Only days after I wrote about my successful fail to operate from a nice location, I set out again, this time on a special occasion.

I’ve written before that POTA (parks on the air) in Germany is in its infancy. But luckily, the German representatives are active in changing this.

Fresh new POTA spots, baby

Every interested HAM can write a local representative and ask for a new location to be listed. The requirements for Germany are a bit different from those in the States:

  • Be open to the public
  • Be in public hands on state or federal level

This rules out most city parks, but somehow these rules aren’t enforced, at least as of now. Some city parks are still on the POTA map. I approached the representative for South Germany with a list of locations nearby, which are fitting to the rules and are gorgeous:

  1. Weltwald Freising
  2. Isarauen bei Freising
  3. Gardens of Weihenstephan

The last one is in the area I went to last weekend. This means that during Oktoberfest, I will activate the POTA spot for the oldest registered brewery in the world. Maybe I will even give out a special little award. Of course, this would not be aligned with the DARC - we want this to work, be fun and free of politics, after all.

Isarauen maiden activation

The location I chose today sits between Freising and Moosburg. I stumbled onto it accidentally, when exploring the region on my bike. It struck me as calm, beautiful, empty and multi-faceted. On one side of the river you have a well-maintained bike path and on the other a challenging single-trail with countless fallen trees. If you’re quiet, you can hear the calls of birds which are not to be found in the cities anymore, for example the cuckoo. The Isar is calm here, a great location for a relaxing day in an inflatable boat. Far from the rapids the Isar offers, closer to its origin in the Bavarian Alps.

The area is a nature preserve called Naturschutzgebiet Isarauen zwischen Hangenham und Moosburg. Few of the river banks of major European rivers are of natural origin. Like many landscapes in this region, the rivers were mended by humans. Only recently have renaturation programs returned some landscapes to their original state, where economy and human usage allows.

I set up shop on an old log you can see from space
When I arrived, no one was there. I set-up my linked dipole for 40m. To not block the access path to the riverbank, I fixed the ends of the dipole in a V configuration, which means the ends of the 40m legs were too close to the ground for a great SWR. I could have also setup directly by the river, but that log appeared like a comfy spot. It wasn’t, it was overrun by ants.

Never settle for the first spot, search for something better.

Portable FT8

This time I packed all the gear I needed. I aimed at activating the spot with FT8. FT8 is a save bet, since it’s a reliable means of communication even in shitty conditions. The OM needs to ensure the proper communication between client and transceiver, set up the antenna & logging. Once operating, the OM can take a look at the surrounding landscape. For purists, who deem a paddle and headphones as bare minimum (or absolute maximum) this type of operating might be a folly.

Apart from being eaten alive by ants, the activation was a success. The antenna performed very well on 30m and up, not so well on 40m since I haven’t had the space to set it up perfectly.

Maiden activation ??? success

I had scheduled the activation on hours before. I announced to be QRV for an hour and started half an hour early, went half an hour longer. Being an activator is great for QRP. Since hunters might be looking for activators, you get more contacts on a busy band than otherwise. 20m was exploding with trans European, later also intercontinental traffic, but I still collected QSOs with my mere 10W. All in all, I made 14 QSOs in roughly two hours, 11 of which were with POTA hunters. Not bad for a day with bad conditions.

The POTA organizers are really quick in analyzing sent in log ffiles


In the evening of the activation, I exported the relevant QSOs from klog as an .adif file and sent it via eMail to the correct mailbox at the POTA organization. The next morning, my successful maiden activation of the Isarauen was successful.

POTA really is a nice way to stoke my interest in the hobby again and a viable alternative to SOTA, when mountains are a bit harder to reach. I can’t wait for my next activation, or hunting, with my family enjoying quality time outside and me on the radio.