Hello and Welcome!

Hello and welcome! I'm Dzianis, a licensed radio ham holding the callsign DD1LD. I love to take this hobby with me wherever I may roam. The blog "QTC de DD1LD" means "Messages From Me" and reflects my ham radio activities and projects. I barely have time to write everything down, so I blog occasionally, and mainly, for myself. You can subscribe to the blog below to receive updates when new posts are available. 73 and enjoy reading!

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GoGreen XOTA

GoGreen XOTA? What on earth does it mean? There are thousands of ham radio operating awards available, some of them offer a great way to...

Saturday, July 25, 2020

GoGreen Cross Activation of the Falkenberg Castle, WCA DL-05243 and 2x GMA

Friday, July 24th, 2020. Preparation.

It was one of the activations when some things just go wrong… Below is the story.
 
This Friday was a pretty busy day and I came home very late.  On Saturday I had to be in Egmating at 11:00 UTC. The weather forecast was nice, and I decided to cycle about 25 km there. I was thinking about a possible GoGreen XOTA activation on Saturday morning. The choice fell on the Falkenberg Castle, which has just been given a fresh WCA reference number, DL-05243. I decided to operate from the forested Höchenberg (607m), DA/AV-217, which is in the activation zone of the castle. Both WCA DL-05243 and GMA DA/AV-217 have not yet been activated. The detour for activation would have added 10 km more, so the total distance would be approximately 60 km. Okay for me! 

The plan was to get QRV at 7:00 UTC, collect 100+ QSOs, QRT at about 10:00 UTC and continue to Egmating, and the plan only worked partially. Late at night I announced my activity through the WCA Group's reflector, set up the environment for this activity at www.tnxqso.com and went to bed.

Saturday, July 25th, 2020. Activation.

I was just too tired to get up in time…  I still felt tired and enjoyed a large coffee while packing everything on my bike. The fresh air and cool temperature below 20°C quickly got me going. I arrived at the Höchenberg at 7:20 UTC.  Actually, the right option in the deep forest would have been to throw my wire antenna over a tall tree. However, I was too late, the forest was quite damp after yesterday's rain and full of annoying mosquitos. So, I opted for a more convenient option, a pole instead.  I found a suitable operating location directly on the forester's path.
 
 
My operating spot on the Höchenberg, GMA DA/AV-217  
in the activation zone of the Falkenberg Castle, WCA DL-05243.
GPS coordinates: 48°2'28"N 11°53'59"E.

The first QSO was logged on 20m at 7:45 UTC and ¾ hour behind the schedule. I knew that the operating QRP in the deep forest could be a challenge, but I just love challenges. The radio operation was tough, the log was slowly filling up despite frequent DX-cluster spotting. The aggressive mosquitoes stung mercilessly. There was a lot of QSB on 20m. So, I spent almost all the time on 40m. The received RST reports indicated the weakness of my signals.  The propagation on 40m improved somewhat around 10:00 UTC, but I had to go with 93 QSOs in my log.  I painfully missed some familiar COTA and GMA chasers, and I just missed the 100 QSOs threshold by 7 QSOs 😞.

On the way to Egmating I made a stop to take a mandatory picture of the activated castle. The Wittelsbach family had a castle built in Falkenberg at the beginning of the 12th century, the ruins of which later became the Falkenberg castle. In the 436 years of its existence, the castle was sold a total of 18 times, 12 times in the past 200 years alone, and it was only inherited 8 times.  The rich history of the castle is well summarized HERE.
 
  
The Falkenberg Castle,WCA DL-05243. 
The castle has been privately owned again since 2000 and is closed to the public.

The route to Egmating was hilly and mostly led through meadows and forests. I made it just in time… Beautiful!

After today's activation in the morning, I didn't really feel happy.  A short and harmless rain greeted me twice at noon, then the sun came out and greeted me too... 😁 So, on the way home I spontaneously decided to activate the Stürzerberg, 557m, DA/AV-199 close to Purfing and only 7 km from my QTH.  Incidentally, I had to learn that the heath on the western slope of the Stürzerberg is a natural monument, a natural landscape that is under nature protection.

A pure GMA activation is always a tedious task because there are not so many takers compared to WWFF, COTA and other programs.  You should have enough time and patience for a pure GMA activation if you want to achieve more than 4 mandatory QSOs. It's just a different kind of challenge for an activator.

