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, August 29, 2009

Soiernspitze activated

Data: August 27, 2009
Summits: Schöttelkarspitze (DL/KW-024, 2050m) & Soiernspitze (DL/KW-029, 2257m)
Points: 8 (DL/KW-024) + 10 (DL/KW-029)
QSO: 6 + 9 on 2m FM
Walking & climbing: 8 hours
Total distance: 23.5km
Altitude difference: 1400m
Tour time: 12 hours
Landscape: fantastic
People: few
Enjoyment: endless ...

Dzianis Soierntour (red line - up, blue one - down)

Just started climbing

Gams met close to the Seinskopf

Schöttelkarspitze (DL/KW-024), 2050m

Dzianis sunning on the Schöttelkarspitze after breakfast

Lonesome Karwendel

Soiernspitze (DL/KW-029), 2257m not far away

The Soiernsee, 1557m

On the way down

Last look at the Soiernspitze before leaving the Lakaiensteig

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Alpspitze & Hochblassen activated

The via-ferrata to the Alpspitze, DL/WS-022 had been on my list for a long time. Recently I bought a new Salewa set I was keen to try out as soon as possible. I was just waiting for a sunny and stable weather to climb the Alpspitze, and the perfect weather came on Sunday, July 26, 2009.

Stefan, Dzianis, Maria and instructor Leo after climbing

We completed a short training with the DAV Summit Club one day before, on Saturday, July 25. Maria climbed her first via ferrata like someone who climbed dozens of them. She enjoyed the training very much and I hope she would like to accompany me next time.

Next morning I packet my VHF/UHF Kennwood Handy together with the set and a lunch box in the rucksack and started driving towards Garmisch Partenkirchen...

There were a few people as I arrived at the summit at 9:40 a.m. but just one hour later the top was mercilessly overcrowded.

Dzianis, DD1LD on the Alpspitze (DL/WS-022), 2629m high, with the Zugspitze in the background

Six QSO (and even S2S one with OE5PEN/p) on 2 meters in FM came in my log and I went on to scale the Hochblassen (DL/WS-020) and to try climbing the Jubiläumsgrat. I was enjoying the great weather and fantastic views all way long.

Just arrived at the Alpspitze in the morning

The weather could not have been better

The Hochblassen (on the left) waiting for its first activation,
the Jubiläumsgrat (on the right) is a very imposant, long and exposed ridge

Are there ants on the stone? No, these are climbers overcrowded the summit!

The Hochblassen is a very hard nut to crack und requires extremely good alpine experience. I found the entrance to the Jubiläumsgrat at the third attempt. Frankly speaking I was operating just under 2700m close to the summit like the alpine SOTA rules allowed as I meet a couple of tough climbers finishing their “stroll” along the Jubiläumsgrat and talk to them for a while. I will try the crossing next year... hopefully not alone. The activation succeeded by 6 QSOs on 2m FM.

I chose the way back through the Grießkar avoiding hordes of "tourists" flooding the Höllental

Only "nonSOTA" mountain goats bore my company

I decided to descend via the Grießkar to avoid hordes of climbers flooding the Höllental and eventually pick up the Kreuzjoch (DL/WS-037) on my way back. It was a long lonesome walk through the impressive kar and via Bernadeinsteig passing the idyllic Stuibensee. Last six FM QSOs came in log on 2m as I made the side trip to the Kreuzeck.

The Stuibensee at 1921m altitude

The scenic Wetterstein (actually I was over there, too)

It was an excellent day culminating in 18 relaxed QSOs!

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Ham Radio Week 2009

Here are some extracts from my journey book...

Ham Radio Week, 25-28 June 2009

Thursday. I packed my car with all the necessary stuff I could need for Ham Radio and, naturally, I didn't forget my both portable stations. I left Munich in the morning surrounded with heavy rain clouds but as I drove near to the Bodensee the weather became quite pleasant to activate one more summits. I chosen OE/VB-111 and OE/VB-512 due to their proximity to F’Hafen and due to a great view down to the Bodensee...

...I was looking for a nice flat place for operating on the Pfänder, OE/VB-512. And I found a suitable one, but I saw someone’s portable mast with a stretched dipole. Aha! There was a guy setting up his station for SOTA, who could it be? “Hi, I’m DD1LD”. “Hi, OE8SPW…” Paul was kind enough to let me use his station and I started CQuing. I made a couple of QSO, gave QRX and left Paul alone struggling with the pileup. “See you tomorrow Paul”. “Sure...”

