Friday, January 20, 2012

Activating PAFF-032 Oostvaarderplassen

Nice conditions on higher band, terrible QRM on 40m

Today I was able to head over to the Oostvaardersplassen. This area was activated once before by Hans PA3FYG. He did not manage to reach any WFF hunters though (and only a handful of OMs) - a good reason to activate this area again.

I reached the area by 14:30 local time and had to leave it (according to the park regulations) by 17:00. The wind was quite strong. This limited the potential operating spots (one of which is ideally located on a high dike). I chose a low spot on the south side of the park. When I arrived there it turned out that this spot had recently been cleared of surrounding trees. For a change I had an unobstructed path in all directions.

Clear view to all directions from PAFF-032

I started on 15m. It was relatively calm with only a couple of European stations calling in. Moving onto 20m the pileup built up as usual. I worked over 100 OMs in one hour with a number of DX stations from Asiatic Russia and North America.
As 20m was quieting down I moved to 40m to find this band crowded all the way up till 7.200. Finding an operating frequency posed a challenge. Each time I found a good spot I was either greeted by QRM quite quickly (e.g. some DL stations with better TX than RX capabilities starting a local round) or noticed from the reactions of OMs calling in that QRM was high on their end. After 40 minutes of activation, changing frequency 5 times, I called it a day.

The temporary shack

I was a bit frustrated by the 40m experience but all in all it was a nice activation with sunny weather and good radio conditions. I made 141 contacts with OMs from 31 DXCCs in 2 hours radio time. Both Luciano I5FLN and Massimo IK1GPG found their way to PAFF-032 on all three bands.

Thanks all for calling in.
Lars, PH0NO/P 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Activating PAFF-030 Twickel

Single band activation (40m antenna ended up in the tree)

With some time on my hands I headed over to the last unactivated WFF area within one hour drive from where I live: Twickel. The nature reserve consists of various patches of land - mainly covered by trees.
I found an acceptable spot where I could set up the antenna free from tree branches.

Operating spot at Twickel

I started on 20m where activity levels were high - as were the signals. When I started it was still quite early in the afternoon, so I heard a lot more Asiatic Russia (9 in total) than in the last couple of activations.

After about two hours signals started to drop on 20m and I decided to install the 40m wire antenna. This meant extending the antenna pole and getting it up in between the trees again. This turned out to be too great a challenge. I somehow got the antenna wire stuck in between some tree branches. Trying to get the wire out it broke... so much for the 40m activity.

20m antenna just free from branches
All in all I was happy with the result though: 138 QSOs with OMs from 29 different DXCCs. The maximum distance was set by an OM from VE5. I got a lot of new callsigns in my log: 30% of all logged calls were new. This is much higher than in the last couple of activations - and I can't figure out why.

Thanks all for passing by.
Lars, PH0NO/P