DD5LP/P – February 18th 2021 – DL/AM-177 Kirnberg & DL/AM-178 Ammerleite.


As the weather was in double negative figures (down to -18°C) for over a week, as soon as the weather started to look better, I had two close & easy summits to “knock off” while we are still in the winter bonus period!

I had originally planned these two summits with the last two as a group of four but the access conditions didn’t allow it. As it was this time, it was going to be a balancing act. Warm enough to activate but before the ground thaws out and turns into a bog!

The two summits are Kirnberg and Ammerleite. I have met with farmers on both of these summits, Kirnberg as I managed to get my car bogged a couple of years ago and needed him to tow me out with his tractor. Ammerleite where a farmer had blocked the road without thought for other people wanting to use it!

I was hoping not to meet either farmer this time, although the one at Kirnberg is a really typical older Bavarian, friendly and helpful guy. The one at Ammerleite was a young foreigner (not Bavarian) pain in the proverbial.

The gear would once again be the X108G and battery in my rucksack and HF-PRO2 antenna but I also loaded the old linked dipole and the surveyor’s tripod and 10 metre mini-mast in the car as backup.  

The Activations

As it turned out leaving the activations to Friday, which was considered would have been a bad decision as the ground on both summits had already started to melt and was quite muddy in places but the nice sunshine and no wind on the second summit made up for a bit of a muddy walk-in. So here are my reports on the two summits.

Kirnberg DL/AM-177

On arriving at Kirnberg, I saw a large new farm building, where the path used to start, but the farmer had done the right thing and run a new track into the corner of one of his fields for those visiting the holy cross.

Once I set everything up on the bench by the cross – I had the little tripod and the loaded HF Komunica HF-PRO2 whip a couple of metres away from the seat (see photos).

Well I started on 40m and tuning around there was plenty of activity, so I found a free spot, checked it was free and spotted myself on SOTAWatch. I called and called – no replies I waited a while and then, there was Manuel EA2DT – great – we’re off! Went back to him – no answer … This was not looking good checked all cables, checked the SWR as best I can on this rig – it showed 1.1:1 so it has to be the rig!

I was strongly considering packing up and heading home to continue the fault-finding there but I decided to switch to 20m and give it a try and I’m glad that I did as on 20m, as soon as I spotted myself, there was Lars SA4BLM from Sweden BOOMING in and … yes he heard me strong as well (real 5-9 both ways). Eight further strong contacts followed with a real variety in the last two – one was Klaus DL7KBA who was located about 10 km away as the crow flies and following him was my last contact from this summit – Voldemar UR5QW in the Ukraine! Once I could hear no more callers it was time to pack up and set off for my second summit. One improvement from the last activation – I have now added winding posts on the legs of the small photo-tripod for the radial wires and these worked well in two ways. They were less tangled wires and I didn’t forget to put the radials out (which has happened in the past).

Ammerleite DL/AM-178

On arriving at Ammerleite, the sun had come out and although cold it was a nice change to see true sunshine. I set up at my usual spot behind the (very large) Holy Cross on what is known locally as Schnalz (Ammerleite is the area around this summit). At this summit, there are two bench seats – looking a little worse for wear after the cold winter but still very usable. I had again only brought my small antenna from the car and because of the problems I had had at Kirnberg, on 40m I decided to try 20m first but unfortunately, conditions had changed and I only managed two contacts on 20m. I had to find why 40m had not performed and as I adjusted the tuning coil on the bottom of the HF-Pro-2 it struck me. I had set it to 15 on the scale at Kirnberg, not at 13.5 which my notes say. My previous similar antenna (the model with a solid whip element rather than a telescopic element, had needed the coil set to 15! So that was indeed the problem. Why the rig showed me a 1.1:1 SWR I have no idea but with the antenna tuned off frequency, it would not have radiated well. Feeling a bit stupid that I hadn’t checked the setting at Kirnberg, I spotted myself and put out a call on 40m and was “rewarded” with a wall of noise. A real pile-up so I was definitely radiating now. I worked 27 stations in 30 minutes with no difficulty.

As it approached noon, I decided it was time to shut down the station and enjoy some pack-up lunch in the sunshine and then pack the station up and head home.

What had initially looked like being a complete failure turned out to be two nice activations of two easy summits. Perhaps the next pair will be a little bit more difficult – perhaps two castle ruin summits, we’ll see.



