European SOTA Activity Day 2021

European SOTA Activity Day 2021

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

This year’s European SOTA Activity Day 2021 took place on Saturday, 18th September 2021. It coincided with the ALL OE SOTA Activity Day 2021 as well as the OE5 SOTA Day 2021. Here’s the blog article containing the recap of the European SOTA Activity Day 2020.

European SOTA Activity Day 2021

For this OE5/All-OE/EU SOTA Activity Day 2021 I’ve decided to scale the 1239 m high OE/OO-275 „Fahrnaugupf“. This summit is located in the vicinity of Lake Traunsee which is part of the Salzkammergut region. Route planning was done via Gaia GPS. You simply need to place a couple of waypoints, the tool automatically creates a route following nearby paths. Once route planning is complete you can export a GPX file which I loaded onto my Garmin ForeTrex 601.

Planning the EU SOTA Activity Day 2020 activation of OE/OO-275 „Fahrnaugupf“ via GaiaGPS

After meeting with Jürgen (SWL) and Bernhard (DL1MAB) at Parkplatz Hochsteinalm we started our ascent at 08:00 AM LT. Heavily loaded with ham radio equipment (more details below) we reached the summit after negotiating 3.2 km and 569 height meters.

Height/Distance Diagram of ascend to OE/OO-275 „Fahrnaugupf“ as recorded by Garmin Foretrex 601

SOTA activation OE/OO-275 „Fahrnaugupf“ (Gallery)

The summit of OE/OO-275 „Fahrnaugupf“ is a rather plain and forested hill with slight slopes. The summit cross is a small wooden cross which has been added recently, as previous activators have only found a cornerstone marking the summit top.

Activation of OE/OO-275 during European SOTA Activity Day 2021
Summit cross on top of OE/OO-275 „Fahrnaugupf“

After arriving on top and consuming some nutrients to rebuild our fortitude we set out to set up a portable ham radio station on top of the summit.

SWL Jürgen and Bernhard, DL1MAB who helped with carrying all that portable ham radio equipment up the summit.

Usually I am doing my SOTA activations alone. Sometimes I bring my family along, but in any case the task of carrying the equipment up the mountain falls to me. Due to the added manpower of our expedition I decided to bring along my Hardrock-50 HF amplifier. The Hardrock-50 HF takes a 5 W output signal of my trusted Yaesu FT-817ND and boosts it to 50 W (+10 db =) ). Additionally the amplifier contains an ATU – which doesn’t actually provide much of a benefit to me since I operate a tuned antenna – but it was nice to have an ATU for a change and ensure a perfect impedance match. The DIY Hardrock-50/FT-817ND transceiver interface designed by Bernhard (DL1MAB) enabled automatic band switching for smooth operation.

Using a Hardrock-50 HF amplifier to boost signal strength during European SOTA Activity Day 2021
Hardrock-50 HF Amplifier for boosting the 5W signal of my trusted Yaesu FT-817ND

After setting up the portable station it was about time to get on the air. Soon after finding a free frequency as well as setting a spot on SOTAWatch I started calling CQ SOTA and the pile-up was on. Meanwhile Bernhard (DL1MAB) got on-the-air using a portable handheld radio for 2 m and experimenting with different antennas as well as enjoying the pile-up and summit-to-summit DX. After a while Bernhard and I traded places with him enjoying the pile-up on shortwave and me working the summit-to-summit connections within line-of-sight from OE/OO-275 Fahrnaugupf. After all was said and done I counted 45 QSOs in the log (9 x S2S (Summit-To-Summit) and 1 x /mm).

Calling "CQ SOTA" from during European SOTA Activity Day 2021 from OE/OO-275 "Fahrnaugupf"
Calling „CQ SOTA“ from during European SOTA Activity Day 2021 from OE/OO-275 „Fahrnaugupf“

In parallel Bernhard DL1MAB was testing his Arduino based DIY WSPR transmitter. For the outdoor activity Bernhard mounted the electronics withiin a nice plastic case. A resonant dipole antenna was strung up to a nearby tree. (Here’s an article written by Bernhard on how to receive and decode WSPR with RTL-SDR.)

DIY WSPR-Transmitter built by DL1MAB was tested on summit during activation.

A gallery of the complete activation of OE/OO-275 Fahrnaugupf during European SOTA Activity Day 2021 can be found here.

OE5 SOTA Activity Day Post-Event Meetup

After having completed far more than the mandatory 4 QSOs for a valid activation we retired to the Gasthof zur Wacht in order to feast on their delicious food and enjoy face-to-face communication (or eyeball-QSO’s). A total of 28 OM’s, YLs’s and SWL’s attended the meeting. This clearly demonstrates the unmet need for socialising prohibited during most of 2021 due to Covid.

Group picture of OE5 SOTA activators and friends gathering at the end of European SOTA Activity Day 2021
Group picture of OE5 SOTA activators and friends gathering at the end of European SOTA Activity Day 2021

See you on European SOTA Activity Day 2022!

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