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Short Tour of DM/BM

As the weather (and my health) seem to be improving, I’m just on my way to the Bayerische Wald for a week of SOTA. You can follow me on APRS at:
OE6FEG-9.
73 Matt.

6 Likes

The Schwarzriegel [DM/BM-368] was very pleasant this morning, and a new unique for me. Unfortunately, the viewing platform that was once part if the NATO listening station is closed for the foreseeable future:

Previous activators have successfully used the platform to put up an antenna. Fortunately, there was a nice picnic table with plenty of room for my 60m Windom and a great view:

The Großer Osser [DM/BM-028] was much the same as it was last time I was in these parts, just hotter in the strong sunlight. Just as I got back to the car it started to rain. Fortunately, it was just a shower and I was able to squeeze in the Großer Arber [DM/BM-047] before the next shower began. The forecast for tomorrow has improved, so fingers crossed for another busy day.
73 de DL/OE6FEG/P
Matt

6 Likes

Thanks Matt for the twice summits QSO
73 Roger

Thank you for the report. That’s an area of Germany I don’t know. When I lived in Germany in the 70’s it wasn’t open to the West of course. I visited the Black Forest three years ago but didn’t go further east.

The old East Germany is to the north of where I am (Bavaria), hence the NATO listening station (and many other military bases). Being able to nip over the border into the Czech Republic is handy, as both beer and petrol are cheaper there. As regulars here will know, I’m a big fan of the dark lagers produced in the Czech Republic.
73 de Matt

3 Likes

The weather is consistently beating the forecast at the moment, so I got an early start up the Hochberg DM/BM-268 this morning. It is just a few KM from my campsite, so very accessible. The large amounts of rain have brought out the mushrooms:

None of them edible unfortunately, quite the opposite. The summit is very boring, just a path going through the forest. The next summit: Großer Riedelstein DM/BM-036, was my 3rd unique of this trip. I tried last time I was up here, but didn’t have any change for the parking ticket. This time I was better prepared and soon making my way up the hill. There’s a shelter just below the summit that seems just about in the AZ, so this would probably make a good bad weather option:

The summit itself does not look very promising from below, but there is, in fact, plenty of room for an antenna and a nice view to go with it:

I was about to go QRT when I got a call from KD1CT on 20m, the first transatlantic DX I have had in quite some time. With the SFI at 85, there are some noticeable improvements. I also found out that I can stay out here longer than I had planned, so all in all, things are really looking up.
73 de DL/OE6FEG/P
Matt

6 Likes

21/07/21:
The mornings are very chilly at the moment: just 11°C. Getting out of bed in a tent is not so nice when it’s cold. For that reason, I switched to hot milk on my muesli which, to my relief, was actually quite good. The wild bilberries also helped improve things. Eventually, I got underway to my first summit of the day: Weigelsberg DM/BM-259. The AZ is very large and there is a shooting hide inside the 880m contour:

I didn’t use it, however, as there was a lot of new looking gear in it. I set up by a tree outside. The activation was fairly quick, as the early morning ones usually are. I finally found an edible mushroom on the way back to the car:

Sadly, the local wildlife had already taken too great an interest in it, so I left it where it was.
There is ample parking at Frath when tackling the the Wolfgangriegel DM/BM-261. As is the case with most summits here, I find the optimal route on the way back to the car. The summit is large and spacious with plenty of room for an antenna:

Unfortunately, as I was calling CQ, I got spotted for the previous summit: DM/BM-259. This is one reason why I do not like spotting via RBN and use either APRS or VK Portalog where possible. However, with the early starts, it is essential to put an alert in, in order to have sufficient chasers on band at 7 - 8 o’clock in the morning. Here is the log below, so please adjust the summit ref if needed:

I am now being extra careful to delete the original alert before moving on to the next summit. I think most chasers realised what had happened, As I spotted the correct summit first via VK Portalog, before the old summit popped up.

The guest house at Frath was a welcome stop on the way back.