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Equipment used:

  • Mountaintop travelling 40-litre rucksack.
  • Xiegu X108G.
  • Komunica Power HF-Pro2-PLUS-T loaded vertical antenna.
  • Modified photo tripod with radials on new storage mounts on tripods legs.
  • Surveyors Tripod and 10 metre DX-Wire fibreglass “mini-mast” (not used).
  • SotaBeams linked dipole (not used).
  • Battery box (2 x 5000maH hard-case 4S LIPOs).
  • Painters thick plastic sheet (not used).
  • Lightweight headphones.
  • Smartphone with PocketRxTx App and USB cable acting as an external display to the rig.


DL/AM-177 Kirnberg:

DL/AM-178 Ammerleite:


  • The new wire winding posts on the tripod worked well and are a good upgrade to the system.
  • A double-check of settings no matter what the SWR shows is always a good move, had I re-checked the loading coil setting for 40m on Kirnberg, I expect I would have made several contacts in the first 30 minutes rather than considering calling the day-off.

73 ’til the next summit.



DD5LP/P – March 4th 2020 – DL/AM-178 Ammerleite & DL/AM-177 Kirnberg.


This activation was originally planned for February 25th however after arriving at Kirnberg the winds got up to somewhere near to 100 km/h, bent the mast over horizontal and blew the antenna feed-point off the top of the tipped-over mast. At this point I decided, the risk wasn’t worth continuing and packed up and returned home.

With the forecast for only light winds, no rain and some sunshine, March 4th. was the first opportunity to try these summits again.

The plan was to activate these two summits plus Laber DL/AM-060 – making three in all, so an early start was planned and the gear loaded into the car the night before.

Each summit was to have different requirements. The first Ammerleite has a nice fence where it is easy to fasten the 6m mast to and run the antenna coax back to one of the two seating banks there. So this summit would have the rig, amplifier and 6-metre mast. Kirnberg, on the other hand, has no simple mast support so for this summit, I packed my ex-surveyors tripod (in which I store my 10 metre mast) – again the plan was to use the X108G Xiegu rig and my 70w amplifier also at Kirnberg. Laber was to be the only summit where I would have snow to deal with being almost twice the height of the other two summits. Access to Laber is limited and has a very small cable car system, where my surveyors’ tripod would probably not have been welcomed as the cable car can get busy at times. Although I have managed to operate using the 6-metre mast and dipole here previously, this was intended to be a short activation and hence limited equipment for some contacts around Europe should be sufficient. So for Laber, the plan was to use my “small” kit of just the X108G, my Komunica HF-Pro2 loaded mobile whip and a photo tripod.

So the rear of the car was filled with all the various components so that when I got to the parking spots below the summits, I would choose what was needed and only take that up to the summit.

Since the last activation, I had changed from my diode matrix to reduce the voltage of the 4S (16v) LIPO battery down to an acceptable voltage for the rig, to using a proper voltage regulator. This would be it’s first real test. I had also modified the PTT switch cable between the amplifier and the rig to hopefully stop the RF getting into the audio input to the tranciever when on transmit that I had previously experienced.

The Activation:

I woke to a clear if cold morning at the home QTH but at least, there were no winds. The roads down to my first summit were reasonably clear and I found my way back to the place I park my car fine. I had realised while on the way, that I had forgotten to pack my light “inner gloves” but as the forecast was that the day would warm-up, I thought nothing more of this.

DL/AM-178 Ammerleite: The approach to the Schnalz (the real name of the summit, Ammerleite is the name of the area) became more and more muddy, not surprising after a week of rain nearly every day. It remained cold and the winds started – looking around there were some very black clouds heading my way, so I’d better hurry this activation along. I had hoped to catch an NZ or AUS chaser via grey-line propagation but it was not to be, not so much because of propagation but rather because of my delay in getting the station operational.

After putting the mast and linked-dipole antenna up and connecting the rig with the amplifier to the antenna, there were loads of stations coming in on 40m. I spotted myself and put out a CQ call – no takers. I tried calling some of the very strong stations on the band – no response or in one case a response but he said I was too weak to copy. What? 70 watts from the top of a mountain, he’s well over S9 and can’t copy me – that’s strange. I decided then to try 20m but again with no takers. At that point I got an email from Ernie VK3DET who had been listening for me, saying he had heard absolutely nothing on either band. I came to the conclusion that either the rig or amplifier were not putting out any power or that the antenna was broken in some way.  I had an RF sensor with me and that showed output from the amplifier so it had to be the antenna. Luckily I always carry a spare and took down the SOTABeams Band hopper and put up my Aerial-51 404-UL OCF dipole instead.