Paul OE8SPW struggling with pileup on the Pfänder, OE/VB-512

Friday. I just laid the last SOTA Flyers on the table as I saw the first international SOTA guest at the booth – Milos S57D came to visit us already in the morning and dropped a couple of lines in the guest book. The second “guest” was Algäuer Regional Manager Bernhard DL4CW followed by Axel DL6KVA...

...A couple of hours later two GMA team members arrived at the booth with new GMA flyers and SOTA/GMA stickers. I would like to express my personal gratitude to them! Hagen DG4PB and me had a long discussion about GMA in general and possibilities for collaboration between SOTA and GMA...

...As announced Phil G4OBK, Andy MM0FMF and Daryl G0ANV turned up at the booth and they were already expected...

.. I made a loop in the pavilion A1 and was quite surprised to see the Slovenian booth with a huge SOTA logo. No doubt, Slovenians are “very active” activators...

...The international get-together succeeded. I personally was very glad to see many “Bergfunkfreunde” at the booth chatting with each other. I guess there were around 30 persons at the booth. Anyway, one case of Bavarian beer and one of “Apfelschorle” were empted with success, too!...

...As I asked Ruda, OK2QA what he was going to do tomorrow he promptly answered “I’m going to activate a summit near to F'Hafen...”

...In the evening Gerd DF9TS, Andy DL2DVE (both alpine regional managers) and me had supper in the fresh air close to the Gehrenberg DM/BW-348 sitting in the sun and enjoying a great view to the Bodensee. After that I activated this summit in FM doing some publicity for SOTA for half an hour. Let’s see, how many times the Gehrenberg and the Pfänder were activated during Ham Radio 2009...


Saturday. The SOTA-DM Manager Andy DL2LUX appeared at the booth and brought fresh supplies of SOTA flyers. After I had a little talk with him I got going again to find Alain F6ENO. Finally I succeed, many thanks to Alain for taking time for these very long discussions...

...“Wanted” Steve G1INK finally turned up at the booth and wrote a few lines into the guestbook. We very liked Steve’s record “Vote YES for P100!!!”...

Steve G1INK, Andy DL2LUX und Dzianis DD1LD at the booth

...The Bergfunkers lunch was well attended. Phil G4OBK joined the lunch with his “taff” XYL Judy accompanying him on his recent SOTA tours. It was a pleasure to have with us Fritz, DL1FU in a very good mood. Berthold DF5WA came with his son Andreas DJ5PN...

Bergfunker lunch was well attended

Records in the guestbook: OE8SPW, F6ENO, OE5DIN, HB9BRJ, IZ0EWJ, DL4FDM, G1INK, DJ2GMS, DO1DJJ, HA5AZC, DL3JPN, DL3VTA, DL5MEL, HB9BAB, and we also saw a brand new QSL OE/G4OBK/p

Sunday. The last SOTA and GMA flyers and stickers were “out of stock”...

...I meet the SOTA-OE manager Christian, OE1CWA and a part of his team. We were talking about the current situation in the Alps and about common activation days/weekends...

...The guest book was still growing with QSL cards, photos and entries. I found a nice picture of DL5MEL and his horse Jacky who both activated the Orensberg according to the new SOTA General Rules...

Records in the guestbook: HB9BGG, OE1CWA, OE9WLJ, OE9HGV, OE9RWV


Now I can recognize many activators and chasers by face if I come across them. It’s really great to personally meet all those people with whom I made hundreds of QSO but never saw before.

The international SOTA community is growing. There were many newcomers who would like to start with SOTA/GMA...

In conclusion, I would like to thank the DARC Committee for DX and HF-Contesting for their support and great ham spirit! And many thanks to all of you who dropped in at our SOTA corner!

See you at Ham Radio 2010!