22/07/21:
Another cold start, but a fairly straightforward drive out to the first summit of the day: Vogelsang DM/BM-010. The first thing to note, is that the best parking spot does not appear on Sotlas until you zoom in to 50m scale. It’s at a place called the Naturwaldreservat Krakel. I was only 500m away at the ski lift, but in the event, the ascent was to prove more taxing than expected. I was using Kompass Wanderkarte, which showed many paths to the summit that simply didn’t exist. I ended up bushwhacking up the west side, when the only viable path (clearly marked on Sotlas) is on the south east side :hot_face:. Another lesson learned. The summit is quite small:

I had to string my antenna in the branches, which I knew from experience would work fine:

The name Vogelsang is very apt, and there was plenty of unusual birdsong to be heared. Due to the additional time needed to get to the summit, I only activated on 30m and headed back down quickly to get to the Einödriegel [DM/BM-258]. I also decided to omit Butzen [DM/BM-019], as I am still recuperating, technically. The Einödriegel is a very easy stroll along the mountain top, after a short chairlift ride to the Geißkopf. I was expecting plenty of room at this summit, so I took my 60m Windom. When I got to the AZ, I wasn’t disappointed:

I was able to sit in the shade on the balcony and have my antenna nice and high off the ground:

I even took my microphone, to do some SSB, seeing as I had so much time. After going through all the usual settings and spotting myself on 20m, I suddenly realised that my microphone no longer worked. The PTT keyed the rig ok, but no audio got through. I will have to compare it with an Elecraft mic when I get home, to see what’s going on. I was quite looking forward to speaking with some of the regulars, but as it happened, I just had to pack up and go back to the car. The weather forecast is not good for tomorrow, but as most days are better than forecast at the moment, I will get ready and go out as usual.
73 de DL/OE6FEG/P
Matt

4 Likes

I’m relaxing back at home now, the weather has become quite unstable in DM/BM. Saturday started really well on the Eschenberg DM/BM-271. I activated Eschenberg last year, so I knew where to park etc. However, I was once again intrigued by a set of railings on the roof of one of the concrete bunkers (meaning it must be possible to walk round on the roof). Last year, I simply assumed that access to the roof was from inside the bunker, which was locked. This year, for some reason, I had a poke around at the side of the building and, low and behold, a sturdy steel ladder lead up onto the roof:

The roof is solid concrete, so extremely stable. I was able to set up a cracking antenna using the railings as a support:

As this is the highest point on the hill, and the bunker is extremely well earthed, it would be great fun to try a large vertical run against ground. It is easily possible to poke one up through the trees at the front:

My signal on 40m was very strong, considering that my antenna is a 3/8 wave on 40 and usually 3 S points down on a halfwave. This great performance was to be shortlived however.

Besides my microphone going kaputt on me, my feeder cable decided to malfunction as well. This became apparent on the second summit of the day: Fürberg DM/BM-324. I sent QRL and the tune was way out. As I started tuning up the bands I noticed that the ATU was having trouble with all the frequencies, and there was no tune at all on 40m. As you would expect, I thought my antenna had broken; it didn’t occur to me to plug directly into the antenna without the feeder. I only managed one contact on FM :sob:.
As there is plenty of room on the Brotjacklriegel DM/BM-012 for a full size antenna, I took my 60m Windom, confident that this newer antenna would definitely work fine. When I finally got set up, I turned on the KX2 only to find that, once again, every band was stone dead. Finally, the penny dropped and I removed the feeder cable. Success! I was back on air. I must report, that the cable in question was some DXW174 from DX wire (no longer available as it happens). The coax has a solid copper inner conductor, which has lower losses under 14 MHz than normal RG174. Unfortunately, it seems the inner conductor can only take so much flexing, and this is not the only piece I’ve had go open on me. In all fairness, this particular piece of feeder lasted about 4 years, so it’s not all that bad. I have ordered some new double braided RG174 from Conrad at a reasonable price. At less than 0.5db loss for 2.5m, I’m not too bothered about finding some ultra high-spec alternative.
On the last summit of the day: Rabenholz DM/BM-262, I once again connected directly to the Windom without any feeder. I don’t like having the ends of the antenna close to the ground, but needs must and I got my contacts in short order. There are a great many biting insects on Rabenholz, so I limited myself to just 20m. As I was checking myself and my clothes back at the car, I found a large adult tick (not yet embedded) on my side. It tried to run off round my back but I managed to brush it off in time. Since getting Lyme Borreliosis earlier this year, I have had no end of health worries. I even had a lumbar puncture at one stage, to rule out Neuroborreliosis. After finding yet another tick on me, I decided to get out of tick country altogether and come home. I just don’t need anymore tick related health problems this year. As it happened, it started raining as I drove home on Sunday morning, so it was not a bad decision after all.
When I arrived in Bavaria last week, there was a massive, hour-long tailback waiting to get into Austria. On the way back I decided to cross the border at a different point in Passau and hope there was no delay there:
48.55572
13.47521
To my relief, I drove straight over the border without any hinderance whatsoever. The lesson here seems to be: avoid big motorway crossings.
73 de OE6FEG
Matt

