From GM to DE in a few days

Activation report - 8 DE SOTA summits activated

By DL/G4BML/p

Equipment used:

Elecraft KX2 transceiver (10w)
40/20 EFHW antenna
6m SOTABEAMS carbon pole
11.1v 5.2ah li-ion rs battery
External mic and Palm pico paddle

I had a business trip planned to go over to Germany - this does happen quite frequently, but on this trip, I decided to make a weekend of it and take the family.

Thursday 12th October

Hohloh DM/BW-054

We arrived mid Thursday afternoon (12th Oct) after a very early start and 1 hour 20 minute flight to Frankfurt - this was little Lyra’s first time flying and she was very excited. Lucky for Martha and myself, Lyra enjoyed her time on the plane!

We picked up the hire car and drove to the hotel in ‘Forst’, to off load our luggage. There was a few scary moments on the way, but when I’d learnt to drive on the right-hand side of the road - things got a lot easier :rofl: we had a bite to eat, wasted no time and drove to our first SOTA summit, ‘Hohloh’ DM/BW-054:

This was a short 10 minute walk to reach a tall standing tower. Beside the tower was a wooden hut, luxury :slight_smile: so I set up my office in the hut while Martha and Lyra did some exploring and climbed to the top of the tower.

I managed to work 14 stations on 14-CW and a further 24 stations on 14-SSB. The bands were working very well. I also managed a S2S with Adrian @G4AZS who was funnily enough on GW/MW-026, my local summit back at home - thanks Adrian!

It was a massive weight off my shoulders only having to carry my SOTA gear instead of loads of medical supplies… many clothing items and spare radio pieces. My rucksack was left at home and my little waist bag was used - happy days!

Our first afternoon in DE was a success, we all had a look around together with the sun shining in the sky, and then made our way back to the car to head back to the hotel for tea.

Friday 13th October

Hornisgrinde DM/BW-019

Day number two resulted in me working until dinner time, and then having half a days holiday :slight_smile: so more SOTA was introduced. This time we looked for a summit where we could purchase some dinner on top. ‘Hornisgrinde’ DM/BW-019 showed up on the map, so that is where we went.
It began with a 1.4 mile walk up a tarmac road, the sun was out with not much cloud in the sky - great times! The temperature on top was 30 degrees with no wind in the air - perfect wx for a nice chilled activation.

Once we reached the top, a large maybe look out tower?? was looking down on us. I took a right to find a wooden building beside a nasty comms tower, this is where I set up. Martha and Lyra had plenty of things to keep them amused - it was a lovely place.

After working 14 stations on 14-CW, one being a S2S with Roman @DL3TU and a further 22 on 14-SSB, I packed up and went to find my girls. The wx was so nice, we spent most of the afternoon sat on a wooden bench eating pizza and cake :slight_smile: and then finished the day off with a beer!

Saturday 14th October

Brandenkopf DM/BW-067

Day three, and what a change in wx we had over night! Lucky for me, the summit planned for this morning was a drive on 10 pointer, yes I said drive-on 10 pointer, what we would give for one of these in GW :slight_smile:
It was approximately 1 hour 30 minutes drive in the pouring down rain, it felt like golf balls were hitting the car going down the motorways! I had to make this activation pretty quick, I needed to join in remotely on the RSGB convention board live discussion which began at 10:45 UTC.
I arrived at the summit and parked up, not wanting to get out of the car at the start - Martha and Lyra had to wait inside unfortunately. The waterproof coat was thrown on, and I ran like mad to hopefully find somewhere to shelter from the heavy rain!

I found a small kids shelter close to a park, this had to be my office for the next 20 minutes :rofl: I set up my station, took cover, and tried to spot… I had no data service or 4G at all! I walked around for 15 minutes trying to find 4G to spot myself getting more wet. I had no-one getting back to me on the radio, so a quick phone call was made to Kevin @MW0KXN, a good friend of mine, asking him would he spot for me. Kevin was with his wife Liz, who is very understanding :slight_smile: on their way down the motorway to Devon. Fortunately for me, Kevin was approaching a service station, so he said he’ll pull in and spot. Hahaaa, what a story, so Liz got the pen and pad out, wrote my details down ready to add a spot when parked up. I ended the phone call and began calling ‘CQ SOTA’ on 14.066 CW. The spot certainty worked, after 2 minutes I had a nice pile-up - thank you very much Kevin and Liz!!! I owe you one :slight_smile: I worked 15 stations before having to put a final call-out to make my remote appointment.

