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...

Sunday, July 05, 2020

Triple 1x2 Activation in Allgäu: DLFF-0230 and OE/TI-622 & DL/AL-061

Preparation, July 4th, 2020. 

I was constantly looking for an opportunity to do some high alpine SOTA activations in Allgäu. The weather forecast for Sunday was nice and suitable for a longer bike & hike tour, so I was targeting at least two 10-pointers in the Allgäuer Hochalpen, DLFF-0230. The Großer Wilder, OE/TI-622 and Kleiner Wilder, DL/AL-024 were waiting long enough for the first activation. The Schneck, DL/AL-061 was activated by only 18 QSOs in 2008, and fewer than 50 QSOs were filed in the WWFF database for DLFF-0230. So, there was a lot of potential for a nice pile-up! 

My plan was to activate the Großer Wilder, OE/TI-622 first, and then the Schneck, DL/AL-061 by 132 QSOs to get 3x WWFF activator points. I started preparations on Saturday morning. It was only on Saturday evening that I realized I needed new hiking shoes and was lucky enough to buy a pair just before the local shop closed. It was probably the fastest purchase of hiking shoes in my life - all in 15 minutes.  And, yes, the shoes endured the tour, which wasn't always the case.

Activation. July 5th, 2020. 

Our one year old Norwin slept restlessly and woke me up shortly before 4 a.m. / 2:00 UTC. I made a big coffee, checked my backpack, and sneaked out of the house. It took me about 2 hours by car to get to the parking lot Oybele-Halle (840m) in Oberstdorf. I started moving at 4:30 UTC and reached the Käseralpe (1400 m) by bike in less than an hour. 2 and 1/4 hours later I reached the north peak of the Großer Wilder (2370 m) and I logged in the summit book at 7:45 UTC.  I really missed wild climbing this year, so I really enjoyed it (degree of difficulty: II UIAA) today as well as wonderful views over the Allgäu High Alps.  On the way to the Himmeleck saddle (~1 hour from the Käseralpe) I met some curious and fearless chamois.
Short break and signing in the summit book on the north peak of the Großer Wilder (2370 m). 
For a short while I enjoyed the loneliness on the summit.
The green mountain in the background is the Schneck (2269 m), DL/AL-061. 

After a short break and as soon as some other climbers arrived I continued to the middle/main peak of the Großer Wilder (2379m). 


 View from the main peak (2379m) to the north peak (2370m) of the Großer Wilder. 
 The north ridge walk was great fun! 
 The green mountain in the background is the Schneck (2269 m), DL/AL-061. 

 After a quick luncheon I set up my /P station and went on the air from OE/TI-622 at 8:30 UTC. The propagation conditions were good so I made 22 QSOs on 20m and 60 QSOs on 30m in CW in ~1 1/4 hour of uptime. From strategic point of view, and also to avoid dupes for the WWFF activation, I decided to keep 40m band for the later activation of the Schneck, DL/AL-061.

 My operating spot on the the Großer Wilder (2379m), OE/TI-622.  The Hochvogel (2593m),
DL/AL-030 on the right in the background. 

I QRTed at 9:45 QTC with 82 QSOs in my log and went back to the Himmeleck saddle (2000m) through the Gamswanne (Chamois Tub). It required some climbling (degree of difficulty: I(+) UIAA) and more importantly, good orientation skills. I just realized again why I love solo climbing so much, it is a unique opportunity to spend time with yourself, and learn how to deal with yourself, and how to touch your own limits. I just felt great!

 I had to find my way back to the to the Himmeleck saddle (2000m) through the Gamswanne. 
There is no marking and no path. The Schneck (2269 m), DL/AL-061 is in the background.

I had to regain some height again to lose it again at the saddle. I arrived at the Schneck (2269m) and logged in the summit book at 11:15 UTC. The transition to the main peak is very exposed over a rocky edge (difficulty level: I UIAA), so almost all normal hikers avoid climbing the main summit.

 Climbing the main peak of the Schneck. The difficulty level is I UIAA. 
The weather changed to cloudy and windy.

Good for me! I was good on time, I announced the second activation for 12:00 UTC. I spent about half an hour enjoying everything around me, except for a few rare climbers, then started setting up my shack in the nature. The first QSO was logged on 40m at 11:55 UTC. I had a nice run on 40m and made 41 QSOs in ~35min of uptime. The pileup died quickly away. Then, I needed almost the same amount of time to collect 20 more QSOs while switching between 20, 30 and 40m.

 My operating schack in the nature on the main peak of the Schneck (2269m), DL/AL-061.
The Höfats, DL/AL-055 in the background. 
 Loneliness in the late afternoon...

As usual, the band change took some time, and I felt like I was missing some familiar WWFF callsigns in my log. Unfortunately I had no LTE connection and wasn't able to spot myself or check for spots. At home I realized that I was spotted in the SOTAwatch but not in the WWFFwatch cluster. For any reasons, the WWFFwatch didn't pickup my RBN spots... Well, I collected 61 QSOs in 1 and 1/4 hours and QRTed at 13:15 UTC. The mission was complete with 143 QSOs in CW.  

As far as I remember I arrived at the parking slot at ~15:00 UTC. The descent was quick and smooth, the nicest thing was to ride my bike down.  My brake discs glowed 😀

I got stuck in traffic on the way home and lost an hour. So, I drove a total of five hours by car 😠. What a waste of time that was! This emphasized the right to exist for GoGreen ham radio activities. And, thanks goodness, the long drive was the only downside to this wonderful activity. All logs have been submitted.

Gorgeous day. Very nice weather. Mission complete. Happy me.
On the Schneck (2269m), DL/AL-061.
The Hochvogel (2593m), DL/AL-030 in the background.  
Thanks to all chasers and activators for QSOs!

Short summary and statistics for DD1LD/P:
  • Date: July 5th, 2020
  • Equipment: high alpine QRP
  • Operating time: ~ 2 and 1/2 hours
  • DXCC worked: 29 
  • Top countries worked: DL and SP
  • Continents worked: 2
  • DX: NA
  • SOTA summits: 2x unique, 1x first activation
  • SOTA reference: OE/TI-622 and DL/AL-061
  • SOTA-valid QSOs: 143
  • SOTA activator points: 20 (2x10)
  • GMA activator points: 45 (23 + 22)
  • S2S: 4
  • WWFF areas: 1x unique (not activated by myself before) and rare
  • WWFF reference: DLFF-0230
  • WWFF-valid QSOs: 135 (w/o dupes)
  • Unique callsigns: 116
  • WWFF activator points: 3
  • P2P: 4
  • Altitude difference made: >1900m 
  • Walked distance: 10 km
  • Cycled distance: 20 km (to the Käseralpe and back)
  • Overall activity length: 10.5 hours
  • GPS-track record: available on request
Mni tnx to all chasers fer QSO!
73 es 44 de Dzianis, DD1LD/P

Thursday, July 02, 2020

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 take ham radio outdoors. You can hike a high alpine mountain or a local hill, go to a green park or to a sunny beach, visit a lonely island or your favorite castle and "activate" them to enjoy outdoor ham radio activities and apply for a corresponding activator award.    

