Planned Activations of OE/VB-001, Großer Piz Buin and OE/TI-035, Dreiländerspitze

Dear all:

Next week on Wednesday and Thursday, I will try to activate

  • OE/VB-001, Großer Piz Buin - 3312m, 10 Points, SOTA Summits
  • OE/TI-035, Dreiländerspitze - 3197m, 10 Points, SOTA Summits

OE/VB-001 has so far only been activated on VHF and OE/TI-035 will be a first activation.

My callsign will be OE/DK3IT/P, and the activation will be HF and CW only with a small chance of additional QSOs on 2m if time permits, but this is unlikely.
I will start with 40m and try 30 and 20 if time and weather permit.

Since both summits are difficult to reach and I will be with fellow climbers, I will have at max 30 - 40 minutes on the summit from arrival to departure.

As on the Badus, HB/UR-042, I will use minimal rubber-stamp contest-like QSOs in order to maximize the number of contacts.

I plan to use the following equipment:

If you hear me, please spot me.
If you work me, please, please QRS 10-14 wpm and give callsign and report at least twice, better three times. Redundancy is more efficient that asking for a repetition in my opinion.
If there is a pile up, please minimize QRM; the MTR has a very simplistic support for split-mode and I have not yet used in an actual QSO, and of course not during a hectic activation. I might not be able to go to split mode and might have to QSY as a last resort if the QRM gets too bad.

If you have any suggestions, tips, etc., please post them here!

73 de Martin, DK3IT


Hallo Martin

Hört sich super an! Machst du den OE/VB-001 am Mittwoch oder Donnerstag? Ca. um Welche Zeit wirst du oben sein und für wie lange? Ich werde am Mittwoch, zusammen mit Fred (DL8DXL) den HB/SG-040 und HB/SG-032 aktivieren, am Donnerstag ist ebenfalls eine Aktivierung geplant. Ein S2S wäre für mich sehr interessant, da ich den Grossen Piz Buin sicherlich auch irgendwann aktivieren werde. Natürlich wegen dem SOTA Komplet. Wirst du auch VHF QRV sein? Falls wir im Anstieg sind, wäre natürlich VHF praktisch, hörst du die 145.500 FM mit?

Ich wünsch dir jetzt schon einen guten Aufstieg, hoffen wir das WX passt. Ebenfalls bin ich auf die Details deiner “Antenne 2” gespannt.

vy 73 de Matt HB9FVF

Wir sind Di und Mi am Start, nicht Mi und Do…

Dear Matt,
the plan is to activate

  • OE/VB-001 Piz Buin on Wednesday, July 5, and
  • OE/TI-035, Dreiländerspitze on Thursday, July 6.

I do not yet know when we will be on the summit, because we are a group of four and their pace in altitude is hard to predict. Also, weather might require an early departure from the hut. I think we will be on the summit at 9:30 - 10: 30 UTC, but it can really be +/- 2 hours. The evening before, I will know more and will try to update the alert if there is Internet access on the hut.

Unfortunately, my time on the summits will be very limited because I cannot expect the others to wait for me for more than say 30 minutes, and we will only carry one rope for belaying, so I cannot stay longer than they.

S2S would be great, but I think it will be difficult to sync under these constraints. Let’s try nonetheless.

As for VHF: I am not sure I will carry a VHF radio with me. If my birthday present arrives in time, I will try to post my current position on APRS and might be available on 145.500 FM. But I have modest hopes, because if I remember correctly, the first half or so of the route is in a valley with no line of sight. But we will see.

Anyway, I will

  • try to update the alert the evening before and
  • try to use APRS to plot my position,
  • listen for dit-dit-dit-dit dah-dit-dit-dit dah-dah-dah-dah-dit dit-dit-dah-dit dit-dit-dit-dah dit-dit-dah-dit :wink:

vy 73 de Martin, DK

1 Like

Here is a quick description of the antenna 2 I will be trying:
Basically, it is a 5m vertical wire attached to the 6m mast. At 5 m comes a loading coil with 2 x 8 Turns, a choke (9 turns on a T50-77) and a BNC connector. There are 2 - 3 radials of 7 m each, deployed by simply laying from the coil at 1m. Having them in a straight line like in GP worsened the SWR.

For 40m, the full coil is used.
For 30m, only half of the coil is used and I might need to insert a small capacitor in series for resonance.
For 20, no coil is used an a capacitor in series.

For unexpected detunings, i can plug in a 10 - 270 pF variable capacitor in series and have brought down the SWR below 1.5 on all bands with this.

That is the idea :wink:

In the open field, it worked pretty well yesterday. In the vicinity of buildings, not so much. But I assume this is due to the low angle of radiation. Also, it picks up a lot of noise, but again, this should not be an issue on a remote mountain.

