Having some time available and a good weather forecast, i wanted to get out and activate a summit again. If it could be close enough to where I live, I might even get some long path contacts back into Australia again..
I decided to take the standard equipment and stick to 20m SSB. So the FT817 (LIPO) battery was charged up, as was the 5Ah 3S LIPO that I use to run my small Ramsey amplifier, which I haven’t started my planned mods to, even though the parts arrived a couple of days before. Better to leave things working as they have been rather than change things with no fall back option!
The hill chosen is about an hours drive away and I had intended doing a “reccie” on the previous Sunday however I was quite ill that day and so I decided I would have to simply go by what I could see from Google maps and its satellite pictures.
Buchberg is located not far away from Bad Tölz and across the road almost from the skilift up to the base of Zweisselberg, another SOTA summit that I would like to activate at some point.
The plotted route had me turning off the main B472 road on an unsignposted road and then running along the edge of a forest to the village of Buchberg and then taking one of several walking tracks to the summit. On looking at the layout, my fallback position would be to operate from within a forest just down from the summit as it is still within the AZ.
The morning started well with sunny weather and not too much traffic. Of course I drove past the un-signposted road off the B472. For others intending to activate this summit, the road is about 200m before the Gastehaus Wiessweber, which is just before the big lake (called Hinterstauau).
The road off the B472 is a single track road but with a proper surface. On getting to the point where I should turn off on the track along the edge of the forest, I was faced with a sign that said access is restricted to farm and forestry vehicles only.. Not wanting to get locked up for trespass, I started to look for an alternative route.
At this point the farmer from the farm across the road came along with his dogs and I decided to ask him if there was another route to Buchberg. He immediately said ignore the sign, everyone uses that road and it’s not private. On that basis I decided that rather than calling off the activation I’d risk it. The track was a little rough however no where near as bad as several tracks I have driven along with my low clearance Peugeot 308 in Australia and now I have a Ford Galaxy family van which has at least twice the road clearance that the Peugeot had.
At the end of the track I came into the village of Buchberg which is actually just a farm. On the other side was the track that runs half way up to the summit but it was clearly marked as no through road and it looked as if I would not be able to turn around when I got to the end of it.
I decided therefore to go to my backup position near the forest which was on the road going out of the other side of Buchberg. This turned out to be a narrow however properly surfaced road that I used when I completed the activation. It ran down the hill into Bad Tölz passing the Golf Course and Buchberg Clinic and the on the way. For future activators this would be the way to get to Buchberg if you don’t want to risk the forestry track. Take directions in Bad Tölz to the Buchberg Clinic and then after the clinic turn left (there is a sign to Buchberg on this junction) go past the golf club and keep on winding up the road for probably about 5 kilometers and you will arrive at Buchberg..
Back to the activation site. I parked up off the road near the forest and looked around for somewhere to set-up. I could not find anywhere that looked like I could fasten the squiddy to and have the antenna clear of the trees without being definitely on a farmers land or right next to the (narrow) road. I then looked up to the summit itself to see a large wooden cross that the squiddy should be able to be strapped to without any great effort. So that was the choice, no secondary option, i would activate from the very summit. Given the cross being there and the footpaths listed to it on the maps, this “should” be public access. I walked up the side of the field and across the top to the summit (you should never walk directly across a farmers field as you can damage the crop, whereas the edge of a field is often considered waste land). On arriving at the summit I found there was even a bench to sit on – LUXURY!
So I started to set up all the equipment as usual, trying to angle the antenna to allows a NW/SE radiation towards VK long path. Just down from the summit and not visible until you get to the summit is another farm / residence and after a while I got a visit asking what I was doing by a gentleman from this farm. After a few minutes discussion he was happy I wasn’t going to damage or steal the cross and so all was OK.
Now at last, time to start the activation….
I started on 20m trying to call some OE activators who were already on the air but I simply could not get through the pile ups. Even after one chaser kindly told one of the stations that they had a summit-to-summit call, they still could not hear me. With the mixture or QRM and deep QSB that was the story of this activation. I did manage one S2S contact into Spain but most other activators simply could not hear me. Later I found out that they were all running 100W RF while I was down in the noise with my 5-8W.
I called a couple of times specifically for VK chasers with no success however looking at all of the chasers I did work around Europe, I shouldn’t complain. Apart from the S2S into Spain, the other highlights were contacts with The Azores and Denmark, Norway & Sweden. The full log is shown below.
The real success of this activation was getting out in the fresh air and again enjoying some unbelievable views. I have put together a gallery of some of the best views below.
Ramsey QAMP amplifier
SOTABeams Linked dipole
A good activation. it would have been better if I had managed a long path conrtact back into VK but with the band conditions, that just wasn’t going to happen. I think the next time I try this however I will start earlier which would at least avoid some of the heavy QRM from such a busy band. Perhaps next time I will have a 17m antenna made up so that I can switch to that (quieter) band.Unfortunately many of the VK chasers can’t operate on the WARC bands, so maybe 15m as well would be a good idea.
73 ’til the next Summit!