73 de Dzianis, DD1LD

Friday, April 24, 2009

SOTA roundtrip to the Black Forest

Thursday, April 9, 2009. Personal business caused me to spend one day nearby Frankfurt. I offered Maria to accompany me on tour and she certainly agreed. As I usually do, I also packed my SOTA equipment in the car. In the late afternoon we had enough free time and decided to visit the Grosser Feldberg, 879m (DM/HE-003) in the Taunus Park close to the city. We drove by care to a parking spot on the top and walked the last part, just like the SOTA rules require. We also hoped to enjoy a great view from the top, but our hopes were completely dashed as soon as we achieved the summit – Frankfurt’s down town was too far away and, frankly, the overview over Taunus was not really spectacular, too. Just as we both found this hill quite boring I set up my portable station at app. 6 p.m. and started CQing permanently struggling with QRM emitted by several telecommunications towers. Altogether 10 QSO were done with my brand new antenna on 40m in CW although I was expecting more chasers. After a short snack break at sunset we made a loop around towers and came back to the car. The easily earned 10 points and a brief journey through the Taunus Park culminated this Thursday 9th of April. More about the Grosser Feldberg you can find at Wikipedia.

DD1LD/p on the Feldberg

Friday, April 10, 2009. Next day afternoon we went to the Mummelsee in order to activate the highest summit in the Northern Black Forest – Hornisgrinde, 1164m (DM/BW-019) being already activated 12 times (!). We were so happy to have warm sunny weather over Easter that we spontaneously decided to spend Easter time in the Black Forest and make the most of the opportunity to visit our good friends leaving in Karlsruhe. The Mummelsee was quite overcrowded these days, therefore, we decided to start with hiking the Hornisgrinde. We enjoyed a nice short walk through the forest still lying under snow, on the top we found very fast a spot in the high moor (called in German “Grinde”) suitable for operating.
CQ SOTA de DD1LD/p… First chasers in log… Spotting… Enjoying one of these pile ups I so love… 27QSO in CW on 40m just in 20 minutes.
The new antenna concept seemed to work well, all the signals from UK were quite strong, and there were no problems with working neighbor stations, too.
We went for an afternoon stroll and easily gathered 10 points for that. Not bad! We ate our supper at the Hornisgrindeturm, went down another way and pushed on to the hotel Bon Bini Schloss located on the Silberberg (unfortunately not referenced). In the late evening we planed our next tour for Saturday the 11th of April, which should be tougher than previous two, but not so tough we finally had.

Mummelsee still frozen

On the way to the Hornisgrinde

Saturday, April 11, 2009. On Saturday after a long breakfast we went to the beautiful Stausee am Schwarzenbach. We put the Badener Höhe, 1002m (DM/BW-047) and Streitmannsköpfe, 989m (DM/BW-494) on the “to be activated list”. The path to the Badener Höhe was everywhere well signposted, we parked somewhere in the middle between the reservoir and Herrenwies and started hiking towards the Badener Höhe through the Herrenwieser See. The Herrenwieser See was still frozen like the Mummelsee we visited one day before but the passage was almost snowless. There is a lookout tower in the hill top called Fridrichsturm build by Duke Friedrich I. von Baden in 1891. Actually, this kind of observation towers is typical for many hills in the Black Forest. We found a nice place on its foot and I got set up my rod aerial and began CQing on 40m in CW. As soon as I worked two-three chasers I was spotted and I felt very well when enjoying a short but huge pile up and comfortable sitting in the sun at a chill temperature of 20°C. We packed, returned to the Herrenwieser See and moved on towards our next destination – Streitmannsköpfe (not activated, a new one). The problem we had to struggle with straight away were direction signs, actually, there were no direction signs to the Streitmannsköpfe at all. We got lost several times but thanks to Garmin we somehow arrived at the summit. Almost every hill in the Black Forest has a dozen of roads around it leading to the unknown, it is very easy to get lost without direction signs. We both found the Streitmannsköpfe, its top and the passage quite boring but in spite of everything the first activation was worth the effort. We paid a short visit to this hill, I interrupted operating because it started spitting. It looked like a rain but we only got a few drops. The propagation on 40m was very good, all the signals were unexpected strong despite numerous trees around. In the early evening we were going back to the car along the picturesque Stausee looking as pretty as a picture. On the way back we briefly stopped at the dam, took a couple of pictures and then jetted to the Bon Bini Schloss (which revealed to be a nice family hotel with a great view down to the Huzenbach valley) for dinner.

