DD5LP/P – March 12th 2022 – HEMA – DL/HCN-015 & SOTA DL/BE-094 – Irschenhausen.

Background – Double summit.

Some of you may recognise the name of this summit from my previous reports. Irschenhausen is a current SOTA and a current HEMA summit. How can this happen? Well HEMA strictly adheres to its rule of including only summits with a prominence greater than 100 metres and less than 150 metres. For historical reasons, SOTA summits are not always over the SOTA rule of a minimum of 150m prominence.  

Preparation:

This activation was planned to coincide with Rob G7LAS being on a HEMA summit in England so that we could make the first H2H contact between DL and G HEMA associations. Luckily unlike other activations, this was aiming for a contact at a respectable time of 1 pm local (1200 UTC).

I originally had chosen a different summit however as this looked like being a sunny day and was a Saturday, I decided to avoid any place with lots of people. With the new COVID infections figure the day before the activation over 260,000 in Germany the risk of catching COVID despite the fact that I am fully vaccinated was simply too high.

As I activate Irschenhausen once a year for SOTA  I know the summit well and chose that as my summit while it is a deserted, safe summit.

The equipment to be used would be the same as used the previous week as I used for Berndorfer Buchet. Irschenhausen, like Berndorfer Buchet, is a forested summit with a 15-20 minute walk-in, so just one rucksack with the 6-metre fibreglass mast and the sun umbrella screw-in base.

The weather promised to be better and by noon, it should be warm enough, but I decided to cover my options with a thin and thick jacket that I could choose from when leaving the car.

The Activation

The trip to the car parking spot for the summit took around 45 minutes from my home as there was limited traffic. In contrast, the return trip took a full hour.

On arrival, it was indeed warm enough to go with the thin jacket and I loaded up ready for the walk. At this point, a farmer came by with his tractor and a log trailer. This didn’t sound any bells for me, however, it seems the local farmers were taking advantage of the improved weather to get their trees felled and transported. I set off up my well-known route through the forest but as I arrived up the last small track to the summit, it was blocked by another tractor. At first, I thought this was strange but could not see anyone nearby, so I pushed through the brush and up to the summit. It wasn’t long before I heard a chain saw in use though. This farmer had decided today was a good day to harvest the trees of the summit! 

This was not going to be a good area to set up my station with the possibility of having a tree dropped on me!

Luckily, there are plenty of other areas that are in the activation zone and soon, I found an alternative spot, closer to the main track that was well in the AZ. I even found a marker stone there – at first I wondered if this could be the summits trig-point stone but I think it was simply marking the border between two parts of the forest.

Despite the changed location, I was still in good time for my 1200 UTC sked and had my linked dipole set up on 40m and the station was ready to go in about 15 minutes. It’s so much easier when doing this in plus rather than minutes 10°C! Following a recent CME hit to the ionosphere, 40m was very noisy and I started to wonder if the contact into the UK was going to be possible. As I was early, I decided to simply put out a CQ and ended up with two quite long rag-chews with some Austrian and German hams. As this summit is in both the SOTA and HEMA schemes I was watching both spotting pages from my phone and when I saw Rudi OE7RDI who was visiting Germany on a SOTA summit, not more than 15 minutes drive away from me, I gave him a call and we had my first S2S contact of the day. This was difficult though with 52 / 53 reports exchanged – an indication of how bad the band was.

Karl 2E0FEH was next in the log, responding to my “CQ HEMA” call, but again, I only got a 33 report from him. At this point, it was 1200 UTC and I had not seen any spot from Rob, so I sent him a message via the Internet to which I got a surprising response! He had got to his summit and the field where the summit is was filled with a herd of bulls! There was no alternate location in his case and so the planned H2H could not take place. He was going to go to another summit but it would take longer than I was able to wait, so that first H2H between DL and G in HEMA will have to wait for another day.

After 1200 UTC, the band quickly improved and rather than packing up, I decided to go SOTA S2S hunting and worked a row of other SOTA activators on their frequencies around 40m. At the end of the day, I was to have ten S2S contacts in the log. While skipping between calling the other activators, I called for both HEMA and then later SOTA chasers – spotting myself in the appropriate systems to give the chasers a chance to get a contact with this summit. I had a total of 34 contacts from the summit. 

One could also say I had an eyeball QSO as well. While in conversation with another ham with my headphones on, I suddenly felt something next to me and it was a young medium-sized dog who had come over from the main track to see what I was doing! I looked around and there was a large family group walking down the main track, so I sent their dog back to them and then tried to explain to the other ham why I hadn’t come back to his last over!

