Bussen is the summit that I had originally planned for the VK-EU SOTA S2S event the previous Saturday but as I wasn’t feeling 100% the early rise and long drive was not attractive. As the weather improved (spring has arrived – maybe…) I decided I should try to activate Bussen BM/BW-484 with its 8 activation points before the end of the winter period to grab was I thought were it’s 3 winter bonus points. But on the 15th. March, when I got up, I checked and realised that since 2009 Bussen no longer gets any winter bonus points but as all was prepared I decided to make this a 60 metre and 40m activation as I had completed the needed mods to my FT-817ND to enable it to operate on the new WRC15 60m band.
Equipment to be used would be the FT-817ND plus amplifier for 40m and the SOTABeams linked dipole that I modified a few weeks ago for 60m. I also packed the screw-in base, that had worked so well at Berndorfer Buchet, and Rentschen (although I found a great “natural” mast support as it turned out). I would not bother with the unreliable DX-Wire 10m mini-mast on this activation rather, stay with my old, trusted LambdaHalbe 6m one.
Bussen is an 8 point summit roughly half way on a line between Lindau and Stuttgart. According to Google it’s between a 1hr. 40 min and 2hr. drive from my home location, depending upon traffic. Bussen, with its church and castle ruins can be seen from all around the areas on its 767m high hill in what otherwise is a relatively flat area. The views from the summit are awesome when the weather is clear, which it was for the first time for me on this activation, my previous two activations were either in fog & rain or snow. access to the summit is restricted for vehicles and so one needs to park in the car park below the hill and walk up what is a very steep hill to the church and then across to the grassy area between the church and the castle ruins, where the trig point stone is also located.
I had decided to set off a little later so that I had time to take the dog for her walk before I left and as I was not trying to meet the long path propagation window, I was more flexible with the times. So at about 9:30am local time I set off, expecting to miss the heavy traffic as well. While this was mostly true on the Autobahn, I was surprised to see so many large trucks on the small country roads that would make up 3/4 of my drive. Being stuck behind a line of trucks, without any safe chance of overtaking them can be annoying however most of these truckers were driving at 60 Km/h or even 80 Km/h when they could, so the difference in time taken compared to running at the 100Km/h speed limit of these small roads was not that great. The journey to Bussen took almost 2 hours however the return journey was completed in just 90 minutes as there was far less traffic in the afternoon.
On arriving at the car park, I packed just what I thought I would need and left the screw-in base and the 10m mast (taken as a spare) in the car as previously I had managed to fasten the mast to the concrete and wood benches and tables and hoped to do the same again.
After slogging up the hill to the summit I arrived at the benches only to realise that the trees above them have grown more lower branches and these would be an obstacle to the mast and antenna. I decided to take a look at the other side of the park area away from the benches to see if I could find anything there as a mast support and was amazed to find a couple of concrete round hollow pipes in the ground, that while a little large, using the loose wood that was laid around as packing could indeed support the mast very nicely. This side of the park, being near the cliff edge, has less trees and I was able to find a good location for the antenna.
One “Ooopsie” as I was putting the mast up one section came out of the lower section and I was left with holding the mast and antenna with one hand and the mast’s bottom sections still sat in the ground! I knew I shouldn’t have cleaned the mast!! In any case – no biggie lowered the top sections with the antenna over to the ground, removed the antenna and then unscrewed the bottom cap off the bottom of the mast and slipped all the sections back into place. Re-attached the antenna and (carefully) up went the mast again, with no problems this time.
I was really happy with 60m. First of all I thought I would not have a chance to use one of the just two frequencies that overlap between the UK “bandlets” and the IARU WRC15 band. One of the frequencies had some kind of radar interference on it, the other had a CW operator. Oh well I thought – if the CW Op doesn’t get a response – which he didn’t, I’ll take that frequency, spot and call CQ – the result was 8 contacts. One into Slovenia, two Switzerland, two England, one Germany, one Ireland and finally one Belgian station! After switching to 40m, it was crazy! 37 contacts in 37 minutes, including 2 S2S and 2 Special Event stations! It looks like conditions are particularly good around lunchtime on 60 metres as all the stations were booming in and I was getting loud reports as well (remember 60m is a maximum of 5 watts rig output for 15w EIRP at the antenna for WRC15 countries).
SOTABeams linked dipole modified for 60 metres.
LambdaHalbe 6m Mini-mast.
Modified QAMP amplifier (35W on 40m).
Thick plastic painters sheet.
A nice activation where 60 metres performed very well around lunch time.
When considering winter bonus points, make sure I read “the small print”!
73 ’til the next Summit!