On Sunday I finally found time and energy to attempt POTA.

I learned two things and found one thing:

POTA in Germany is in its infancy

With a bit of sadness I realized, that there are few POTA locations in Germany overall. Luckily, the local representative is interested and responsive when aksed to add new locations.

Compare the number and density of POTA locations of our Western neighbors

What can we do about that? Ask the local representative to add more locations to the database. I think I can name a few around where I live now which would be suitable.

Knowing the current limits of POTA in Germany, I can do two things when planing field operations:

  1. Hunt POTA activators
  2. Pack my gear and drive to the next SOTA location, all of which are at least 1-hour drive

But before I do either, I need to act on my second learning:

Prepare when before attempting field operations

After three years of exclusively working from home and turning father 6 months ago made me forget what it is to travel. I forget that planning and packing are important. Even more now, when the chances of going outside are fewer and farther between.

My fallback antenna did not work as well as hoped

When planning to run FT8 in the field, there’s quite some gear I need to take with me. On Sunday, I kinda rushed, grabbed my go back and was out. Turned out, I had taken gear out of the bag over the months.

Upon arrival, I realized that:

  • My Notebooks had not charge left
  • I forget the Coax for my good field antenna
  • Did not bring a blanket, which forced me to choose a less than ideal spot
  • I have no idea about good QRP SSD frequencies

From now on, I will follow a checklist of what I need to pack before heading out

Checklists for digital field operations

Night / hours before

  • Charge LiFePo battery
  • Charge Hambook (my Notebook)
  • Check for software updates to digi apps
  • Sync log klog log files
  • Check if contests would ruin your QRP activities
  • Check conditions if worth going for HF

In case of shit HF conditions:

  • Check Anytone for battery
  • Check Anytone for codeplug for satellite operations
  • Check for satellite APRS news and ISS HAM status

General packlist

  • Blanket to sit on
  • Pen and paper as fallback
  • Frequency lists (e.g. with QRP activity centers)
  • Pamphlet explaining Amateur Radio hobby
  • Moskito / Tick repellent
  • Liquids as desired (water, beer, vodka)
  • Snacks

Packlist HF

  • Transceiver
  • Antenna Coax
  • Battery connector
  • LifePo battery
  • Hambook
  • Micro USB cable for NTP sync
  • Linked Dipole antenna
  • Earth rods
  • Backup antenna
  • Antenna fishpole

Packlist VHF/UHF alternative

  • Anytone 878
  • Hambook for logs
  • LogPer Antenna
  • Mobile phone for satellite passes
  • Headset / Headphones
  • Pamphlet explaining Amateur Radio hobby

That pamphlet is wonderful to have. Germans like to stare, but not interact actively.
Offering interested parties to read a pamphlet – or take it along – is often a good way to defuse staring or to stoke interest in the hobby. So far, I had no negative interactions, just staring and the occasional question, if E.T. replies.

Take away: New location found

Empty, green and close to beer. perfect
I found a great location for field operations. On the former pastures of the Weihenstephan Abbey, now used by the TUM. It’s green, closeby, higher up and at a historical site. I think it would make a great POTA spot.