HB/BE-087 - Niesen

Nice despite circumspect onlookers.

After a trip to Bern with the family we took advantage of the nice weather and took a longer way back to do a SOTA activation. The Bähnli-Gipfel identified Niesen as a good candidate, so we drove to Mülenen and took the cable car up. The ride consists of 2 segments and is more than 100 years old – quite impressive.

The mountain station was shifting in and out of clouds with a breathtaking view. We got to the summit platform after a short hike and started setting up the antenna, which went much faster than usual with my wife’s help. The long telescopic pole tied to the railing got a few curious looks. A nearby lady asked what it was for and once I explained, she seemed concerned that more hams would show up later (?). I nodded, smiled, and carried on.

Once everything was ready I found an unused frequency on 20m, self spotted, and called CQ. A small pileup developed and I did my best to handle it, although my operating procedure felt a little awkward (it had been a while). Somebody called for a S2S but propagation was shifting and I missed the opportunity. 13 QSOs later it seemed like nobody was left so I tried 40m as well, with no results. My legs were getting sore from the uncomfortable crouching position and my unprotected head hot from the sun, so I packed up (again quicker than usual with the wife’s help). The lady from earlier on seemed to approve.

We headed to the nearby restaurant for lunch and then made our way down and back home. The drive through Obwalden was very enjoyable on the twisty mountain road.

Overall a nice activation and pleasant day trip with the family. Lessons learned: more practice needed for smooth operating procedure, and don’t neglect physical comfort (operating position and sun protection).