On the SOTA reflector, there was a suggestion to get out onto SOTA summits and activate on 2 metres and as Sunday 7th. August has the 70cm & 2m sections of the “Bayerisches Bergtag” this seemed a safe option, that would be activity around. This section of the BBT only runs from 09:30 to 12:00 UTC so that pretty well defined my planned operating window. For equipment, I decided to take my 2m Moxon antenna and a short (hand-held) mast along with the FT-817. I would also take along the normal HF kit ( Squid pole, OCF, small amplifier etc) in case I got no contacts on 2m.
My plan was to activate Irschenhausen DL/BE-094 as I hadn’t activated that (local) summit this year yet to get its one point. As you will read below however, plans changed and I ended up back at my most often activated summit Berndorfer Buchet DL/AM-180.
Berndorfer Buchet is the hill overlooking the village of Paehl which is at the bottom of the Ammersee (one of five lakes near Munich). It is at worst 45 minutes drive from my home QTH near the town of Landsberg am Lech it was on my route to Irchenhausen, about another 20 minutes drive via Starnberg.
There is a car park on the side road to Kuflatsch and then there is about a ten minutes walk along the forest tracks and up the side of the mount to the summit. The views from the summit are limited as it is a wooded summit, so lots of trees block what would otherwise be some nice views.
It was a sunny day (at last) and the wife asked if I could drop her off at the lake side on the Ammersee and pick her up on the way back. This was basically on my route, so no worries there. After dropping her off, however the problems started. One bottleneck in my route is the town of Diessen and on THIS particular day, they had decided to run a flea market! The combination of the heavier than normal traffic because of the good weather and this flea market with no adequate parking arranged, mean that the town was blocked. There were also trucks trying to get through. Needless to say my available time quickly drained away and I threaded my way through this mess. Then I heard in the radio that a section of the autobahn near Starnberg, which I had planned to use was blocked and to allow an extra 35 minutes for journeys. While I could have taken back roads and avoided the autobahn, others would be doing the same. So the decision was quickly made that once I got to the end of the road up to Berndorfer Buchet, I would not drive past it but rather down it and activate from DL/AM-180 once more.
Once I arrived at the summit, the Moxon got unstrapped from the rucksack, attached to the small pole and set up provisionally in a tree stump while I unpacked the FT817, plastic ground sheet, log book etc. Checking Sotawatch via Rucksack radio Tool, I saw some SOTA activators already spotted but on HF not 2m. I decided to first of all try 2m. I tuned around and indeed there were a couple of BBT contest stations on. Luckily I had foreseen the possibility that I might have to fall back to Berndorfer Buchet and had noted down its Maidenhead locator as well ass that from Irschenhausen, so I had the data I needed for a contest QSO. I worked a very strong contest station, so I knew the equipment was working and then found a free frequency, self-spotted on SOTA and called CQ SOTA on and off for 10 minutes, without a single call. I then saw that Luc ON7DQ was spotted as active in LX – I listened for him, but heard nothing. Going by the contest stations I was hearing in DL, OE, OK & I – the propagation may have been there but only if Luc had been beaming in my direction and I in his. I trid some calls on 2m FM on 145.50, also with no takers.
I then carried on to work a few more SSB contest stations before packing up for my return journey including an extra 10km to avoid the traffic jams in Diessen.
PAR antennas 2m Moxon beam.
Short aluminium “holding” pole.
The activation showed me how easy it is to set up on 2m compared to HF but from a SOTA point of vew if the BBT contest had not been on, I would have got no contacts at all. The propagation was there – the 2m chasers were not.
73 ’til the next Summit!