I have recently bought a new antenna, a wideband (40m – 10m) Komunica Bazoka PRO, which first tests mounted on a magnetic mount sat on my car roof, with the car parked in the open country, worked very well receiving stations from all around Europe, Australia and New Zealand. As the specification for this antenna says that it needs no ground plane (as provided by a metal car roof), I decided to try it out connected on top of a tripod with no ground plane, counterpoise or radials and according to the Rig Expert AA-30 antenna analyser, the SWR trace was not a great deal different, to when mounted on the car roof. I therefore needed to try the antenna on the small tripod, “in the field” or rather on a summit. The enemy of a vertical antenna is trees and many of the summits local to me are wooded, so I needed to look further a field.
There are several summits near to the Bregenzer Wald / Southern Allgau area that I have not activated. These are all at least 1.5 hours away from my home QTH and so not easy to get to early enough, for, for example a long path contact to VK and ZL. In this case however I wanted to find a summit, not covered with trees where I could try out my new antenna. At the same time, I was looking for a hotel where the complete family (my wife, the dog and I), could take a short break and this area looked like a nice option. In fact the hotel below the Attenberg summit, accepts guests with dogs. So this activation was to be a pre-cursor to possible activation of some other summits in the area later.
The drive down was uneventful and relatively straight forward. Interestingly for some reason the GPS Navigator took me home via a different route. In any case the trip down and back both took just over 90 minutes.
Once I arrived and parked in the car park of the Paradise Cafe Oberstaufen, it was only a short walk up the hill to the summit. The weather forecast was good and indeed upon arriving at the summit at about 11 am local (0900 UTC), the sun was shining and there was no sign of any rain. Station set-up took less time than when I use my dipole antenna and the first contact with Lothar DL3HXX was in the log 15 minutes later. This was on 40 metres and the band was very busy. On two occasions after checking a frequency was free and spotting myself and putting out a CQ, I found another station had simply started transmitting oon the same frequency, or very close to it, meaning I had to QSY and re-spot etc. This was somewhat annoying as I know the stations doing this should have been able to hear me (as I worked stations close to them during the activation) but they obviously considered their use of the frequency for a special event station (GB0CMR) was more important, than my use of the frequency.
I was happy to have an S2S contract with Juerg HB9BIN, on holiday on a summit in Poland as well as chaser calls from Germany, Poland, Spain and the UK. The antenna was as far as I could determine, working as well as my dipole on 40 metres, so I decided to try 20 metres. As soon as I switched to 20 metres, the band sounded very quiet, even the normal atmospheric noise seemed to be low. I don’t know if this indicates that the antenna was not working well or simply that the band was not open to anywhere. I could hear one or two stations on the band but at signal strengths where I didn’t consider calling with my 25 watts. I did self spot on 20m and put out some CQ calls but with no replies. At this point in time, the sun was covered by clouds and the temperature dropped and as some walkers came by are were interested in what I was doing, time got away from me. Where I was on this summit there would have been space to put up the linked horizontal dipole to compare signals however I decided better of it, leaving that for another time and packed up and headed back down to the Hotel’s Cafe to have a warm soup and to inquire about the hotel and confirm that guests with a dog were welcome.
For those looking for a VERY easy summit to access and activate, the one pointer Attenberg (known as Kapf by the locals) is one of the easiest.
Komunica Bazoka PRO wideband vertical antenna mounted on a camera tripod.
Modified QAMP amplifier (35W on 40m, 25W on 20m).
Although this was a positive test for the Bazoka PRO on 40 metres with no ground plane, I still do not know whether it works well on other bands. The next time I test this, I do need to set up the linked dipole or the OCF first and then I can compare the Komunica Bazoka PRO loaded vertical on both receive and transmit to the horizontally polarised antenna.
73 ’til the next Summit!