I had to drive approximately 5 miles to a small village where my 4G was restored - I had a successful discussion, and because of the heavy rain still pouring, we made tracks back to the hotel, calling for a kebab on the way for dinner.

After a couple of hours chilling, the rain stopped and the sun showed itself. We are not the type of family that can just sit in a hotel room all afternoon, so Martha said to me is there any walks we could do near-by… I had a look and found ‘Konigstuhl’ DM/BW-114 which was only a 40 minute drive from the hotel - so that is where we went that evening to watch the sun set, and do an activation.

Again, this was a drive-on summit, so I set up quickly in a small woodland just behind the car park making 1 contact on 14-CW (thanks Manuel @EA2DT) 20m had closed. I moved over to 7-CW and worked another 8 contacts, finishing on 7-SSB adding a further 6 stations to my log before packing up.

We then had a nice family walk around the area before it got too dark. Little Lyra was fascinated by the metal and wood sculptures on top, she wanted to take the robot home that was the size of 4 suit cases, hahaa.

Sunday 15th October

Katzenbuckel DM/BW-107
Hebert DM/BW-454

Day four, which came around very fast. Today we had two summits planned, the wx forecast showed no rain with warm sunny spells - this was about right except for two brief heavy hail storms we did receive - they didn’t last long though.

‘Katzenbuckel’ DM/BW-107 was our first target, this was a nice half mile up hill stroll which began on a rough tarmac road that turned into a forest track where we had our first taster of Autumn. Yellow and brown leaves were scattered all over the track, it was a lovely picture!
I set up just below the summit tower, it was quiet here, again in the middle of a wooded area. I managed to qualify working 16 stations on 14-CW with one being a S2S with Tony @M5OTA and a further 7 stations on 14-SSB with the last one being a nice S2S with a good friend from home, Matt @MW0KAX who was out in GW/SW.

It was then time to explore the tower with the family. We had fantastic views on the top before heading back down for brunch at the café / restaurant which sits by the summit car park.

The second summit of the day, Hebert DM/BW-454 was only a 30 minute drive from the first, and it was on route back to our hotel, so it would of been rude not to call and stretch the legs again :slight_smile: this was approximately a 1.2 mile walk through a forest, not much ascent at all! We did encounter a couple of heavy hail showers, but the trees sheltered us from getting wet.

At one point, we were tempted to climb into a little watch hut that were situated through-out the forest to shelter, but the steps going up to it looked pretty weak, so we used the trees instead.

This was a rather quick activation, we didn’t want the wx to turn for the worse again, we had no waterproof clothing with us. As soon as I was well within the AZ, I set up and put a call out managing to work 15 stations on 14-CW with a S2S with Stavros @SV2RUJ and 4 on 14-SSB managing to catch Matt @MW0KAX on his second summit of the day for a S2S - cheers buddy! A great day had, it was time to leave for the hotel and have dinner.

Monday 16th October

Kalmit DM/RP-302

Day five and six were both work days, but the wx forecast had predicted a very cold / frosty Monday morning, which usually means the sun will be out. I said to Martha shall we get up early and watch the sun rise from a summit called ‘Kalmit’ DM/RP-302 which was a local summit and only a 35 minute drive for us… I had to be back before 06:30 UTC to start work - so off we left very early. We found a large car park on top, the car was placed here and we began our short walk to the top to watch the sun rise, and of course - do a quick activation:

We achieved both goals, the sun lifted extremely bright in the sky which certainly warmed things up, and I managed to qualify the summit working 7 stations on 7-CW, unfortunately 20m was still closed. We then made our way down, and back to the hotel in time for breakfast before I started work - happy days!

Wednesday 18th October

Grober Feldberg DM/HE-003

Day seven of our DE experience was unfortunately our last day, it was time to leave to catch our plane back to G land, but before we did, of course there was a summit close to Frankfurt airport, ‘Grober Feldberg’ DM/HE-003. This was a drive-on 10 pointer again, wow! This made things much easier for us, so Martha and Lyra stretched the legs after a 1 hour 45 minute drive and I did a very quick activation before my battery failed and died - sorry everyone! I managed 12 stations in the log on 14-CW with one being a S2S with my good friend Kevin @MW0KXN (he didn’t have to spot for me on this one :rofl:) who was on G/DC-007 - cheers Kev!

I joined the family and we had a walk around before leaving for the airport and flying home :airplane:

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all the SOTA community for your great support - it was nice to work some familiar call-signs and also some new ones! I look forward to my next adventure, where ever it might be!

73, Ben
GW4BML

31 Likes

Congratulations once again Ben, Martha and Lyra. Another Great Adventure. Thank You for the Activations. Again very descriptive. Great Photography. A pleasure to read and view. Many Thanks Ben. Best Wishes to You, Martha and Lyra. 73. de Paul M0CQE.

