. Nevertheless, they still had a great trip and skied back down from the mountaintop in fantastic powder snow.

Emil (Left) and Isak (Right) on the way up. The snow conditions were quite fantastic. Photo: LB5DH
Left: Emil and Isak working to secure the mast from collapsing and fastening the ladder line. Their combined wind cover and sun catcher shack bench is in the background. Right: The doublet at full altitude. Photo: LB5DH

The others had a nice and calm morning, gradually packing up and cleaning themselves out the cabin.

These pictures were taken of the cabin at the same time of day, one day apart, and shows the significant change in the weather conditions. The one on the left at 2 pm on Saturday, the one on the right at 2 pm on Sunday. Photos: LB9JJ

We had a fantastic weekend and really enjoyed our time at the Omega cabin. Hopefully, we’ll be able to come back again next year! This should definitely become an annual tradition!