I then tried calling a very strong signal from a mobile station on Sardinia – he came back to me but said that I had distorted audio which made it difficult to understand me (remember I said, I had hoped I had cured this high power RF signals getting into the audio stages problem – it looks like I haven’t). When I switched off the amplifier and turned the rig up from 3 watts to 20w – he said all was fine. This was about an hour after I had arrived on the summit and was now far too late to hope for any DX via the long path. I decided to get another three or four contacts in the log and then pack-up as by this time I was VERY cold. I wish I had gone back earlier for the inner gloves as for some of the intricate actions, I had to take my large gloves off and my hands got quickly very cold. Many of these actions would have been possible with the thin inner gloves on. There was a sort of light sleet that had come through, not enough to make you wet but certainly enough to make you even colder. I was now running behind schedule and so decided I would pack-up and head to my next summit. At that point I got about another 8 stations call me on 40m all with good reports for my signal. Now I started to wonder whether the first antenna may have been fine but the problem was the RF getting into the transmitted audio however I’m pretty sure that I had tried with and without the amplifier to rule out an amplifier switching problem. In any case, the OCF antenna would get used on the next summit and the linked dipole checked once I got home.

As I was so cold, on the way back down the summit to the car I was wondering whether to head home rather than to the next summit, however after a warm drink and something to eat in the car, I decided to at least do a short activation of Kirnberg and then see about Laber.

DL/AM-177 Kirnberg: As I thought the linked dipole had broken at Ammerleite, the configuration for this summit was to be the surveyors’ tripod with my 10 metre mast (only at about 4 m high as it turned out), the Aerial-51 OCF dipole and the rig (with no amplifier because of the RF getting into the transmitted audio problems). This meant I only had one bag instead of the usual two plus the large tripod and mast. The short climb up to the cross on Kirnberg was very slippery, again not surprising considering the weather we have been having. Soon after arriving the winds started to increase and the farmer, on whose land the cross is, came by collecting blown down tree branches. I went and had a quick word with him just to check I was not in the way. No problems – we had met a year before and he has no issues with Radio Hams setting up and operating near the cross. If I remember correctly from last year, this farmer had been in the communications corps of the German army and so has an idea of what I was doing and was interested. This time though he wanted to get on and do as much as possible as he, like I, thought this would be the one day of the week when the weather was not too bad.

Thankfully this activation didn’t hit the technical problems that I had on the first summit and I could get a few stations on 40m and 20m into the log. By this time there were also a few other activators out and I tried for some S2S contacts but unfortunately, other chasers kept transmitting on top of my call and no one told the other activator that they had an S2S calling. The longer I was on Kirnberg, the stronger the winds were getting, so the forecast of it getting better (warmer) during the day and there being no winds was totally wrong again! Having got about a dozen stations in the log, I decided to call it a day and as I was taking the mast down, the winds increased drastically. That was my decision made. If the cable car at Laber was running at all, it would not be a nice ride and going onto the summit in these winds would not be the most sensible thing to do, so I decided to scratch Laber from this trip and hopefully get back to it before the winter bonus points stop or it’s cable car closes for maintenance.



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  • Xiegu X108G.
  • DX-Wire 10m mast.
  • Lambdahalbe 6m mast.
  • Battery box (2 x 5000maH hard-case 4S LIPOs).
  • Surveyors tripod.
  • Aerial-51 OCF 40-10m dipole (Ammerleite & Kirnberg).
  • SOTABeams Band Hopper linked dipole (Ammerleite).
  • Thick plastic painters sheet.
  • Smartphone with PocketRxTx App and USB cable acting as an external display to the rig.