I had the idea for GoGreen ham radio activities in my head for a very long time. The basic concept is pretty simple:
  • Activations should be done without using personal cars, trucks, motorcycles, etc. (any vehicles with combustion engines, hybrid and electro vehicles), but on foot, by bicycle, e-bike or/and by public transport (bus and train). A GoGreen activation starts and ends at your QTH or at alternative QTH.
  • QRP is preferred, however, Low Power (100W) should be fine, too.
  • Solar and battery powered operations are welcome. Combustion engine generators should not be utilized.
  • Ideally, GoGreen activities should be incentivized by appropriate programs e.g. SOTA, GMA, WWFF, COTA, BOTA, etc. and, moreover, incorporated into associated award schemes.
The motivation behind the GoGreen idea would be to foster:
  • outdoor and /P ham radio activities in the fresh air,
  • homebrewing and experimenting, 
  • personal health and fitness,
  • flora and fauna conservation (less emissions, noise, damage, etc.), 
  • "green" thinking (less congestion and traffic jams, etc.).
The COVID-19 restrictions in Bavaria in March 2020 brought some urgency to get the idea on the way and try it out, as the exit restrictions in Bavaria still allowed sports and exercise in the fresh air. So, outdoor ham radio activities around the corner were allowed as long as social distancing was maintained. I was looking for what I can do... together with my family.

The most of SOTA (Summits On The Air) and WWFF (WorldWide Flora and Fauna) activities require driving decent or long distances by car, at least for me. 

I have been participating in the SOTA program since 2007. I was there from the start, so to speak. The SOTA program has not evolved over the last decade. OK, new associations and new folks joined the program, and that's it in general. In a nutshell, the main limitations are:
  • The scoring system is neither competitive nor reflecting an actual effort associated with an activation. The rigid scoring scheme doesn't offer any additional incentive to activators who climb high and challenging peaks or do GoGreen activations. 
  • There is no incentive to activate the same summit (around the corner) multiple times a year unless you are looking for a summit-to-summit (S2S) award. An activator is thus constantly forced to activate a Unique One in order to collect points for Activator Awards.
  • The references are given by SOTA Management Team to a summit with the highest prominence according to the P150 rule. The highest prominence and P150 rule don't always reflect a degree of difficulty and effort associated with an activation, and what is more important to me, the attractiveness of a mountain.  A lot of really beautiful mountains and hills have been removed from the list or not added to the list for this reason.
There have been a lot of discussions in the SOTA-reflector, but nothing has changed since then, and probably will not be changed under the current SOTA Management Team.
From this point of view, the GMA (Global Mountain Activity) program offers much more flexibility and indeed encourages green thinking. It is also much more family friendly as you can always do a quick activity with all of your family members and/or pets. And this is exactly what is important to me - spending more time with the family and enjoying activities together.
GoGreen activation of the Turmhügel hill, DA/AV-200 
together with my family on Sunday, June 28th , 2020.
Easy 15km by bike, 30 CW QSOs made by QRP in 35 minutes of uptime.  
My QRP station fits in the bike side pocket.

The GMA website has been created and maintained by Mario, DL4MFM. The program has evolved well over the past decade. You can submit or add a reference for a mountain or hill around the corner and activate it everyday by bike or by walk with your kids while still collecting some award points. The hill or mountain should have a name and height that appear on an official map. The prominence doesn't matter, but frankly, do you really need a P150-rule and a long drive to have fun? The GMA enables GoGreen activities, however, doesn't explicitly incentivizes them. This means that no additional points will be earned through any GoGreen activities. 

One of my after-work GoGreen activations of my favorite local hill, GMA DA/AV-198. 
A few QSOs in a few minutes are always possible.
Together with my son Kirian on June 3rd, 2020. 
The WWFF program has been designed around the IOTA (Islands On The Air) award scheme, all this was about activating and collecting references. Once activated or chased, there is no urgent incentive to do this more than once or twice. It requires a lot of traveling by car to get a New One. End of 2019 the WWFF Committee announced the upcoming launch of a new pilot award scheme for activators - the WWFF Activator Points Award starting in 2020. The new annual award scheme pursued two objectives - to encourage:
  •     longer activations (beyond the default 44 QSOs),
  •     return activations (more than once).
Points are awarded annually, as follows:
  •     For achieving the 44 QSO quorum at each reference,
  •     For achieving additional QSO quotas (multiples of 44) at each reference.
Additional points will be awarded for each DX entity (five points) that an activator activates from.

This means that you can activate your favorite WWFF park around the corner as many times as you like and collect up to 10 activator award points per year. In my opinion, this is a great idea, the only one variable missing in the equation is a similar award scheme for chasers. Similar to GMA, the WWFF program enables GoGreen activities, however, doesn't explicitly incentivizes them, since is doesn't make any difference if you operate from car or come by bike. Actually, the "Make Nature Your Shack" slogan implies green thinking, and the WWFF program and Committee should support GoGreen expeditions rather than entertain /M activations.

 "Make Nature Your Shack". Operating from DLFF-0642 on July 9th, 2020.
After-work GoGreen Activation. Live log and info at www.tnxqso.com
45km by bike, 180 QSOs made with QRP in ~3.5 hours of participation time.

I also had a look at the COTA/WCA program which is also very similar to the IOTA award scheme. You can activate some castles and fortresses around the corner, and there are many, so you're sure to find one near your QTH. So, you could easily Go Green if you like. The COTA/WCA program enables GoGreen activities, however, does not create a direct incentive as it is not based on points, and there are no award points to collect. Well, the world castles day and the world castles weekend might give an incentive to activate the same object twice over time or even several times, and earn a nice award and a participation certificate from the COTA/WCA group. 

