Update July 31: We had problems, but nobody got injured. We arrived, all equipment made it fine to Georgia. But at the mountain area it was raining strongly. We needed to drive up to 2800 m, unload, and carry equipment. It was not possible to drive up. So we walked and carried a lot. But our team of porters (we hired 4 people to carry equipment up) refused to go up the mountain in such weather. So we stayed one night at 2800m. Here we worked maybe 15 stations from JA in the morning. Next day a small group (3 of us) went up to check the situation on the mountain. We found a place to setup the tent (very well protected under an rock overhang), and started to build a rock protection for the station exactly on the very top of the mountain. We returned to our tents at 2800m. Now the rain got worse, two of our tents could not stand the wind and rain, and there was snow.
Parts of the group had to leave for other reasons, so only two of us stayed. We feared we cannot get down from 2800m for many days due to the water, rain and snow. But after one day the situation improved and a very good (50 year of Russian, light weight military vehicle) was able to reach us to take us down.
We planned to change the mountain to go to a good location at 2200m with 360 deg view. This can be reached by car. But then we changed back, and decided to go to 3300m. We hired people to carry and we went up to 3300m with minimal station: One radio, One antenna, no power amplifier, one wind generator, solar cells and one car battery.
It tooks us two days to complete our protection structure (we moved > 1 ton of rock) for the station. The wind was very strong, also, I got sick. I always had fever which makes it difficult to carry heavy rock in strong wind and rain.
Still, all worked! Radio, Antenna, Wind Generator, Solar cells ... but we had zero propagation conditions. We stayed 4 1/2 day on the top. One opening to Europe, pretty good, but few stations from Japan. The stations from Japan did not hear us. We had 100Watt power and zero man made noise. Absolutely zero noise, so we can hear very weak stations. But the JA stations could not hear us. Many stations did not respond to us calling them.
After 4.5 days we decided to go down, and to change location, as it was too difficult to stay at 3300m. Wind, Thunderstorm, Rain, Hail, Snow and the distance from our tent to the station was > 1km in a very exposed walk up and down always on the very top of each peak. We had water only from snow, constantly fighting cold weather (max: 5C), wind and fever.
We went down, but we did not have enough people. So we had to carry two backpacks for every person. This was too much. 600m decent on loose rock with > 30kg in weight. Because of having a back pack in the front, we cannot see our feet. So we fall often. We were totally exhausted when we reached the village. That night somebody offered us to go back to Tbilisi. I am sorry, but we had been so exhausted we left for Tbilisi before the VHF contest started. I lost more than more than 5 kg in 5 days.
Next year! Antennas are all in Georgia. Maybe EP, Maybe EZ or 4K. I am trying to get 6m license.
Update July 9: I will arrive in Georgia tomorrow, one member has arrived. But weather looks pretty grim. Snow, Rain, thunderstorm and strong wind pretty much all week. It will be not trivial to setup tents and antennas in strong wind and snowfall, at 3300m. We will try our best! Send us some sunny days :)
David, DL7ZM will be in 4L Georgia (Didi Abuli) on 6m on a mountain 3300 m high from July 13 to July 21. The location has 360 deg. vision for hundreds of km, and 800 m for me, my wife and a friend to carry 170 kg of equipment, food,tents so we have to walk many times up and down.
300W and 4x6 ele. Yagi
QRV on FT-8, CW and SSB