We wanted to use the sunny weather for a trip to Gespaltener Fels. As I activated this summit already in spring, I didn’t plan an activation. However, the day before I saw several alerts from our friends in Switzerland. They intended to do a joint (socially distanced) activation of HB/AI-008 with the call sign HB15SOTA. ‚Their‘ summit lies within line of sight from DM/BW-147. So I took the FM handheld with me to say hello and provide a couple of S2S points to them.
When we took a short break on the way, I could already hear HB15SOTA running a pile-up on 145.550. However, no one there heard my calls. That was actually weird. I put it down to the missing altitude on my end and expected I would get a QSO from the top. But when we reached the summit, HB15SOTA could no longer be heard. I swapped the antennas but to no avail. Next I tried a couple of CQs but again: No QSO. Then I went to the north-western cliff of the summit and tried again. Now I got an answer from Andreas, DF1AKR in Villingen-Schwenningen, not too far away. We had a nice chat but afterwards no one else called in.
So I called it a day and joined the family who had already started lunch. The radio was still on, lying on my rucksack when suddenly a station from Switzerland called: „CQ SOTA“. It turned out to be HB9FUE on HB/SG-042. I quickly gave him a call. Patrick came back to me with a 4/4 report which wasn’t too bad considering the fact that I used a short rubber duck antenna. We exchanged summit details and season’s greetings. Then I listened to the following QSOs, trying to figure out which antenna was best. Surprisingly the short rubber duck appeared to provide the best signal (!)
– Missed the QSO with HB15SOTA due to unknown reasons. Manuel, HB9DQM, later mentioned that they had some local QRM. Maybe that’s why he couldn’t hear me.
– The comparison of a 10+ year old, homemade J-pole with two different rubber duck antennas produced completely unexpected results (short rubber duck performing best). I need to do some investigations on the old J-pole antenna!
– Perhaps I should purchase a MFJ-1714 or similar for future activations on 2m FM
It was lots of fun on a fairly new band (for me). Thanks for the QSOs!