DL/AM-178 Ammerleite:

DL/AM-177 Kirnberg:


  • The weather again was not what was predicted but at this time of year, I have to grab whatever day looks like it might be OK!
  • The new voltage regulator in my battery box worked well giving no problems and not getting hot as my old diode matrix did.
  • Since getting home, I have checked the linked dipole and have found no definite problems with it. DC continuity and solder joints on the feed-point appear OK, so perhaps the problem was the RF getting into the audio – I was putting out a signal but people couldn’t understand what I was saying perhaps? I will need to test the antenna again. As regards the RF Ingres, I have ordered the official interface split-out board from China which claims to totally isolate all lines from each other. Until that arrives I won’t be running the amplifier.
  • I still have my new dynamic speech compressor to test, however trying that while I had other problems would not have been a good idea.

73 ’til the next summit!

DD5LP/P – March 12th 2019 – DL/AM-177 Kirnberg & DL/AM-178 Ammerleite.


With constant bad weather from the start of March I wanted to get out and grab some Winter bonus points and at the same time make sure all equipment was working, before I was to meet up with Brian VK3BCM from Australia and take him to some SOTA summits. The previous week, I had travelled out to DL/AM-177 Kirnberg only to be forced to pack up after having got the antenna up, due to the high speed and bitterly cold winds. I had alerted for these summits a couple of days earlier but again with the weather had to postpone them.

I was now determined to get these activations in as this day was forecast to be somewhat better (not that weather forecasts are to be trusted nowadays) In any case everything was put ready for an early start as the wife needed the car in the afternoon.

I decided to concentrate on the tried and tested equipment, no testing any new equipment.

The Activation (Kirnberg):

As I approached Kirnberg, things looked fine (but they had done also the last time I was here). It was somewhat more muddy than last time as there had been heavy rain storms in the last few days.

I grabbed the surveyors tripod, one of my 6 metre masts and my usual two bags (one with the radio, battery box and headphones and one with the antennas and other small items in) and headed up the hill to the cross and bench on the summit.

All started well and the tripod allowed me to position the mast where I could run out the linked dipole easily in both directions. One end got tied off to the bottom of the concrete cross (I know not perhaps the best option but it’s there and would not be damaged by the cord) The other end ran down and was pegged into the ground.

At this point the winds started – this summit seems always to be windy and cold! Well I quickly set everything else up and got on the air. 20 metres was totally dead and 40 metres not much better but I managed nine contacts in 25 minutes and while I needed to get the second summit in as well, I called it a day at this point, packed up and carried everything back down to the car and set off for Ammerleite, on the other side of the valley.

The Activation (Ammerleite):

The run to where I park my car for Ammerleite took about 20 minutes and this time, I decided not to take the tripod as I knew there were convenient fence posts that could support the mast and the ends of the linked dipole. So there was less to carry this time, thankfully.

Set-up again on one of the two benches at this “Schnalz” summit and with the X108G connected to the smart phone so that I could see the display in what was now becoming a sunny day, and somewhat warmer than at Kirnberg, I was set to go. I didn’t even try 20 metres this time and concentrated on what was now a much better 40 metres. Signals were stronger with less QSB than at the previous summit.

Starting at 11:10 local (10:10 UTC) I managed twenty contacts in twelve minutes! This is how the activations used to be! There were no DX contacts in the log however even though I did listen specifically for Ernie VK3DET with whom I had a sched hoping to manage a 40 metre short path contact as had been possible in previous weeks at around this time. Today this wasn’t to be though. Rather than continue trying and while the chaser calls had dried up, I decided to pack everything up and head home so that the wife could have the car a little earlier than promised.

Photos (Kirnberg):

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Photos (Ammerleite):

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Xiegu X108G.

Battery box (2 x 5000maH hardcase LIPOs).

SOTABeams linked dipole.

Surveyors tripod (only used on Kirnberg).

6 metre lambdahalbe fibreglass portable mast.

Thick plastic painters sheet.

Smartphone PocketRxTx App and USB cable.

Log (Kirnberg):

Log (Ammerleite):


The propagation again wasn’t great but at least I managed to get two more “easy” summits off my list for the winter bonus activation points. The equipment worked reliably meaning once I recharged the battery, everything would be ready for the follow days planned three activations with Brian VK3BCM.

All in all a good activation after the failed attempt a week earlier. The sunshine and little or no wind on the second summit was a pleasant change.

The sudden high SWR indications occurred with this (known good) antenna as I had seen with the VP2E antenna on the previous activation, so I believe this is false data being sent from the X108G to the smart phone App (PocketRxTx) rather than there being a bad SWR occurring.

73 ’til the next Summit!