03 August 2009

Alpe Adria VHF 2009: mission aborted

Every year I can hardly wait for Alpe Adria VHF contest, the first Sunday in August. After my best performance of year 2008, I wanted to improve the setup.

I started building a Yagi with 4m long boom: on an empty mountaintop it should still be possible to handle it. On Friday the boom was ready but not the rest (dipole, elements, ...). Moreover one battery pack is not suitable anymore for my FT817, so I had half power reserve than last year.

I decided to keep things simple and short: same antenna as 2008 (5el on 2m boom) and just one battery pack. I would not be able to beat my own A.A. record but at least to improve my operating skills.

On Sunday morning I drive up to Colle delle Finestre (2100 masl), there are some clouds in the sky but don't look too serious:

Once at Colle, I see dark clouds climbing fast from the other valley, and my target destination already covered. I change plan: I'll go to a closer peak at 2500 masl.

At the beginning of my hike I have to pass a barrier, I pull my backpack, I pull ... crash ... damn! What was that? I put the backpack down and the 2m long boom sticking out of it has broken in two. I can still build a 3 el antenna or fix it on the fly once on top. So I continue hiking.

Air gets colder. I feel something on my hand: it starts raining.

Far away I hear a couple of sounds that look like a thunder, or a motorcycle roar.

-> abort <-

I walk back to the car, take few pictures and a strong storm begins. It lasted two hours, so I am glad I decided to return home rather than wait for clouds to pass by.

See you next year, Alpe Adria!