I tried them all - SOTA, GMA, WWFF and COTA, and it is fun!  As soon as GoGreen activations are considered, the GMA and WWFF programs are my favorites, since they are sustainable and have a chance to embrace green thinking, create appropriate incentives and design GoGreen award schemes for activators like me. They are not there yet, but very close to. The number of GoGreen activators is still small but emerging, e.g. DF3MC, PA9CW, ON4VT, ON5SWA, RN3ANT, etc. Certainly the integration of the GoGreen option into the appropriate award schemes will create more work for the program owners and award managers, but there is nothing that cannot be managed.
The GMA Triathlon award scheme brought me to think about XOTA that means X-any On The Air, and, especially, about the GoGreen XOTA. You can activate whatever you want - mountains, hills, nature reserves, castles, light towers, islands, beaches etc. as long as you Go Green and have fun! Does it sound easy enough for you? Just try it! You also can undertake X-activations or cross activities by a single expedition, e.g. operating from a GMA/SOTA mountain which is located in a WWFF area. Or you can go out for a GMA activation of your local hill and, in parallel, chase some other SOTA/GMA or WWFF or COTA activators.

The GMA provides a great platform to track your XOTA activities and progress. It offers many tools to plan your ham radio mini expedition or anylize your logs. Martin, DF3MC summarized a great overview of the GMA platform.  All of this is more about your personal goals than the competition. For example, my personal goal for 2020 is to
while maximizing the number of my GoGreen activations and joint family activities.  And this will be my Personal DD1LD's GoGreen XOTA Challenge 2020.
 My GoGreen Activation of DLFF-0706 and GMA DA/AV-384 on May 24th, 2020.
40km by bike, 107 QSOs made with QRP in 2 hours. 
Well, why not to introduce a Green Medal in the GMA Triathlon or to award additional five WWFF activator points for a GoGreen activity? I know, the idea of GoGreen activations is revolutionary for any of those programs mentioned above, and will probably never be included in any of these award schemes... But who cares and who knows? The only thing that finally matters is outdoor ham radio experience, fun and personal health!
73, 44, 11 de Dzianis, DD1LD

Sunday, June 21, 2020

GoGreen Activation of the Schwaben Castle, DL-05240 on the Wiegenberg, DA/AV-209

Sunday, June 21st, 2020. Short activation report.

I took a look at the weather forecast, the weather on the weekend would have been unstable close to the Apls, but still good for a bike ride around the corner. Sunday was the last day of the 11th World Castles Weekend (WCW-2020), I didn't want to miss it. I just got a new reference DL-05240 for the Schwaben Castle in Markt Schwaben from Manfred, DF6EX and it would be "my duty" to activate this reference.  I decided to operate from the Wiegenberg, DA/AV-209, which is just located in the activation zone of the castle. It's 14 km there and back by bike, so it would be a good bike round for Kirian. I have announced my schedule through the reflector of the WCA Group.

The WCA Group has published an announcement on its website. Thank you very much!

Kirian was too tired on Sunday morning...  So I was on the air an hour late. I started on 20m at 9:00 UTC and got a few QSOs in CW, then nothing came back, even though the copied signs were loud!? I decided to try SSB. The propagation conditions were good, I collected 55 SSB QSOs in less than one hour. After a short and low yield CW run I switched to 40m and had a similar situation - I got more QSOs in SSB than in CW, i.e. 33 QSOs vs. 19 QSOs.  As far as I remember, this is the first activation where I have made more contacts in SSB than in CW, thanks to good propagation and good location as well.

Operating spot on the Wiegenberg/Wittach, DA/AV-209.
GPS coordinates are 48°10'58.3"N 11°51'51.1"E.

Andy, DL2DVE and my friend Anton paid a visit to us. Andy brought some snacks for lunch (tnx Andy) and invited us for coffee and ice cream in the afternoon. We spend about three hours on the hill. Due to rain and other curious visitors, I had to interrupt my activation several times, which led to an actual uptime of around two hours. I QRTed at 12:00 UTC and we made our way to Andy, where we spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying coffee and ice cream, talking about outdoor ham radio activities and making future plans, etc. The Sunday's activity resulted in 116 QSOs on 20m/40m made with QRP. 

DD1LD/P in action on the Wiegenberg, DA/AV-209 
while activating the Schwaben Castle, DL-05240.

The requirements for the Activator Award "11 (Two Towers)" in gold have so far been met. I needed a few more QSOs to apply for the Chaser Award. In the late evening I logged RA1L/M CQing from the Kronshtadt Fortress and Fort Menshikov on 40m and should therefore also qualify for the Chaser Award in gold.

The logs have been submitted. And again, the WCW-2020 was fun!

Short summary and statistics for DD1LD/P:
  • Date: June 21th, 2020
  • Equipment: QRP + EFHW
  • Operating time: ~ 2 hours
  • QSOs in total: 116 (w/o dupes) 
  • Unique calls: 105
  • CW QSO: 28
  • SSB QSO: 88
  • 40m QSO: 64
  • 20m QSO: 52
  • DXCC worked: 26
  • DX: North Amerika
  • WCA/COTA objects: 1x NEW ONE
  • WCA/COTA reference: WCA DL-05240 (Schloß Schwaben)
  • WCA/COTA-valid QSO: 116
  • GMA: 1x unique
  • GMA reference: DA/AV-209 (Wiegenberg)
  • GMA points: 5 
Mni tnx all chasers es activators fer QSO!
73 es 11 de Dzianis, DD1LD/P  

Thursday, June 18, 2020

After-work-activation of DLFF-0756

June 18th, 2020. Short activation report of DLFF-0756.

Spontaneously I decided to take advantage of a nice weather window and activate another New One - Hochmoor am Kesselse, DLFF-0756. 
The propagation conditions were very poor. The 20/30m bands were almost useless, I wasn't even lucky this time to get a NA callsign in my log. The signals at 40m were weak and were negatively influenced by ambient noise from car traffic and QRM (from a gravel plant?). I had to struggle for every QSO. I wanted to give up after 100 QSOs but decided to do a short run in SSB on 40m and 80m. The 80m band was much quieter where I collected the last 24 QSOs with solid reports. I will keep the 80m-band as an option for future after-work-activations.

Operating location in DLFF-0756,
GPS coordinates 48°04'00.66"N 12°09'59.91"E.

Altogether I gathered 140 QSOs in ~2.5 hours of operating time. I will have to find another quieter operating place next time.

Short statistics:
  • Operating time: ~2.5 hours
  • 40m - 100 QSO, 80m - 24 QSO, 20m - 11 QSO, 30m - 5 QSO
  • CW - 106 QSO (76%), SSB - 34 QSO (24%)
  • Unique callsigns: 125 
  • P2P: 4
  • WWFF Activator Award Points: 3
Mni tnx all chasers fer QSO!
73 es 44 de Dzianis, DD1LD/P

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

GoGreen Activation: DLFF-0755 at the Speichersee

Tuesday, June 16th, 2020. Short activation report.

