Saturday 31st August 2019 - Botley Hill G/SE-005 & Detling Hill G/SE-013
Gig: Simon Faulkner Band
Venue: Church Gables, Rolleston, Newark-on-Trent
From Botley Hill G/SE-005, I drove on the M25, M26, M20 and A249 to reach the White Horse Woods Country Park. This was another trivial "drive-to-the-top" summit, with the official summit now being the car park itself!
I had a bit more time for this activation - or so I thought! I spread my stuff out on the picnic table and made 21 QSOs on 40m and 20m, using FT8, CW and SSB modes. A healthy eight S2S QSOs were recorded. I hit the roads - but also hit traffic. The worst of it was the queue for the Dartford Crossing. I felt like not paying for it in protest - but ultimately, I did not fancy a summons!
The Simon Faulkner Band that night was a seven-piece line-up including a three-piece horn section. Therefore it was a very enjoyable gig, moreso because the host were providing complimentary Estrella beer, and were employing a team of chefs preparing and distributing bowls of amazing food all through the night! The only thing was, I didn't get very far after the gig had finished. Just a few miles before I needed to pull in and get my head down! At 6am I woke up and made it then to the parking spot for Gun G/SP-013 - where I fell asleep once more, sleeping right through to nearly 11am!
Friday 15th November 2019 - Leith Hill G/SE-002, Botley Hill G/SE-005 & Detling Hill G/SE-013
Gig: 60s Gold - Mindbenders & Steve Ellis
Venue: Winter Gardens, Margate
After Botley Hill G/SE-005, I soon rejoined the M25 motorway which I followed East until veering onto the M26 and then M20. White Horse Wood was accessed from the A249 dual carriageway, and again I initially tried for the quick activation using just a VHF handheld as I wandered around the car park.
This time, I was a little more fortunate than I was on the earlier summit, and M3YWO was worked on 2m FM. This spared me the need to set up a HF antenna in order to be able to record an activation, and took the pressure off me completing my drive to work.
In Margate, after soundcheck, the band went for a wander and ended up in a pub that had a display of memorabilia celebrating one of the best loved episodes of Only Fools & Horses - "The Jolly Boys Outing" - which was filmed largely in Margate. Jimmy M0HGY and myself are both massive OFAH fans, so I had to take a few snaps!
After the show, it was a drive back to Jan's place in Croydon where we were staying for the second of three nights.