Post Friedrichshafen activations - anyone got any? Let's start

Well guys, we had a busy two days travelling from our SOTA Dinner Gasthof in Pfrungen 20 miles north of Friedrichshafen yesterday (Sunday) up into the (SOTA French Low) Vosges Region.

I completed two SOTA activations yesterday - as we were travelling some distance I picked out two drive on activations. The first was Hochfirst - 1190m, 10 Points - DM/BW-015 near Titisee. I believe Andy F/M0FMF/P visited after we had our lunch in the Mountain top Cafe and left.

Then once in the Vosges in mid afternoon, we motored to Le Haut Koenigsbourg - 743m, 6 Points - FL/VO-073. Before my activation there was time here to do a tour of Koenisberg Castle which is situated on the summit itself.

Arriving at our Gites de France cottage No. 1570 in Breitenbach last night without provisions, ruled out an early morning activation today for me, and to be truthful, I felt rather knackered anyway after the Fredrichshafen Bash despite a good night’s sleep. Congratulations incidentally, to Juerg HB9BIN on yet another fantastic (almost) two hours Segued SOTA presentation and to the presenters who told us their stories. Did anyone else feel some emotion watching Emil Bergman’s (DL8JJ) film of his young daughter growing up climbing mountains and undertaking outdoor activities at such a young age? Don’t ask me why, but I certainly did!

Virtually everywhere in Germany and France closes on Sundays so we had no breakfast supplies in the Gite today - all we had was cake, wine and water. In the nearby town (called a village by locals) of Ville there is an excellent Super U supermarket where we had a petite dejeuner at 9.00am and then stocked up on €50 of food for the Gite. Returning back there we walked the village, found where the all important boulangerie was and then enjoyed our lunch.

At 3.00pm we headed off to FL/VO-070 Mt Ste Odile, La Bloss - 827m, 8 Points. This was a 20 minute drive from the Gite and a 25 minute walk to the summit (1.3 Km walk with 192m height gain). After reprogramming the KX2 Memory keyer with my French CEPT compliant callsign the first contact was with my great friend Luc DL/ON7DQ/P who was operating from DM/BW-046. Its brilliant to work someone you had been drinking with a few days earlier! It was then a mix of other EU stations including close friend Victor GI4ONL (Who accompanied me last month on a SOTA Tour of the Czech Republic) and Pete M0HQO from Pickering, my home town. Pete is using a new Hexbeam aerial on HF now and was putting a big signal into the Vosges on 20 metres, a true 59 despite the S5 noise from static as reported by Andy F/M0FMF in a SOTA Spot from this area this afternoon.

Moving on next, we had a 25 minute drive to FL/VO-116. This is Rocher de Grendelbruch - 610m, 6 Points and a wooded summit above the village of Grendelbruch. Parking by a log pile on the forestry track leading in, the summit was gained in 13 mins, on a walk of 770m with just 94m ascent. The route we found down though was shorter as we found a better path, however my app lost its Satellite position due to surrounding hills, so I am unable to state the exact distance and descent.

Condx on the summit on the 20m band in CW/SSB were excellent. A quick QSY to 10119 added another 3 QSOs with Victor GI4ONL, Frank G3RMD and Mariusz SP9AMH. Many regulars and not so regulars were worked - particularly noted working was Geoff G4WHA on 20m SSB which does not happen much due to Geoff’s limited aerial situation at work in Penrith, and Ron F4VSM (AKA Ron GW3YDX - an old friend and (the now retired) proprietor of Vine Antennas) who was operating from his holiday QTH in western France. So in 4 hours out and back from our Gite we activated a 8 pointer and an 6 Pointer - I’m saving the high scoring 10 pointers later in the week… We leave the FL/VOsges area on Saturday, but the weather forecasts looking bad for Thursday and Friday. I can see why operating SOTA here is so popular, especially in the sort of weather we are having here at present.

I’m planning an early morning run out before breakfast to a local FL/VO summit tomorrow (Tuesday) - I expect to be QRV around 0500z, and then after a trip to the town of Selestat and the market there with XYL Judy, I anticipate activating one other summit on the way back to our Breitenbach Gite. I will work on where I am going after writing this.

All in all it has been a good two days which I have enjoyed writing about - a few captioned pictures attached.

73 de Phil G4OBK


I’m done now and will be flying back to Scotland tomorrow. Just as well as the hotel has run out of beer!

FL/VO-017 (Le Molkenrain)
FL/VO-001 (Le Grand Ballon de Guebwiller)

FL/VO-031 (La Goutte Logelot)
FL/VO-002 (Le Hohneck)
FL/VO-080 (Rothenbachkopf)
FL/VO-015 (Tête de Grouvelin)

DM/BW-015 (Hochfirst)
DM/BW-193 (Schächer)

FL/VO-021 (Schratzmännele)
FL/VO-003 (Gazon du Faing)
FL/VO-014 (Chaume de Sérichamp)
FL/VO-089 (Haut de la Pierre de Taille)

Thursday was a washout so no activations on the way to Friedrichshafen from France. Made up for good WX on Sunday for the drive back. It was a case of dodge the activator today as I bumped into Sake PA0SKP on VO-003 as we did several of the same summits.

