May 26, 2014

Summertime Memories: 2013

HAMRADIO 2013 Friedrichshafen

Our summer holidays usually start at visiting European largest HAMRADIO fair at Friedrichshafen (DL). In 2013 things were no different; we hired 3 rooms for two nights in a nearby small village and enjoyed 2.5 days visiting the HAM-fair, eating &enjoying the view at lake Constance and as a highlight, visiting the saturday-night Bavarian Contest Club dinner.

As this was our umpteenth visit at the fair, only few items were bought. One tends to get overloaded with stuff back at home, so our priorities have shifted. Meeting many old but also new friends, has become a major fun part.

A first meeting was planned for some time with Romeo S59M(ex-S52RU) who was organizing the successful IG9Y MM operation for CQWW-SSB. From left to right: Romeo(S59M), Aurelio(PC5A), Me (PA5MW), Rens(PA3FGA) and his YL Claudia (PD5AX). Note the carton box behind them, which contains our new Flexa field-day 144MHz antenna. 
Our car already carried some HF equipment and transverters for 6m and 2m, we just needed an antenna to go with that.


Special aluminium polish on the radiator and 1st director add some valubale extra dB's...

On sunday afternoon we left for Malbun/Liechtenstein.

Antenna setup near cabin in Malbun (HB0)

There was no ham-radio activity planned that year. None at all as below picture verifies.
But just for dealing with known RF addiction, we did put up a multi-band 10-15-20m cats-whisker dipole @8m and a HB9CV for 6m at the top at 10m AGL/ 1670m ASL.

The dipole of a 10m yagi also carried the wires for 15 and 20m. Some ex-mil fiberglass poles on the right held the 2m/70cm vertical, used for local chat and to track our SOTA trips via APRS. At 2m height it carried the new bling Flexa Yagi.

Traditionally at the first evening, the main diner table in our cabin was transformed into a shack for 3 operators. Both my Elecraft XV50 and XV144 transverters were installed and connected to a K2. The power supply was my Diamond DMV330, but the one without Earth wiring. So after switching on and playing with some coax pigtails, the preamp of the 6m transverter was defect. And the K2 cabinet felt tingling. What a rookie-error, quickly established some proper earth connections

During the evening I had a CW contact with a G4 on 144Mhz! But he disappeared in the noise. As this was not some kind of guess-calculate-noise-intervals-mode but a 'pure humanoid operation', there was no completed QSO this time;). Nonetheless it did offer pure excitement. But Murphy decided to play along; after another half an hour the transverter started showing a life on its own. It would start to clatter indefinitely after any >10sec transmit period. Whatever we tried, it would not go away. Surely this never occurred at home. Next to that, all units had been intensively tested before departure. No TX on 2m anymore and no 6m at all.  Time to go..

Into the mountains

On a Saturday we visited the not-so-easy-to arrive top of the "Gorfion" to activate a SOTA FIRST (OE/VB-241). After the available Geocache was also found we went down along the trail of the Augstenberg. There we spotted a nice possible location to setup our new bling 144 yagi. 
Next morning we returned to that spot, setting up the 7el/144 and connected a TR751 to a pack of LiFePo4 power-batteries (2x2500mA=330g). The Kenwood was also taken from the Hamradio flea market and in mint & 'working' condition.

Setup-crew arranging deep-fringe HD antenna. 
Armstrong rotor.

IARU VHF July contest

The almost flat terrain at 2300m ASL, was already nicely warmed up by the afternoon sun.
What a crowded 2m band, not a single free spot to find!
I started CQ'ing around noon on 144.198 and quickly enjoyed a nice pileup.
After some 30 minutes, during a DL QSO, I noticed  someone was calling me in CW from The Netherlands ! How cool is that? Quickly  I gave PA3CWN an RST report and consecutive QSO number. Now that's a nice troposcatter QSO.  And copiable by ear ;)
My band openings, besides QRO stations within 200km, were relatively short and produced serious QSB from my side, so I was told. Turning the antenna into other directions delivered new ones from those areas every time.

But a rainstorm was slowly arriving, restricting our mountain visit to few hours only. My voice welcomed the departure as I had to talk loud and articulate heavily in order to get a few lousy Watts out of this Vintage Kenwood :)

In the end I made 44 QSO's to HB0/HB9/F/DL/PA/I/OE/OK/OL, not bad at all!
Into Holland I also worked PA0PVW, PA3PCV, PA1AT and PA2CHR (ODX 764km).

Many thanks to my crew for carrying some of my stuff and 'setting up the VHF site'.


What a superb way to enjoy a few hours in a VHF contest !

p.s. I just got reminded I was served a fresh cappuccino during the contest. Probably being to focused on the contest itself, I really cannot remember that at all....? Anyway thanks for that!

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