SOTA/Konstanz w/o a car

Here is a running list of SOTA summits I’ve done from Konstanz by public transportation (and once by bicycle). All are half- or full-day trips. I did most one at a time; more might be pairable. So far: DM/BW-085, DM/BW-086; DM/BW-348, DM/BW-359 ; DM/BW-361;  HB/TG-003; HB0/LI-012; OE/VB-509; OE/VB-511; … 

DM/BW-85: Hohenstoffeln (8) 

Date: 2017
Weather:  overcast and windy
Equipment: HB-1B; dipole
Log: 31 qso’s
Bands:  40m, 30m, 20m
Cell (TH/Summit): ++/++

Mode of transport: Train (to Singen-Landesgartenschau). Bus 7353 to Binningen/am Berg. The bus doesn’t run frequently (every two hours on the weekends). Plan accordingly
Time: The train ride is about 45 minutes; the bus, twenty. The walk up is about an hour. 

Comments: The grade at points on the climb kept me focused. A young jogger passed me by. Oh, well. The peak is quite dramatic. Some strategizing is necessary with a dipole, as far as figuring out where to place your three ground points. 


DM/BW-86: Hohenhewen (8)

Date: 2017-02-12
Weather: early-spring cool
Equipment: HB-1B; EF-W3EDP and SML
Log: 10 qso’s
Bands: 40M
Cell (TH/Summit): ++/++

Mode of transport: Train (to Welschingen-Neuhausen). Many regional trains from Konstanz to Engen stope in Welschingen-Neuhausen, including Sundays. There are other routes that require bus/train transfers.  
Time: The train ride is about 45 minutes. The walk up is about an hour. 

Comments: some steep stretches, but manageable in sturdy shoes. Signs more reliable than GPS route. It’s a much liked peak for families and other picnickers: be prepared for crowds on weekends with pleasant weather.

DM/BW-101: Hohentwiel (6)

Equipment: HB-1B
Cell (TH/Summit)

Mode of transport: Train (to Singen/Landesgartenschau). There’s a train every thirty minutes from Konstanz Bhf. 
Time: The train ride is about 40 minutes. The walk up is under 25. 

Comments: It is necessary to buy an admission to the castle in order to access the activation zone. As far as time management, one may want to include some time to tour the castle while there.

 DM/BW-348: Gehrenberg (8)

Date: 2017-02-13
Weather: early-spring coolGehrenberg
Equipment: HB-1B; SML
Log: 10 qso’s
Bands: 40M
Cell (TH/Summit): ++/++

Mode of transport: Trains to Markdorf via Radolfzell. By foot from Markdorf to activation zone.
Time: The train leg is about 90 minutes. The walk up is another 60 minutes or so. 

Comments: The walk itself is not strenuous. There’s a viewing tower nearby that offers a fantastic view of the Bodensee region. 

DM/BW-359: Stöckenloch (6) 

Date: 2017 02 19 (Sun.), midday
Weather: cool (2° C) and damp
Equipment: HB-1B; EF-W3EDP
Log: 31 qso’s
Bands: 20m, 30m, 40m; cw
Cell (TH/Summit): ++/+

Mode of transport: Train (to Radolfzell)/Bus 6 (to Liggeringen)
Time: with good connections – 100 minutes, including a half hour of light, up-hill walking.

I wish the weather had been better. The view from up top down to Lake Constance would have been nice to enjoy at greater length. In season (not February) there’s also a cafe (Vesperstube) up top about 10 minutes by foot away from the summit-center.

The trains between KN and Radolfzell are frequent. The bus runs every hour, once in each direction. 

DM/BW-233: Buchberg (10)

Equipment: HB-1B; dipole 
Cell (TH/Summit)

Mode of Transport: Train to Donaueschingen, bus to Blumberg. The tricky leg is in the timing of Bus 7277. The train leg is an hour; the bus leg is half that.

DM/BW-361: Rossberg (6)

Date: 2017 02 25 (Sat.), midday
Weather: cool (2° C) and damp
Equipment: HB-1B; EF-W3EDP
Log: 31 qso’s (2 S2S)
Bands: 20m, 30m, 40m; cw
Cell (TH/Summit): ++/++

Mode of transport: Train (to Singen/Hohentwiel)/Bus 7363 [to Silcherstraße, Steißlingen. (The bus makes a loop through the town before returning to Singen. Gartenstr is the “break-point,” and Silcherstr is one stop beyond it. Holding out for Silcherstr spares you five minutes of walking. Also, there is a bus between Radolfzell and Steißlingen. It runs less frequently; and given train connections, may not save you time.)].
  • Shortly before the summit there are a couple tricky turns, in sequence. Garmin, Google maps, etc. will get it correct; but “on site” the turns would be easy to miss: 
    • A left turn [N47.80451°, E8.95294°]
    • A left turn [N47.80612° E8.95370°]
    • A right turn [N47.80660° E8.95282°]
Time: with good connections – 105 minutes (30 min. on train + 20 min. on bus + 45 min. by foot).
Difficulty: Easy.