6 Likes

As the weather forecast for this week in DM/BM improve greatly, I came back up on the spur of the moment and booked myself into a tiny-house in Regen:

It’s very comfortable and only €50 a night for 2 people:

I activated OK/PL-003 this morning. Quite a few chasers were confused by the fact that I was activating an OK summit with a DL/ callsign. A close look at the map shows that the activation zone for OK/PL-003 extends across the border into DL, which is a good job, because it’s actually forbidden to go to the summit on the Czech side as it lies within a special nature reserve completely closed off to walkers. More action on the Czech side of the border tomorrow. As ever, you can track me on APRS as OE6FEG-9
73 de DL/OE6FEG/P
Matt

3 Likes

I found the perfect spot for an activation on Můstek [OK/PL-010] this morning:

I saw on the map that there was a picnic spot just inside the activation zone, but I never dared hope for something so luxurious:

You can see where it is on SOTLAS:

49.19807,13.24835

Also useful to know, is that there is a working cable car from Špičák:

Dropped pin

So no need to drive right up the mountain. I say working: it was moving today, but I didn’t see anyone on it.

  73 de DL/OE6FEG/P
       Matt
3 Likes

I found another great place to activate on Haidel [DM/BM-065] today:

The lookout tower is over 30m tall, so my 30m windom only came to halfway down the tower when I hung it over the side:

There is a nice little corner that is perfect for an activator to sit, so no getting in the way of other visitors:

There is much less noise to deal with here, compared to some of the towers in Styria, only a couple of S points, nothing the KX2 filters can’t cope with. Unfortunately, 10m was dead, but 30m worked well and I got plenty of contacts. The view from the top is awesome, as you would expect:

It’s a shame I had to move on to the next mountain, as I had some difficult S2S contacts that would probably have been easier from the top of this tower; oh well.

Unfortunately, when I got to Almberg [DM/BM-063], I went and put the wrong summit ref (BM-064) into VK Portalog. :flushed:

The specifics can be found here:

Apart from that, it was another enjoyable days activating here in DM/BM. 2 more days left and then it’s time to head for home.

                73 de DL/OE6FEG/P
                       Matt
2 Likes

Hi Matt

Happy to see that you had a better experience on this tower. Back in 2019 I had some rain and let then the wire go down in the center of the staircase. Had also some decent noise that I located at the nearby comms tower. Will have to enjoy the ufb views to a later visit in the future!

Vy 73 de Markus, HB9DIZ

Yes, I noticed your pictures on Sotlas. I was using a KX2, so that may have helped with noise. I had to close filters on some bands but not others. Turning off the pre-amp is perhaps another option, but with disadvantages if its own. As for bad weather, there is a hut at the base that allows the summit to be activated very comfortably whatever the weather:

I’m back home now, as I have some more motorcycle training on the 19th. After that, I’m hoping to do the Großglockner Hochalpenstraße; and activate a few summits on the way. It seemed wise to try some small scale touring before heading off to Norkapp, which more observant forum members will know has been cancelled this year. That adventure is probably best left until the solar cycle picks up, I get more experience touring and I get a bigger (more comfortable) bike; yes, a 1250GS would be nice.
73 de OE6FEG
Matt

2 Likes