Having missed the EU-NA S2S event the previous Saturday because of feeling ill, I wanted to get out and activate a summit while the weather stays nice. I decided to try 60 metres again along with 40 metres as a back up. So the modified for 60m SOTABeams linked dipole along with the FT-817 and amplifier (for 40 metres usage – 60m would be barefoot 5 watts PEP).
Laber is about an hours drive from my home QTH – to the valley station of the cable car in the village of Oberammergau (famous for its “Passion play” that has been held every 10 years for several hundred years). The cable car is the oldest in Germany at over 60 years old and takes about 10 minutes to reach the summit.
From the mountain station of the cable car it’s only about 30 metres walk to the very summit with its convenient bench seat.
All went to plan except squeezing the antenna into the available space with the extra length for 60m while there are other people on the summit. This meant I got started about 15 minutes later than planned. I started on 60 metres using frequencies that overlap between the UK “bandlets” and the IARU WRC15 allocation that we have in Germany. The band did not cooperate – perhaps the antenna was not good with the ends on 60m relatively close to the ground. In any case I only managed contacts into Germany and Switzerland – locals from where I was.
After switching to 40 metres things were better and I actually called a non SOTA station first, this was PI4C at a museum near Schipol Airport in Holland. It was being operated by Trevor a British ex-pat in Holland who came originally from a town about 10 miles away from where I lived as a child! Small world! Band conditions on 40m were variable, some of the usual chasers being weaker than normal and some the normal strength. At the end of my activation I could hear the lightning strikes that had been reported earlier by some UK stations, but in the end the storm never got to me thankfully. As the winds were increasing I decided to shut down and pack up after about an hour in the hot sun. While closing down someone came to ask what I was doing and he seemed quite interested, so I gave him a DARC introduction brochure to Amateur radio. In my rush now to pack away, I managed to break the central insulator/feed-point plastic of the antenna so that will have to be replaced or repaired. It’s lasted 5 years of some quite rough handling, so it as done well.
All in all, I was happy that I got out and did an activation in the nice weather – can you believe in a few days snow is forecast again for the summit (and this is the middle of May!).
60/40/30/20m Linked dipole antenna (Modified SOTABeams Band Hopper).
LambdaHalbe 6m Mini-mast.
Modified QAMP amplifier (35 watts on 40m).
The location is not a good one for 60 metres due to the restricted space for the dipole.
I need to look at the compression level in the FT-817 Mic RF-Speech-Clipper and back it off a little.
The output BNC socket on the amplifier needs to be tightened and locked (glued) in place before its turning breaks the cable.
The centre insulator on the dipole needs to be repaired or replaced.
73 ’til the next Summit!
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