Thanks to Manfred, DF6EX and Ric, DL2VFR, a new DLFF-0755 (Vogelfreistätte südlich der Fischteiche der Mittleren Isar) reference was quickly added to the DLFF list. It is the oldest nature reserve in the Munich district, where birds like to nest in the wetland. I didn't want to wait too long and used the first opportunity to activate the "New One". According to the weather forecast, it would rain all week, however I would have a few hours without rain on Tuesday afternoon. I decided to take a risk, and packed my bike. Kirian saw me packing and wanted to accompany me. Well, it would slow things down a bit, but there was nothing to argue about.  It's 20 km there and back and I was sure that Kirian (3 and 1/3 years old) would make it. I announced my activity through the WWFF agenda and we started. 

I started calling at 16:20 UTC and I collected 20 QSOs on 20m and 30m in 30 minutes. The propagation was poor. I switched to 40m hoping for a nice run.  I immediately recognized a high level of noise(?) I recognized QRN, but there was something else. I looked around and saw a overhead power lines right in front of my nose. What a sh#t!  I had 
  • poor propagation conditions, 
  • QRN,
  • QRM,
  • QRP,
  • and not an optimal time.
My operating spot in DLFF-0755 on June 16th, 2020. 
GPS coordinates 48°12'09.4"N 11°42'40.3"E

I ended up with 54 QSOs in 1 1/3 hour, 49 in CW and only 6 in SSB. Although the activation of the New One was successful and I even logged KD1CT in SSB, it was a tedious undertaking! I was deaf and could not receive any weak signals. I am sorry for those chasers who have not found their way into my logbook.

Kirian covered his first 20 km by bike and felt good, and that was the best achievement today! We'll be back for another GoGreen activation soon.
Mni tnx all chasers fer QSO!
73 es 44 de Dzianis, DD1LD/P

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Double Activation: WWFF Zellbachtal & COTA Hechenberg Castle

Saturday, June 13th, 2020. Short activation report.
Saturday, June 13th, was forecast as a hot day with temperatures up to 32°C. We wanted to escape the coming afternoon heat. After a long breakfast Kirian and me spontaneously decided to undertake a double activation of the Zellbachtal, DLFF-0448 and the Hechenberg Castle, COTA-DL OBB-086, WCA DL-04982. I just had to find a good place with lots of shade, and quickly found a suitable one in the forest of the Zellbachtal nature reserve.

Our GPS location during double activation on June 13th, 2020.  
The red curve marks the 1km COTA activation zone. 
GPS coordinates are 47°49'52" N and 11°32'47" O.

Our quiet operating spot during double activation on June 13th, 2020. 
Kirian watched some cartoons while I was operating.

The goal was pretty easy to collect as many WWFF activator award points as possible. I started CQing at ~11:00 UTC, and made 180 QSOs on 20/30 and 40m in less than three hours of operating time. The propagation conditions were fair to good. Approximately 2/3 of the QSOs were on 40m. It was fun again! 

We made a short stop in Hechenberg to take a few pictures for documentation. The Hechenberg Castle was built in 1594. Near the Hechenberg Castle there is the Hechenberg Tower Hill, a former water castle of the tower hill or mota type.  The tower hill castle, which was probably founded by the Lords of Hechenberg in the 11th or 12th century, was surrounded by a moat five to seven meters wide.

 The Hechenberg Castle,  COTA-DL OBB-086, WCA DL-04982.

The St. Valentin Church in Hechenberg. The castle is behind the church.
Short summary and statistics for DD1LD/P:
  • Date: June 13th, 2020
  • Equipment: Low power (100W) + dipole
  • Operating/Participation time: ~2:45 hours
  • Valid QSO: 180 (w/o dupes)
  • Unique callsigns: 164
  • CW QSO: 106
  • SSB QSO: 74
  • 40m: 112 QSOs, 20m: 66 QSOs, 30m: 2 QSOs
  • DXCC worked: 31
  • Top countries worked: DL, I, SP, ON
  • Continents worked: 2
  • DX: North Amerika
  • WWFF areas: 1x unique (not activated by me before)
  • WWFF reference: DLFF-0448
  • WWFF activator points: 4 (x 44 QSO)
  • P2P: 3
  • WCA/COTA areas: 1x unique (not activated by me before)
  • WCA/COTA reference: COTA-DL OBB-086, WCA DL-04982
Mni tnx all chasers es activators fer QSO!
73 es 44 es 11 de Dzianis, DD1LD/P

Friday, June 12, 2020

Quattro 2x2 Activation: 2x WWFF & 2x SOTA

Friday, June 12th, 2020.
The initial idea and motivation are summarized in the earlier post here. I was waiting for a suitable opportunity to undertake a quattro activation of 2x WWFF and 2x SOTA in the Karwendel Nature Park by a single expedition. And an opportunity arose on Friday. The weather forecast was just great. We invited our friends over for dinner tonight, so unfortunately, I had a limited amount of time for my activities.

The Karwendel Nature Park has been subject to a protection regulation since 1928 and is one of the oldest and most beautiful nature reserves in Europe. The largest part (around 80%) is in Tyrol/Austria, the smaller part is in Bavaria/Germany. The goal was to activate the Stierjoch, OE/TI-649 (1909m) in OEFF-0043 by 61 QSOs at least and Kotzen, DL/KW-043 (1766m) in DLFF-0173 by 44 QSOs at least to claim a successful quattro activation and three WWFF Activator Award points (I had 17 additional QSOs left from my last activation of OEFF-0043, so 17 + 61 = 88 QSOs or two points). I announced the Stierjoch, OE/TI-649 for 9:00 UTC and Kotzen, DL/KW-043 for 11:00 UTC by the WWFF Agenda and SOTAwatch.

The summits can be reached from the north by a hiking trail starting in the Fall village (773m) near the Sylvensteinsee. I started at the village a little late at 6:00 UTC. Already at this point the Fall village was overcrowded, the parking lots were fully occupied. To save time and avoid the crowd, I chosen a rarely hiked trail along a stream that flows into the Dürrach river. In retrospect, that was a good decision! The lonely path was fun and also beautiful. The trail is neither signposted nor marked and requires good orientation skills. If you get lost, just follow the stream until you cross another path. 

A beautiful terrace waterfall starting a stream. At the latest here you will need to turn right towards the saddle between the the Stierjoch and Kotzen. 

