For this GMA (Global Mountain Activity) activation, no car drive would be needed as the summit is only 2 kilometres from my home and I would walk there. A few weeks previously, I had tried to activate another local GMA summit Gagelberg (DA/AV-071) but I managed no contacts and hence I wanted to check that my light-weight-pack equipment (Xiegu G106, 20m J_antennas for 20, 17, 15, 12 & 10m). I had repaired two broken wires in my external RF speech clipper and hence hoped that this would give the 5 watts from the G106 a little more “punch”. I had been heard well on an SDR in England from the other summit but was just unable to raise any contacts.
Under the rules in GMA, a summit has to be at least 15m above sea level and be listed in online documentation (on an online map, in WikiPedia etc.). Kappelenberg meets these requirements and often forms part of my morning dog walk. So while not being a real challenge in terms of ascent, it is a valid summit and a good spot to test out equipment and antennas from. I wondered whether the nearby water pumping station and houses that are not far away, might be generating some RFI however that was not the case, thankfully.
After the walk across the fields and up to the summit cross, I unpacked my throw bag and cord and threw it over a branch of the tree above the seating bank. To me, this looked quite high but when I attached my 20-metre LambdaHalde J-antenna and pulled it up, there was still some on the antenna on the ground so I took this and laid it over a lower branch on another tree, so this was then a “sloper” antenna rather than a vertical as it should be. The J-antenna (sometimes known as the “Zepp” antenna, as it was initially designed for use from the Zeppelin airships), has its own counterpoise built in, in the form of a quarter-wave stub – so there are (thankfully) no radials to lay out on the ground. The antenna is a resonant antenna on the band it is cut for. As the G106 has no built-in ATU, this is an important point.
Once I had the antenna in the trees, I set up my station on the bench – this entailed plugging the antenna into a fly lead from the G106’s pouch and plugging the radio into the battery and turning it on.
Just at this point, Mike 2E0YYY sent me a message that he was already set up on a GMA summit in England (M/SP-001 Cobridge Hill) and that at his end, 14.250 MHz was free. I tuned there and called Mike and he came straight back to me. The station was working.
Following my contact with Mike, I spotted myself on the GMA system and he spotted me in the DX Cluster. Four contacts followed breaking the 4-contact requirement to be able to declare the summit activated. As the first contact was with Mike when he was on another GMA summit, this counts as a Summit-to-Summit contact as well as being the first contact from this new summit.
I only operated on 20m as the radio conditions were not the best and I had no antenna for lower bands with me. A 40m j-antenna would need a very high tree to put it in and whether, with my current “bag throwing” skills, I would be able to do that, I’m not sure!
The map below shows that I was getting out well but of course, the first skip distance on 20m ruled out many possible contacts – which may also be why I had an issue at the previous local GMA summit.
The aim of this pack is to have a very lightweight, small and simple solution, that I can take with me when travelling by air, train or bus. I think I will need to find a small antenna for 40m to fit these requirements to add that band to the pack.
- 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).
- 2 Ah Eremit LifePO4 battery.
- 2 Ah 3S LiPO battery (not used).
- Painter’s thick plastic sheet.
- Lightweight headphones (not used).
- Smartphone for spotting.
- I need to improve my bag-throwing skills! I should be able to get the antenna over a much higher branch (and get the cord down again without it “snagging”.
- The combination of the G106 and the J-antennas is a good combination and gets the signal out well, although an antenna for 40m would enable many more, “closer-in” contacts.
73 ’til the next activation!
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