F/AB-603 – La Pinéa – 1771m


August 16th, 2022  11:30 – 12:45 UTC
My first activation of La Pinéa.

Wx: Sunny, approx. 23°C, no wind
Walking time: approx 70 minutes up, 45 minutes down
Ascent/ descent: approx. 430 vertical metres

Rig: MTR-3B / 5W, 1000mAh Li-Ion battery (3S), Palm Pico Paddle
Ant: Liked EFHW dipole with TinyCoupler (1:64) as inverted Vee on a 6m squid pole (carbon fibre laminate)

Condx seemed to be good with k = 1, SFI = 131

6   QSOs on 40m CW, 1 x S2S
30 QSO  on  30m CW, 5 x S2S
13 QSOs on 20m CW, 1 x S2S

– Very nice trail to a magnificent summit

– During setup I plugged the headphones in the wrong jack (paddles). Subsequently no sound could be heard and the receiver appeared to be dead. The MTR-3B has only one tiny dot on the LED display to indicate operation! It took me several minutes to find the problem.

How to get there?

By car to Col de Porte. There are several car parks. From there follow the sign posts and markings (red/yellow) to the top.

2022-08-16 12.38.20
La Pinéa seen from the trail.

Activation report

This was the second activation during our vacation in France. The rest of the family had planned a visit of a high rope course in Chartreuse, where I dropped them on the way to a nearby summit that I haven’t activated before.
This trail was different from the one I did the other day: Sign post already at the parking lot. The only thing that worried me was a fairly long time for ascent given on this sign. But this turned out to be a rather conservative estimation and I reached the summit as planned.
There were several groups of people at the top, so I carried on a bit to the south where I found enough space to set up my linked EFHW dipole at a slope facing east.

During set-up, I had a conversation with two guys sitting close to my antenna. I explained a bit about amateur radio in general and SOTA. They were quite amazed that someone would take the trouble to carry an antenna and a radio to a summit.
When I powered up the rig, I immediately realized that something was wrong: No sound could be heard and the display remained dark (at least it looked like). I checked the DC-cable and swapped the fuse to no avail. Without possibility to check the battery voltage, I already considered this activation to be VHF only and probably not successful. I took a bit of my sandwich and thought about the issue. Suddenly it dawned on me that while talking to the guys, I confused the the plugs for paddle and ear-phones. This was the reason I coldn’t hear a beep. The tiny dot in the display was on but not visible in the bright sunlight.
Once the rig was operating as intended, the activation went like a charm. After a bit more than an hour and almost 50 QSOs I had to go QRT because I had to pick up the family. So I pulled the plug and packed up quickly. Back in the valley, the family was already waiting and we headed to our friend’s home.


  • Beautiful hike to a magnificent summit.
  • The actual summit offers little space for an antenna but a few steps further south one can operate without bothering other hikers too much.
  • Magnificent mountain scenery of Chartreuse while operating.
Thanks for the QSOs! Photos can be found here: https://sotl.as/summits/F/AB-603


2 Gedanken zu “F/AB-603 – La Pinéa – 1771m

  1. Andrew VK1AD 23. September 2022 / 09:01

    Did the rig reset after removing the headphones and a reboot?

    • DL3TU 23. September 2022 / 13:30

      Hi Andrew,
      when I discovered my mistake, the rig was switched off again (I had swapped fuses and even opened the DC-connector to check for a broken soldering joint).
      I only powered the rig up after all plugs were in the correct jack. The MTR-3B booted without any issue and worked flawlessly for the rest of the activation.

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