Having not activated for over a month, the urge was great and as this was an especially nice, sunny (if still cold) day, I decided to reactivate a favourite summit – Auerberg. Actual preparation was simple for this summit; check the route, decide which antenna and mast I’ll use (and put the others in the car just in case). Take a sheet of plastic to cover the likely wet wooden seat outside the church and then set-off with my two “go bags”.
Since moving last year this summit is now only about 40 minutes away from where I live rather than the hour plus previously. It is a really beautiful spot with the classic church dominating the summit and a restaurant walking distance down the hill from it. Unfortunately this restaurant and hotel is closed until the 3rd. of March as normally at this time of year they don’t get many visitors. Their busy time is spring through autumn when it is a favourite hang-out for bikers cruising the Allgau area that it sits in. I’d love to ride a motorbike up there, the long curved winding road is ideal for motorbikes. If someone wants to make a “SOTA holiday” this would be an ideal spot to stay.
I arrived at Auerberg almost an hour before my planned start time and despite the sub-zero temperatures when not in the sun, manged to quickly put up the mast and antenna (the aerial-51 asymmetrical dipole this time) and set myself up on the same seat that I used last year. This time however I needed to crack some ice off it and put the plastic sheet I had brought with me, on it. As it was still icy underfoot, I decided to add my clip on spikes to my boots, which was a very good idea in these conditions.
I intended to start on 20m with the hope of some late long path into VK, but it was too late. Then I saw that Hans PA3PYG was active on DM/BW-159 on 40m as DL/PA3PYG/P so I went over to 40m and after a couple of calls managed an S2S. I then went onto 20m and the contacts came thick and fast. When they dried up I went back to 40m and again got a lot more contacts there. QRM was not nearly as bad on these bands as I have experienced in the past and the Ramsey amp, seemed to give that little extra “punch” with reports being most 5-9 both ways. Once the flood on 40m ran out, I decided to try some other bands and got one contact on 15m with Jack OH3GZ (thanks Jack) but I could not raise one contact on 10m. On 15 & 10m I was only running 5W as my amplifier wont work that high but I also could not hear anything much on these bands so I guess the conditions were simply not there. I then had a final session back on 20m, picking up a couple of the regulars that I had missed before and then packed up, happy with the mornings efforts.
Aerial-51 model 404-UL asymmetric dipole.
6 metre squid pole.
Ramsey QAMP, modified to cover 40m & 20m (not used on 15m or 10m).
Green plastic sheet.
Clip on spikes for boots.
A very successful activation, however towards the end when the equipment had got really cold, the RF VOX switching in the Ramsey amplifier started “chattering”. I will need to increase the capacitance across the relay coil to stop this happening while not keeping the Tx on too long under normal temperatures.
73 ’til the next Summit!