After failing on these two summits over the previous week, I was determined to bag them, before the winter bonus ran out. This was to be two “normal” activations, not trying for long path into VK and not trying out new equipment. So the standard FT-817 + home made amplifier + Aerial-51 OCF antenna (I used this antenna rather than the trapped dipole as that one still has the 60 metre extensions on it and hence needs more space for installation) were packed ready.
Please refer to the previous two blog entries.
These turned out to be two of the quickest activations that I have ever made, not because of the weather, although that wasn’t very pleasant with a constant wet mist hanging around, not because of a tight timescale, rather because after working about 8 chasers in 8 minutes on both summits, there were no more chasers!
The drive to Auerberg, the first summit of the day went well, although the last kilometre or so was at a snails pace due to the fog on what is a narrow road. When I arrived in the car park, I was able to calmly collect together the two bags of equipment and stroll up the hill and around to the back of the church where I had set up many times before. One bench had gone but the one still there made a satisfactory spot for the station. The fence posts gave their usual service as mast support and ties off points for the ends of the antenna.
Once up and running after a spot there was a pile-up of many of the usual chasers, whom I worked through and then after one last call, just caught Holger OE7HPI in the noise (too close for HF) but after that no more chasers, so I packed everything up and headed back down to the car.
Once back in the car, I decided to let the Navi tell me the route over to Weichberg – I would have normally simply headed back into the village and then taken the normal road between the two villages Bernbeuren and Rettenbach but the Navi decided to take me cross-country along narrow one-lane roads, past farm yards and other businesses, but it got me there. Next time I’ll take the simpler route which I suspect although longer, would have been quicker.
The weather didn’t improve by the time I got to the car park for Weichberg and the mud on the walking track up through the trees was worse than the day before, but still passable. On arriving, a group of what looked like builders were just leaving, having been into the small chapel on the summit. Some trees have been cleared over the last year from Weichberg, so it was good that I had brought my screw-in base to support the mast and again the Aerial-51 antenna was quickly up and the station laid out on the convenient picnic table and I was on the air. By this time 40 metres was a little busier and signals in general 1 or 2 S-points stronger than at Auerberg. After again eight contacts (some of them followed me from the earlier summit) the flow of chasers ran out and I decided as the weather was still cold and wet, to pack up and head back home arriving a good 1.5 hours earlier than originally planned.
I monitored the internal LIPO in the amplifier on both activations and all 4 cells appeared to discharge at about the same rate, so I’m not sure whether the problem that I had about a week ago was just a fluke or the alarm board that I had connected may have caused the problem?
Photos – Auerberg:
Photos – Weichberg:
Aerial-51 OCF wire dipole antenna.
LambdaHalbe 6m Mini-mast.
Modified QAMP amplifier (35W on 40m).
Thick plastic painters sheet
Going back to a reliable band and using known equipment can ensure a quick and problem free activation. This is nice for a change but I’d still like to try the J-Pole antennas out again once the weather and radio conditions get a little better.
73 ’til the next Summit!