OE1ZJW Field Operation

Operating position at the top of the hill. The hills are alive with the sound of CW.
Operating position at the top of the hill. The hills are alive with the sound of CW.

I was in Vienna on a business trip, but I had some time on Sunday to put the portable station on the air using my Austrian guest license, OE1ZJW.

At the Vienna radio club meeting, OE1VFW gave me two invaluable pieces of advice. The first was where to shop for electronics: Conrads. Their megastores in Vienna carry consumer electronics, hardware and tools, and hobby electronics like arduinos, raspberry pis, various kits, parts, project boxes, etc. I was able to restock a few items that I needed back in Madagascar. The other bit of wisdom: where to operate.

If I had lived in Vienna for a few years, I probably would have eventually come to the same conclusion: Cobenzl. It is elevated and far from any noise sources. I have rarely heard background so low. I could hear signals that would not even budget the S meter.

Just outside the city on the North side there is a wine-producing area known as Grinzing. From the Heiligenstadt Bahnhof, the 38A bus runs through this region and up to a park. Near the bus stop, there are restaurants and public bathrooms, so this is civilized sort of “field” trip. Behind these facilities, however, is a large public field.

The grassy hill has a great view of Vienna and the mountains in the distance. Climbing further still, there are a few picnic tables. I found one near the tree line, which seemed like an ideal operating spot. I tossed a line on a bottle into the trees and had my end-fedz 40/20/10 antenna up in a couple minutes. I spent most of Sunday (27 Sept) mostly S&P on my FT817, as calling CQ did not yield a lot of replies.

I ended up logging 35 contacts, and not surprisingly, all but one were CW. The one SSB contact that I managed was to Portugal. Other countries contacted included Armenia, Austria, Czech Republic, England, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Liechtenstein, Poland, Romania, Russia, Spain, Switzerland and Ukraine.

Quite a few of the contacts were portable-to-portable, with the other stations participating either in Summits-on-the-air or the Worldwide Flora/Fauna park activations. In one afternoon, I accumulated as many SOTA chaser points as I would have in a year back in Virginia. It helps to have some large mountains within range for day time contacts on 40m.


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However, I had not heard of WWFF prior to this trip. The explanation is on their website, but it is essentially a parks-on-the-air effort with the goal of promoting conservation. While I was hear, I worked WWFF stations in Poland, Romania and Russia.

I made an effort at working US stations: at 3pm local, 13:00Z, I swapped out the normal radiating element from my end-fedz antenna and substituted wire cut to a half-wavelength for 17m. I did work some EU stations, but did not even register on any US stations participating in the reverse beacon network.

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