Hello Phil,

Not as many as you but I went back Saturday evening and stopped overnight near Bad Tölz.
Sunday morning after breakfast went towards the direction of Kochel am See and parked at the ski lift half way there.
After 2h 45 min and about 1250 m elevation gain reached the Benediktenwand DL/BE-016 and did an activation on 2m FM and 20m SSB.

What a great followup with @OE5YYN, @OE5AUL, @OE7PHI and @ON7DQ the day before at Friedrichshafen and then S2S. Very nice :slight_smile:

And of course all the fellow SOTA activators and chasers gathering for the dinner and at the QSL wall. Definitly next year again :thumbsup:

73 Joe


Lovely pictures Joe and a lot harder walk to DM/BE-016 than I have done - nice job - quality fell-walking. I particularly liked the photo with the thistles. Brilliant shot. I don’t have as much success as that with the camera in my phone unfortunately.

I hope we can meet up again at the Ham Radio in the coming years.

73 de Phil

Thanks. I also like it a lot.

Definitly looking forward to next year.

73 Joe

Here are some photos of my recent activations during the last 7 days:

Jochberg (DL/BE-050)

Zaferahorn (OE/VB-321)

Schönberg (HB0/LI-009)

Seebergspitze (OE/TL-008)

I did 5 activations and made 163 QSO’s … and lot’s of S2S! It’s been very nice meeting you all (again) in Friedrichshafen!

73 Martin, OE5REO


For everyone’s planning - next year’s (44th) Ham Radio Friedrichshafen is three weeks later on the weekend of June 21-23rd. (i.e. back to its old weekend)

73 Ed.

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Isn’t that a week earlier than normal?

This is now back to the weekend it was for many years up until 2016 (which fell on June 24th weekend). 2017 saw it later taking place on July 14-16th.
It’ll be good to get back to the old weekend!

73 Ed.

I had a nice 15 minute operating session on FL/VO-069 Ungersberg this morning, arriving on the summit at 0500z and going QRT at 0526z. It took 28 minutes (1.8 Km) to reach the summit from the final legal parking place and 22 minutes (1.7 Km) to come down via a slightly better path. So many paths in the woods of the Vosges - its fantastic. 10 points for less than a half an hours walk on a good track and path, great. We all know SOTA is not a level playing field. I was overdressed on the ascent, with T shirt, micro-fleece and thin cotton Gilet making me sweat. Glad to get the top two layers off when on the top.

A stone tower with steps, allowed me to tie off one side of my dipole at an horizontal 5m AGL height - I believe this made quite a difference on the 40m band where I stayed solely. I needed to return to the Gite for breakfast and a shower by 0630z.

It was a 20 minute drive to Ungersberg parking spot from the Gite in Breitenbach. Later today after some tourism, I will call in at FL/VO-016 Le Rossberg for some more SOTA on the way back to the Gite.

Captioned pics from today:

73 Phil

Basel>Gerardmer>Route del la
cretes>Colmar>Freiburg>Friedrichshafen>Colmar>Vosges>Colmar>Basel = 970km

Dans le petit voiture du Noddy, 51mpg. I drove evIerywhere in a Renault TwingoIII with my right foot planted firmly to the floor. Gordon Bennet…petrol and beer is pricey in France compared too Germany. 81Eu.

I like my creature comforts too much now so I only stay in 3* or better hotels, 7 nights accomodation, meals. 700Eu

Car hire + flight = 370Eu

Total (excluding beer and rally purchases) 1151Eu

Points earned = 120

Cost per point = 9.60Eu

VFM rating? Exceptional. I need to come and do all the other Vosges summits!

Just waiting for the plane to Blighty.


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Arrived Luton…what a festering hell hole. No ladder to exit plane, epassport readers broken, nobody speaks English! More English speakers in France, Germany & Switzerland.

I have emailed Putin and told him it would make an excellent test site for his new Satan III missiles.


. . . finally seen the car with your callsign plate that I’ve already been told of before we met in person at the QSL wall, hi.

Vy 73 de Markus, HB9DIZ

I thought it had already been used for that!:wink:

It’s a little less dire once SqueezyJet allow you to check in and you proceed through what Luton Airport laughingly call security.

The problem with taking two SqueezyJet flights back to back is you have to collect your bags and then check in your bag for the next flight, they don’t do connections. Fair enough but SqueezyJet have such a poor reputation for late flights and missed windows that you need to put at least 4hrs from advertised landing time to the next flight’s departure. This means should they only be 20mins late (as today) you have to wait 2hrs in the never-never hinter land that is the area before check in.

I can remember when flying was proper-expensive and thus there were no scum and chavs. As it cost so much even economy passengers were treated with concern and you got free food and booze instead of being expected to pay £19.99 for a 1/3 tube of Pringles. You could stroll into security where they would maybe check your bag. Now it’s too the point you have to remove nearly all your clothes and for god’s sake don’t smile or they will send you for special screening with Big Bubba and the probing tool.