Exactly tree hours later I arrived at the Stierjoch, OE/TI-649 in OEFF-0043. A couple of hikers were enjoying a great view over the Karwendel Nature Park from the summit top. So I did for a while too...

View from the Stierjoch over OEFF-0043 towards the Delps lake.

The first QSO was logged at 9:20 UTC. I had a nice run on 20m and logged 21 QSO in ~10 minutes. I was at least an hour late, the propagation conditions on 40m/30m deteriorated, all the signals were weak. I logged 25 QSOs on 40m in 20 minutes, had a longer but not really productive run on 30m, and finally ended up on 40m. In 1 hour and 25 minutes I collected 65 QSOs (62 unique QSOs + 3 dupes) in CW and one S2S in 2m FM. I QRTed at 10:45 UTC. The mission was complete and I hurried to the next summit. I was an hour behind schedule...
My operating spot on the Stierjoch, OE/TI-649. View to the north. 
My next summit the Kotzen, DL/KW-043 is in the background.
Exactly one hour later, at 11:45 UTC I logged the first QSO on 40m from the Kotzen, DL/KW-043. The propagation conditions were poor. I gathered 45 OSOs in CW on 40m and 20m in ~45 minutes of operating/participation time and QRTed at 12:35 UTC.  This mission was complete and I had to hurry up.  Now I was 45 minutes behind schedule... Well, not so bad!
My operating spot on the Kotzen, DL/KW-043. 
Some hikers around the summit cross are in the background.
View from the Kotzen, DL/KW-043 towards the Sylvensteinsee.

I was back at the Fall village at 14:15 UTC (15 minutes behind schedule) but came home just in time because I lost some time in traffic. The quattro activation was successful despite poor propagation conditions. The number of QSOs was not exciting though. However, I had a really nice bike & hike tour and another nice day in the alps. The GPS route showed 26 km, which were covered for 111 QSOs, 14 SOTA points and 3 WWFF Activator Award points.

Mni tnx to all chasers fer QSO!
73 es 44 de Dzianis, DD1LD/P

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Starting into the World Castles Weekend 2020

A long weekend just started on Thursday, June 11th. The weather forecast, and especially, in the morning was not stable enough for alpine SOTA activities, so I thought about WWFF again. I still needed some more COTA activations for the GMA triathlon. At the same time, Manfred, DF6EX just mentioned the 11th World Castles Weekend (WCW-2020) taking place from the 11th to the 21st of June 2020, and motivated me to take part. I only had a few hours for my activities on Thursday and did not want to go far from home. The COTA map suggested two castles near my home (app. 25 min by car) that were not yet activated.  The Moosen Castle, COTA-DL OBB-019, WCA DL-03853 and Armstorf Castle, COTA-DL OBB-014, WCA DL-03848 lie on the different sides of the highway A94 and have overlapping activation zones. The weather forecast was rainy in the morning, but the rain should stop after 8:00 UTC. So, I announced my activity for Thursday at 8:00 UTC through the WCA reflector on late Wednesday evening, hoping that I would still address many chasers on time. I also wanted to set a goal for this activity, which was a successful double activation by 50-100 QSOs in two hours of uptime. My expectations were decent, however, the plan went better than expected!

The overlap between two activation zones is less than 100m.

I sneaked out of the house in the rainy and gloomy morning while the kids were still sleeping. I planned a little more time to find a suitable operating spot. Finally I parked my car in the activation zone behind a hunting cabin and decided to leave my station in the trunk because of the rain. It turned out that it was the right decision, the rain got stronger. The location had a certain elevation and was pretty good for RF.

 My GPS location during double activation on June 11th, 2020. 

My pants and shoes were soaked by wet grass during the antenna installation, and it was still raining. Yesterday I tweaked my antenna a bit and was curious about its performance. So, nothing else than going on the air! I went on the air on schedule at 8:00 UTC. I started on 40m and gathered 60 QSOs in 45 minutes. Because of the changing rain and, thus, the changing SWR, the ATU constantly tried to tune the antenna to the lowest possible SWR. It was pretty annoying and disrupted the operational flow a little. Finally, I had to set a higher auto-tuning threshold to make everything work smoothly. A run in SSB resulted in 70 QSOs in 30 minutes of operating time. Then the rate on 20m and 40m went down to app. 1 QSO/min. I gathered over 220 QSOs in tree hours of uptime. That was fun! I had an hour left, I collected 40 more QSOs, took a couple of pictures, packed everything together and made my way home with 260 QSOs in my log. Of course, a public holiday in Europe (Corpus Christi) helped me get a pretty nice number of QSOs and chasers. The overall result was motivating to undertake more COTA activations. I needed at least one more for the Award "11 (Two Towers)" issued by the World Castles Activity Group (WCAG), and a couple more ones for the GMA triathlon as well.  I felt like I could get even more QSOs, but it was the best time to go. The weather got a lot better and warmer, and I wanted to spend the rest of the holyday outside with my family and our friends.  

My operating spot. As forecasted, the weather got a lot better on departure. 
The hunting cabin in the background was a good orientation point.

On the way home I made two short stops at the castles to document my successful activation.

The Armstorf Castle, COTA-DL OBB-014, WCA DL-03848.

The Moosen Castle, COTA-DL OBB-019, WCA DL-03853.

Short summary and statistics for DD1LD/P:
  • Date: June 11th, 2020
  • Equipment: Low power (100W) + dipole
  • Operating/Participation time: ~ 3.5 hours
  • QSOs in total: 253 (w/o dupes)
  • CW QSO: 124
  • SSB QSO: 129
  • 40m QSO: 197
  • 20m QSO: 56
  • DXCC worked: 34
  • DX: North Amerika
  • WCA/COTA objects: 2x uniques and NEW ONEs
  • WCA/COTA reference: WCA DL-03848 / OBB-014 + DL-03853 / OBB-019
  • WCA/COTA-valid QSO: 253 (w/o dupes) 
Mni tnx all chasers es activators fer QSO!
73 es 11 de Dzianis, DD1LD/P  

