With the announcement that Germany was going again into a full COVID-19 lockdown from the light version that we had, had for 2 months, I decided I’d like to get out to a SOTA summit before I would not be able to. The initial plan was that the lockdown would run from December 16th 2020 until January 10th 2021 – but who knows how often it will be extended?
All ski lifts have been stopped for some time now and they will now not start operation again at Christmas as they usually do. So I was limited to summits that didn’t need a cable car or seat lift and one that I knew I hadn’t activated this year, which is a drive-up summit is Schwarzer Berg DL/MF-082. It’s a 90-minute driver from here but then a very straight forward summit to activate. I had activated it twice before.
The weather forecast had a chance of rain, so I decided to go with the quick “grab & go” equipment set-up in my medium-sized rucksack, with the X108G providing 20 watts to the tripod-mounted loaded vertical from Komunica Power.
I didn’t even have to pre-pack the car the day before as this was to be just an afternoon activation. I just put the bag by the door!
This was SOTA 2020 over for me. With the lock-down, running well into January this was the last trip out for 2020. So I wanted to keep things simple. DL/MF-082 Schwarzer Berg is only a 1 pointer, a drive-up, up a mud track (but an official road, not private, not forestry workers only). The reason for the public access is that there’s a restaurant at the top of the track but with the COVID-19 pandemic that’s been closed for a couple of months now and is still closed. The track is a favourite route for trail bike riders and I guess that’s why on the way up, I unexpectedly came up behind a police car! I think they were up there making sure no one was doing something stupid. I did think for a moment – “there wasn’t a restricted access sign at the bottom was there?” – there wasn’t so I was fine and the police kept going their merry way.
The walk from the small parking area to the lookout/water tower is only about 300 metres and at a slight climb. As I was only carrying the medium-sized rucksack, this may have been one of the easiest summits for some time but the point was to get out and activate one last time and I was rewarded with sunshine. It was still only about 5 or 6 degrees centigrade when I arrived but the sunshine was nice and most importantly, it didn’t rain.
The set-up was very straight forward and this time I remembered to add the radial wires to the tripod otherwise I may not have got any contacts, as with trees surrounding the site, a vertical is not the best antenna. A dipole would have been a lot better but the ease of carrying and putting up the Komunica HF-PRO2-PLUS-T loaded vertical and tripod is making this my favourite configuration.
I started on 40 metres, which was a little noisy but it didn’t take long to get a few chasers in the log. Seeing there were some other activators out, I listened for them and despite hear and calling a couple, I wasn’t to get an S2S contact this day. I finished off by switching to 20 metres and indeed got another couple of calls there.
I could have stayed longer but as the calls had dried up, I decided to pack-up and head home. An uneventful trip with a bonus of going by a petrol station with a good discount on fuel, where I filled the tank of the car.
- Xiegu X108G.
- Battery box (2 x 5000maH hardcase LIPOs).
- Komunica HF-PRO-2-PLUS-T and my modified photo-tripod.
- Thick plastic painters sheet.
- Smartphone PocketRxTx App and USB cable.
- SOTABeams linked dipole (as backup in car).
- Screw-in sun umbrella base (as a backup in the car).
- 6-metre LambdaHalbe fibreglass portable mast (as a backup in the car).
The radio conditions were not good but good enough to execute the activation and get out before the lockdown. The fact that I can easily activate and work around Europe with my medium-sized rucksack only half full when compared to what I used to carry to summits is a real luxury.
73 ’til the next Summit!