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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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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  

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