Activation Report DM/BW-854 Höchsten

Dear all:

Today, I did a quick activation of the newly added 8-pointer DM/BW-854 “Höchsten”, (838 M / 2749 ft), which is very easy to access. As of today, it only has two activations, which is natural considering that it has only been added to the list of SOTA summits by December 1, 2017. I bet it will become even more popular than Gehrenberg, DM/BW-348.

Map view: Google Maps

Directions and Approach:
There is a road getting directly to the nearby restaurant “Berggasthof Höchsten”". Best is to use Google Maps to get there, click here for a direct link.
From the parking lot, there are two routes to the actual summit, both are quick and easy and meet the 200m rule of summit access on foot of the SOTA program.

The actual activation zone is pretty large, because the summit is flat. There is a wooden watchtower on the top that might be used for activations in bad weather. I did not use that, because it was Sunday and I did not want to interfere with the many touristic visitors. Instead, I set up my antenna slightly below that tower in the direction to the large transmission station. But there is plenty of space for setting up your gear.

Equipment used:
Rig: Mountain Topper MTR-5B in my GoBox enclosure
Antenna: Hybrid EFHW with Traps for 40-30-20m and two links for 17m and 15m, based on a modified @HB9BCB design and inverted-L deployment as inspired by @WA6MM 's QRZ page (scroll to the bottom of the page).
Mast: Decathlon 6m carbon-fiber pole, 340g.

Activation Report:
This was a quick and successful activation. I went QRV on 40m at 11:48Z and immediately logged DL3HXX, DL2YBG, OK1ZE and OM1AX on 40m within 4 minutes. Since I had more time this time, I tried all available bands.
After 12 QSOs on 40 m with DL, OK, HB9, EA, and PA I changed to 30m by 12:07Z. Propagation on 30m seems to have been so good that I hardly found a free frequency, and changed three times because I had the impression the calling stations were trying to work someone else. Eventually, I gave up 30m at 12:10Z and changed to 20m. RW3XZ, @DL8DXL, and @G3RDQ went into my log. Geographically, quite a strange mix for 20m. I was a bit disappointed for a lack of further contacts on 20m. The QSO with G3RDQ was very rewarding for me, for we made it despite 229/529 reports.

At 12:22Z I changed to 17m and worked @GI4ONL and R7GD. Eventually, I also tried 15m, but despite spots, did not find any chasers.

At 12:40Z I closed the station.

All in all, a nice, rewarding activation on a sunny Sunday with a scenic view!

I wonder if I had made more distant contacts had I not operated in the shadow the watchtower, but leave it up to other activators to do better.

Mni tnx fer chasing!

73 de Martin, DK3IT

Station and Antenna:



Great timing Martin,

It looks like this will be the summit we’ll use for a group activation in June at Ham Radio Friedrichshafen and I was suggesting the Berggasthof for the SOTA Dinner this year and asked for information on the area from DJ5AV Michael as up to today, he was the only person to have activated the new summit.

You can see my questions (which you have answered in your report) here: Ham Radio Friedrichshafen 2018 - SOTA Dinner - #5 by ON7DQ

Thanks & 73 Ed.

Congratulations on your successfull activation Martin.

Where did you find this rule (of a minimum walking distance)?

73, Andy

Hi Andy,
you are right - I did not find the rule in the program documents. But I remember a Youtube video of a SOTA activation where people actually walked 200m on foot back and forth and it was explained that this was a requirement for summits with cable-car access.

If anybody could shed light on this (maybe Ed, @DD5LP?), this would be great.

73 de Martin, DK3IT

Hello Martin,

and congrats!

I did a similar summit today, After browsing through summits yesterday, I was surprised to see that there are un-activated 10-pointers in DM/BW.

DM/BW-853 Blankenhalde is not far away from my home-QTH, so I decided to give it a shot.

To my suprise this “summit” is only a short walk from the road and super-easy to access. One might wonder, how it got added. When comparing to my last 10-pointer, which was Mýrdalsjökull glacier on top of Hekla vulcano on Iceland, this summit is almost a joke.

Conditions on 40m were great, I managed to get 30 QSOs within 30+ minutes.

73 de Robert, DL5RT

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Hi Martin,
This question comes up time and time again. I’m sure the answer must be in the FAQs on the main SOTA webpage by now.

There is NO physical distance that one has to walk from your transport, specified in the General rules. Some (VK) associations did have a rule in their association manuals that equipment had to be carried into the activation zone but I believe they have all been removed in the meantime.

The only rule is that NO support may be provided from a motor vehicle. That’s not only power but also shade in summer or antenna mast support etc. The easy rule of thumb is once set up, can the wife drive off in the car down to the cafe or shops and you can still operate - if yes, then you are within the rules.