Saturday, June 06, 2020

GreenParty 2020

Friday, June 5th, 2020. Preparation.
It was a rainy week, and we needed some rain with all this dry weather. I was thinking of combining WWFF and SOTA activities as part of GreenParty 2020, however, the weather forecast was not promising for high-alpine expeditions, so I rejected this idea.  And what now? Should I go for a pure WWFF activation? I remembered that I wanted to participate in the GMA Triathlon this year, I still needed some activations of castles, islands and lighthouses to score points for an award.  We have some "problems" in Bavaria with islands/IOTA and lighthouses/LOTA, but no issues with castles/COTA. The ultimate goal was to find an area
  • where the weather forecast would have enabled me to operate without rain for a couple of hours;
  • with a rarely or not activated WWFF reference;
  • with a rarely or not activated WCA/COTA reference.
I studied maps and weather forecasts for hours, and, finally, found a sweet spot. There is an overlap between the Mündung der Tiroler Achen, DLFF-0219 and the Winkl Castle, DL-04472, OBB-082. The DLFF-0219 was activated a couple of times by ~300 QSO in total, and the DL-04472 was not activated yet. It made me hope for a nice pile-up! The weather forecast for the Chiemsee lake area was promising inbetween 8:00 UTC and 12:00 UTC, and looked a lot better than in my hometown.  I announced my expedition for 8:00 UTC via the WWFF Agenda and WCA Group Reflector just a few hours before departure.
The operating spot was chosen in the overlap between the DLFF and WCA/COTA activation zones.
Then I had to study the GreenParty rules.  Initially I wanted to operate in CW and SSB, but I also found out that the category Mixed includes digital modes, in which I was not interested at all. So, I decided to go for CW only, and this was not the best option nether for me nor for all other chasers who can't do CW, since I spent almost all of my operating time collecting every CW QSO to maximize my score within a certain amount of time.  My goal was to collect 3 WWFF activator points at least, or, put differently, 3x 44 QSO = 132 QSO in CW.  I had a couple of hours for operating, since I needed to be at home at 13:00 UTC.

Saturday, June 6th, 2020. Activation. 
I was going to place my station on a meadow in the overlap area between the WWFF and COTA activation zones (marked by red). The plan did not work, the meadow was already occupied, the cattle were grazing in the meadow. I had to move back and closer to the Rothgraben (to the right of the marked spot) and set-up my station just within the WWFF border. 

The border or the DLFF-0219 runs along the Rothgraben. The red circle marks the anticipated operating location. The actual operating spot was chosen near the Rothgraben to the right of the marked location. 
The operating spot was the lowest point in the area close to the ditch and was surrounded by trees and an earth wall (on the right to the north) and, therefore, not ideal for RF but this was the only way to fully comply with WWFF and WCA/COTA rules. 

GreenParty 2020. My operating spot close to the ditch (Rothgraben). 
View to the south. Chiemgau Alps in the background.

I started at ~8:30 UTC on 20m and made 27 QSO in half an hour. Then I switched to 40m and got a huge but short pile-up I really enjoyed! It was a very chaotic pile-up but I was able to handle this kind of chaos. The pile-up resulted in 50 QSO in ~35 minutes.  The pile-up died away quickly, and I was collecting the rest QSOs on 20m and 40m at a moderate rate until the rate dropped significantly. I had short runs at 80m and 15m without a single QSO made. Then I was constantly switching between 20m and 40m and collecting every QSO I could get. The overall result was not really exciting, I made 137 CW QSO on two bands in 3.5 hours of operating time.  More than half of QSO were done in the first hour, and 90 QSO were done in the first two hours. Well, the propagation was poor, the location was not ideal, and I decided to omit SSB, and I still have to work on optimizing my antenna, and, and, and. At the very end I had a very short run at 30m and got 2 additional QSOs in the log. Unfortunately, I had no time for SSB and had to leave with 139 CW QSO including 10 P2P QSO in my log.
My portable station in a trolley that I had to move for 1km. I left my car in the Winkl parking lot. 
The Kampenwand (1668m), DL/CG-046 in the background. The rain was coming.  
The current rules of the GreenParty come very close to a contest-like operation. I found the number exchange pretty annoying. I had to send F0219 to every chaser. Many chasers were not interested in it, and did not want to have it, and did not even know what it meant. It also disrupted the usual QSO flow, so many chasers replied to me as soon as they received 5NN, even though I was still sending F0219. Also, sending F0219 to everyone was not "green" (not environmentally friendly) at all, just a waste of battery energy. I decided not to ask and push for any numbers, and if a chaser did not give me a number by default, I logged 000. This made the operating flow more fluid. Some chasers gave me a number at the beginning and no longer later. An exchange with other /P was mandatory and fairly straightforward.
I relied heavily on RBN and chasers' spots. At home I found out that some activators spotted themselves via the WWFF watch/cluster saying GreenParty. The rules state "self-spotting is not allowed". I am not sure if they even recognized this before submitting their logs, or they will not submit their logs for ranking at all.  Let's see.
This was my first time attending this event. The overall idea is really good and the event was fun. However, the whole thing is not yet mature and has more potential to become more successful and widely accepted. I guess if GreenParty organizers design the rules around the usual WWFF operating flow, they will get much more acceptance from WWFF activators and chasers to participate and, especially, to submit a log. Anyway, I shared my constructive feedback with the organizers. Let's see.
The nicest part was a pile-up on 40m, I already forgot when I had such a pile-up. Well, I can imagine doing a few other rural COTA activations.

And, of course, I took a picture of the Winkl Castle, before I hit the road home. The castle burned down in 1994 and was only renovated a few years ago, and equipped with nine living apartments. Architecturally, the building is more like a manor house than a castle. An eventful and rich history of the Winkl Castle has been demonstrated since the 15th century. Unfortunately, not much information is available on the web.
The renovated Winkl Castle, WCA DL-04472, COTA OBB-082. 
As soon as I entered the highway it started to rain. Good timing! I arrived home just in time.
Short summary and statistics for DD1LD/P:
  • Date: June 6th, 2020
  • Equipment: Low Power (~60W)
  • Operating/Participation time: ~3.5 hours
  • DXCC worked: 29
  • Top countries worked: DL, I, SP, ON
  • Continents worked: 2
  • DX: North Amerika
  • WWFF areas: 1x unique (not activated by me before)
  • WWFF reference: DLFF-0219
  • WWFF-valid QSO: 139 (144 - 5 dupes), all CW
  • Unique callsigns: 129
  • WWFF activator points: ~3
  • P2P: 10
  • WCA/COTA areas: 1x unique and NEW ONE
  • WCA/COTA reference: DL-04472, OBB-082
  • WCA/COTA-valid QSO: 139 (144 - 5 dupes), all CW
  • Unique callsigns: 129
Mni tnx all chasers es activators fer QSO!
73 es 44 es 11 de Dzianis, DD1LD/P

Monday, June 01, 2020

CQ WW WPX CW Contest

I actually wanted to tackle the WPX CW contest seriously. Unfortunately, it was not possible for various reasons, but I don't want to bore you with all that either. My "strategy" was pretty simple - to have a lot of fun and joy and to do at least 1000 QSOs. The score was not important to me. The goals have been achieved!

