Guest Post: A most enjoyable weekend of SOTA and POTA in the Italian Alps!

Many thanks to Simone (IU3QEZ) who shares the following guest post:

An enjoyable  weekend

by Simone (IU3QEZ)

I’m part of a Club that promotes QRP activities in the mountains (Mountain QRP Club), in a minimalistic way – small power, small battery, small radio, simple DIY antennas and a lot of friendship.

So what’s better than a full outdoor weekend? Easy peasy, 10 friends together in the Italian alps – Monte Grappa, 1775 meters elevation.

Cars were well packed with QRP gear, tents and sleeping bags. Our place of choice was the nearby area with a mountain hut. We asked for permission to place our tents nearby so even those who are not used to sleeping in tents could participate.

Before starting radio operations we had breakfast. Local salami, cheese and, why not, a  sip of good wine.

You can see here that Riccardo (IU3GKJ) is ready and strengthened from a good breakfast! It’s radio time.

We started with the activation of I-1484 “Massiccio del Grappa”.

To avoid interfering with one another we spread out along  the radio spectrum: from HF to VHF/UHF, magic band included, each of us managed to get contacts on almost every band. Almost everybody was close to getting the 10 QSOs on 10 different bands required by POTA N1CC in just one day.

Simone (IU3QEZ)  chose two antennas: an experimental doublet antenna made with a twisted pair of telephone wires and a vertical stylus antenna, here tuned for the 6 meter band. Riccardo (IU3GKJ) preferred a resonant long wire, Alessandro (IU3OJA) went with a Vertical quarter wave ground plane, Maurizio (IV3GVY) brought both a resonant end-fed and a vertical quarter wave antenna. Raffaele (IU2OQK) brought both a 2 meter Yagi and an end fed. Johnny (IU3MBY) opted for a 2 meter Yagi. And Elio (IW3SOX)… brought simply everything: long wire, verticals, resonant dipoles.

Propagation was not great but everybody managed to get the 10 QSOs for the park activation in the morning.

In the afternoon, we spread out again … A group of us went for a SOTA activation. A short walk and we are on I/VE-197 “Monte Grappa”.

This is a site of significance: it’s a WWI battlefield, with a memorial and monument area where radio activities are not allowed. Thousands of Italian and Austrian soldiers are resting in peace on this site.

Fortunately the summit is a long ridge with a good part well outside the restricted area, so we managed  to find a location well inside SOTA rules for summit activities. By the way, we were also inside a WWI  trench so some of us managed to get a good use out of it as a shelter  for the strong summer sun.

Also, why not cook pasta in this nice location?

The SOTA Activations were smooth and fun and included the usual pile up in CW that drives Simone (IU3QEZ) crazy every time, but also in SSB. So thanks to all SOTA hunters out there.

After our activations, we headed back to the camp:

The day quickly passed and, after sunset, the most awaited moment of the day arrived: 20 meters opened towards North America which makes QRP QSOs with the USA and Canada relatively easy. The more you wait, the better it gets – so we managed to stay on the radio until 1:00 AM local time, trying for a transatlantic P2P – which we managed to log!

Simone IU3QEZ Log.

So with these QSOs achieved, I crawled inside my sleeping bag and fell asleep.

In the morning we chased VK via Long Path. We could hear strong stations with good pile-ups, but we weren’t able to “punch through” with our 5 watts.

Ah… don’t forget that one of the team was not interested in radio – Pera (a cute mongrel) was more interested in playing with sticks.

The next day, the group split again in order to activate another local summit – Monte Pertica.

This is not a SOTA summit, but why not activate it? No pile-up here, but good QSOs!

Monte Pertica was also a battlefield. We have to walk carefully avoiding trenches. Just look around and you can find WWI artifacts.

In the afternoon, people began to leave. Some of us had an almost three-hour drive back home. The weekend was over, and with a little sadness, we had to pack everything and return home. But we are ready for the next group activation!

8 thoughts on “Guest Post: A most enjoyable weekend of SOTA and POTA in the Italian Alps!”

  1. Simone: I had the pleasure of you telling me that I was in your log. I followed your fun and admire your QRP efforts. Big 73
    Dave K3FT

  2. Simone – thanks for sharing your and your club’s experience with us! Sounds like a good time was had by all. Keep having fun on the air and with CW.

    1. Such a wonderful report. Thanks a lot! I can literally feel the nice atmosphere and ease of just being up on those mountains together. It reminds us all that this hobby is all about fun, friendship and not taking everything too seriously. So this stuff is exactly what can attract many new hams as well.

      I am counting 3 QSOs in my log with you Simone, let’s have the next one very soon!

  3. What a great site and report! Reminds me of doing this kind of thing when I was a teenager and newly licensed. We’d love to have you join us at the Central FL QRP Group if you are ever in the Orlando, FL area.

  4. I love the post and photos. Just wish you could also add some camera filming and audio. Absolutely love the post! Even if it were not in English. LOL

  5. What a cool event. I sometimes take my 2m/70 handy with me, when I visit the Italian Alps. But I was only listening, because my Italian is very rudimentary… as is my CW. Most of the time, I’m going downhill at high speeds anyway…(skiing in the Dolomiti area)
    Keep up the Ham spirit
    73 HB9SFG

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