As part of my push to get to the “magic 1000” activator points, I wanted to either activate multiple or a high scoring summit once the constant rain stopped and we got a nice day. I prefer summits that I have already activated as that way I know what to plan for. Breitenberg DL/AL-158 is one such 8-point summit that I hadn’t activated for 5 years. It’s not an “easy” drive-up summit but for 8-points it’s a reasonable effort, with two lifts getting you up to about 100 vertical metres from the summit. Then it is a hard slog up a stone track.
The views, both on the way up and when you reach the top are amazing but this is NOT a summit to do in winter (despite its 3 extra bonus points). The summit has limited space so the gear would be the XIEGU G90, battery box and the Komunica HF-PRO2 antenna (and photo tripod), a combination that has worked well on several recent activations. As a backup, my new SOTABeams random-length end-fed antenna was also packed but no mast.
This is the first time I have taken my fishing shade tent to a summit, as when in the sunshine, this can be a scorching summit and more to the point, I need shade to be able to even read my new LG smartphone.
The last time I was on this summit, I had difficulties getting any cell service, so I was hoping with the change from 3G to 4G, I might now be OK (3G has been totally decommissioned across Germany).
In order to get an S2S in the log Mike, 2E0YYY, kindly offered to go onto the Great Orme in northern Wales (GW/NW-070) and as well as trying for early morning contacts into VK, he would wait until I got on my summit before leaving. My original plan was to get to the summit at about noon local time (1000 UTC), as it turned out, I did a lot better than that.
The lifts to Breitenberg start just outside Pfronten close to the German / Austrian border. Getting there is normally quite straightforward, except that there are a few sections of roadworks and diversions to get through at the moment. Luckily, Falkenstein which I activated with Christos SV2OXS a couple of weeks earlier is in the same area and I know which diversions to follow and which to ignore. I had planned to have an S2S contact with Mike 2E0YYY/P who was heading out to the Greate Orme in Northern Wales (GW/NW-070) to take advantage of recent good conditions into Australia, early mornings and then would be travelling on for his work. Given that the first lift only starts operation at 9 am local time, and it takes effectively an hour to get to the summit from the town, I was never going to be on the summit early enough for a contact into VK or ZL but Mike had agreed to stay on his summit long enough to get a contact with me before heading off. My original plan had me being operational by noon local but by starting earlier, catching one of the first cabins in the Breitenbergcabinbahn followed by the 4-seater open seat lift HochAlpebahn up the mountain to about 100 vertical metres under the summit, and “pushing-on” on the final climb, reducing it from 30 to 20 minutes (15 would have been possible had I not had the 15-kilogram backpack on) I managed to be there and operational just after 10 am local (0800 UTC). I found Mike as he was trying to work John VK6NU in Western Australia and we both tried calling him but unfortunately without success.
Following his contact with me, Mike left me the frequency and spotted me before he packed up and left for his business meeting. As you can see, there were lots of contacts gained many of them quite strong and given the hurried assembly of the HF-20 loaded vertical, it, along with the XIEGU G90 again gave good service. Luckily the spot I found on the summit had a little shade provided by the small bushes so I didn’t need to put up the fisherman tent which I had brought with me to provide shade and protection from the hot sun and to allow me to be able to see the feeble display on my new LG K42 smartphone (don’t buy one of these if you are considering it and need to use it outdoors). I actually had good 4G LTE Internet connectivity (which I hadn’t had, the last time I activated this summit, 5 years ago). When I decided to switch from 20m to 40m and found a free frequency, I was not able to spot myself. I was swearing at the SOTA Spotter app which normally works fine but at the end of the day, the problem was a simple one, that it still had my old SOTAWatch password programmed into it. I didn’t work this out until after I got home though.
So on 40m, it was a case of calling any SOTA activator I could hear and I happened across Heinrich IW3AGO who was in Lichtenstein so that was a nice (10 point) S2S contact. While looking to spot myself, a Belgian WWFF activator came up and stole my frequency, so I thought I’d give him a call in any case and then pack up as the summit was becoming quite busy.
All in all, this was a bit of a physical challenge but an enjoyable morning out and another 8 points to my activator total.
- Mountaintop travelling 40-litre rucksack.
- Xiegu G90.
- Komunica HF-PRO2-PLUS-T loaded vertical, photo tripod and radials.
- SotaBeams end-fed (not used).
- Fisherman’s tent (not used).
- Battery box (2 x 5000maH hard-case 4S LIPOs).
- Painters thick plastic sheet.
- Lightweight headphones.
- LG Smartphone.
- For restricted space, the combination of the XIEGU G90 and the Komunica HF-PRO2 continue to work well.
- Sun protection cream on a smartphone does not improve its responsiveness.
- Do not assume all software is going to work, switch to an alternative if there are problems.
- The rucksack is STILL too heavy for such steep tracks. I need to try an activation using my LiHV battery rather than the big battery box.
73 ’til the next summit.