THANK YOU EUROPE

THANK YOU EUROPE for a WONDERFUL TIME.

For most of the month of June I Mike-KD5KC and my wife Moni (Monika)-N5NHC were visiting relatives in Germany. The trip was mostly so Moni could spend time with her mother and sister. That she did, and for many hours daily. We wanted to be there for her mother’s 89th birthday on 6-June, so we left El Paso Texas early on 4-June. While they did mother-daughter and sister things, I was mostly free to find my own way. My objectives this trip was filling gaps. As many activators do now, I try to combine SOTA and POTA whenever possible.

For SOTA I hoped to activate the remaining countries surrounding Germany that I had not visited before, and to try to chase the associations that were on my “UNQUALIFIED” list from previous visits.

For POTA I hoped to activate 3 new countries to reach 10 DX countries activated, and to activate 5 new parks to reach the next level, 75 parks activated. I also hoped to hunt 250 new parks to reach the next level, 1,500 parks hunted.

My nephew Andi (Andreas) had just passed his German Extra-Class license exam and picked the call sign DJ5KC. He really wanted DK5KC, as a kind of backward play on my call KD5KC. Turns out that maybe this was not the best idea. We decided to mostly share one radio handing the MIC back and forth for each activation. And we discovered that many got confused between DL/KD5KC and DJ5KC. It was even worse when we did OZ/KD5KC and OZ/DJ5KC etc. Trying to explain it on the air certainly slowed the QSO rates a bit.

It was an ambitious agenda. Andi is a former long-distance truck driver with several years of experience. He has been all over Europe and Western Russia, so when I outlined my idea Andi started making firm plans. What I hoped to accomplish was two new SOTA countries (Denmark and Poland), three new POTA countries (Denmark and Poland and Czech Republic) a few new German states for SOTA and at least 5 new POTA parks. That was “The PLAN”. In between activations I was free to set up my equipment and Chase/Hunt.

Since Andi enjoys SOTA-POTA as much as I do, we decided that Andi would drive, we would split the fuel costs, and I would pay for all meals and drinks. What a deal! Our first outing was to the day after Oma’s birthday, 7-June. Hermannskoppe DM/HE-499 is in Hessischer Spessart Nature Park POTA DE-0033. The entire trip was fine other than Jet-Lag making me sleepy until we reached the summit. We set up my 38-ft (11.5m) vertical with a 33-ft (10m) radial laid out on the ground. Handing the mic back and forth as a “second operator” we each logged 31 contacts with 20m and 40m providing fair results. Then we packed up and left for home. Andi knew a good “truck-stop” to get dinner at so we didn’t need to rush home.

Our second activation was the next day, 8-June. It was SOTA Hornisgrinde DM/BW-019 which was POTA Schwarzwald National Park. Like the previous day, I dozed through much of the morning while Andi drove. Andi got us there in time for me to wake up and activate. Sharing the mic back and forth we each logged 46 before packing it up for home. The truck stop that Andi selected was now under new management and the prices were quite high. So Andi researched some other possibilities and we found a small-town gasthaus that had great food at reasonable prices.

Sunday 9-June was a big birthday party for Oma, and Monday 10-June was a day off for shopping.

Tuesday 11-June we made a hop to Denmark where Andi had chosen a SOTA summit in a POTA park. To get there we left at 0300. Since it was such a long run Andi invited his brother Jan along to share the driving. I gladly picked up his meals too. It was mostly Autobahn all the way. Jet-Lag was still killing me and I was struggling to stay awake from our departure near Bad Neustadt until Andi reached Hamburg. Andi and Jan took pleasure in snapping photos of me sleeping in the car and sending them to Moni. Otherwise, the drive was uneventful. This was SOTA Frobjerg OZ/OZ-009 and POTA Frobjerg Baunehoj Park DK-0115. The dual-activation of SOTA was a success but the bands seemed weak and only 22 contacts were logged. The only mishap was when the sheep tried to eat my orange SOTA-winder laying on the ground. Dinner was at another truck-stop. We arrived home well past 2200, a very hard day but worth it.

