SOTA Activity Day: Weiherkopf – DL/AL-111 – 1655m

September 19th, 2020, 7:30 – 13:10
My first activation of DL/AL-111 and my longest activation so far.

Wx: Sunny all day, few clouds, max. temp about 20°C.
Walking time: 15 min up, 50 min down.
Ascent/ descent: 150 vertical metres up, 750 vertical metres down. Gondola not used for descent.

Rig: KX3 / 10W, 7.2Ah AGM battery, Palm Mini Paddle
Ant: 22 m end fed wire with QRP L- Tuner set up as inverted Vee on a 6 metre squid pole.

Condx on all bands seemed to be average at best. Summer is over and it is no longer possible to reach UK on 20 metres. 30 metres and even 40 metres is the more reliable band now. k = 0, SFI = 70

102 QSOs, thereof 1 x DX (W4)
53 S2S-QSOs, 40 unique summits, thereof 1 x DX (UA9)

Highlights:
Great SOTA- party with an incredible number of activators QRV at the same time. It felt almost like a contest.

Lowlight: None

How to get there?

Weiherkopf, DL/AL-111

Weiherkopf can be reached from Hörnerbahn in Bolsterlang. The ascent by gondola is € 20,50 (Sept. 2020) and saves 600 vertical metres. The remaining ascent (150 metres) is short but steep!

Activation report

Some time ago the idea of a SOTA activity day was discussed on the SOTA reflector. I liked the idea and scheduled an activation for that weekend.
Initially, I planned to be QRV from a local hill. But inspired by the SOTA holiday report of HB9DIZ, I changed my plans last minute. The choice fell on an easy to climb alpine summit: DL/AL-111.

I used my standard equipment for low mountains plus a larger battery which would supply power for at least eight hours.

Arrived at the gondola (Hörnerbahn) at 6:30 utc, just when it started service. It took 15 minutes to get to the summit station and another 15 minutes to reach the top.
As Weiherkopf is easy to climb, it can be crowded on weekends with good weather. That’s why I set up a bit aside from the summit cross, next to a group of trees.

Portable shack with magnificent view across the Iller valley.

Tactics:

I didn’t have a plan for this event except staying on the air as long as it was fun.
When the station was ready to go, I simpy followed my standard procedure and checked for available S2S-QSOs. Most of the stations, which were reported on the cluster system, could not be heard. So I started running on 60 CW and later QSYed to 40 CW. Then I tried 20 CW and finally 30 CW. I used the breaks during QSY to log the workable S2S.
After two hours I changed tactics and did S&P exclusively. There were a lot of activators QRV now. It almost felt like a contest.
After two hours of S&P, I went running on 20 CW again and QSYed on 40 SSB after a while. The CW contest bands were now too crowded because the SAC CW had started at 12:00 utc.
Finally tried to do some more S&P but with an empty mobile phone battery it was slow going. Hence, it did a final run on 60 metres before I ended the activation.

It was such a great day, I simply couldn’t take the gondala back to the valley and head home. I needed time to say goodbye to my favourite mountain range. Hence I walked back all the way to the valley.
The restaurant next to car park was open and the terrace was in the last sunlight. This seemed to be a hint: I just had to stop here, and do the wrap-up of the SOTA activity day with a cool Weissbier.

Conclusion:

  • Perfect weather
  • Great view across the Iller valley
  • Total time QRV: 5 hrs 40 minutes
  • Battery not fully discharged

It was an unforgettable day. Thanks to all participants and the organizers!

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