With Christos SV2OXS visiting his family in Munich and a promised good day, at least in the afternoon, I agreed with Christos that we’d go to Wank to do a joint SOTA activation. I chose Wank as while it is a straightforward summit to access, it does have some good views and two restaurants on the summit and as Christos was to bring a non-ham friend along, these might stop Michalis from getting too bored while Christos and I “played radio”. We arranged that the two would take a train out part of the way and I would pick them up and then we would head on to the summit near Garmisch Partenkirchen and the Austrian border. This was the summit I had planned to activate in July however the flooded river in the area caused the main road to be closed and so I changed my choice of summits for that trip. going to Hinteres Hornele instead of Wank.
The Activation – Wank
As it turned out Michalis was keen to help with everything and not too interested in taking walks from the summit and both Christos and I had time to check out slightly changed equipment. Christos only had his 20m QCX CW only transceiver along with him and the “about” 5 watts of RF from it was radiated from a telescopic antenna on top of it but despite that he was getting the needed contacts into the log. At one point we swapped to my linked dipole that I had set up but it did not bring any new contacts for him.
While both radios were running we caused each other receiver problems even though one was on 40m and the other 20m. Being so close together (Christos was sat underneath my antenna wire), it was to be expected but as we both managed we’re happy enough.
In my case, I was using the replacement Xiegu G90 radio (received only days earlier) at its full 20 watts SSB output to the linked dipole set to 40m. This unit replaced the previous one that had a mechanically failed switch (or more likely a dry solder joint) in it – so Radioddity simply swapped the unit out for a brand new one. As well as the 6-metre mast, sun umbrella foot and linked 20/30/40m dipole, I also had the Komunica HF-Pro-2 loaded vertical with me but didn’t have time to compare it with Christos’s small loaded vertical (maybe next time).
While the Xiegu worked fine, I have also had to buy a new smartphone with the closure of the 3G cell service in Germany and while the new LG K42 connected as it should to the LTE (4G) cells and we had Internet connectivity, even at the highest brightness setting, the screen was unreadable in the sunlight!
After about 40 minutes of operating, it was decided it was time to go and sample some food and beer from one of the restaurants, which we duly did and over a late lunch decided that we could fit in another summit. For the second summit, while we would go past it on the way back to the Railway station in Starnberg, I decided we would go to Irschenberg. It is a good example to show Christos the type of small summits with forests on top of them that we have here in Southern Bavaria.
The Activation – Irschenberg
Being a forested summit with lots of trees this was far from an ideal location for the QCX and its vertical antenna, so we agreed I would once again set up the mast and linked dipole and the Xiegu and it would get its first-ever use on CW.
After about a 15 minutes walk from the closest parking point, we found the summit from a combination of my memory of an earlier visit and Christos’s Garmin GPS unit into which he has the SOTA summits loaded. The location was confirmed when I saw the Tig point marker stone.
I know nothing about CW operation, despite Christos’s determined arguments to try to get me to commit to learning it I probably won’t understand it in the future either however what I did learn from this experience is that there is a lot of set-up actions to get things working correctly between the Palm mini paddle key and the electronic keyer that is built into the G90. Eventually, we got it into a “sort of” working condition and Christos bashed off the needed contacts for him to have activated the summit. After that, I got onto 20 & 40m SSB to gather a few contacts of my own.
After finishing at Irschenhausen, it was just a 15 minutes drive to drop my two Greek guests back at the railway station for their run home.
Photos – Wank:
Photos – Irschenhausen:
Equipment used (both summits):
- Mountaintop travelling 40-litre rucksack.
- Xiegu G90.
- Sotabeams linked dipole “Band Hopper”.
- 6m LambdaHalbe mini-mast.
- Screw-in sun umbrella foot.
- Battery box (2 x 5000maH hard-case 4S LIPOs).
- Painters thick plastic sheet.
- Lightweight headphones.
Log – Wank:
Log – Irschenhausen:
- The replacement Xiegu G90 radio worked as well as its predecessor only the band change “up” button worked also.
- The new smartphone – an LG K42 let me down badly. Although it connected to the LTE network, the screen was unreadable in the sunlight. I have found it is possible to switch the display from colour to black & white mode but on a new phone from a recognised manufacturer, this really should not be necessary!
- My rucksack continues to be too heavy for the summits with longer walks/climbs needed. I need to try out the “Raddy” rucksack on a summit.
- It’s enjoyable but tiring to do a joint activation with another amateur.
73 ’til the next summit.