At the end of September I headed off for a week on the continent. The main point of the trip was to attend a convention in Wernigerode over the weekend, but I decided to break the journey a bit by adding a couple of summits to the trip.
The first, which I activated on the last day of September, was Torenberg (PA/PA-004) near Apeldoorn in the Netherlands. I found a small car park on the 100 metre contour, and set up my KX3 and inverted-V dipole in a convenient patch of woodland just far enough from the road for noise not to be a problem, while remaining outside the fence enclosing the protected wildlife area. I ended up only using 40 metres, and switching from SSB to CW when the SSB section became too crowded, but I got 36 contacts (16 SSB, 20 CW, with DL, F, G, GM, HB, OE, OK, ON, and PA) including a couple of summit-to-summits, which didn’t seem too bad a total.
The following day I rode the narrow gauge steam train from Wernigerode to the top of the Brocken (DM/SA-001), the highest peak in the Harz Mountains.
The train has quite a way to climb, so there was lots of puffing from the engine. A lot of the run is through forest, mostly deciduous forest down low, and then pine forest higher up. Near the summit the pines get quite stunted.
The summit itself is mostly grass, but there’s quite a bit of heather just below it. The weather was fantastic, so the views were impressive, and you can see exactly why the old East German government had a look-out and listening post there.
It’s now a hotel, I gather. I spent a while walking around the paths on the summit, and going down a little way in a couple of places just to look at the view.
The summit is also part of a national park so you’re restricted to marked paths. I calibrated the barometric altimeter on my GPS at the summit rock, and found that the station platform was 20 metres lower than the summit. Past the station the descent was quite steep, and a place I’d thought would be good for my inverted-V dipole turned out to be over 30 metres below the summit, so I couldn’t use it. I couldn’t find a good place for my inverted-V dipole above the station, but I did find a spot I could sit and set up my MP1B “Superstick” vertical instead. It’s a compromise antenna, but I did manage to make thirteen contacts using it, eleven on 30 metres (with F, G, HB, OM,S5, and SP) and two on 20 metres (with LY and YO), all of them using CW. 20 metres seemed suspiciously quiet, so I may not have managed to get the antenna tuned that well. I also tried calling with my 2 metre FM handheld (using a six metre pole to hold aloft a slim-jim I’d borrowed from Colin G8TMV) but couldn’t raise any contacts. The HF ones, however, were enough for me to score the summit, so I finally pulled my average score per summit above one point.
The train ride down involved a change part way, and a lot less puffing from the engines all the way, but just before I jumped on the train I took a moment to find quite possibly the busiest geocache I’ve ever found. Last time I checked it had been found over 5800 times.
Thanks to all the chasers, particularly the ones who had to deal with my sometimes rather clumsy keying.
73, Rick M0LEP