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Chances for 2m FM activations in Inn Valley/Tyrol/Austria?


#1

Hi all,

for a few upcoming skitouring activities where a CW/HF activation is not feasible, I am considering to carry a 2m FM handheld with me. How likely is it to make 4 or more contacts from there, in particular on weekdays? As usual, I will have very limited time on the summit.

I would post alerts and maybe even take a break from my self-imposed “no self-spotting-via-cellphone” regime or spot via APRS2SOTA.

Which frequencies are best for 2m in Tyrol?

As for the antenna, my default is a Diamond SRH701 (ca. 25 cm long). I could try to get a somewhat longer antenna (40 - 70 cm), as long as it can be left mounted on the Yaesu VX-8 (which I will attach to my rucksack). I have better VHF/UHF antennas (like an HB9CV), but they would need a pole and then a CW/HF activation will be as fast.

Any recommendations?

Mni tnx es 73 de Martin, DK3IT


#2

Hi Martin,

I have used a 2m handheld in Austria but from around St Wolfgang, which gave me some coverage into Germany. Using only the rubber duck on an Icom ICT-70E I succeeded in two of the three activations I attempted, with only 3 QSOs on the third when I ran out of time. At the time I wasn’t able to self spot. 145.5MHz seems to be the unofficial SOTA frequency in OE.

73
John
G4YTJ


#3

Hi Martin,

Can you be a bit more precise with summits?
I would guess that if you can reach Innsbruck or over to Bavaria I would give it a try.

Maybe a J-Pole wire antenna (like. the one from http://lambdahalbe.de/drahtantennen/2m-70cm-duoband/index.html ) mounted between both touring skis could be useful.

145.500 of course the standard call channel. I usuall start here and QSY if it’s in use. I know that some areas in OE have preferred SOTA frequencies on 2m but not sure about Tyrol. Maybe Sylvia can help @OE5YYN

73 Joe


#4

2 m activations in the Tyrol can be a bit tricky although not impossible I would say. I would definitely start calling on 145,500 as there are more people standing by on this frequency. Chances are clearly better at weekends when more hams are on the air but we’ve also had some activation attempts without any replies :unamused:
To be on the safe side you should try to get coverage into Germany or Upper Austria :wink:
Good luck!
73, Sylvia
OE5YYN
AM for OE


#5

Dear all:
Thanks!

@OE5JFE: I will be in the Sellrain area, so potential summits are

  • Lampsenspitze, OE/TI-236 (strangely, this is listed as valid in sotadata.org, but does not show up in the sotamaps, BTW)
  • Pirchkogel, OE/TI-104
  • Rietzer Grieskogel, OE/TI-095

an maybe a few other in the area.

@OE5YYN: Thanks for the realistic assessment. My guess is that the summits north of the Kühtai saddle might allow a contact into the greater Innsbruck area, but the southern summits will be difficult for a 2m activation with minimal equipment.

I am also unsure whether I will really be faster with a 2m FM handheld - I think I can now set up my CW station in 2 - 3 minutes and bag 5 - 8 QSOs in less than ten minutes, as long as RBNhole works and a sufficient crowd of chasers arrives. But since all the summits are 10-pointers that is not too unrealistic.

I guess I will only take the FM handheld with me when I have no hope for a HF/CW activation, maybe with a slightly better antenna.

Again, mni tnx fer info!

73 de Martin, DK3IT


#6

OE/TI-236 Lampsenspitze is not the one in Sellrain. That one in Kühtai was invalid and had to be cancelled.
We’ve done all these summits pre-SOTA - lovely skitour mountains :slight_smile:
However, when we are not sure if we can bag a particular summit on 2m FM we usually take Peter OE5AUL’s very light telescopic 20-m antenna with us that does not require any extra setup but can be just extended out of the rucksack in one minute. There might be better antennas but it does it’s jobs for quick winter activations.
We activated some areas in East Tyrol some years ago where there we hardly managed any FM contact and had to resort to HF solely.

Enjoy the skitours!
73, Sylvia
OE5YYN


#7

I’d also recommend giving yourself the best chance on 2m by using something like a Slim-G antenna (compact J-Pole) on top of a fishing pole (I’ve used both 8m standard and 10m compact Sotabeams).

Slim G antenna

I regularly get 100+ mile contacts.

Regards, Mark. M0NOM


#8

The summit “Lampsenspitze” (west of Praxmar) you are talking about is no valid sota summit. It has only a prominence of 141m … so 9 meters are missing!

