The Wallberg mountain is another in the series 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).
In this case the distance from the mountain station of the cable car and restaurant to the summit was to be a 30 min. walk, so I decided to reduce my usual 2 bags down to one. As it turned out this was a very good decision. Please see my “Sota equipment” page on this website for details of what I normally take and what I really need.
This activation had been planned for Saturday however after rising on Saturday, multiple weather forecasts predicted that showers would start at 10am local in the area, and continue for the rest of the day. As there is no shelter at this summit, walking up there in the rain, operating in the rain and then walking backed soaked in the rain doesn’t make a lot of sense to me if I could postpone for a day. The forecast for Sunday was far better, with no rain predicted. So I moved this activation to one day later Sunday 15th. June 2014. Checking the webcam on Wallberg on Saturday the forecasted bad weather hit right on schedule.
Wallberg overlooks the Tegernsee about 40Km SSE of Munich. As my father-in-law used to live in one of the villages on the banks of the lake, I knew some of the area but had never been up the Wallberg mountain. The views from Wallberg back over the whole of Tegernsee and further are very impressive.
Google maps predicted a drive of about 1hour 20minutes from my home to the valley station of the cable car which turned out to be correct. On getting there it appears that it would have been possible with permission, to drive up the mountain road to the top cable car station, but I would not advise this unless you have a 4WD or at least a car with high ground clearance. This road is closed in winter due to snow. In any case we took the cable car up the mountain. Apparently this used to be an open seat “sessellift” but thankfully it now has 4 seat closed cabins.
The mountain peak was difficult to get to and involved scrambling / climbing up a steep rocky section so that when I got to the top, I was exhausted and scared to think I had to go back down it. On the return journey I actually found a simpler route after being told by a local only the climbers come up the way I had come up!
When I was literally “perched” on the top of the mountain (there was no real flat area to sit on), I had no space to get my linked dipole out. So I had to rely upon my Diamond RHM8B, which is a loaded vertical that simply connects to the BNC socket on the FT817 and is tuned by moving the bottom part of the antenna up and down to find the best signal strength and lowest SWR. After several CQ attempts I managed the needed four contacts on 20m for the activation. 40m had some contest on it, making it unusable – I spotted myself on 40m and put out some CQ calls out then an Italian contest station simply started up on my frequency without warning. As it was getting cold and I could see the weather coming in, I decided to pack up and head back down the mountain.
On the way home I felt really crook as I had got cold into my kidneys on the top of the mountain. The pain was pretty bad even after taking some pain killers. Glad to say a day later the kidneys recovered.
Here are some photos from the activation –
Diamond RHM8B vertical antenna.
All in all this turned out to be a hard activation. I had hoped to perhaps manage a long path contact into VK6, As I arrived 30 mins earlier than expected, it might just have been possible but with the restricted antenna possibilities there was no chance. I had also hoped for a contact with Tony VK3CAT on his last day of canal boat cruising in France, again with this antenna that was probably asking too much.
Lessons learned –
Unfortunately the DL peaks appear to have less information in the SOTAWatch database about previous activations than I am used to from SOTA in VK. If I had known there was actual climbing needed I would probably have tried to reduce the weight of my backpack even more than I had done. I may also have packed my end-fed half wave antennas rather than the squid pole as there are bushes on the summit that I could have laid the antenna across (I have done this before and the EFHW works suprisingly well even just a metre or so off the ground on the bushes!).
This is probably the hardest activation I have done so far!
73 ’til the next Summit!