I still had some time. The weather was just nice. I set up my QRP station directly on the hill and started CQing in a cozy and rural atmosphere. 15:00 UTC. I called CQ, chased some WWFF areas, called CQ again and enjoyed the great view from the hill.  In the end I was able to log 28 QSOs in about 1 hour of relaxed operation, 3 of them were with WWFF.  A slim result, but better than nothing, sorry, better than 4 mandatory QSOs anyway.
 
 
My operating spot on the Stürzerberg, GMA DA/AV-199.
GPS coordinates: 48°7'45"N 11°49'45"E. 

When I got home, the GPS tracker showed a little over 60 km. Although the number of QSOs was not impressive, three XOTA objects were successfully activated. I ended this beautiful day with a nice dinner with well-deserved cool beer... and 121 QSOs in total, 4x Castle-to-Castle and 5x WWFF.

Sunday, July 26th, 2020. Post processing. 

I stared at the monitor in horror and didn't want to believe my eyes. What on earth was going on here? Ten QSOs were missing from my yesterday’s activation log of the Stürzerberg, DA/AV-199. I used the FLE SW for logging and for some reason, I don't understand, I was missing 10 QSOs 😡. I was pretty sure I clicked the save button a couple of times before closing the logging GUI. All attempts to restore the log electronically have failed. After an hour, I was able to restore 6 QSOs based on my human memory, as well as on database and DX-cluster cross-checks. At the end, I was able to submit an activation log with 24 QSOs versus the original 28 QSOs. Lesson learned - backup, backup, backup. Even a few simple measures like taking a picture from the screen would have been extremely helpful in such a case. I have to think about it!
 
Mni tnx all chasers and activators fer QSO!
73 es 11 de Dzianis, DD1LD/P

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

GoGreen Activation of the Garching Heath, DLFF-0701

July 21st, 2020. Short activation report.

This was a spontaneous afternoon GoGreen activity. There are two fairly fresh WWFF areas close to my QTH: the Garching Heath, DLFF-0701 and the Echinger Lohe, DLFF-0700 are less than 25 km by bike. I was thinking about activating the two areas by a single expedition. But I decided against it as it would have been pretty stressful for an afternoon activity, and would have been penalized by a small number of QSOs from each reference.

I left home 40 minutes later than planned. I arrived at the Garching Heath, DLFF-0701 in about one hour by bike, at 9:45 UTC. The Garching Heath is home to over two hundred plant species, around fifty of which are on the Red List of Threatened Species. In the Garching Heath there are two groups with burial mounds from the Bronze Age. And you can still see some of them. The necropolis dates from between 1,800 and 1,000 BC. In addition, four funnel pits from antiquity were located. Some more info and great pictures can be found HERE.  Definitely an interesting place to visit!
 
 
 Arrived at the information stand at the Garching Heath, DLFF-0701. 

I took some time to find a nice, shady and hidden place for operating the radio. The first QSOs was logged at 10:20 UTC.  The propagation conditions on 30/40m were strange with deep QSB, the time was not optimal to expect a large number of chasers. The 20m band was open which resulted in some nice DX like K and UA9.  The radio operation with 5W QRP was tough... and slow-moving that day.  So, I decided to call other /P-stations on 20m and was immediately successful in SSB with YLFF and RFF.
 
Shortly after 12:00 UTC I saw a man approaching me. The first thought was that it was a park ranger or a curious visitor. On closer inspection, it turned out that it was Rafal, DL9RNV, who lives a mile from here and just wanted to pay a visit. It was a nice and welcome change. I was happy to interrupt the tough SSB operation flow on 40m for half an hour for a chat with another like-minded radio ham. Thanks Rafal for stopping by!
 
 
Rafal, DL9RNV visited me spontaneously during my activation of the Garching Heath, DLFF-0701.
GPS of the operating spot: 48°17'28"N 11°39'18"E.
 
Initial plan was to QRT at about 12:00 UTC. I logged less than 100 QSOs. I had some time and decided to continue while diligently collecting every QSO when a heavy rain shower suddenly came. Thank god I was able to stow almost everything away before the first drops fell. Some equipment and I got pretty soaked. I had to hide under a tarp for a while. As soon as the short but heavy rain stopped and the sun shone again as if nothing had happened, I made my way home with 145 QSOs in the log.


