After Sunday breakfast, I set off for the “Großer Hundskopf” - a 947 meter high peak in the northern Black Forest in Baden-Würtemberg. The climb from the starting point was particularly beautiful on this bright sunny day, but it was also freezing cold. The hiking trail was snowed in and on the summit the snow was actually still knee-deep. I had dressed warmly and packed a thermos of hot tea. Once at the summit, I unpacked my amateur radio equipment: a Yaesu FT5-D 2m/70cm handheld radio with external microphone, a spare battery, and a notebook for writing down QSOs.
I had set my activation attempt as an alert on SotaWatch and was hoping to encounter someone on my designated frequency of 145.500Mhz FM. When I then called my first CQ SOTA at 12 noon CET sharp, a station from Rottweil, Peter, DH0IAM, who was routinely listening on this calling frequency, also answered immediately. I was very pleased that I had so fast my first QSO “in the bag” and hoped that it would continue immediately so that I would not have to hold out too long in the freezing cold. But it should come differently.
So I called CQ SOTA for a good three quarters of an hour and also tried to reach someone on the nearby relay DB0SKF in Freudenstadt to get them on the simplex frequency. Unfortunately without success. I already mentally prepared myself to abort without activation and at least find a few geocaches on the way down. But then I heard a few scraps of words, opened the squelch and asked. Sure enough, another SOTA activator who was on his way up Summit answered me. A few minutes later, I was thus able to work Summit-to-Summit the two OMs Andreas DF1AKR and Benjamin DF1ZW on Lemberg DM/BW-038, just under 50km away. I was overjoyed. Now only one QSO was missing for the activation!
The amateurs on Lemberg had their QSOs quickly on 2m and 70cm, although they had not really started yet and actually wanted to work on shortwave. Andreas then tried to “pilot” a few contacts to me on 70cm - unfortunately without success. The distance was then nevertheless too large and my antenna at the Yaesu too small.
I didn’t give up. Just one more QSO - that had to be manageable. So I persistently called CQ on the Freudenstadt relay and indeed Martin DL1SMA answered and we tried the direct connection on 2m. I could hear him faintly but he could not hear me. Back on the relay, I thanked him for the unsuccessful attempt and continued to call CQ SOTA on 145.500 for several minutes. I was about to give up when Martin called again - this time loud and clear. And the best: he could also understand me and we could lead the fourth QSO for the summit activation of the big Hundskopf! Martin had targeted me with his Yagi antenna and that was the key to success. Many thanks at this point especially to Martin for his efforts!
Overjoyed, I trudged down from the summit after more than two hours, forgetting to take a few geocaches with me. Well, they do not run away :)