Originally planned to be three summits to catch the last possible weekend for 2015 SOTA winter bonus points (the period finishes om March 31st.). After the second being very difficult due to hurricane force winds, I cancelled the third summit which was to be DL/AM-178 Ammerleite.
Preparation was only planning the activations to fit into my very tight weekend schedule, that I now have as I have a full time job again. Equipment used was the usual FT817, Ramsey QAMP amplifier, the Aerial-51 antenna and the 6m mast – all of which had had their batteries recharged and the tangles taken out of the antenna wire following the previous activation, so I was all set to go.
The locations had already been activated and report from those activvations can be found here:
Although the weather forecast was for some showers, the winds were the surprise. At my first summit DL/AM-176 Rentschen, although a little cold, it didn’t start windy but by the time I packed up the winds were extreme. The other problem for both of these activations, was that there was some contest on, on both 20 & 40m covering all of the band with S9+++ splatter. I had hoped to possibly get an S2S with Gerard VK2IO who was planning to be on Mt. Elliot (my old local summit) in NSW Australia. Whether we could have made a contact without all the QRM, I suspect not as the conditions were probably not good enough but by the contest stations destroying the band we will never know if we might have been able to make contact.
Despite the winds at Rentschen, I decided to try for the next summit, Kernberg, anyway in the hope that the winds might die down, When I arrived it was not too windy however it didn’t take long for them to build up. Blowing my ruck sack off the bench at one point (and it is quite heavy). I struggled to even get the required 4 contacts at this summit. After the third contact the squid pole decided to drop down from 6 metres to about 3 metres but I didn’t think it worth fighting my way to the mast to put it up again, given that it probably would come straight back down again. Hence that Swedish contest station that was my forth contact had to realky work to hear me (despite that he still gave the contest standard 5-9 report!). Along with the winds and the contest QRM, I also had major problems with Rucksack Radio Tool, the application on my phone that I use to spot myself with and see which other activators are out. By calling and giving a contest station a point, I eventually managed the required 4 contacts. I may have done better if I had connected up the Ramsey amp on Kirnberg as I had on Rentschen but that would have been more equipment out to be blown away, never to be seen again!
It’s hard to tell from the short film however it was really windy on Kirnberg, so much so that if I did not fasten or hold everything down, it would have blown away!
Aerial-51 model 404-UL asymetric dipole.
6 metre squid pole.
Ramsey QAMP (only used on Rentschen).
It is always best to air on the side of caution. There were times on Kirnberg when the winds were so strong that it was dangerous. Going on to Ammerleite would probably, at the least, ended up with some broken antenna equipment.
The use of the Ramsey Amp does help getting through, especially when there are contests on.
Never assume everything will work properly. After working perfectly for many activations, RRT kept aborting meaning I had to try up to 10 times before I could get a spot out as the program kept failing. I think this was due to lack on 3G signal, but the program shouldn’t abort for that reason.
,73 ’til the next Summit!