I think we could solve a lot of the crime in this country by making criminals spend 3 months taking 5 or 6 flights a day. They’d soon agree to get back onto the straight and narrow rather than suffer flying all the time. Damn, I hate flying now.

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So true.
They are also taking over the “business” lounges now (more competition to get your money’s worth of free food and alcohol). Everybody has a car (not all necessarily owned by the driver, especially on a Friday or Saturday night) so the roads are packed. I even have to share my home with hundreds of National Trust members.
Flying is a necessary evil rather than a pleasurable adventure these days (now where can I get one of those body scanners?)

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Hi Markus.

Yes, plenty of UK Hams bought their number plate callsigns (Unless you have Q or Z in the suffix - not available). The RSGB asked for expressions of interest for buying G Plates over 20 years ago and provided the Government Driving Agency the names and addresses of said hams, of which I was one. The numbers were auctioned off in York and G4OBK, G4RCG and G4YWG and many others bought them there. G4OOE bought his a few years ago for half the price i paid for mine! No one bidded against me at the auction but it was still expensive. G4RYS (GARYS) had to pay about £1800 I think for is. I do not know if GARY or G4RYS actually bought it. It costs £80 to transfer the number plate when you change your car.

This is off topic so I will write a short separate message about our plans today walking in the Donons of the FL/VO.

Great to meet up with you at the show, I liked your FB earing.

73 Phil G4OBK

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Getting back on topic…

Yesterday after my early morning walk up Ungersberg VO-069 we had coffee and cake and then visited the market in Selestat. En route to VO-016 we had lunch in Saint-Marie-Aux-Mines. We then walked up (10 mins) to the ten point VO-016 Le Rossberg - many noisy middle aged motorbikers racing around the roads in the area! Could hear them from the summit which was above but not far from the road. After that it was still too early to return to the Gite so wetle drove north a little up the hairpins to the roundabout on VO-019 Le Champ de Feu (Drive on - walk to picnic table 10 mins for 10 Points). After my cheapo boom mic went west yesterday an allen screw on my paddle key came loose and I started making errors - good job I had my spare Palm key in my bag, plug it in and back away we go making many more 20m QSOs. Summer condx on the 20m band - lots of inter EU QSOs with S9 signals from many of the Chasers.

VO-019 summit is only 2.7 Km from the Gite but the drive to reach the top of the 1098m hill is more like 15 Km long:

Today we go to walk the Donon’s - 3 X 10 pointers and proper walking!

From a central parking point about 3 Km to return to car for (10 points) to get VO-023. Then around a 9 Km walk up the other side from the car to visit the 10 point Kohlberg VO-092 and then finishing on the way back with the 10 Point Le Petit Donon VO-090.

By UK Summit measures that is an easily gained 30 points and 3 more SOTA Completes for me.

73 and see some of you on the radio later today…

Phil F/G4OBK/P in the FL/VO


Here are a few pictures of our activations in VB and TI:

Staufen OE/VB-493 at 1465 m

View over to Schwarzenberg (OE/VB-491) on the right and Schöner Mann (OE/VB-488) in the middle

And thanks to the recommendation of Herbert OE9HRV we also did the two following summits:

Mutjöchle OE/VB-335 (2.075 m)

Glanderspitze OE/TI-373 (2.512 m)

Thanks to all the chasers who accompanied us and the other activators for the S2S-contacts!
We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves!

Peter OE5AUL & Sylvia OE5YYN & Kimo


Yesterday Tour of the Donon’s had to be cut short due to Thunderstorms.

It took 30 minutes reach the summit of Le Donon FL/VO-023 from the col where I made 12 QSOs on the 20m band. There was a French school party being educated on the rock slab on the summit - good to see. They left the summit about 10 minutes before us and so did not slow our progress back down to the Col where we had our lunch near to them eating theirs.

The weather was changing as we set off on the track to climb Kohlberg VO-092. For the most part this was a forestry track with the final 200m section more rougher through some maturing fir trees of up to 5m tall.

After setting up, again for the 20m band, a thunderstorm was happening around 3 miles away with heavy rain falling in the valleys all around us. We had spits and spots of rain starting though as the storm approached us and so after 7 QSOs I carefully pulled the plug and packed up - there were two S2S contacts with Luc DL/ON7DQ/P (CW VO-023 > SR-012) and Juerg HB9BIN/P (SSB VO-092 > SO-021) in the day. Walking back to the 3 summit Col the rain came on harder and with the storm almost over our heads I decided to call off the activation of Le Petite Donon VO-090, so we returned to the Gite. When we leave the area and head north into Germany and Belgium on Saturday there may be a chance to nip up Le Petite Donon on the early part of the journey, we’ll see.

Today Thursday, with a big change in the weather situation, we go to Colmar for a tourist day. If it is dry on the way back I will try to activate one summit but without alerting in advance due to the current uncertainty with the weather.

73 Phil F/G4OBK/P