The rules are this open so as to enable disabled people, possibly in wheelchairs, to still take part as activators.

Some activators do like to include the fact that there needs to be a good walking distance, perhaps the 25 vertical metres of the Activation Zone, to the summit from where your transport stopped. That however is a personal rule of the particular activator and not a SOTA general rule.

73 Ed.


Hi Robert, yes, the December update brought to light a few new promising summits. SOTA Summits is also a 10-pointer that is waiting for a first activator with a car :wink:


73 de Martin, DK3IT

I believe you are entirely correct there, Ed. I think this is based on an historical misunderstanding about the intention of the general rules.

The background is that there was a sentence in the general rules some time ago indicating that the “final approach to the summit (or to the operating position?)” must be on foot, or that it must not be via motorised transportation, I don’t have any archived copies of it so can’t track it down. In addition, several associations had set up their ARMs to contain the requirement that the AZ must be entered on foot, interpreting the “final approach” to mean “entering the AZ”. That requirement was included explicitly in the original VK3 ARM, the first VK ARM created, and all subsequent VK ARMs inherited that wording.

However several years later (2015 or so?) I and others queried whether that was the intention of the general rules, and received the advice that it was not the intention at all. We subsequently removed that requirement from the VK ARMs and I believe many other associations did likewise. However some myths live on.

In summary, drive-ups are acceptable but the equipment and all parts of the station needed to be portable and had to be independent of any vehicle. I updated the page on SOTA to add the suggested test that if the motor vehicle was removed from the summit, the activation would proceed unchanged, confirming that it was not supplying shelter, power or antennas to the activation.

It follows that the same concept applies to summits accessible via cable cars, trams or helicopters. As long as the equipment used for the activation is portable and arrives at its operating position by foot/bicycle/ski (ie. carried by unpowered transport) it is perfectly acceptable. There is no minimum distance specified in the general rules. So you get out of your cable car or helicopter, carry your equipment over to the operating position and start setting up.

As you say, some activators have adopted a personal goal of always entering the AZ on foot, even backtracking from parking areas etc in some cases. Good on them. But that is a personal decision and not a SOTA requirement.

73 Andrew VK1DA/VK2UH
AM for VK2

The General Rules still contain the sentence:

“However, the use of a bike (non-motorized) or animals to enter the Activation Zone is permitted.” (3.7.1 item 3).

Now, this sentence gives permission and does not explicitly forbid anything. But given its presence, I think the casual reader could be forgiven for assuming that using a motorized vehicle to enter the Activation Zone was not permitted. What otherwise would be the point of including this sentence?


Martin, I enjoy them somehow, although they don’t offer spectacular views quite frequently – but they bring me to discover parts of your country and local culture I’d never seen without SOTA. I even tend to prefer this simplicity to a spectacular summit in the Alps.

And I’m also looking for the mentioned car (with a chauffeur, and no QRL), hi.

Vy 73 de Markus, HB9DIZ

Yes, and those easy ones are (1) good for training operating skills etc. for when it really counts and (2) are a little compensation for the more difficult ones that failed or semi-failed (like OE/VB-248 Formaletsch and OE/TI-104 Pirchkogel, two nice 10-pointers I failed to qualify)…


73 de Martin, DK3IT

Hi Martyn,
That’s an interesting point you make, I would suggest that the MT look at removing it in the next release of the general rules to avoid confusion.


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We should implement a special category for this kind of summits, I would suggest “Drive-In Summit” grafik

To answer the questions we get about whether this allowed.

IMHO the rules need good attack with a blue pencil to remove verbiage and padding. This should make them easier to translate.

If you are volunteering to redraft them Martyn, download a copy and edit away.


Ah, that just adds a bit of spice to the task! I thought I had it as a .doc or .rtf but can’t see it. I’ll get an editable format sent to you by email.

PDF documents can be converted to word and other editable formats for free by using this website:

73 Ed.

I just converted the General Rules from April 2015 (not sure if that’s the latest but it’s the PDF I had handy) - conversion to DOC created a corrupt file, creation to ODT worked and is editable and of course Open Office can export to PDF to create a new version.

No rush. Whilst I’m in principle up for this, there is no prospect of any work on it in the immediate future.


Hi Robert, all

FYI: @HB9EKO and @HB9BQU filled that gap over the weekend and activated DM/BW-852 on Saturday and Sunday.

73 de Martin, DK3IT

I think that is a bit too negative, maybe “Easy Access Summit” or “Quick Win” would be more appropriate?

73 de Martin, DK3IT