DD5LP – SOTA EUROPE – June 8th. 2014 – DL/EW-001 Wank

Preparation:

I had the Wank mountain on my list for some time, as it is one fed with a cable car, with a nice restaurant on top of it with the ability to sit outside in the fresh air and admire the views (all pre-requesits for my wife to accompany me). Yes, easy access makes the activation easier for me as well but I tend to keep these summits for when my wife wishes to come along.

The name of the mountain has an unfortunate meaning in English but who is going to change the name of a mountain, just because the Brits and Yanks don’t like it?

The Location:

Wank is one of the mountains close to Garmish-Partenkirchen near to the Bavaraian border with Austria. It’s around an hours drive to the valley station of the cable car from where I am currently living, depending upon traffic. It actually took an hour and a half because of heavy traffic into Garmish but we had allowed a lot of time in any case. The cable car is one of the older ones with small 4 seater cabins and the ride takes about 20 minutes which meant that we were on the Summit, about 30 vertical metres above where the cable car stops within 2 hours of leaving home.

wank-sat

The Activation:

As Glenn VK3YY was in the UK on business and intending to activate Shining Tor (G/SP-004) I have made a provisional sked for 1200 UTC on 40m SSB. Tony VK3CAT on a canal boat in France might also be available for a contact around the same time if we were lucky. We were already at the summit well before this and so had a leisurely lunch before I went to set-up.

Setting up did not go to plan as I wanted to run my dipole roughly NE to SW however on all the land around the summit putting my antenna up in anything like this direction would mean the wires either crossing a walking track (of which there were several, all being well used) or it would mean I would have to climb down one side of the mountain to attach the end of the dipole/guy wire. In some locations both would be needed. The only place I found where it was safe to set up the antenna was alongside a walking track where there were some bushes. This meant that the dipole antenna ended up running roughly NW-SE meaning it would be almost end-on to both Glenn and Tony. However I had no choice in the matter. This is one situation an Alex Loop Antenna would have been very useful.

There was lots of activity on 40m in general and I hit again the problem that strong signals on adjacent frequencies made it difficult to work weaker stations (hopefully I’l be able to get an IF filter for the 817 at a reasonable price at Friedrichshafen in a few weeks time). I managed 4 Summit to Summit contacts in the hour that I was operational and one of those was indeed with Glenn M/VK3YY/P after we moved to 20m where there was less QRM and conditions good for inter-Europe contacts. I worked 22 stations in all (log below). The contact with Glenn was also special as it was my second G summit and that has pushed me to Silver award level in the Mountain Hunter award – thanks Glenn.

Here are some photos from the activation –

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Equipment:

FT817ND

Ramsey QAMP amplifier

SOTABeams Linked dipole

Log:

activator_log

Conclusions:

All in all this turned out to be a very successful activation. The icing on the cake was that my wife asked if she could come along to another activation, possibly next Saturday if the weather stays fine!.

Lessons learned – take some Amateur Radio hobby brochures along, There were lots of  people asking me what I was doing and seemed genuinely interested. There was also a German amateur stopped by (sorry I didn’t note his call sign down), who used to work HF but after moving found to much QRM at home and now only operates VHF/UHF repeaters and a little HF mobile. I think after seeing me he may look into SOTA or at least portable operation in his local park.

73 ’til the next Summit!

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