SOTA OK/ST-064 (Vysoká)

 

A couple days after activating OK/JC-038, my family spent a day in Kutna Hora, a town with a lot of history and great architecture. The nearby Sedlec Ossuary is also a tourist attraction. On the way back to Prague, we stopped by a tall hill that overlooks Miskovice, just outside Kutna Hora.

The grass-covered hill is topped with trees, and a road runs around it. At one end, there is an observation tower topped by microwave and other antennas. Unfortunately, this time of the year, it is not open to the public. You can reasonably park anywhere along the side of the road or right at the tower.

There is a signboard to the side of the building, which gives some history of the site, a drawing of the original layout, and a reproduction of an engraving of the building and surrounding area.

According to the write up and some webpages I’ve found, the building was originally built in 1695 for Francis Antonio Špork, and included a chapel to John the Baptist. The building plans are credited to Giovanni Battista Alliprandi, an architect of Italian origin. According to a story, Špork won the 1400 ducats required for the building’s construction playing cards with Friedrich August (who had recently ascended to the Elector of Saxony) in Carlsbad. For whatever reason, Špork only hung onto the house for a few years, selling it to Earl Anthony Halleweilovi of Cechtice in 1699.

One additional footnote: according to one historical document, in 1757, early in the Seven Years War, King Frederick of Prussia took in the view from this site (maybe he should have been paying more attention to the war — the site is only about 10km south of his first defeat at Battle of Kolin that year).

Unfortunately, on April 30, 1834, the building was struck by lightning (perhaps, making this not the best site for ham radio in bad weather…) and it burnt to the ground, with the exception of brick and stone walls.

The building has been public property since that point, and there is now an effort underway by local citizens to restore the building. Recently, some drone enthusiasts got some great footage of the site as it appears in the summertime. A news team also did a video report on the site.

It was definitely not summer when I got there. The temperature was just below freezing and there was considerable wind, even in the lee of the building.

A convenient window sill.

I found a convenient operating position, a relatively complete exterior window. I brushed off the snow and found a flat rock almost exactly the size of my FT817. I threw my end-fed antenna into nearby pine trees and looped the feedline over the remnant of the wall.

Panorama of the westernside of the building and surrounding woods.

It was early afternoon on Wednesday, so not prime time for a SOTA activation, but I started calling on 40m. I thought it likely that I would pick up some local hams by NVIS as I have the sense that there are a lot of active hams in the Czech Republic and surrounding countries. Like my activation early in the week, however, I had no luck on 40m. Next, I went to 20m and made contacts with a French, Russian, and Spanish station as well as summit-to-summit contact with OK2PDT/P. I did try 2m FM on 145.5, but had no replies. I switched to SSB on 20m for a while, but hearing no replies (even after self-spotting) and getting significantly cold, I packed up.

SOTAwach alerts

When I got back to the hotel in Prague, I took a look at propagation prediction and thought there was a good match with the stations that I had worked:

Predicted propagation
Contacts made

 

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