Tag Archives: Kaltes Feld DA-0410

Quick test of my new SOTAbeams Band Hopper III antenna at a POTA/SOTA location

by Thomas (DM1TBE)

Since I have seen the Band Hopper III antenna at the website of SOTAbeams, I have been thinking about it. Most of the time I have used end-fed half-wave (EFHW) antennas when operating portable – vertical attached to a fiberglass mast or in a sloper configuration with a tree.  Those EFHW antennas seemed to cause way less troubles than a dipole with its centerpiece and coax at the thin end of the fiberglass mast.  However, there was this “other” dipole from SOTAbeams. So I thought I could give it a try and ordered it.

Two days later -including customs procedure- the antenna arrived. The antenna is a linked dipole for the 20-, 30- and 40-meter band and weights less than 500 g / 18 oz. That includes the coax and guying material. I already had the Tactical Mini ultra, a 6 m / 19.6 ft fiberglass mast that is a perfect fit for the Band Hopper antenna.

The weather was fine, my manager at work was on vacation, so there was no reason for not leaving the home office early and go for a quick activation. I went to the SOTA location for Kaltes Feld (DM/BW-659), which is also POTA (DA-0410). I have been there a couple of times this year, but offering chaser points for both programs promised more QSOs, especially when conditions are difficult. The other advantage of this place is that you can drink cold beer if the antenna fails to work. 😉

You may, or more likely may not, remember this image from an activation report in March this year.

The place looks much more inviting now with kids playing, people enjoying barbecue and a cold beer, and operating a radio is much more pleasant.

Although I have been here a couple of times, I have never visited the ruins of Castle Granegg, just a mile away. While the SOTA activation zone is surrounded by trees, the walk to the castle satisfies with a nice viewpoint on the way. Continue reading Quick test of my new SOTAbeams Band Hopper III antenna at a POTA/SOTA location

Quick test of a homemade 20-meter band antenna at a beautiful POTA location

by Thomas (DM1TBE)


You may, or may not, know the situation when you are invited for the birthday of your mother-in-law and the whole day is just a chain of meals. As the SOTA activation of the Wasserberg the day before was rather short, I needed to escape and do something outdoors. An antenna test at a nice POTA location would be perfect.

When I started with amateur radio, many fellow hams told me that a real ham must build its own stuff. This is not easy when you have 10 thumbs like me. However, from time to time I try smaller projects. When I am operating portable, I usually have a 10 m / 33 ft mast with me. I have a 30/15-meter- and 12/17-meter band antenna, both with coils and shorter than my mast, and a homemade 10-meter band antenna which I can raise vertically on my mast. A mast with one of these wire antennas can be used on most of the locations I have visited.

However, I was missing something for the 20-meter band. I have a 10 – 80-meter 5 band antenna that covers 20-meters, but raising it as a sloper with a length of app. 24 m / 79 ft is tricky sometimes.


So, I thought it would be a good project for me. As a half-wave for 20-meters is exactly the length of my mast, and I did not want the feed point at or too close to the ground, I wanted to add a short coil. I had a finished 1:49 mini-impedance transformer from K6ARK available from a project I’ve never finished. So, I just needed a screw, a cable and a piece of a PVC electrical conduit.

I have cut the PVC electrical conduit in three parts, one for the coil, one for the upper-end to allow easier mounting at the mast, and one for a simple strain-relief. My wife was a bit nervous when I used her best knife for cutting it, not sure if she worried about me or her knife. The dimension of the coil is based on pure guess. Bringing the whole antenna then into resonance was easy – just cutting step by step. After completing, the antenna still looks a bit makeshift.


So, I used an opportunity between two meals to leave my mother-in-law’s birthday and drove to the next POTA park, which is the Kaltes Feld (DA-0410). However, this time I did not go to the SOTA southern activation zone for Kaltes Feld (DM/BW-659), but to the opposite direction, where I have not been before.

The weather was nice, and the way was without any ascent. Behind me, a bit higher, was the SOTA summit Kaltes Feld and on the right the SOTA summit Bernhardus (DM/BW-848).

On Google Maps, I have seen that there is a viewpoint with a wooden bench and table. It was not too hard to find, and the place will probably become one of my favorites. Continue reading Quick test of a homemade 20-meter band antenna at a beautiful POTA location

Guest Field Report: Germany has a new POTA activator!

My conciliation with Parks on the Air

by Thomas (DM1TBE)


POTA and I had a very one-side relationship so far.

Roughly a year ago I tried to activate a park, but although I spotted myself, I had not been able to make a single QSO. In April last year, I tried it again, with the same result. Luckily, I was on a SOTA summit and spotting me on SOTA brought me enough QSOs to make it a successful activation for both, POTA and SOTA. So I decided to disregard POTA and my only POTA activity was watching Thomas (K4SWL) nice videos on YouTube.

My bad experience with POTA was probably due to two factors:

  1. I only had an intermediate license previously, which limited me on HF to the 10, 15 and 80 meter bands and
  2. POTA was no as popular in Europe and Germany in particular as it was and is in the US. While SOTA and the Flora & Fauna program already had a very active community in Europe for years, POTA had a hen and egg problem.

However, with the increasing popularity of portable operations, POTA has also gained some traction in Europe. I have the feeling that every time I take a look at the spots on the POTA website, I see more European stations.

Things here in Germany have changed for the better, too. POTA got a German website (parksontheair.de) and a community called “Draussenfunker.de” (“Outdoor ham”) with website + Discord that became very active with those pursuing outdoor activities in general and POTA in particular. Lately, local POTA coordinators have been named, who started to add new parks to the program.

Photo by Carsten Steger CC BY-SA

I thought suggesting a recreation area close to my home would be a good idea. A few days later I had the brand new POTA park DA-0410 30 minutes away. The park has a size of 6.3 km² / 1,567 acres and a peak elevation of 780 m / 2559 ft, which is also the SOTA summit Kaltes Feld (DM/BW-659).

My plan was to operate from the clearing on the top plateau, where there is also a mountain hut with restaurant. The 2 km / 1.25 mi trail was not very difficult with an incline of just 105 m / 344ft as the parking area is already at an elevated level.

Although the park extends to the proximity of the parking area at the Hornberg gliding airfield, I wanted to be in the SOTA activation zone due to my bad experiences with POTA activations. The gliding site was founded nearly 100 years ago.  After the First World War, the Allies largely banned motor flight sports in Germany, so gliding airfields, such as this one, popped up across Germany. Continue reading Guest Field Report: Germany has a new POTA activator!