As I wanted to test out my new “simple 40m Dipole” and I wanted to incorporate a bike ride, the 9 km away Schönbühl which I activated some years ago, seemed like a good option. We have had some fairly constant rainy and cold days but this day was supposed to stay dry – radio conditions on the other hand didn’t look good and indeed turned out to be less than stunning!
For this GMA (Global Mountain Activity) activation, no car drive would be needed as the summit is only 9 kilometres (a 20-minute cycle ride) from my home. This is going to be my third “Go-Green XOTA” summit where the summit is accessed without any motorised transport.
Mike 2E0YYY agreed to head out to his local summit to give me a contact while he is using his special 2R0YYY/P callsign to celebrate the coronation of King Charles.
Apart from the 40m dipole, the equipment would be – my “light-weight-pack” (Xiegu G106, throw-bag with cord, 40m Dipole and J_antennas for 20, 17, 15, 12 & 10m, plus my external RF speech clipper).
The cycle ride along farm roads and forest tracks (which were more stony than I remember them) there followed a walk along the edge of one field pushing the bike and then a last rise up to the plateau summit. I could find no marking such as a summit cross however this is the highest point in the area and close to the lat/long coordinates given on the GMA site.
I unpacked my throw bag and cord and threw it over a branch of a tree at the side of the field. The branches were quite numerous and I only managed to get the cord over one of the lower, thinner branches, but that would have to do as Mike would be ready in 15 minutes in the UK and rain was forecast for him.
Once the cord was up, the 40m dipole went up easily and I was able to tie off the end cords of the elements onto other trees in the row. After unpacking the radio, log etc onto a new compact mat that I received as a birthday present (this was the first time of use) I powered up and plugged in the antenna and tuned 40m – it was busy – I found a very strong portable French station, Jean-Marie F5NLX/P who I called, he came back to me straight away and we exchanged 58/56 reports – so for the first QSO on the new antenna with just 5w from the g106, that was a good start.
I now tried for my sked with Mike. When I could hear him, he was very weak and within seconds some other station would start calling either directly on our frequency or 1 or 2 k/cs off. This was not boding well. Via the Signal messaging app, Mike suggested we try 20 metres with the hope that that would be better. I agreed and then took down the 40m Dipole and put up the 20m J-Antenna. here is where it would have been better to have the support cord over a higher branch as hauling the 20m J-antenna up, the bottom half was still on the ground and I ended up draping it over branches on other trees and bushes to keep it off the ground. Not an ideal setup.
It was sufficient to get a contact with Mike though. Interestingly he was 1 S-point weaker on 20m than on 40m but we managed a 53/32 contact and he was in the log.
The next 45 minutes I spent trying to get two more contacts so that I could claim the points for a qualified summit.
The loud stations either could not hear me of ignored my weak signal to them.
One rather special contact was with Dave M0DAD/PM – while he was walking along Blackpool seafront in northeast England using a handheld Xiegu X5105 with a loaded whip and a trailing counterpoise wire. We were both running just 5 watts with Xiegu radios and this was a 54/45 contact. A proper QSO as we talked for about 10 minutes.
the rest of my time on this summit was spent calling stations and calling CQ, trying to get the needed fourth contact. The GMAWatch site does not seem to generate any chasers on a weekday, where the SOTA system would bring in a pile-up of callers for a SOTA summit.
Eventually, I managed a contact with Tommy, EI2KP, a booming signal from a coastal town on the north coast of Ireland (but still within the Republic of Ireland). we exchanged 59/53 signal reports, so the radio/antenna was putting out a signal, it was just that conditions were very variable – at one point Tommy dropped from 59+ to 53 and then came back up.
So an interesting activation with a relatively hard cycle ride to and from the summit but the equipment all tested out well but I will need to practice the sling-bag throwing to get it over higher branches in future.
- Raddy small rucksack.
- Xiegu G-106 radio.
- Throw-bag and cord
- Lambdahalbe.de lightweight wire antennas (J-antennas) for 10, 12, 15, 17 & 20m (only used the 20m one).
- Homemade 40m Dipole antenna.
- 2 Ah Eremit LifePO4 battery.
- 2 Ah 3S LiPO battery (not used).
- Pack-small ground mat.
- Lightweight JVC headphones.
- Smartphone for spotting.
- A mid-week activation of a GMA summit, when band conditions are nothing special is hard work to get the needed four contacts.
- The new 40m lightweight dipole works fine with the G106 radio.
73 ’til the next activation!
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