From Boar-ed to Dossen

SOTA summit: Dossen, Switzerland HB/SZ-035

Activation Date: Jan 27th, 2019

Unique: Yes

Call sign used: HB9/W6PNG/P

Portable operation: Yes

Radio: KX2

Antenna: EndFed

Band/Modes used: 40m and 20m SSB

Hike:  ~2.7 miles and ~600ft ascent.  (<–click left for GaiaPro track etc)

Hike and AZ profile: “Random” snow shoe trail to peak and AZ is a narrow ridge, exposed with zero trees

Solo operation: No with Paul HB9DST/P

Recommend: Yes, pretty easy!

Cell Coverage: Excellent

Photos: Copyright Paul Gacek 2019


Screen Shot 2019-04-04 at 7.19.16 PM
Switzerland, in the middle of Europe!
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Dossen is almost in Paul’s (HB9DST) backyard!

“They might fit better if you open your glasses up”. She’s right and I’m embarrassed I hadn’t realized that earlier. Maybe I’m loyal, maybe I’m nostalgic but I’m trying on Oakleys in preference to local bands. Seems crazy to be buying California  ski goggles for a Swiss trip here in Edinburgh, Scotland. Is this the global economy at work? I’m excited and I text Paul to see if I should purchase and bring micro spikes. No he responds, your snow shoes will do just fine and I leave Tiso on Rose Street and go in search of my sweetheart. Its dusk and Edinburgh is crisp and every bit the fabulous city it is. What a place, life if good!

My new California Oakley ski googles

It’s Sunday morning and we are back again sampling Swiss trains. I think you could make a fun vacation just traveling on Swiss trains. They are so varied, so marvelous and put all other train services to shame.

First train of the day
..and now we are riding the boutique stuff….very cool cog train
The eyes say it all..”.I love you man,,,,,do you have dog biscuit in your pocket”?

Departing the cable car its game on but somewhere in all of this Paul has been adopted. I suspect its not so much about Paul but more “yet another human with a possible dog biscuit”.

I’m in.

I’m in my snow shoes, I’m in every piece of clothing I have ready for a blizzard, I’m in my new Oakley goggles and we are off.

It’s all quite different as we glide by restaurants, condos and building after building. Paul explains I mustn’t mess up the continuation of the Swiss rail system as these are cross country snow tracks laid out carefully and very precisely by a machine for people to follow here, there and everywhere.

Everything I have for a blizzard has now made me into a rain forest. I’m not sure if this is good or bad. It’s really quite cold on the outside and a little sauna like on the interior.

I’m looking somewhat nonchalant as Paul talks to the two young ladies descending. Somewhere in his conversation they are converted. I’ve lost him and things are feeling flimsy. Left, right, left, right and reluctantly I accept I have to address something. The ridge is really quite narrow, venture left and it’s a steep descent, venture right and it’s the same story. I rebind the snow shoes and Im back in business shimmying alone the snow covered ridge.

It’s strange how symbolism works. The solitary post that holds signs pointing left, right, across, over and under had been visible from almost the get go. It’s nothing more than that but for the entire journey it looked like the cross of Calvary. There is something hypnotic and drawing about it. In reality it’s a post, which this Sunday we unceremoniously use to attach a mast and a wire antenna. Its cold, its very cold and as is my want my fingers fail me first. We are in a rush as a swarm of hikers are edging our way but first up are Pau’s converted travelers. They are fun and quite curious what we are doing but its cold, expediency and another peak limit our explanation and I  don’t think we have two more SOTA converts.

Paul’s converts but not to SOTA

It’s well over two months since I made this trip to the time I write this post. Inevitably memories blur to be punctuated by vivid singular moments. Saturday in Ticino being boar-ed was a punctuation mark to rival all others, simply great. Standing upon a mountain peak atop snow looking upon valleys, lakes and mountains in every direction this Sunday morning really was quite magical. The views are breathtaking and this is the essence of Switzerland. Mission accomplished.

Views on the way up
Me with a radio on a mountain…happy camper!!
another amazing view

In our haste to leave we consolidated down to less. Smart idea until you realize you’ve forgotten something. No CW keyer and Paul is desperately trying to be an SSB operator for the day all to to avail.

One of the great attractions of being in the outdoors in Switzerland are the creature comforts. The Western USA is a little primitive by comparison; what you get is what you bring.

Sliding our snow shoes off, sliding up the stairs and sliding through the fabric door we enter a restaurant.. Nothing particularly fancy but ever so inviting. People chattering, happiness and camaraderie but most importantly hot food and drink.

A restaurant that was ever so great to be in
Barley soup and tea….hit the spot

We ran into Paul’s converts on the way down in the cable car. They are almost his neighbors and heading back for a fun filled afternoon. We are off to another peak.

This has been a great day.

Life is still great.






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