Most summits in the Black Forest have an observation tower like Badener Höhe here

DD1LD/p on the Badener Höhe testing a new antenna concept

Streitmannsköpfe (on the back) still waiting for its first activation

Picturesque Stausee

It looked like a rain but we only got a few drops on the Streitmannsköpfe

Sunday, April 12, 2009. Sunday was supposed to be a lazy day. After our check-out was complete we drove to Forbach and made a short excursion. Then we leisurely moved on by car to the Hohloh, 984m (DM/BW-054). The only “very last” part had to be overcome by muscular strength. The course of events seemed to become like a standard: climbing an observation tower (here Kaiser-Wilhelm-Turm), looking for a nice sunny spot, setting up the radio and aerial, operating, packing all the stuff away, walking around and finally going back to the car. One may ask what Maria was doing whereas I was operating. She also was relaxing all the time lying in the sun and reading a fascinating novel. So I had enough time to additionally test my new aerial on other bands and in SSB. I made a couple of contacts on 30m, 21 ones in CW and even 9 QSO in SSB on 40m. The antenna showed a quite outstanding performance in spite of its small size. Afterwards, I listened to the radio on 30m again and followed some QSOs for a half an hour before we decided to take a look at the Hohlohsee. We made a short loop around the lake lying in the high moor and surrounded by a wooden footbridge, red a couple of very informative warning signs being up everywhere and finally decided to move on in the direction of Karlsruhe. In all, the Hohloh was an easy haul worth 10 points!

On the Hohloh. One may ask what Maria was doing all the time...


A warning sign

I remembered that there was a local hill called Merkur, 668m (DM/BW-103) nearby Baden-Baden being worth 6 points and having a Gasthaus on the top. It could be a nice place for dinner! In less than one hour we were on its foot and started hiking on the zigzag way. Even though the Merkur is lower than Hohloh the climbing was comparatively more strenuous and we arrive at its top too late to have dinner there. Maria asked me for a concise operating what I followed without argument, 2 QSOs on 30m and 11 ones on 40m came in log. I had some problems to catch chasers on 40m because firstly, the SOTA frequencies were occupied by contesters and secondly, we were just too late. Many people were looking at me like I was an alien, they got confused faces as soon as I started pulling the fishing rod and twisting a piece of wire around it. The Merkur has a great view around but is quite overrun due to proximity to the famous resort Baden-Baden and the last, but not the least, there is a cableway. Unfortunately I had a little of time to enjoy this great view, we were expected in Karlsruhe and time was running away. We arrived at the parking place in the early twilight and after a short break got in the car… the late evening we spent with our friends in Karlsruhe.

Of course we chose the zigzag path

"Challenging" zigzag path to the Merkur

Merkur has a nice view around

Merkur tower build in 1837. Where the QRM was coming from?!

Monday, April 13, 2009. For Monday we planned to leave Karlsruhe afternoon to get home early and avoid frustration of stucking in a traffic jam. I was so keen on a SOTA pile up that we decided to make a stop right now after we passed Stuttgart and activate the Kornberg, 779m (DM/BW-094) very close to the highway. We needed a good half of hour to reach its top and a couple of minutes to set up all the equipment and to make ourselves comfortable before I started CQuing. I was just keying TRX to tune Elecraft T1 as I heard “QRZ?” and “call?” Yes, chasers were listening out on 7.033MHz like a cat is lying in a wait for a mouse. The first CQ run was answered by two chasers at once! I enjoyed a nice pile up and Maria - her novel for the next half of an hour. Altogether I grabbed 25 QSOs in CW and 8 points. There were no communication towers around in comparison to Merkur where I also had to struggle with QRM, and all the signals were crystal clear like an icicle. The Kornberg is a dull hill having a flat and bald top surrounded by trees, therefore, we went down as soon as I worked the last chaser, we rather decided to dine and spend the last bit of the day in Ulm, what turned out to be a right decision. We left Ulm in the twilight and we arrived at Munich at 9 p.m. and, thus, happily finished our five days journey trough Germany we both enjoyed very much.

The last activated Kornberg close to the highway

Altogether I made 165 QSOs, activated 7 summits (one first activation) and picked up 64 points. The new aerial concept was successfully tested on 30m and 40m bands, it will only need some minor improvement. My FT-817 all-rounder I specially tuned for SOTA activities did a good job!

Many thanks to all the chasers who worked me!

73 de Dzianis, DD1LD & YL Maria