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

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 D├╝rnbach-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