I installed a new dipole for 40m/80m on Saturday afternoon, because some needed components only arrived on Saturday morning. I didn't have time for 160m, there was also enough for me to fetch on the other bands. The total operation/participation time was less than 20 hours.

I almost forgot how much fun a WPX CW contest can be. I enjoyed good propagation conditions on all bands and long openings on 10m. All the points go to the Bavarian Contest Club.
My raw score CQ WW WPX CW 2020,

73 de Dzianis, DD1LD

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Father's Day Activation of Staffel, DL/BE-021

Thursday, May 21, 2020. Father's Day. This was a spontaneous family activation of the Staffel, DL/BE-021 together with Kirian, Andy, DL2DVE and his oldest daughter Tamara. It was the first serious alpine tour for 3 and 1/4 years old Kirian, he climbed over 750m in altitude alone without external help. And this is a milestone in his young mountaineering life! 

We started at ~7:00 UTC close to the Fleck village and arrived the summit at 9:45 UTC. As always when we arrived at the summit cross, we left an entry in the summit book.

The Staffel is a very popular mountain, and, thus, the mountain top was full of hikers, unfortunately. However, we had no big issues to put two QRP stations around the summit cross while still keeping social distancing. We wanted to keep the activation short today as we were going to have a long descent. After about one hour of being there (or ~40 minutes of pure operating time) we made over 70 QSO on 40/30/20 and 2m bands, in which 36 QSO incl. a couple S2S go to my account:
  • 20m - 8 QSO,
  • 30m - 10 QSO,
  • 40 m - 16 QSO,
  • 2m - 2 QSO.
 My operation spot on the Staffel, DL/BE-021.

The view from the mountain is just great in every direction! The shortest trail is quite steep but easy.  It took us ~2.5 hours to get down. Kirian ran out of energy when he arrived in the parking lot and fell asleep in the car as soon as I hit the street. My little boy was just great today and mastered this challenge with flying colors!

 On the way down. View towards the Karwendel and Sylvensteinsee lake.

When we all arrived at my QTH, we celebrated our successful Father's Day Activity with drinking beer and ice cream, respectively. Andy and me were proud of our children's performance today! 

Thanks to all chasers and activators for S2S!
73 de Dzianis, DD1LD

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Westerberg, DL/MF-112 - a lonely summit close to the Schliersee lake

Sunday, May 17th, 2020. This a was a spontaneous activity with Andy, DL2DVE and Kirian. Initially I was thinking about the Staffel, DL/BE-021. However, the weather forecast for Sunday was very good and I expected a large crowd of walkers in the Alps. So, my choice fell on the Westerberg, DL/MF-112, since: 
  • the mountain isn't far from my QTH and Krian and me were required to be home in the early afternoon;
  • only 500m in altitude were to gain, so that 3 and 1/4 years old Kirian could make it to the mountain top;
  • neither Andy nor me activated this reference before;
  • there is no trail to the top, so I speculated that walkers will probably go somewhere else.
We arrived at the parking lot Dürnbach-Bodenschneid in Neuhaus at 7:00 UTC. The parking area was fully occupied so that we had some issues to park our cars there. Thank goodness, we learned quickly that all these walkers and bikers were not going to approach the Westerberg, the majority of them wanted towards the Bodenschneid, DL/MF-041.  We ascended the mountain from the south, the last part of the hike was pathless through a windthrow (SAC level T2/T3 without marking). It looked like Kirian enjoyed this part most as it was a new challenge to him.

Andy and me started CQing at 9:30 UTC on 20m and 40m respectively. After a couple of QSO and five minutes later a Spanish station just started calling CQ EA EA5... TEST on my frequency, although the QRG was obviously busy. Moreover, this station tried to answer SOTA chasers' calls. The chaos brought out. I hoped that the OM will quickly grasp that something was going wrong, but he didn't while continuing calling TEST.  I even tried to answer his CQ by myself, however, without any success. The station was incredibly loud and deaf, I was able to finish a couple of QSO more in between his signs and decided to QSY on 20m. Well, what else a QRP station like mine can do? I made a short run on 20m and a longer one on 30m, and after 45 minutes of operating, I decided to QRT and leave 40m to Andy. The propagation was OK for EU, we keyed as long as it made sense.

Operating spot on the Westerberg, DL/MF-112.   
The Bodenschneid, DL/MF-041 is in the middle background.

While Andy was still collecting last chasers on 40m Krian and me had a light lunch while enjoying the beautiful scenery towards the souths. From this point the view is gorgeous towards the Brecherspitz, Bodenschneid and Wallberg. Then, I had a short run on 2m FM, we examined Andy's optimized GPA, packed everything together and started our descent at 11:00 UTC.  

I had to climb a pile of old trees to get better signals on 2m FM.

By the way, we cleaned the mountain top and took out the garbage that a group of stupid teenagers (according to some photos we found above) left behind some time ago.

A gorgeous view from the Westerberg to the south.

I activated the Westerberg on each of 40/30/20 and 2m bands by 33 QSO altogether. While we were talking about ham radio, an hour and a half later we arrived at our parking lot and we were all still full of energy! I only emphasized it once more that a SOTA activation (4 QSO required) is easy if compared to a WWFF activation (44 QSO required), especially if QRP is considered. And yet half an hour later Kirian fell asleep deep in the car. He was slowly becoming a big boy! 

73 de Dzianis, DD1LD es Kirian!

Friday, May 08, 2020

Triple 1x2 Activation in DLFF-0173: Hoher Grasberg, DL/KW-041 and Pfetterkopf, DL/KW-042

The weather forecast for Friday was good for outdoor activities. My legs felt quite tired after a 25km long run yesterday, so that I wanted to have an "easy" bike & hike activity. I decided to activate both Hoher Grasberg (1783m), DL/KW-041 and Pfetterkopf (1546m), DL/KW-042 in the Karwendel nature park, DLFF-0173, at least I hoped I would have enough energy for hiking them both.  I announced my activity in both SOTA- and WWFFAlerts.

I started in Vorderriss (790m) at about 6:15 UTC. I wanted to hike to the Hintere Grasbergalm starting from the north or Isar side. This trail is neither signposted nor marked, from time to time I only saw a very weak trace. However, it's fairly easy to follow. Some preparation and good orientation skills are required, especially, given that fact, that there is no trail to the Pfetterkopf at all, and a SOTA activator will need to figure out his own path to the top. My partly recorded GPS track is available below. Unfortunately, my GPS tracker ran out of battery at the mountain top. 
I arrived at the Hoher Grasberg at 8:45 UTC. After having a breakfast and enjoying a gorgeous view a bit longer than usual, I built up my tiny portable station and started calling CQ.