The summit OE/TI-236 you found in the database is located in the Karwendelgebirge west of Schwaz:

@OE5YYN: the correct name of OE/TI-236 should be “LAMSENSPITZE” (without the “P”) … so please note this one for the next OE-update!

73 Martin, OE5REO


#9

thanks all, will try OE/TI-104 (Pirchkogl, 10 points) tomorrow around 10:30 UTC on 7.031-cw, maybe 10.118-cw and 14.060-cw. call will be oe/dk3it/p.
it will be a short activation and might not happen at all. thanks fer trying to chase me there!
73 de martin, dk3it


#10

Here is my activation report for OE/TI-104:

We did a few nice other summits, like Lampsenspitze and Wetterkreuzkogel, but both are unfortunately not SOTA-worthy.

More next time :wink:

73 de Martin, DK3IT


#11

Whether in Austria, Germany, or elsewhere: Find out whether there are “meeting frequencies” of local radioclubs, and if so, whether there is regular activity on them. At such times, you can easily manage some QSOs. Even outside the regular Sunday morning or Friday evening nets, it is worth listening in on these frequencies, as they may offer a greater chance of a QSO than calling on 145.5 MHz, depending on the location.

As for “non-SOTA summits”, it may still be worth calling CQ from them, in particular if they are in a WWFF area or if there is a castle or any other item of interest to “wallpaper chasers”.

73, Jan-Martin


#12

FYI, I will try Rietzer Grieskogel, OE/TU-095 (10 Points) tomorrow around 12:00Z.
From the summit, I will operate on 7-cw (if there is a lot of contest QRM, likely around 7.002 MHz). I might also have my FM rig with me, monitoring 145.500 FM.

73 de Martin, DK3IT


#13

Hi all:

Just a quick update and summary of my experiences: APRS on 2m does not make a lot of sense for the majority of SOTA summits in the Stubai/Sellrain region near Innsbruck. On 4 - 5 trips to summits in that region, I carried my VX-8 with 5 W and used with a Diamond SRH-771 SMA better-than-factory antenna with me, attached to the upper part of my backpack and sending out beacons frequently (1 … 5 minute intervals).

Only on two summits by signals were heard at all by at least one I-Gate and made it into aprs.fi, but only when I was already on the very summit (plus/ minus a few minutes). The part of my trip that was observable via aprs.fi was only a few minutes of 4 - 8 hour hikes.

I think the main problem is

  1. A lack of I-Gates and digipeaters in the region and
  2. The topology with steep valleys and remote summits (also cell-phone coverage is often very bad).

On one occasion, I was able to listen to a CQ call on 145.500 but could not answer because I was busy with my group.

The bottom line for me is that it does not make sense to carry my handheld FM rig for similar trips, because the gain for chasers is very limited.

73 de Martin

PS: You can analyze the few raw packets on aprs.fi if you want - the SSID was DK3IT-7.


#14

There’s the rub. It will always be difficult to do several things at once. You may keep carrying the HT on group hikes nevertheless, because it offers an additional means of communication. But as far as I know, group hikes always follow some sort of “timetable”. At least there will be time restrictions, and times when you will be busy with other things than your radio. I guess you will need to prioritise - are you primarily out for a hike, or for QSOs? If the latter, go alone or with companions who are also interested in ham radio, or understand your passion for it.


#15

i[quote=“DL2LFH, post:14, topic:16703”]
I guess you will need to prioritise - are you primarily out for a hike, or for QSOs? If the latter, go alone or with companions who are also interested in ham radio, or understand your passion for it.
[/quote]

Hi,

as I explained here, there are many summits that you cannot reasonable do as a solo trip, because you need others for safety or technical reasons. Except for very trivial summits, I would argue that going solo is in general not the best of ideas when mountaineering.

SOTA is a great hobby, and you can approach it from the mountaineering or from the ham radio perspective. I think we should respect both camps.

73 de Martin, DK3IT


#16

Of course. Safety first! The choice of company is even more important in such cases, and has been discussed on the page which you have cited, as far as I can see.

Due to the way VHF simplex has gone over the years, a “smash-and-grab” VHF activiation is not easy, in particular if you don’t/can’t announce it (e.g. because it is difficult to estimate the time of arrival). It may not always be possible to be in the right place at the right time for QSOs due to the weather, the conditions of the paths and so on. We’ll have to live with that.