12-13-14-15-16 June Andi had an engagement elsewhere, so this time was spent chasing SOTA summits, hunting POTA parks, and family events as in shopping for gifts etc. I have to say on our last visit in 2022, calling CQ-POTA got little response, and hunting POTA only got me 6 parks in nearly a month of operating. I felt as if I was a POTA pioneer, it felt much like when I first built and activated W5-SOTA in 2010. If calling CQ-SOTA got an answer at all, it was a question – whet is SOTA? This time it was obvious that POTA had gained much popularity.

Andi returned the afternoon of 16-June, so on 17-June we started out for another summit, DM/NW-026 in POTA park DE-0054. It was a broad-flat summit with a large hotel on the grounds. We were going to set up separate stations this time. Andi set up on a bench near the building, and quickly discovered S-9 noise everywhere. I chose to set up a few hundred meters away along a paved walking path. It was a good location with a wooden bench. I quickly set up my antenna by strapping the mast to the bench leg. I had the antenna, the remote tuner, all wires and coax out and was just about to open the case for the radio when the rain started. It rained for over 30 minutes. I discovered what I thought was a rain jacket was actually a wind-breaker. But we didn’t drive 5 hours to quit. I was soaked, but it wasn’t too cold. Once the rain quit I opened the pack, connected the IC-705 and the mic, booted up my logging computer and about this time Andi had come looking for me. He was relatively dry.

We shared the mic back and forth through over 30 contacts before the sky started looking ominous again. I closed the computer and packed it and the radio in the pack, then the remote antenna tuner. It started raining again. I got Andi to take the pack to the car and since I was already wet I pulled down the mast and gathered it all up. When I reached the car I just dumped it all in the back wet, we could clean it up later. We decided on a restaurant on the way back that we liked, dinner was Pepper Steak.

The next day, 18-June, was to be another hard run. We were going to run to Poland, actually hiking in by crossing the border from the Czech Republic on foot to the summit in Poland, then a fast run to an easy summit in the Czech Republic. This was to be SOTA country #2 and POTA countries 2 and 3. It was an 8-hour drive to the polish border. We were supposed to use a forest road to get us to a mountaintop hotel, park there and hike across the border to the summit, about a 1,500m hike and a 350m climb. When we got to the end of the pavement, we discovered a nice new shiny sign closing that road. We wasted about 30 minutes trying to see a way to avoid the 8km hike and 1,500m climb from there to the hotel. We knew we didn’t have enough daylight for this. After giving up, we suddenly had more time for the Czech summit. Andi started researching and found us a SOTA summit where a POTA park, a POTA trail and a POTA memorial monument all joined. It was a 2-hour drive back through the Czech Republic, but we had the time now. Two of the POTA entities had never been activated, to we earned first activator there. We set up one radio and shared it. We used 40m and 20m, and when a few minutes of calling CQ got no reply we packed up and hiked down to the car. Looking at the time, we could make it to a favorite restaurant near home for dinner, and so we did.

Not attaining the summit-park combo in Poland really put a halt to my goals. But over dinner Andi and I brainstormed a sort of recovery. I had activated Austria pre-POTA back in 2015. But that summit had later been removed from the active list. I had not done POTA in Austria. So we decided to run to Austria on 21-June. Andi found a summit in a park that was a 98% autobahn drive. It was easy, we timed it to miss most of the big city traffic. We were able to drive nearly to the top of the summit, then walk into a nice green field with a few trees. We decided to share the radio so while I was setting up the IC-705 and gear Andi got on a 2m H/T and we made one contact with a local. Since it was such an easy run, we leisurely spent 3 hours and used as many bands as possible, even getting a contact on 6m, 70cm and 23cm-FM. The trip home was as easy as the trip out. That was my last activation of the trip. Andi had to go back to work, but I spent several more days hunting SOTA-POTA.