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Which one do you use Ben ?

The adventures of the BML crew continue :slight_smile: and good that little Miss BML was ok flying

cheers
John

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What a fab family/work/SOTA Tour Ben. Feldberg was a lot quieter than when I was there on a Sunday in May. U couldn’t get in the top car park, it was solid with eaters there for their Sunday dinner and listening to the brass band. I had to drive back down the hill and park on the side of the access road. This meant I had to walk for 10 minutes to the operating position, but I’m not complaining as I also got a seated “shack” and 10 points!

Thanks for some great photos and summit descriptions to help other activators in the future.

73 Phil G4OBK

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Thanks for the kind words @M0CQE Paul - I must stop writing these long reports, I’d be able to climb more summits then, hahaaa! It was great to get you in my log on every occasion I believe - thank you! 73, BML

Cheers @M0VAZ John - the antenna I use is made by Steve @MW0SAW, it is definitely worth a try, I use nothing but now when out on a hill! If your interested, pop him an email. Yes, it’s great news that little Lyra likes flying, where next I wonder :slight_smile: take care, 73 BML

Thank you very much @G4OBK Phil - it was a great short SOTA tour which including some work :slight_smile: yes, Gerald @MW0WML said the same thing about the summit being busy, I was very lucky, but I’d of thought the cold had kept people away, plus it was on a mid-week morning I suppose. There are loving places in DE to set up your station, I am fond of the wooden huts! Looking forward to your next adventure - it must be due soon? Take care and 73, BML

Thank you very much all for the kind words and support!

73, Ben
GW4BML

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Thanks Ben. Who knows where little Lyra wings will take her next. Lyra the youngest to get an M7 ?

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You never know. I shared a video with our local WhatsApp group while in GM of Lyra holding the campervan 145-FM radio microphone calling ‘CQ SOTA, CQ SOTA, CQ SUMMITS ON THE AIR’ into it :rofl:

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Brilliant :slight_smile:

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It was great to work you, Ben! I knew you might be around, but thought I’d missed you.

I’d just set up, tuned around for a clear frequency, and put up a spot.
I watched the phone for a few moments to check that my spot had gone up and couldn’t believe it when I saw this:
Screenshot 2023-10-12 22.51.32

A quick tweak up the band, luckily you picked out the “GW” call straight away and the S2S was in the bag.
Back to my spotted frequency before anyone noticed ;o)

Thanks for another great report and photos,

73
Adrian
G4AZS

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That was perfect timing Adrian @G4AZS - you can’t get much better :grinning: thank you for flicking up the band to find me - your signal was very strong!

We are now in Q4 of 2023, you know what that means :grinning: 160m activations will begin soon once the clocks go back - would be good to make some more S2S contacts over the winter months.

Take care and 73, Ben GW4BML

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You’ve done that. Time to move on to 630m, no ?

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What a great report and wonderful family adventure.

Thanks for the S2S from Grober Feldberg, DM/HE-003.

This was one more small step towards Liz eventually coming to realise that she wants to take her licence :joy:

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My answer to you is: never say never :slight_smile: we will see! hahaaa. Being honest, I googled the details on what I would need when I read you post.

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You’ve done that. Time to move on to 630m, no ?

We fired up this T1154 tx / R1155 rx at our club last night on 40m (thanks to Bryan M0TXE for restoration and PSU build).

On its low range it covers 200 to 500KHz, but I wouldn’t like to lug it up a summit!

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You wouldn’t need an aerial, the noise the relays make in the T1154 can be heard for miles! :wink:

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Splendid Ben! When you had no 4G, why didn’t the RBNhole pick you up? Take it you didn’t have your garmin InReach with you?

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Cheers Fraser @MM0EFI - no Garmin came with me. I don’t need one when most summits have a road to the top and serve beer :slight_smile: I was just unfortunate on this one, the beer garden was closed.

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Looks like a great and very busy trip!

It was nice and sunny on Walton Hill G/CE-002 too at my end of our S2S on Sunday morning.

SunnyWaltonHillView

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A couple of familiar summits that I visited not that long ago.
A recommendation for a late afternoon/early evening activation would be Merkur (DM/BW-103) followed by a relaxing meal/drink on the restaurant terrace. :sunny: :sunglasses:

You don’t even have to walk as a funicular railway takes you all the way to the top.

That reminds me to finish my trip report…

73, Robert
M0RWX

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Well done !!!

73 de Iw0hk Andrea

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