As I would likely be out of operation for a few days following my next COVID booster jab, my wife suggested I get out and activate a summit on this Monday. She didn’t have to suggest this twice and as it turned out, Monday was the only day of the week that it would have been possible because of the weather (more of which later).
As the chosen summit is near to where an amateur, Rob DM1CM, whom I haven’t seen for a couple of years, lives, I invited him along as well. As he was also looking at refreshing his portable radio equipment and was considering the same Xiegu G90 radio and Komunica Power HF-Pro2 antenna that I use, I said come along, try them out and see what you think.
On the wish list for this summit was to test some antennas out for 17 & 15m but as it turned out those bands were closed and so that is a task that will move on to the next activation.
The rucksack was going to be heavy this time and I also decided, as this is effectively a drive-up summit, to take my new seat with me as well, so that I would not have to squat on the floor.
The plan was to leave at 7 am and be on the air by 9am (both local times) so as usual the equipment was loaded the night before, into the car.
The route to this summit can either be via Autobahn and around Munich or over country roads. In principle, the Autobahn route should be the better (and quicker) choice however hitting the Mittler ring around Munich at 8 am on a Monday morning is not a recipe for a quick trip and so I decided to take the country roads route to get there and come back via the Autobahns.
All went fine and I was set up by 8:45 am. I sent Ernie in VK3 a message via Signal and after searching for a free frequency at both ends on 20m, we made contact 10 minutes later. This was using the linked dipole at about 5m AGL next to the (closed) observation tower. If that is ever open it would be fun to try an end-fed antenna dropped from the top of the tower, however it looks as if the tower is permanently boarded up. Perhaps it is unsafe?
Several contacts around Europe followed, often at 59 both ways, so the equipment was certainly working reliably, which is always good when you want to demonstrate something. Rob arrived about 30 minutes later and got to see and handle the small radio. When I returned to my spotted frequency, there was Christos SV2OXS checking if I was still around and a short and easy QSO followed. After a couple more easy contacts, I suggested I get out the Komunica Power HFPRO-2-PLUS-T loaded vertical antenna and we’d try 40m. The band was full from end to end and calling some stations we could not get through because of the QRO stations – a common issue these days on 40m and often also 20m. Rob suggested that radiation may be being hindered by the fact that we were in a forest and the vertical trees can absorb the RF. Before I could change bands to try perhaps 17m on either the vertical or the linked dipole. The rain started. Not heavy to start with but getting heavier. Rob and I agreed that we’d call it a day and I packed everything away and headed back down the slope to the cars. Of course, just as I finished packing up, the rain stopped but this was a warning for later when Bavaria got some really damaging storms, that evening which brought down a newly installed support mast for my 40m and up Skyloop antenna at home. This was repaired on Tuesday with some added strength to its month, to stop (hopefully) a repeat.
With twelve contacts in the log ranging from Australia to north, south and western Europe, I was happy with the activation. the new 4AH €39 LifePO battery had worked flawlessly as well. The bands were difficult for DX but 20m was easy within Europe. It was good to see Rob again and perhaps as he gets his portable gear together again, we’ll do some joint activations, whether it be SOTA, HEMA, GMA or WWFF.
- Mountaintop travelling 40-litre rucksack.
- Xiegu G90 HF transceiver.
- New “pop-up” seat.
- Lambdahalbe 6m mini-mast.
- Screw-in sun umbrella base.
- SotaBeams linked dipole.
- SOTAbeams end-fed antenna (not used)
- Komunica Power HF-PRO-2-PLUS-T loaded vertical and tripod.
- 4000 maH LiHV battery (not used)
- Battery box (2 x 5000maH hard-case 4S LIPOs) (Not used).
- New LifePO4 4AH battery.
- Painters thick plastic sheet.
- Lightweight headphones.
- The new LifePO4 battery worked flawlessly.
- For once, demonstrating equipment did NOT make it fail without reason!
- The Xiegu G90’s 20w was enough to get several 5-9 reports from around Europe.
- The seat worked well, but having a “table” of some sort would be an improvement, as leaning over from the seat is not ergonomically correct. Perhaps I should try it with one of the small foldable seats that I used to use on SOTA activations some years ago?
73 ’til the next summit.