22 and 23 June was the USA’s Field Day. Early on the morning of 23-June I was tuning the radio around and looking for new SOTA-POTA contacts. I was on 15m, and I could hear many USA and Canadian stations. As I tuned up I hears a familiar voice. It was my good friend Sean at the El Paso Amateur Radio Club. I worked the club, then Sean with his own call. And surprise, my daughter was there logging for Sean so she got her first DX, with her dad! How cool was that?

When I reached the last day before packing, I had activated 1 new SOTA country, three new POTA countries, 5 new parks to attain the 75-park level, hunted about 140 new POTA parks, also caught 6 of the SOTA-UNQUALIFIED associations I needed, but added two new ones.

Most important – – – I got to say HI to some old friends, got to make some new friends, and had more fun than an old guy like me deserves. As long as Moni’s mom is alive, we will keep coming back. Andi says next time it is Poland for sure.

Thank you Europe for a wonderful time …… de KD5KC.

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Hi Mike & Andi. Great to catch up again on pota/sota just a shame conditions were so poor I missed out on quite a few, next time hopefully things will be better. 73 Don G0RQL.

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Great report Mike and well done both of you doing all that travel and walking - great organisation. I think I need a nephew to drag me out up the hills. Unfortunately without an ally in the family, I’m left to ponder whether my conscience will allow me to escape family duties. :thinking:

73, Gerald

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Tell the family to be considered in your will they have to let you do your radio thing whenever and wherever you want. Then spend it all on yourself anyway :slight_smile:

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Hi Don. Yes, I was waiting for your call on every activation. It was a little disappointing when we had to pack up and I didn’t get you in the log. But we did get to say HI a few times.

I know we will be back again at least once more. And in the mean-time you may catch Andi on. Do you use Ham-Alert? You can set some call signs up to alarm when they are heard or spotted.

We are already discussing the next trip. Andi says he will work out a Polish summit-park, and maybe some new countries down south… Italy, Spain, or perhaps others.

Stay safe and well my friend. If you make it to West Texas we’ll gas up the JEEP and I’ll take you on a thrilling activation.

Vy73 – Mike – xx/KD5KC.

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Heh heh heh - I’m not sure who was dragging who. I wanted to do these activations. But the way the Jet-Lag was killing me it was Andi dragging me mostly asleep until about noon (0800 Texas time) for the first 10 days. This trip we didn’t visit a single location that we had previously activated. It was all new.

I feel much the way you do at home. I have one friend who will do SOTA/POTA. But his life is so busy he never has the time. There are two others who will do POTA, but haven’t got it in them for SOTA. There are very few EASY summits in West Texas. Heck, I can look to my east and see the summit nick-named Mordor Mountain… what does that tell you?

I hope you find someone to pair up with.

Vy73 – Mike – xx/KD5KC.

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Not here. I have already warned the family. Don’t expect much. The last check I write will be to my undertaker, and I intend that it should bounce!

Vy73 – Mike – xx/KD5KC.

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Did your hear the comment from the undertaker in the news recently? He said “I always tie the shoelaces of the dead together. The results will be hilarious should we ever get a Zombie Apocalypse”.

Glad to hear you had a good time Mike. We had a significant amount of rain when myself and Paul W6PNG were activating in FL/VO on Monday but we both had umbrellas so TBH we didn’t get that wet.

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I recently heard that historians found a worn stub or a pencil that originally belonged to Shakespeare. Now they are trying to determine - 2B, or not 2B.

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Well my wingman is confined to the hanger at the moment, otherwise he’d be out there with me. We did more summits when we were both working full time… some sort of inverse law has been applied… it goes by the title of “family commitments”. :hushed:

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Understood. As the primary mission of our visit was so my wife could be with her mother and sister, I was afforded a lot of time for myself. But there were “family events” daily. And because of that I only completed 6 activations and only 300+ QSOs in the log. On one activation we struggled to get 12 in the log, terrible condx that day. Still, I had my fun. I know many others would have been happy with far less.

Almost over the Jet-Lag… woke up at 0430 this morning. Invited my little dog up on the bed and we sort of dozed in and out until 0600.

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