June 11th, 2020, 08:50 – 10:00 UTC
My first activation of Hochfirst.
Wx: Overcast with sun from time to time, temperature approx. 14°C
Walking time: Zero, Hochfirst is a drive-on location
Ascent/ descent: almost 0 vertical metres
Rig: KX3 / 10W, 2.2Ah LiPo battery, Palm Pico Paddle
Ant: 22 m end fed wire with QRP L- Tuner as inverted L on a 6m- squid pole.
Condx on 30 metres and 40 metres were good with loud signals from all over EU and a small pile- up on each band.
k = 1, SFI = 71
31 CW QSOs on 40m
2 SSB QSO on 40m – 2 x S2S
32 CW QSOs on 30m – 1 x S2S
65 QSOs in less than 70 minutes net. operating time
One of the QSOs with DX.
The QSD when operating the paddles with my left hand persists.
How to get there?
From Titisee- Neustadt railway station, follow the road to the restaurant at the top of Hochfirst. There is a public parking lot with limited space up there.
Walk in the direction of the lookout tower and continue to the launch site of the gliders. Within a minute you have a nice view on Titisee.
For a long weekend we went to Black Forest with a few friends. At the arrival on Wednesday the weather was still rather bad with heavy rain and cool temperatures. Nevertheless, we dared a short hike to a nearby waterfall in the afternoon, when the rain took a break.
On Thursday morning the weather was still undecided with clouds and wafts of mist moving up and down the valleys. That’s why I chose the easiest summit on my to-do list. Should the weather change at short notice, I would have been in the car in a few minutes.
When I arrived at the parking lot around 8:30 utc, it was completely deserted. Also at the launch site of the paragliders I was alone for a while. So the decision for the portable QTH was made quickly: At a bench with a splendid view of the Titisee I set up the antenna.
Since 60 metres produced only a few QSOs in the past weeks, I started directly with 40 metres CW. At first, however, I was not able to submit a spot with SOTAgoat. Only after many CQs I managed to submit a spot via SOTLAS. Now, the activation picked up speed and the number of callers increased rapidly. It took almost 30 minutes until the pile-up ceased.
Then I switched to SSB, where two S2S QSOs went into the log (both on the same summit). Further S2S- QSOs were not available, so I QSYed to 30 metres CW.
After I submitted another spot, things went really well here too: There have never been so many QSOs on 30 metres. But the most amazing thing was the call from a station in the USA with loud signal.
When the pile-up slowly dried up, something happened that I had never experienced before: The KX3 warned me that the battery voltage dropped below 11V! At first I suspected a defective battery. Only later I realized that already 65 (!) QSOs were in the log. At 10 watts output power it was quite possible that the battery was completely discharged. For this reason I finished the activation quickly even before I could become QRV on 20 metres.
I dismantled the antenna, stowed everything in my rucksack and started the return journey. For the afternoon, the family had planned a hike through a gorge.
- The weather kept up and even gradually got better.
- 65 is the largest number of QSOs I ever made during a single activation.
- The QSO rate throughout the whole activation was > 1 Q/min
- Operating the paddle with my left hand again caused QSD. I’m not sure if I should continue this approach or return to using my right hand.
- For some reason I couldn’t alert nor submit a spot via SOTAgoat.
- No time to search for S2S or to operate on higher bands due to the high number of chasers.
- Battery completely discharged.
- Great view on Titisee.
It was lots of fun again. Thanks for the QSOs!