I have had these two summits on my list for a while and as it’s quicker to bag the points with a couple of high-scoring summits rather than several lower-scoring summits, I had decided, based on the weather forecast 4 days earlier to head up to the Stuttgart area where these summits are on Wednesday 29th September. Of course, as seems to be a very common occurrence these days, the weather forecast changed and checking the forecast the day before, the area was expected to get rain and high winds. Both of which are not welcome on these summits. As it turned out the rain didn’t arrive but the high winds did, so I am happy that I rescheduled to Thursday the 30th of September.
I decided to use the repaired linked dipole for these activations to make sure it was working correctly again. This in turn meant taking the small 6-metre mast and for Römerstein something to support the base, so I packed the screw-in sun umbrella foot and indeed used that on Römerstein. On Teck, I was able to simply strap the mast to the end of the wooden table.
The Activation – Burg Teck
The drive from my home to Teck is straightforward as most of the route is on the Autobahn system and it took just under 2 hours start to finish (finish being the Hörnle Car Park at the other end of the ridge to where Castle Teck and the summit is located).
Teck has a long and for most of the 2-kilometre track, steep, walk, which, with a heavy backpack is very draining. (see pictures of the track later). Eventually, however, I got to my operating position and the area was fairly empty of visitors as the castle restaurant had not yet opened and a lot of people time their walk up the hill to coincide with that.
It always seems to happen, as it did again on Teck. I search around and find a clear frequency put out 2 or 3 calls to make 100% sure it is clear, then spot myself and start calling CQ SOTA. Within 5 minutes, some Idiot has started up 1 or 2 Kcs above or below of my frequency. Even if they say they can’t hear me as I’m running low power with a small antenna portable – they MUST hear the chasers calling me. In most cases, they simply don’t care and don’t check.
The Activation – Römerstein
I received the strongest best (real) reports that I have had for a long time, both 20 & 40m were good inside Europe (but no DX) – I had 3 x S2S contacts from this summit and 5 from Teck – I had lots of 5-9 or 5-9+10 reports and general comments about it being a real strong signal. I was using the G90 with the speech compressor turned on and the linked Dipole at about 5 metres AGL on both summits.
Photos – Burg Teck:
Photos – Römerstein:
- Mountaintop travelling 40-litre rucksack with added radio section protection.
- Xiegu G90.
- Sotabeams linked dipole “Band Hopper”.
- 6m LambdaHalbe mini-mast.
- Sun umbrella screw-in foot (used at Römerstein).
- Komunica HF-PRO2-Plus-T HF/VHF vertical and photo tripod with radials (as a backup antenna – carried but not used).
- Battery box (2 x 5000maH hard-case 4S LIPOs).
- Painters thick plastic sheet.
- Lightweight headphones.
Log – Teck:
Log – Römerstein:
- Two great activations – the pile-ups were enormous – but controlled and polite. I have activated both Teck and Römerstein before but this time I tried a new (shorter) route up to Römerstein. Er – the summit is still the same height, so what does a shorter route mean .. Yes – a lot steeper track! It is a better approach though as the car park is larger and I guess this is the way you are supposed to get there up a track, not bashing through the forest from the other smaller car park as I used to do!
- The Linked dipole is back working correctly again after its problems on the last activation (broken wire in the PL-259 plug).
- The number of chasers eager to make a contact with these 8 and 10 point summits was overwhelming, I tried to work all of the callers but I’m sure I missed several in the “wall of noise” which wasn’t helped by the OTHR and splattering QRM and QSB!
- The smartphone – an LG K42 was able to be angled to be visible but remains a weak component in the summit pack. It simply does not have the needed brightness and contrast to be able to be viewed in sunlight as my previous (3G only) phones had (3G is now decommissioned in Germany).
- These were summits with steep climbs and the rucksack is still too heavy. The strengthening through the addition of the plastic box to form a protected section in the bottom of the pack for the radio, batteries and accessories worked well and hasn’t added much weight but I do need to do an activation with just the small and lightweight LiHV battery rather than the two 5ah LIPOs that I am presently carrying to each summit and then only using, at most, half of the capacity of one battery.
- The 20 watts from the XIEGU G90 with its speech compressor turned on along with the linked dipole is the “sweet spot” for portable equipment. I was getting the majority of (true) reports as 5-9 or 5-9+ and I could hear stations very well once I managed to get just one station calling. In the pile-ups, it’s normal that the radio de-senses with so many signals.