PA/PA-002 – Vrouwenheide
Work yet again had me travelling, this time to the UK, and I decided I’d take the opportunity to get a few new associations into the log. My first thought was to consider DM and maybe DL, with Grosser Feldberg and some of the simpler DL summits near Munich as possibilities. The deciding factor ultimately was flights out of London in the evening after my meetings in the UK, and that meant Frankfurt. A quick look at SOTA Maps, and an idea began forming for a 4 association tour – starting at Frankfurt, getting Grosser Feldberg in the log, up via the Netherlands, then a few Belgian summits and finally a French summit and a ferry back from Calais.
This plan started to develop traction in my mind, until I looked at the cost of a one-way car rental, which was more than twice the cost of the rental itself. Three times the price for a one way trip suggested I needed to head back to Frankfurt. This suggested I could get in Luxembourg instead of France, although I found an easy option just over the French border – a quick jaunt then back to Frankfurt? It’d be a very full day with a high risk of missing a return flight, but it’d be five Associations (DM, PA, ON, LX, F). Five! By chance, I had a German who sat behind me at work, who, on reviewing my plan, called them insane and got to work injecting sanity back into proceedings.
For starters, we looked at reversing the loop – not a bad option in actual fact, but didn’t quite line up with available hotels. Instead, I headed north west, and stopped at Heiligenroth, near Montabaur, about an hour north of Frankfurt. This cut an hour off my travel time the next day, and I suggested instead extending this further, but once again, Mark, my sane German, decided this was a dumb idea, and Heilegenroth it was. I’d never admit that he was right, but I’m not sure I’d have wanted to travel too much further than Heilegenroth that first night. The net result of this was postponing the DM summit to the next day, prior to my flight.
The hotel was cheap and cheerful, but morning came far too quickly, and a cheap breakfast eaten quickly meant I got on the road roughly at my planned time. I’d been given an SUV instead of the Volkswagen Golf sized option I’d paid for, so I was pleased by this (for now), set the satnav going, and headed off for Vrouwenheide, just over the Netherlands border. The drive up was fairly straightforward (Autobahns are fun!), and the satnav sent me via Koblenz in order to avoid traffic, which seemed to work out nicely.
When I’d put out my plans on SOTAwatch, I received an email from Phil ON4TA, who was keen to meet up for a joint activation. He told me where and when, and said there’d be a station set up ready to go. He wasn’t wrong. I arrived at Vrouwenheide about 10-15 minutes later than planned, but Phil said I made good time, which suggests he thought my original schedule was optimistic! In any case, he kept his promises, and there sat an 857 hooked up and ready to go, complete with clear frequency (of which there are not many in Europe on 40m).
The calls came in quick and fast, and it wasn’t long before I had 18 in the log, all on SSB. I had a quick chat with Phil afterwards, before he basically told me to get going if I was going to make my schedule. Ever the gentleman, I took my leave, and jumped back in the car, heading for my next target, ON/ON-010 Baraque Fraiture
Thank you, Phil, for the enjoyable activation of PA/PA-002, the conversation and the equipment. Much appreciated, and should you visit VK, the favour will be returned!