The purpose of this activation was to test out the extension I had made to my linked dipole to cover the Sixty Metre Band (5.3MHz) that Germany gained in late december as a result of the World Radio Conference in 2015 (WRC15). This band is only 1KHz wide (5.3515MHz – 5.3665MHz. At the moment some countries have this new band while others (such as the UK) have other odd blocks of frequencies or channels. In the hope of a contact into the UK and to simplify things (and make sure I don’t operate out of band) I chose a few “channels” within the band and programmed these into my FT-817.
With everything ready antenna, rig and food, I decided it was tie to do an activation and while this was an experiment, I decided on DL/AM-001 Peissenberg, being a summit I know and only 45 minutes drive away from home. The weather forecast for Monday the 20th. was good, so I decided with an early start I should be on the summit at about the right time for propagation on 5MHz into the UK and with a little luck I might catch the tail end of the Long Path window down into Australia and New Zealand.
Peißenberg, or Hohe Peißsenberg to give it, its full name, sits above the village of Höhen Peißsenberg about half way between Weilheim and Schongau in upper Bavaria.
I had arrived and set up all of my gear by 0830 UTC. The drizzle had stopped but it was still quite cold with snow still in places on the ground (not what the forecast has said). In any case after manoeuvering the 10 metre mast around a little I managed to tie off both ends of the linked Inverted-V dipole to some handy points. Previously I would use the lower 6 metre mast but with the extra length, I need to get the centre up higher so that I could get the two ends of the dipole out in the restricted space that I had. I had had problems with the 10m mast collapsing into itself without warning on other occasions, so I was a little concerned that this might happen again, but I had to try. It was cold and the winds were getting stronger, so I needed to get a move on. I decided to start on 20 metres and had luck, my first contact was John ZL1BYZ in New Zealand. I was hoping for some more contacts from down under but as it turned out John was the only one. after another couple of CQs, with no successful responses I decided it was time to try out 60 metres. To do this I had to lower the mast and connect together again the 20m links so that the complete length of the wires were now in place as a 60 metre dipole. I switch to memory mode and quickly went through the channels I had programmed. Only hearing a couple of locals chatting on one frequency I went to one of my “international” frequencies of 5363.5 checked that no one was using the frequency by putting out a call asking if the frequency was in use – twice – no reply, so I spotted myself and called CQ. My first ever portable 60m contact was with Ingolf DG4FCN. Although he was about 5-4 the contact was difficult as there was QRM from another station just off my frequency. Later this station came and complained that he couldn’t hear his mate as I was “off-frequency” (i.e. not on a round number of KHz I guess and my little 5w from the FT-817 was flattening them). This will I’m sure remain a problem on this very narrow band as it appears some “channels” have been adopted for local natters in Germany. In my case, I realised that I could not simply tune the band while in memory mode and so I will need to look at somehow actually defining the 60m band in the FT-817. I moved to my other “International” frequency of 5.362MHz and put out another spot and call, this time I was called by Boyan S57AC and in this case band conditions did not make the contact very easy with his signal dropping into the noise, but we managed the contact and after getting no more calls I decided my experiment on this band was completed for the day but I’d try to grab a few more contacts on 20m before packing up. after seven more contacts on 20m, it also dried up and the winds by this time were whipping the antenna mast around somewhat, so I decided to pack up and head home. While pacing up the equipment and talking to a local walker explaining what I was doing, the mast self lowered (i.e. dropped into itself). This DX-Wire 10m mini-mast is not anywhere near the quality of the far cheaper Lambda Halbe 6 metre masts. I was lucky this time that the mast stayed up as long as it did. I may need to find a different location the next time I want to run 60m from Peissenberg, so that I can use the 6 metre mast instead.
SOTABeams bandhopper linked dipole modified for 60 metres.
DX-Wire 10m Mini-mast.
Modified QAMP amplifier (20W on 20m).
Thick plastic painters sheet
I am going to have to rethink operating frequencies on 60 metres to avoid QRM to and from other stations, while still being on a frequency that non WRC15 allocated countries can come onto.
The 60 metre modifications to the SOTABeams Band Hopper have worked VERY well and it seems just 5W from a good location puts out a strong signal on 60 metres.
73 ’til the next Summit!