The EFHW with traps by Heinz, HB9BCB is more reliable and more efficient, but it needs a substantial space on the summit. For Piz Buin, OE/VB-001 this might work. For the Dreilaenderspitze, OE/HB-TI-035, I fear there won’t be enough space and you will be a nuisance to others on the summit.

Also, the vertical is faster to deploy, in particular in bad weather.

I did not measure the radials to resonance and rather rely on the choke to remedy the effects of suboptimal radials, because I will only be able to throw them out without much hope for adjustments.

I am still undecided whether I risk the activations with a new antenna, because if it detunes badly, I might be in trouble.

Probably, I will take my new T1 tuner as a backup. The loading coils will still be useful, because they should have (0.63 mm Cu wire) lower losses than the inductors in the T1 tuner.

Any suggestions?

73 de Martin, Dk3IT

Not enough space, really?

1 Like

Dear Heinz,
first of all: you know that I am one of the biggest fans of your EFHW design with traps. It has so far never let me down, ist relatively quick to deploy and supports not only 20 and 40 but also 30m, which can be crucial if QRPing is difficult due to ongoing contests.

My second-best antenna is the 40-20-10m EFHW based on the design by VK3YY in combination with my 3D-printed parts, see

It is very similar to the commercial products by LNR.

The good thing about that is that its total length is just over 11m and it can be operated nicely on a 10m DXwire mast with minimal footprint (maybe 2 m from mast to operating position for the small sloping end), and it works very well.

The bad thing is that it lacks 30m. While I designed an extra wire to be resonant on 30m, that means that a band change is a pain.

Now, the problem with the 16m EFHW is that it takes – slightly – more time to set up, occupies more space (with the risk of others running into your wires - think of 6 mountaineers from two parties on the same summit), and, and that is my problem with Dreilaenderspitze, OE/HB-TI-035, you have to walk from one end to the other to deploy the antenna end.

This is how the summit looks like:

You cannot easily descent to one of the faces to operate or even just to deploy one end of the antenna without significant effort for securing yourself. Of course, one could hang one end onto the cross and slope it back to a position on the path used for the ascent. The problem is that

  • there will be a fixed rope installed for the fellow climbers, with which I would interfere
  • I will spend extra time, because I will have to traverse that passage twice


A vertical seems much easier to me in such a constrained setting. I think I will use your design for the Piz Buin, because there is more space on the summit, and either carry a 10m mast and the VK3YY design with me or my new 6m vertical with loading coil and matching capacitors for the Dreilaenderspitze.

If it would be possible to shorten your 3-band design with traps from 16.5 m to say 11 m by increasing the inductance of the coils in the traps, that might be a super solution. Because it would be a true 3-bander and one would not face the earth losses of a vertical with suboptimal radials.

vy 73 de Martin, DK3IT

Sali Martin
That sounds very good. I’ll watch APRS where you are. Call sign DK3IT-7? Also I have your call sign now in the HAM-Alert. So I see immediately if you call the first time CQ. Of course, I’ll try to give it a s2s. If it is not possible, we will do a QSO with you, with the KX2 and a Wipe-Ant “on the way”…

vy 73 es daa-daa-di di-daa-di.di de Matthias HB9FVF

Just a quick update on my plans:

  1. As it looks today, I will try both summits, and the chances for a successful activation are pretty good, despite the not-so-good propagation.

  2. On my way to the hut, tomorrow, i.e. July 4, 2017, I will also try to activate OE/VB-021 Hohes Rad, another 10-pointer. I think I will be QRV by 12:15 UTC but will try to update the alert when starting the hike.

  3. My time on OE/VB-001 and OE/TI-035 will be very limited, at max 30 minutes including set-up and packing down, so I will focus on short, contest-like CW QSOs. I will try to take on as many calls as possible, but time is a hard constraint due to the nature of the summits and the fact that I am in group of four climbers. Also, the weather for Thursday is pretty unstable.

  4. I will be carrying a VHF radio with APRS with me and might be QRV on 145.500 FM and you might be able to track my path at - live APRS map. This is uncertain, however, since the radio is new and I do not know whether I will manage to set it up on my way. I have only a small antenna with me and will not spend scarce time trying to activate the summits on 2m, which is IMO a rather hopeless attempt without an additional antenna.

  5. For all three activations, I will try CW on 40m first in order to qualify. If there are no chasers left, I might try 30 and 20 m afterwards. If 40m is overcrowded, I will quickly move to 30m.

