April 20th. 2019 was to be the next Summit to Summit activity event between UK/EU and the Americas and the propagation conditions seemed to have slowly improved over the previous week.
My initial plan had been to activate Wank DL/EW-001 above Garmisch Partenkirchen but then the wife said she wanted to meet up with her school friend and two nieces, so an amended plan was needed. The group from Munich wanted to come out to the Easter Market on the banks of the local lake Ammersee and also take a sail with the paddle steamer on the lake. This wasn’t too bad as a 1-pointer summit that I hadn’t yet activated this year was only about 40 minutes drive away from the lake, Irschenhausen.
As Irschenhausen is a forested summit, there was no reason to try to use the VP2E antenna as verticals simply don’t work in forests, so I decided to take the lightweight set-up of the 6m LambdaHalbe mast and the SOTABeams linked dipole along with my screw-in-the-ground sun umbrella base.
As this was to be an afternoon activation with me arriving at the summit at 1400 local time (1200 UTC), the gear would be packed the morning of the activation.
What could go wrong?
With the Easter road traffic, we set off a little earlier than planned, but the traffic on the back roads was not any worse than normal, so I managed to drop off Gabriele, my wife, 30 minutes ahead of schedule – never mind, this gives me another 30 minutes activation time, or so I thought …
On arriving at the parking spot for Irschenhausen, while unloading the gear from the car, my phone rang and it was the wife. The ferry that I had planned for the groups afternoon cruise following the visit to the market, wasn’t running and so the afternoon would be shorter and could I come back earlier than planned. Oh well, that’s life!
The walk to the summit took about 12 minutes. Upon arrival I could see three new wind turbines that seem to tower over the summit, however they are actually a few kilometres away on the other side of the autobahn. At this distance, they don’t appear to cause any RF interference – at least not on HF. I was soon set up and calling CQ SOTA on 20m. It took a little while until I got my first reply which was a ground wave contact with Mario DJ2MX in Munich. A couple of other European activators were on 20m as well and so I tuned to their frequencies. The one that I could hear had a pile-up that I couldn’t break even as a Summit-to-Summit contact, so I went and found a different free frequency and spotted myself and started the CQ SOTA calls again. In the end during the 45 minutes that I was active, I managed six contacts including one european S2S with Stavros SV2RUJ.
I was aware that I had about a 40 minute drive back to where I had dropped my wife off, so at 1230 UTC, I called it a day and started to pack up, at which point I got a call from the wife to say the friends were leaving and could she be picked up please.
So at the end of the day, at least I did manage an activation. Irschenhausen is an easy summit to access and doesn’t rely on any cable cars, so it gives you flexibility on timing.
- Xiegu X108G.
- Battery box (2 x 5000maH hardcase LIPOs).
- SOTABeams “Bandhopper” linked dipole.
- Screw-in Sun Umbrella base.
- 6 metre LambdaHalbe fibreglass portable mast.
- Smartphone PocketRxTx App and USB cable with various connection leads.
The propagation was not as good as the previous day and EU-US contacts were only possible late afternoon and early evening. Of course I was there far too early for this opportunity.
73 ’til the next Summit!