May 31th, 2020, 10:10 – 12:50 UTC
My fifth activation of Farrenberg.
Wx: sunny with occasional clouds, temperature approx. 18°C
Cycling time: approx. 90 min. up/ 60 min. down
Ascent/ descent: approx. 900 vertical metres/ 24 km one way
Because of the CQ WPX CW contest taking place at the same weekend I tried to avoid the contest bands.
Condx on the higher bands were dominated by sporadic E with loud signals from all over Europe. 30m and 40m produced loud signals and a good pile- up.
60m was disappointing with no callers at all. k = 1, SFI = 71
Rig: KX3 / 10W, 2.9Ah AGM battery, Palm Pico Paddle
Ant: 22 m end fed wire with QRP L- Tuner as inverted L on a 6m- squid pole.
10 CW QSOs on 12m
5 CW QSOs on 17m
1 SSB QSO on 20m – 1 x S2S
17 CW QSOs on 30m – 3 x S2S
13 CW QSOs on 40m – 1 x S2S
1 SSB QSO on 40m – 1 x S2S
1 CW QSOs on 60m – 1 x S2S
1 SSB QSO on 60m – 1 x S2S
How to get there?
From Talheim, follow the road to the glider air field. Park the car at the parking lot (Wanderparkplatz Andeck, 688m).
Continue uphill until you reach the buildings of the air field. From there, follow the trail to the north- western rim of Farrenberg (Bismarckskopf) with a nice view onto the valley.
Farrenberg is my favourite summit for several reasons: It is close to my home, it is big enough to set up a whole antenna farm if required and it is never too crowded.
Because it’s so close, I started going there by bicycle. It’s about 24km one way.
The weather forecast had announced nice and sunny weather for the weekend. I wanted to use this for an activation. Farrenberg should be my destination again. So the car could stay in the garage and I had a nice bike ride on top.
On Saturday I received an email from Markus, HB9DIZ, who wanted to arrange a Summit- to- Summit QSO for Sunday. Such a nice offer is always welcome!
I had planned a little too little time for the route. As it turned out on the way, the paths were not always clear and I had to look at the map more often than expected. So the time until the planned arrival was short, but just before noon I arrived on Farrenberg.
With a view to the starting gliders I first had a proper lunch. Then I set up the station and was QRV, just when Markus reported ‚QRV‘ from Brandchnubel. We arranged a frequency on 60 m SSB and had the first S2S- QSO of the day. It’s always a pleasure to chat with a friend!
My subsequent CQ calls on 60 m CW remained unanswered. The absorption of the D-layer was probably too strong to provide a useful signal at that time of the day.
Because of the CQ WPX CW contest I wanted to avoid the 40 metre band and the 20 metre band. The expected QRM during such a big contest would probably have ruined all joy.
Instead, I continued the activation on 30 metres. There were numerous chasers who all had loud signals. On 17 m and 12 m the number of callers was a bit lower, but they were also fairly loud.
The activation could have ended at that time, but I wanted to work some of the other activators that were out in the mountains today. So I spent the next 30 minutes or so looking for S2S QSOs.
When there were no more stations to find, I ventured to 40 m CW after all. There were indeed ranges, which were free of Contest- QRM and so I decided to make a few QSOs there quickly. The effort was rewarded with a small pile up and a dozen QSOs in the log. On 20 m CW I was less successful. The band was packed with contest stations and my CQ calls remained unheard.
Then, after a last S2S- QSO in SSB on 20 m we packed up. At the end I had a long and very nice talk with a couple who had been following my activation closely for some time. They surprised me with detailed questions about all aspects of our hobby. A really nice end of the activation!
- Operating the paddle with my left hand is slowly improving. QSD was less pronounced than during my previous actiations.
- Due to the high D- layer absorption, 60 m seems to be not the best choice during summer.
- Network coverage on Farrenberg was poor at times.
- Chasing S2S in SSB with only ten watts can be challenging. Repeating the call sign over and over again is not unusual. This – in turn – might upset other visitors on the summit. The solution is quite simple: Use the KX3’s internal voice memory!
- Hikers may become aware of you during your activation.
Most of them are open to amateur radio if you approach them in an open and friendly manner. With some info material you can promote our hobby after the activation. For this reason I designed my own flyer (Link)
It was great fun again. Thanks for the QSOs!