First of all, thanks Barry, Ed and Gerald for organising this QSO party! It was the only reason I was keen to activate on HF in these times of dull propagation. On the other hand, I was quite oprimistic as I had some QSOs from SOTA and GMA summits across the pond in the past few days on 17 m SSB using only a linked dipole.
As a backup antenna I had the dipole with me in case my homebrew 20 m through 10 m L-matched triple leg antenna would not work. I ‘played around’ with her some weeks ago changing the radiator wire, the linked resonant counterpoises, and the coil, but today I neither was able to remember the results nor find the notices of the measurements I made. So I didn’t know if she was ready to use today.
I started with an activation of DM/TH-853 Halskappe 605 m ASL to grab the six SOTA points and to check if the vertical was working. Surpisingly she had a good match on the desired bands 20 m and 17 m and was ready to go. Three QSOs on 20 m were made easily (albeit the forested summit), including a s2s with SV2RUJ/p. Then propagation changed and some strong Russian blokes sat on my calling frequency. 20 m was a zoo due to some contest going on, but that gave me an easy fourth QSO with an Ukrainian station.
Knowing my vertical was working I then quickly packed my things and headed on to DM/TH-001 Großer Beerberg 983 m ASL. I was a bit late with the station QRV at 1500z, but just in time to grab the transatlantic s2s of the day, N2YTF. 20 m was playing, but I struggled with heavy QRN up to S9. I found a CQ ferquency what gave me some QSOs with the Euro SOTA family including 2 s2s and another three contacts into NA. After the pile up ended, I changed to 17 m to give it a try, but the band seemed dead and nobody came back to may calls. After QSY’ing back to 20 m, an EA8 QSO and an s2s with OE9HRV/P on DL/AL-137 were made.
With the clouds gathering in my shack, the sparse daylight and the Bundesliga programme on the telly that I didn’t want to miss, I closed the station at 1600z.
Taking the overall suncycle and the predicted G1 solar storm into account, this is what I call quite good, except that one of my favourite bands, 17 m, wasn’t playing.
screenshot courtesy of CQGMA.net
Edit: Ups, I’ve just found a typo mistake in my log. The station from Cuba was in fact from Madeira. Will correct this.