Summit: DM/BW-850 (Hochbühl) – 6 points

Cell (TH/Summit)

Mode of transport: 


HB/TG-003: Otterbärg (1)

Date: 2017 02 11 (Sat.), afternoon
Weather: cool (0° C) and damp
Equipment: HB-1B; EF-W3EDP
Log: 36 qso’s
Bands: 40m; cw
Cell (TH/Summit): ++/++

Mode of transport: bicycle
Time: 75 minutes there, 45 minutes back.
Difficulty: see description.

This activation was payback for the previous weekend’s 75 points of walk-on/walk-off. The “payback” had more to do with the bicycle than the ascent itself. I used an old bicycle with only one working gear. There were various stretches that I had to walk the bicycle up. The 75 minutes is adjusted for what I think my ascent would have comfortably taken – 300m up, 12 km south – had I had a better bicycle.

The activation area is wooded. I had no problem finding a slightly secluded corner (there were occasional passers-by). I used my SOTA-pole. Suitable tree supports abounded.

HB0/LI-012: Schellenberg (1) 

Date: 2017-04-30
Weather:  clear as a bell & picture perfect
Equipment: HB-1B; SMLoop
Log: 15 qso’s
Bands:  40m, 30m, 20m
Cell (TH/Summit): ++/++

Mode of transport: Complicated, likely to change and to vary considerably by day and time of day. I ended up on three trains from Kreuzlingen to Salez-Sennwald and then three buses to Hinterschellenberg.
Time: Public transportation is about three hours each way.  The walk up is about twenty minutes. 

Comments: A lot of effort for a solitary point. But I made it for the satisfaction of operating as an HB0/ in the Principality of Liechtenstein and thus also in a new SOTA association. Other than the time it took in transportation, it was an easy activation. The trip there and/or back can be interrupted for a nice beer or a full meal. An accidental highlight of this particular activation was an encounter with several roe deer who came within ten yards of where I was operating, sensed that I was there, but couldn’t figure out exactly what I was. I managed to snap a few photos; in one below, you’ll make out one, above and slightly to the left of the paddles in the foreground (sitting on my knee) . Ultimately they went back to grazing and I went back to operating.

OE/VB-509 and VB-511: Hirschberg (4) and Eichenberger Hochberg (4)

Date: 2017-04-15 (full day)
Weather: threaten rain all day, didn’t till end. 
Equipment: HB-1B; dipole
Log: about 12 at each summit.
Bands: 30m and 40m
Cell (TH/Summit): ??

Getting there: train (several transfers), Pfänderbahn up. Bodensee EU-Regio day ticket is a discounted way to travel on the local trains in all three countries (DL, HB9, OE). The Pfänderbahn “valley station” is about fifteen minutes by foot from the Bregenz Bahnhof. The Pfänderbahn runs about every half hour, more frequently in season. 
Time: From Konstanz (or a little better, Kreuzlingen) to Bregenz takes 100 minutes; the gondola up to Pfänder takes less than ten minutes up; each leg of the hike is a little over an hour. In short, it’s a full day: at least 7 hours of travel time (4 hrs in train, 3 on foot), plus operating time.

Comments: This was a full day’s adventure. The train time almost made it ineligible for this page. Even with the discounted EUregion ticket, adding in the gondola fare, this is also the most expensive trip on the list. With the Swiss Halbtax discounted train card, both the EUregio ticket and regular 2-way fares are equal (27SFr); the EURegio ticket gives a little more flexibility. The gondola is (as of April 2017) about 13€.

In the “good old days” Pfänder was also a recognized summit so you could kill three birds with one stone and get more points for your efforts. Now, we still ascend by way of Pfänder, but without the points. The hike is basically a triangle with three spokes. Total hiking distance is about 17 km.

Each hiking leg could take up to 90 minutes. The time estimates on the signs are frustrating: for the first half of the hike to Hirschberg, the signs indicate between an hour and an hour and a half of hiking to go, but not in decreasing order as you move along. The middle leg is under an hour. All three legs require you first to descend a little and then to ascend. You may need to psyche yourself up for that. As for the trails: None of the hiking is very strenuous (it terms of grade or condition), much of the trails is paved, all of them are well-marked and well-traveled (so be prepared for crowds in season).

On this particular trip rain threatened all day. A good chance of rain had been predicted all week; so I knew what I was getting into. Mother Nature did me a solid, however, by not releasing her wetness until I was just a few yards from my ultimate endpoint, a nice Gaststätte, where I took cover and treated myself to a couple spinat-käse knödels and a beer. I don’t know quite what I was imagining, but these summits were highly exposed, and without something more than I had brought (an extra poncho) – like tree cover or a berghütte or lean-to — I really couldn’t have activated safely. Something to mull over.


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