As there were enough of us and we wanted to take advantage of the S2S possibilities, we split into 2 teams: Team 1 was YO2MSB, PB2T, K2XYL and HB9DST, with YO6PIB joining in on the way to the first summit, YO/WC-207 Piatra Goznei (8p). This was K2XYL Margreet's first SOTA activation and she got her first QSO (wich was also S2S) with Petronel YO8SEP.
|K2XYL Margreet having her first QSOs, from YO/WC-207|
The second team was me YO9IRF, YO2BP, YO8SEP and YO2BP and we went for YO/MC-096 Muntele Mic (8p) first. We used VHF to keep in touch with the other cars and Zoli YO2BP was my co-pilot:
|Zoli YO2BP checking out the road ahead|
|Petronel YO8SEP is really anxious to get on the air|
|Zoli YO2BP is showing us the path to another SOTA summit nearby|
|The SOTA summit nearby|
|Zoli YO2BP having a good time on CW from YO/MC-096|
Once I sent the spots to the SOTA cluster things started going smoothly, 30m worked well enough and Zoli worked all the chasers he could find while me and the other guys were handling the small SSB pileup on 20m.
|Razvan YO9IRF fighting with the small buttons on the KX3|
|Petronel YO8SEP waiting his turn on the radio after Silviu YO6PSX|
|Last leg of the way to YO/WC-207|
|The remnants of a wind-power experiment during the 70s|
The next challenge for the day was a long drive to Ranca, trough the city of Petrosani and the beautiful region of "Cheile Jietului", where the roads are ... far from stellar. They are working on it though, hopefully the next year I won't be overtaking Aston Martins with a Renault trough there.
|Cheile Jietului, a place from another world|
At the end of the day, after almost 400km of driving and two activated summits, we arrived at the destination: the Tara pension, one of the oldest in Ranca, a decent place to sleep and eat that was also included in last year's schedule as well.
|Tara pension,our accomodation in Ranca|
|Silviu trying to steal my rye bread, dry salami, cheese and peppers recipe|
Breakfast was supposed to be served at 08:00, but at 07:50 we were already knocking at the restaurant's door. Apparently the employees weren't used to morning people as it took almost one our for all of us to order, eat and pay, at around 09:00 we were under way, driving trough the high-altitude Transalpina road to the Urdele pass (2145m), where our hike to YO/MC-052 Mohoru (10p) and YO/MC-050 Setea Mare (10p) began.
|Transalpina high-altitude road in the Parang mountains|
|Morning faces before a very long day.|
This time we also took Csaba YO6PIB on our team as well: he and Zoli YO2BP were watching eachother carefully, since both had at the beginning of the day 960 activator points and if all went well the 40 points of the day would make them both the first two Mountain Goats in Romania - so of course it made sense that they two would be on the same team. As we were already a bit ahead, we went for the farther summit first, YO/MC-050, a virgin summit.
|A steep climb is the best morning workout|
|Finally on top but guess what, another higher peak ahead|
|YO/MC-052 is very close to the left, but we go for YO/MC-050 first|
|Coming down just to go up again - all hail P150 rules|
|And finally YO/MC-050 looks close by|
|Silviu YO6PSX is on a selfie spree|
|Razvan YO9IRF and the universal paper log|
|YO SOTA Marathon 2015 team and a group of highschool hikers|
|Petronel YO8SEP and Zoli YO2BP being radioamateurs on YO/MC-052|
|Shepherd dogs undecided wether to bark or ask for treats|
|Parang mountains in all their glory|
As the hike was easier for these two summits, we decided to set up two radios again: FT-817 + vertical for 20m SSB and KX-3 + inv-V for 30m CW. I helped Csaba to set up the 20m SSB radio, while Petronel and Zoli were working on having 30m CW on the air a little further and below in actual summit.
|Csaba YO6PIB going at it on YO/MC-080|
|Storm closing in, and we had another summit to activate that day|
Of course, the Universe wanted Csaba and Zoli to pass a final test before reaching the Mountain Goat status, so as soon as we arrived on the summit it started raining pretty bad (and it's cold at 2000m altitude even in summer).
The other team was already on the way back to the hotel and out of VHF coverage (they gave up on YO/MC-080), so we needed HF in order for the two guys to get their points. Unfortunately, GSM coverage wasn't working too good either, but I finally manage to get enough to send a spot. Csaba YO6PIB took the mic first and once he got 5 contacts (becoming MG) passed it to Zoli YO2BP. As soon as Zoli finished his much-needed QSO in order to become MG as well, the rain stopped all of a sudden ! In a matter of minutes it went from pouring rain to almost-sunny, and when the activation was over, before packing everything, we opened a bottle of wine and celebrated the two MGs right there on the spot !
|Ad-hoc celebration of YO2BP and YO6PIB achieving Mountain Goat status|
As soon as we arrived at Tara, we joind the other guys for dinner and for a celebration, wich included but wasn't limited to beer, vodka, wine and sparkling wine. We (as in: Sorin YO2MSB) also established a tradition for romanian activators who become Mountain Goats, that they need to eat grass from the summit on wich the achieved the status. Here's Zoli and Csaba enjoying some fresh grass from YO/MC-078 Bora:
|Just goats eating grass|
Next part: YO SOTA Marathon - the story III
Some pictures used in this blog post were provided by HB9DST Paul, PB2T Hans and YO6PSX Silviu. Thank you !