My first OE SOTA activation – OE/OO-420

OE/OO-420 Schoibernberg 883 metres ASL, Oberosterreich Region

Grid square:  JN67QW

Prior to my departure from Australia, Heinz OE5EEP contacted me via email suggesting he and I undertake a dual activation of a SOTA summit close to Zell am Moos in the Oberosterreich region of Austria.  Heinz generously offered me the use of his portable radio equipment, for which I am very grateful.  When someone offers you the use of their portable amateur radio station you know the spirit of amateur radio and in this case the spirit of SOTA, is alive and well.  Not only did Heinz allow me to use his portable HF station, Heinz offered me the use of 2m HT for the duration of my three week stay in Austria.   No questions asked, just complete trust that I will respect his equipment and return it to him in the same condition in which it was offered.  Thank you Heinz. 😉

Tuesday 31 May 2016, my wife and I have been in Austria for 5 days.   Heinz picked me up from Zell am Moos, we headed north-east along sealed roads to within 1 km of summit Schoibernberg, a journey of no more than 10 minutes.  After departing the car, the walk to the summit may have taken 20 to 30 minutes.  Surprisingly, I didnt pay any attention to the time, I am more interested in the scenery and chatting with Heinz about his SOTA adventures in Austria and other parts of Europe.

The walk followed a sealed road for about 600 metres which passed through a farm to intersect a forest maintenance road or as we say in Australia a fire trail.  The purpose of the trail is the same, generally a gravel road for loggers or emergency service vehicles to access the forest.

After a short walk on the maintence track we turned left into a pine forest following a hunter’s track which terminated close to a lookout tower.  From the tower we headed east intersecting a well defined summit ridge line, I had no excuse for not knowing where the high point is. see photos

Topo map of the area around the summit.  Zell am Moos is off the map to the south-west.

SOTA mapping - topo map of Schoibernberg OE/OO-420

SOTA mapping – topo map of Schoibernberg OE/OO-420, 2 points

This is the first of two hunter lookout towers.

Hunter's tower on the edge of the state pine forest

Hunter’s lookout or watch tower on the edge of the state pine forest.  The tower would make a handy operating position during times of rain.

On the summit, sorry the picture is blurred. I assume the summit ridge line is a natural feature, not man made.  The grass ground cover is wet from recent heavy rains.

Summit ridge line

view east along the summit ridge line

VK1AD’s first 2m SOTA activation in Austria, made possible through the generosity of Heinz OE5EEP.

Heinz got the ball rolling by posting a spot for me on 2m FM 145.500 MHz.  While I made my first ever CQ SOTA call in Austria, Heinz fired up the KX3 for CW ops on 30m.  My first chaser on 2m FM was Franz OE5FSL followed by Hugo DK9CS, Werner OE5RYM and Reinhard OE5KNT to qualify the summit.  I posted a second SOTA spot this appeared to generate more interest.  A rare chance to find a VK1 operating from an Austrian SOTA peak, could this be a posting error, no it’s ‘fairdinkum’ as we say in Australia.

Next group of three 2m chasers were Walter OE5WFN, Silvia OE5YYN and Peter OE5AUL.  Not surprisingly 2m went quiet, after all iit is a weekday evening, most folk will be getting ready for an evening meal.   Heinz offered me the opportunity to use his KX3 to work 20, 6 and 15m bands.

On 20m the band was noisy from local and distant thunderstorms (QRN). Mike G6TUH reported severe thunderstorms in the south of England. After a few attempts at working Mike the remainder of the British SOTA trio fired up working Don G0RQL and Phil G4OBK.  👍

I continued calling CQ on 20m working Luc ON7DQ, Albert HA0FR, Manuel EA2DT, Luc ON6DSL, Vlad R4FCJ and S78MXL.  Next we tried 6m calling CQ on 50.550 USB nothing came of that.  Finally Heinz suggested I try 15m 21.300 MHz USB, not a popular band in VK, nevertheless I did work Manuel for a second time, this time a much better copy with a 5-9 signal.

OE/VK1AD operating a vintage 2m HT

OE/VK1AD operating a vintage 2m HT.  You can’t see the J-Pole antenna supported by a tree branch.

if you can't tell, I'm very happy to have secured 7 contacts on 2m FM

if you can’t tell, I’m very happy to have secured 7 OE contacts on 2m FM

A rare photo of Heinz with a microphone in his right hand, where normally you would find a CW paddle or key.

my host for this activation Heinz OE5EEP

my host for this activation Heinz OE5EEP

Portable HF SOTA station

OE5EEP's HF station KX3 fits neatly into the wooden box. The radio is protected from the rain by a sliding sheet of Perspex

OE5EEP’s HF CW station – KX3 fits neatly into a custom made wooden box. The radio is protected from the rain by a sliding sheet of Perspex. Excellent craftsmanship by Heinz.

HF dipole antenna - difficult to see against the backdrop of trees

HF dipole antenna – difficult to see against the backdrop of trees.  The dipole antenna is supported by a 6m telescopic pole fed with lightweight figure 8 speaker cable.  The KX3 is fitted with an auto ATU.

Extract of OE/VK1AD/P activator log – OE/OO-420, 31 May 2016
15:35z  OE5FSL  144MHz FM  Franz S59 R59
15:40z  DK9CS   144MHz FM  Hugo S52 R41
15:47z  OE5RYM 144MHz FM  Werner S59 R53
15:54z  OE5KNT  144MHz FM  Reinhard S59 R43
16:00z  OE5WFN 144MHz FM  Walter S58 R55
16:06z  OE5YYN  144MHz FM  Sylvia S59 R53
16:07z  OE5AUL  144MHz FM  Peter S59 R53
16:20z  G6TUH   14MHz SSB  Mike S58 R41
16:26z  GORQL   14MHz SSB  Don S53 R53
16:27z  G4OBK   14MHz SSB  Phil S59 R45
16:30z  ON7DQ   14MHz SSB  Lutc S41 R 51
16:34z  HA0IR   14MHz SSB  Albert S58 R57
16:35z  EA2DT   14MHz SSB  Manuel S53 R44
16:36z  ON6DSL  14MHz SSB  Luc S59 R55
16:37z  R4FCJ   14MHz SSB  Vladimir S59 R56
16:39z  S78MXL  14MHz SSB  S59 R59
16:54z  EA2DT   21MHz SSB  Manuel S59 R52

With the activation complete we headed back to the car then made our way to a Gasthaus for dinner and more Stiegl beer. 😀

Photos: © Copyright 2016 Andrew VK1AD

5 thoughts on “My first OE SOTA activation – OE/OO-420

  1. Great write up Andrew and as always good pictures.
    Nice to see other setups (KX3) as well.


    • Thanks John, Heinz was confident I would achieve the reqired number to qualify the peak. My experience with 2m in VK1 has tought me to be patient and keep the spots going. Cheers Andrew

  2. What a forest! And what an adventure. Re-writing the SOTA books, Andrew!

    • Hi Grant, having a terrific time. The mountains around Salzburg add a different perspective to ascending peaks to that of the rolling-hills around Canberra. I hope to activate Eibleck OE/SB-366 tomorrow.

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