This activation was planned to coincide with the activations in VK2 that were to celebrate 1 year of the VK2 SOTA Association. As an added bonus a new Australian association VK6-Western Austrlia was launched on September 1st. 2014.
To avoid any risk and to be active when the long path conditions are open from Europe to Australia (early morning), I decided to activate Peissenbeg for a second time this year, despite the fact that I would receive no activator points.
A couple of activations ago my Ramsey QAMP stopped working, so before this activation I wanted to see if I could repair it. As it turned out, one of the two power MOSFETs in the small amp had failed and when I replaced it with a spare that I luckily had, the amp worked better than before. It appears that the two MOSFETs need to have very similar charactistics, possibly because there is only one bias transistor for both MOSFETs.
Peissenberg is an easy access summit which given the early start (7am local time) was welcome.
The trip down took just over 40 minutes, about 10 minutes longer than from my old QTH. The sun had just risen (with a very red sky, warning of storms later in the day that actually never came!).
On tuning around 20m it was clear that finding a free frequency was going to be difficult with multiple contests under way.
I invited Martin DF3MC along to the activation as one thing he had not yet achieved in SOTA is an S2S with Australia. He volunteered his FT857 to give us a little more power and we used my 6m mast and linked dipole. Not only did Martin manage an S2S with Australia, he managed two – one on SSB and one on CW. Conditions varied somewhat over the time we were there. As Martin needed to continue on to Munich, I completed the last hour of the activation using my FT817 and Ramsey QAMP and am glad to report all went well. The amp worked as it should, bringing me some more S2S contacts on 20m and 40m as well and many more chaser contacts.
Self spotting from Peissenberg is no problem with good cell phone coverage but initially we took a look around for activators to call, then I handed over to Martin to put out some calls on CW which were relatively effective. We alternated between Martin on CW and myself on SSB during the activation, which worked well. Setting up two stations in the limited area would have made no sense and it meant that Martin and I were able to take some photos and a videos when not operating (my video included below).
While the radio equipment all worked well, my camera did not. On turning it on, it did nothing. I tried a few times and then concluded that the battery must be flat and as I carry a replacement, charged, camera battery I swopped over. On turning the camera on with the new battery the camera started up but without my realising, it had done a factory reset in the process. I also appear to have had the video running for a long time without knowing it! Hence the audio is fine but the pictures leave a little to be desired!
Here is my video from the activation –
Yaesu FT857 and FT817, Ramsey 25w QAMP (modified to cover 40/30/20m)
SOTABeams 40/30/20 linked dipole.
6 metre squid pole.
All in all, this was a successful and enjoyable activation with 28 contacts for me including 5 S2S contacts. With the variable conditons we missed some VK2 activators and unfortunately there was no VK6 activator out on this Saturday (one was out on Sunday).
I should have checcked the direction of the dipole. Although not so critical being in Inverted-V form at a low height for maximum effect I would have liked to have it run from NE to SW to radiate off its side NW for the long path to Australia. In fact it was running east-west and so radiating roughly north / south, in fact with the church right behind us it would be absorbing most of the RF in the direction of Australia.
73 ’til the next Summit!