With the turn of the year, the counter had been reset and as the weather was fairly warm, I planned to activate two easy summits nearby.
The first destination was Wandbühl (DM/BW-041), which I reached after a 45-minute drive. The contrast compared to January last year could not have been more significant. Back then, there was half a metre of snow and it was a struggle to make my way to the summit. Now the temperature was around 10°C and no trace of snow.
Chapel near the car park at the road between Deilingen and Tanneck.
The climb took about 20 minutes and the set-up (in the lee of a ridge) was quickly done. Because the pile-ups had reached crazy levels lately, especially on 40 metres, I planned to activate the bands in the order 20 - 30 - 40 metres. This way, I hoped, the chasers would be more evenly distributed among the bands.
The start on 20 metres CW was impressive: 23 QSOs in 18 minutes. That is considerably more than usual. Surprisingly, however, after QSY on 30 metres not a single station came back to my CQ, although I called for ten minutes.
In the meantime, some activators had appeared on the bands and so I took the opportunity for some S2S QSOs. Here, the biggest challenge is to make your QSO before other chasers notice. Otherwise, you may have to wait a long time for your QSO when operating QRP.
Finally, time was pressing for activation on 40 metres CW. Here an enormous pile-up formed within minutes, but the discipline was - unlike recently - excellent. It was possible to maintain a constant rhythm and more than 30 QSOs entered the log smoothly.
Half an hour late - compared to my plan - I started the walk back to the car park and the journey to Plettenberg (DM/BW-046). From the car park there, a paved track leads through the forest, taking the hiker to the summit plateau in 15 minutes. As the wind had picked up considerably, I set up the station somewhat sheltered behind tall fir trees.
Equipment: KX3, 10 Watts, EFHW as inverted-L with QRP L-Tuner, 6m squid pole.
After a sked on 40 metres SSB I took the chance to stay on frequency and was kindly spotted there by the OM. A brief but intense pile-up followed, which was terminated by a powerful station that started calling CQ right on top of my frequency. Nevertheless, more than 20 QSOs had entered the log in this short period and so I called it a day.
The activation continued on 20 metres CW (25 QSOs), 30 metres CW (3 QSOs - again unusually few!) and 40 metres CW (26 QSOs). The discipline in the pile-ups was very good and everything went smoothly for the most part. A really nice experience
Eventually it got cold and I started the tear down. Unlike the ascent, I chose to walk along the rim of the quarry. There are beautiful views on the way. At the end, a short but very steep descent back to the car park is waiting.
It was a great day with lots of QSOs and New Year greetings from good friends.
The SOTA year can’t start any better
73, hny, Roman