Friedrichshafen: Christian and Andrea’s Multi-Country POTA Rove

Many thanks to Christian (IX1CKN) who shares the following field report:

Friedrichshafen: POTA Across Borders

by Christian (IX1CKN)

The Friedricshafen fair is one of the most interesting events for its social aspects, where you can finally put a face to colleagues whose voices you’ve only ever heard. Among the various OM (radio amateurs) I met this year was Gabriele IT9RGY, a flagbearer of the Italian Contest Club. When he recognized Andrea IW0HK and me, he said, referring to our respective SOTA/POTA activities: “You two are the real deal.”

I found that to be a very powerful statement, and I am grateful to him for it. Personally, I try to document each outing to capture the sensations it gave me, but also in the hope of inspiring someone. Andrea is more succinct than I am (if we were all the same, the world would be boring), but his spirit is identical. Parks on the Air (POTA) is a state of mind. It was no coincidence that, being in Germany for the Hamradio Messe, we had planned a series of activations.

Our schedule was tight and ambitious, and just completing it was a source of happiness, but there’s more to tell. In Germany, dinner time isn’t synchronized with Roman schedules. So, on Friday evening, after leaving the restaurant (for dinner with the Summits On The Air group) at 20:23, I looked at Hotel-Kilo and said, “If I go to bed now, I’ll digest in a week; let’s go activate a reserve!”

The easiest option in the area (after a disastrous experience last year in DE-0156, the park in the town center hosting the fair) was DE-0766, the Seewald Landscape Reserve. It’s near the FRN airport (and thus not far from the fairgrounds), in a fully bucolic setting. A narrow road cuts through meadows, with footpaths and bike paths leading into a wooded area.

We parked the car in one of these spots. It took only a moment to set up the vertical antenna in the field, but the presence of a swarm of mosquitoes as big as F-18 Hornets advised us to operate from inside the car to save our skin (literally).

Andrea turned on the KX-3 (10 watts would be our fixed power for this trip), and the 14 MHz calls began. Right away, a very strong IZ3QFG Dario (just 380 km from us) answered, highlighting an unusually short skip.

We logged 20 QSOs in 30 minutes… Many were from Italy (Spartaco from Grosseto at full scale, Mauro I1JQJ always active, and Beppe I1WKN a constant), with two “park to park” contacts. A classic for many OMs in the area, but also a great mood booster and a tasty appetizer for the next day…

Saturday, the 30th, was set for an adventure with the colors of radio. The fair until early afternoon (and on day 2, my key encounters were Dino from Ham Radio Shop and Vittorio I3VFJ, but also Giorgio IZ2XBZ, reunited after the early SDR years!), then heading towards HB0, the country I’d only seen on others’ expeditions.

We entered from the Swiss canton of St. Gallen and arrived at Ruggell, the first town in the Principality of Liechtenstein. The destination was LI-0006, the Ruggeller Riet Nature Reserve. It’s a meadow with (few) trees and spike-like vegetation. We parked the car by the roadside (less than a hundred meters from another border, this time with Austria) and accessed the reserve along a bike path.

No need to look for an oasis with tables and chairs… Andrea practically lay on the ground while I set up the vertical antenna.

In a minute, we were on the POTA Cluster and started on 20 meters. A pile-up ensued. HB0/IW0HK and HB0/IX1CKN were probably the opportunity many were looking for to fill a gap in their DXCC, and among friends and other stations, we logged 47 stations in half an hour (with two “park to park” contacts).

We were, I’m not ashamed to say, euphoric. You never know how an activation will go, no matter how well you’ve prepared, but when it works out, it’s a satisfaction hard to put into words. We took the customary selfie (who knows when I’ll return to the fourth smallest country in Europe!) and hit the road back, with another stop planned.

In Austria, we had our eyes on AT-0153 (Mehrerauer Seeufer – Mündung der Bregenzerach National Park), a reserve extending along the lake of Bregenz. The situation upon arrival, after parking, was extremely “popular.” Entire families were sunbathing and swimming in the lake.

We searched, not without ending up ankle-deep in a muddy quagmire (though the trail bikers should have warned us, on such flat terrain!), for a spot where we wouldn’t be too bothersome, set up, and started.
Despite no recorded flares or CMEs, the propagation seemed to have worsened or was very different from not long ago in Liechtenstein. The signals from those who responded were weak, but especially fleeting. Very fleeting.

Some lasted just long enough for a reply and disappeared. Others had to call us multiple times (probably because the noise was arm-wrestling with our signal). Despite this, in 22 minutes on-site (with a looming dinner appointment…), we logged 19 QSOs (with the usual two “park to park” contacts, a pleasant constant).

That was it for Saturday. The plan resumed the next day, with one last activation on the way back Sunday. We chose CH-0079, Erlimoos Nature Reserve (in JN37tg, while all others mentioned were in JN47), about 30 kilometers from Bern. It’s a pond surrounded by trees, in the middle of a meadow and farmland… From afar, it looked like a Storm Thorgerson cover.

Upon arriving at the reserve’s edge, we realized it would be the easiest situation of the three days: there were a couple of benches, and we made those our station, with the vertical antenna nearby. Setting up the radio and antenna was now a well-practiced routine, done quickly.

Propagation today seemed absent, but some stations responded, though northern UK seemed as distant as ZL in terms of the effort required. In 21 minutes, we successfully logged 16 contacts. Note common to these lines: all numbers refer to voice contacts. Andrea made some CW QSOs at the end of each activation, as he’s an excellent telegrapher and didn’t feel right leaving any reserve without using the key, but those mentioned here are all in SSB.
In three days, we went on the air from four different countries, totaling 102 QSOs. However, the number isn’t what matters.

The experience was intense and reminded us – as I’ve partly already written – that POTA knows no boundaries and, wherever you are in the world, for whatever reason, a reserve to activate is not far from you… You just have to go.

One thought on “Friedrichshafen: Christian and Andrea’s Multi-Country POTA Rove”

  1. Thanks for the activity report. At Ham Radio 2024 amongst others I attended a very interesting POTA-presentation by James Gallo, KB2FMH. He always tries to convince DXpeditions to also upload their log to POTA, when operating from a park. So, many thanks for POTA-points from Bouvet and Swains, OM 🙂

    Later that day for the first time I had the chance to come close to a KH-1. An impressing little trx.

    vy73 and see you at ham radio 2025

    Harald DL1AX

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