  6. Please, please:
    ** If you hear me, spot me. There is likely no cellphone coverage on the summit and I will not self-spot me via a data-connection from the summit. I might try APRS2SOTA, but since I haven’t done this before, this may not work.
    ** Please, please QRS 10 - 14 WPM. Please give your call at least twice, better three times.
    ** Should a pile-up develop, I will likely have to QSY to reduce the crowd, because the split-mode on the MTR3B is very simplistic and I have not yet used it. I might try, but again, since time is limited, I will give fail-safe options priority.

Thanks in advance for chasing me on those three summits!

73 de Martin, DK3IT

Kein Problem, bin Morgen auf SOTA-Tour. Ich sehe auf dem HAM-Alert sobald du CQ rufst und werde dich umgehend Spoten. Wenn es schnell gehen muss, ruf mich ein paar Minuten, b4 du auf dem Gipfel bist auf 145,500 FM an, ich werde QRV sein.

vy 73 de Matthias HB9FVF

ok, sounds good!
tomorrow will be a more relaxed activation if weather permits, as I will meet my fellow climbers on the hut and take the detour via Hohes Rad solo, which should be fine.
vy 73 de Martin, DK3IT

Thank Martin for the s2s today! We (HB9/DL8DXL/P and HB9FVF/P) will make another s2s with you tomorrow. The HB/GR-161 is planned.
vy 73 de Matthias HB9FVF

EDIT Summit HB/GR-161

Thanks for QSO. Unfortunately, we were not at the Summit and had to work on the road from the parking lot.

vy 73 de Matt HB9FVF and Fred HB9/DL8DXL

Dear all:

Just a quick update: I am back safe and sound, and all three 10-point activations were a success.

I have already submitted my logs to the database.

Sorry for the very short time on the summit OE/TI-035 today - two of my fellow climbers felt pretty uneasy on the very exposed summit and urged me to leave as soon as possible.

Also, I was not able to update the alerts, since there was zero Internet / cellphone coverage on the Wiesbadener Hütte. We were on the summits much earlier than expected.

So sorry if you tried to chase me, but the trips were a bit challenging and subject to hard constraints.

Again, thanks for your effort to support these activations as chasers!

I will publish a trip reports with pictures and details as soon as possible.

73 de Martin, DK3IT


Here are a few first pictures from the operating positions.

Hohes Rad:

Piz Buin



Hi Martin,

I am glad that you all made it back safe and sound after activating those three difficult 10 pointers. Those pictures you uploaded are superb!

I had the pleasure of a QSO with you on each of the three summits! I think you did an excellent job in coping with the pile up behaviour on CW, well done. Some didn’t appear to read your request to send slowly, which probably didn’t help.

Many thanks for the chaser points.

73 Andrew G4AFI

Dear Andrew,
thanks a lot for chasing! As promised, I will write up an activation reports with lessons learned etc. so that we can do better next time.

In the meantime, many thanks to all chasers and the mostly excellent behavior in the pile-up! As a QRP guy with a boring DL callsign, I have almost zero experience with pile-ups, so learning in a SOTA summit environment is always an extra challenge. And a big sorry for everybody who missed me on the first activation of OE/TI-035 because we were on the summit too early and had to QRT after 15 minutes.

Two immediate questions:

  • Did anybody find the APRS tracking helpful? The link I provided was unfortunately broken, but one could see us on (DK3IT-7). The problem is that, now in retrospect, the only position beacons received were pretty close to the summits, maybe 200 m below the actual summit, likely due to the topology and remoteness of the area. So I guess APRS was not really helpful, and my VX8DE weighs almost as much as my MTR3B in the GoBox, so I am prone to leaving it at home.

  • How was propagation on 20 m in the past three days? On two of the summits, I briefly tried 20m, but got only two RBN spots and zero contacts, despite my vertical antenna.

Again, thanks for all of your support! I am very much looking forward to our next QSO!

vy 73 de Martin, DK3IT

Dear all:
I got a quick chance to repeat these two summits, likely Dreiländerspitze OE/TI-035 tomorrow (Aug 6) and Piz Buin OE/VB-001 on Friday (Aug 7).
CW-only, likely only 40m, maybe short 30/20m.
It is hard to predict when I will be QRV, and the hut has no cellphone coverage. I think it will be around 10:30 CEST / 08:30 UTC, but -4 / + 8 hrs.

Thanks in advance for chasing!

There is a rare chance that the summits will be swapped or even changed, in that case, I will give the correct REF on the air and the alerts might be incorrect. But it is unlikely, so I will not use wildcards in the alert.

73 de Martin, DK3IT

PS: Thanks to all chasers during the first activation of OE/TI-693 Hintere Schwärze last week! Report to follow.

PPS: I am a bit behind with submitting logs from May through July, so please do not worry if our past QSO is not yet in the DB.