The Hoher Grasberg (1783m) is not often hiked and has a little summit book.

View from the Hoher Grasberg (1783m) towards the Soiernspitze (2259m), DL/KW-029.

My tiny operating spot on the Hoher Grasberg, DL/KW-041. 
The Walchensee is in the middle in the background.

The plan was to try another strategy - to gather at least 44 QSO = 1 WWFF activator point from DL/KW-041 and as many QSO as possible from DL/KW-042 in one hour. The scheduled operating time from each summit should not exceed one hour. With some luck I should be able to get 88 QSO or 2 activator points within two hours of total operating time.

The strategy and plan worked out. The RBN and both WWFF- and SOTAwatches immediately spotted me calling from DL/KW-041. Under poor propagation conditions I made 50 QSO on 40m and 30m in 45min, packed everything together, adjusted alerts for KW-042 and rushed down to the Grasbergalm. I approached the summit meadow of the Pfetterkopf in the sparse forest without a trail on the western slope. No routes lead over the mountain, it will probably remain lonely at all times. There were no particular difficulties but are still 250m in altitude. Yesterday's 25km long run could be felt with every move that was a huge effort. "I'm getting old for this shit!", I thought, "and why do I do this [SOTA] shit? Well, because..."

 View from the Pfetterkopf DL/KW-042 towards the Isar river and Walchensee.

There was plenty of space on the summit top meadow, so that I easily found a suitable place in the shade. I erected a L-shape aerial this time, in the hope of getting better signs on 40m. I felt like I was hearing a bit better on 40m and 30m if compared to my standard GPA installation on KW-041. Only 5 stations came in on 20m although I spent some extra time calling CQ on this band. Altogether 46 QSO were logged within one hour of operating time. Unfortunately, I had to QRT at 13:00 UTC and rush down as fast as I could. ~1.5 hours later I was in my car driving home after a tough day. The catch of the day were 96 CW QSO in 1 hour and 45 minutes of operating time. It always could be better, however, is not bad for a Friday! And, what a wonderful day in beautiful nature full of loneliness!
Operating spot on the Pfetterkopf, DL/KW-042. The L-shaped aerial worked well on 30/40m.

View over the Isar river. The water level is quite low for this time of the year.

Short summary and statistics for DD1LD/P:
  • Date: May 8th, 2020
  • Equipment: high alpine QRP + FM handheld
  • Operating time: 1 3/4 hours
  • DXCC worked: 21
  • Top countries worked: DL, SP,  F and I
  • Continents worked: 2
  • DX: ~6300km on 20m in CW
  • SOTA summits: 2x unique (not activated by myself before)
  • SOTA reference: DL/KW-041 and DL/KW-042
  • SOTA-valid QSO: 96
  • SOTA activator points: 12 (6+6)
  • S2S: 1
  • WWFF areas: 1x non-unique (activated by myself before)
  • WWFF reference: DLFF-0173
  • WWFF-valid QSO: 86
  • Unique callsigns: 77
  • WWFF activator points: ~2
  • P2P: 1
  • Altitude difference made: ~ 1250m  
  • Walked distance: ~10 km (partly recorded)
  • Cycled distance: 13 km
  • Overall distance: ~23 km
  • Overall activity length: ~8 hours
  • GPS-track record: available HERE (t.b.d.)
Mni tnx to all chasers fer QSO!
73 es 44 de Dzianis, DD1LD/P

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Rosskopf, DL/KW-045 in Karwendel, DLFF-0173

I wanted to test my alternative light QRP station I optimized for WWFF activities and compare it with my ultra-light high alpine QRP equipment. I'll just call it WWFF QRP which includes:
  • HB1B TRX
  • 3s LiPo 2200mAh battery
  • Trapped EFHW 20/30/40m
  • 10m long mast + guying kit
I can easily transport the WWFF QRP by bike and also carry it for some SOTA activations of low and flat mountains.  I don't think I want to use the WWFF QRP for high alpine activations, it's just too heavy and bulky.

One of my activations of the Zengermoos, DLFF-0383 by bike together with Kirian. 
The WWFF QRP fits in a bike side pocket.

Sunday, April 26th, 2020. Kirian wanted to accompany me, so that I had to pick-up an appropriate summit. My choice fell on the two-pointer Rosskopf (1131m), DL/KW-045 in Karwendel, DLFF-0173 with 350m in altitude to be gained if starting from the Sylvensteinspeicher.  "Is uncle Andy going to join us?", Kirian asked. "We could at least ask him and see", I answered. I gave a ring to Andy, DL2DVE and explained him our plan created a couple of minutes ago. With pleasure and big smile we heard his decision about it, "Sure, a good idea. See you there on the top!"

The hike was smooth and easy, and there was nothing much to mention about. We met a couple of walkers and bikers around the parking spot, however, they had no interest in the Rosskopf. We were alone there!

On the way to the Rosskopf (1131m), DL/KW-045.
View to the Sylvensteinsee and Niederskopf (1289m), DL/BE-092.

The summit has a large meadow area on the top with plenty of space for erecting aerials.  We made ourselves comfortable for the next three hours. After a short light lunch our interests divided - Kirian watched cartoons and I keyed CW. 

Operating spot on the Rosskopf (1131m), DL/KW-045 in Karwendel, DLFF-0173.

I got spotted on 40m at just before 11:00 UTC and had a nice run. In about half an hour later Andy arrived at the top. He greeted us from a distance and started installing his portable SOTA station ~100m north of us.  We were operating on different bands almost without interference, it worked very well.  Andy made 18 QSOs in ~45min and QRTed at 13:00 UTC. We had a short chat, shared beer and snacks, said goodbye to each other, and Andy went down to the parking spot, whereas I did the last run on 30m to complete two WWFF activator points by 88 QSO.  Finally, I gathered 90 CW QSO and two WWFF activator points in 3 hours and QRTed at 14:00 UTC. 

The trapped EFHW antenna worked well. 38 different RBN skimmers picked-up my CQing. Four of them in NA. The propagation was poor with strong QSB, only two NA stations and nothing from Russia were logged on 20m. The QSO/hour yield was but exciting, however, this was not the main objective for today.

 View over the Sylvensteinsee. The sky became cloudy upon departure. 
Kirian and me as well as Andy enjoyed this spontaneous Sunday's afternoon activity very much!

Mni tnx to all chasers fer QSO!
73 es 44 de Dzianis, DD1LD/P