 Photos:

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Equipment used:

  • Mountaintop travelling 40-litre rucksack.
  • Xiegu G90.
  • Komunica Power HF-Pro2-PLUS-T loaded vertical antenna. (not used)
  • Modified mini photo tripod with clip-on radials (not used)
  • Lamdahalbe 6m mini-mast.
  • Screw-in sun umbrella support.
  • SotaBeams linked dipole.
  • Battery box (2 x 5000maH hard-case 4S LIPOs).
  • 4000maH LiHV battery (not used).
  • Painters thick plastic sheet.
  • Lightweight headphones.
  • Smartphone to spot and for back-channel comms. 

Logs:

HEMA

SOTA

Conclusions:

  • The weather was lovely for a change.
  • It was a shame that Rob and I could not make the H2H as the time is running out for this first H2H contact as it has to be done in the first year of the new association and the DL association started in April 2021.
  • Once again with the equipment – everything worked as it should including the Xiegu G90 radio which continues to perform well, despite mediocre conditions on 40m at the start of the activation.

73 ’til the next summit, be it HEMA or SOTA – or perhaps BOTH again?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DD5LP/P – April 20th 2019 – DL/BE-094 Irschenhausen – for the transatlantic S2S event.

Preparation:

April 20th. 2019 was to be the next Summit to Summit activity event between UK/EU and the Americas and the propagation conditions seemed to have slowly improved over the previous week.

My initial plan had been to activate Wank DL/EW-001 above Garmisch Partenkirchen but then the wife said she wanted to meet up with her school friend and two nieces, so an amended plan was needed. The group from Munich wanted to come out to the Easter Market on the banks of the local lake Ammersee and also take a sail with the paddle steamer on the lake. This wasn’t too bad as a 1-pointer summit that I hadn’t yet activated this year was only about 40 minutes drive away from the lake, Irschenhausen.

As Irschenhausen is a forested summit, there was no reason to try to use the VP2E antenna as verticals simply don’t work in forests, so I decided to take the lightweight set-up of the 6m LambdaHalbe mast and the SOTABeams linked dipole along with my screw-in-the-ground sun umbrella base.

As this was to be an afternoon activation with me arriving at the summit at 1400 local time (1200 UTC), the gear would be packed the morning of the activation.

What could go wrong?

The Activation:

With the Easter road traffic, we set off a little earlier than planned, but the traffic on the back roads was not any worse than normal, so I managed to drop off Gabriele, my wife, 30 minutes ahead of schedule – never mind, this gives me another 30 minutes activation time, or so I thought …

On arriving at the parking spot for Irschenhausen, while unloading the gear from the car, my phone rang and it was the wife. The ferry that I had planned for the groups afternoon cruise following the visit to the market, wasn’t running and so the afternoon would be shorter and could I come back earlier than planned. Oh well, that’s life!

The walk to the summit took about 12 minutes. Upon arrival I could see three new wind turbines that seem to tower over the summit, however they are actually a few kilometres away on the other side of the autobahn. At this distance, they don’t appear to cause any RF interference – at least not on HF. I was soon set up and calling CQ SOTA on 20m. It took a little while until I got my first reply which was a ground wave contact with Mario DJ2MX in Munich. A couple of other European activators were on 20m as well and so I tuned to their frequencies. The one that I could hear had a pile-up that I couldn’t break even as a Summit-to-Summit contact, so I went and found a different free frequency and spotted myself and started the CQ SOTA calls again. In the end during the 45 minutes that I was active, I managed six contacts including one european S2S with Stavros SV2RUJ.

I was aware that I had about a 40 minute drive back to where I had dropped my wife off, so at 1230 UTC, I called it a day and started to pack up, at which point I got a call from the wife to say the friends were leaving and could she be picked up please.

So at the end of the day, at least I did manage an activation. Irschenhausen is an easy summit to access and doesn’t rely on any cable cars, so it gives you flexibility on timing.

Photos:

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Equipment:

  • Xiegu X108G.
  • Battery box (2 x 5000maH hardcase LIPOs).
  • SOTABeams “Bandhopper” linked dipole.
  • Screw-in Sun Umbrella base.
  • 6 metre LambdaHalbe fibreglass portable mast.
  • Smartphone PocketRxTx App and USB cable with various connection leads.

Log:

Conclusions:

 The propagation was not as good as the previous day and EU-US contacts were only possible late afternoon and early evening. Of course I was there far too early for this opportunity.

73 ’til the next Summit!