This time I used TNXQSO.com, and it was fun again! It definitely brought me a few more QSOs, especially with UA. And again, some chasers should have checked the live log better before desperately calling me over and over again. I mean, they just lost a lot of time. But never mind! The live chat feature is also quite useful. The only feature that currently doesn't work for me is live tracking. However, I can use the chat function to inform chasers of my status.

The bike route through the countryside was pretty beautiful and lonely. In general, I was satisfied with this GoGreen activity. So, I'm looking forward to the next activation of the Echinger Lohe, DLFF-0700 soon.

Short summary and statistics for DD1LD/P:
  • Date: July 21th, 2020 
  • GoGreen distance: 46 km by bike
  • Equipment: 5W QRP + EFHW
  • Participation time: ~ 4 hours
  • Operation time: 2.5 hours
  • DXCC worked: 29
  • Top countries worked: I, SP and DL (less than usual this time)
  • Continents worked: 3 (EU, NA, AS)
  • DX: K and UA9
  • WWFF areas: 1x unique (not activated by myself before) and rare
  • WWFF reference: DLFF-0701
  • WWFF-valid QSOs: 145
  • Unique callsigns: 128
  • WWFF activator points: 3
  • P2P: 3
Mni tnx all chasers and activators fer QSO!
73 es 44 de Dzianis, DD1LD/P

Thursday, July 09, 2020

GoGreen Activation of DLFF-0642 in Fröttmaning

July 9th, 2020. GoGreen activation report of the Südliche Fröttmaninger Heide, DLFF-0642.

This was a spontaneous after-work activation. I needed some exercise, and a bike ride was just right in the hot summer weather. For some reason, the Südliche Fröttmaninger Heide, DLFF-0642 remained a still rarely activated WWFF area (by 169 OSOs in SSB so far). It wasn't far from my home, and 45km by bike is a nice route.  I packed my QRP station, announced my activity at short notice and set off in the hope of a nice short pileup.
 
 
 Short stop at the Heidehaus.  The construction costs of the house are 400.000€ (!?)

I needed some time to find a suitable operating spot. There were many ants everywhere, so that I needed several tries to find a suitable place. Finally, I found a nice place in the shade with an open spot for the antenna.

Make nature your shack - my operating spot in the Südliche Fröttmaninger Heide, DLFF-0642.
GPS coordinates are: 48°12'60"N 11°36'33"E.

I started on 20m and had a nice run in SSB, the propagation was good! Then, down to 30m with moderate success and, finally, down to 40m. The propagation on 40m was weak at the beginning, but significantly improved around 16:00 UTC.  

This time I decided to try TNXQSO.com, and it was fun! The live log, info and chat were available to chasers in real time. It gave chasers the opportunity to check whether they got in the log or not before desperately calling me a second or third time. This makes perfect sense, especially if QRP is used. However, of course, not everyone took a look into it. Unfortunately TNXQSO isn't available for iOS. For this purpose, I reactivated my old Odys Winpad and connected it to the iPhone. I had to get used to the new logging and operating procedures, but finally I liked it. Anyway, I will continue to experiment with TNXQSO.com.
 
OSO statistics from my activaton of DLFF-0642.
Live log, statistics, info and chat were available at TNXQSO.com 
 
The propagation conditions were fair-to-good, the run rate was decent, so, I decided to operate longer than planed. The participation time was ~3.5 hours, the real operating time was about 2 and 3/4 hours. I QRTed as soon as the run rate dropped significantly. I'm happy with the result, which is pretty good for an after-work QRP activation.
 
17:30 UTC was time to leave my nature shack. It was a lot of fun. 
Fröttmaninger Berg and Allianz Arena in background. 
GPS coordinates are: 48°12'60"N 11°36'33"E.

Short summary and statistics for DD1LD/P:
  • Date: July 9th, 2020 
  • GoGreen distance: 45km by bike
  • Equipment: QRP + EFHW
  • Participation time: ~ 3.5 hours
  • DXCC worked: 26
  • Top countries worked: DL, I and SP
  • Continents worked: 2
  • DX: NA
  • WWFF areas: 1x unique (not activated by myself before) and rare
  • WWFF reference: DLFF-0642
  • WWFF-valid QSOs: 180
  • Unique callsigns: 160
  • WWFF activator points: 4
  • P2P: 4
Mni tnx all chasers and activators fer QSO!
73 es 44 de Dzianis, DD1LD/P