Sunday 7th April 2019 - Wendover Woods G/CE-005 & Sir William Hill G/HSP-024
By the time the gig had finished, and we were fully loaded out (a tedious and lengthy operation back-and-forth across a large pedestrianised square in Central MK), it was approaching 3am BST. Fortunately, my digs were only five minutes away, so I could get my head down in a comfy bed. Two of the other guys in the band were contemplating a night sleeping in a van!
I only slept for five hours before waking up, but the sleep quality had been excellent and I felt great. Wendover Woods wasnít quite as nearby as Iíd have liked, but I was near enough to it not to be able to resist bagging it while in the vicinity! As usual, I ignored the road entrance into the Forestry Commission estate, but drove up onto Aston Hill. The gateway where I often park my car was not available, as the gate was open to let cars in to park on Aston Hill - quite close to the trig point - for a cycling event. The grass verges nearby were all coned off too. I decided to drive in, pretend I was a spectator for the cycling event and pay the £2 for spectator parking.
The marshall looked surprised when I then headed off with my rucksack to a far corner of the field in the direction of the true summit on Haddington Hill! He later came over to enquire what was going on - and was very positively interested when I told him. I decided to just do a short activation, as I knew the family were meeting for Sunday lunch in Foolow, near Eyam, Derbyshire, then going for a long circular walk. If I didnít hang around too long in the Chilterns, I could rendezvous with them for that. Hence I stuck to just 30m FT8 and worked seven QSOs. The penultimate of these was the most satisfying - US SOTA activator and chaser Paul KB9ILT.
I managed to get to the Bullís Head at Foolow in time for a FB roast beef & Yorkshire pudding dinner, and pint of real ale. We then climbed up the road to Bretton, then walked along the ridge to Sir William Hill. This is a HEMA summit, G/HSP-024, and I walked up to the trig point with my handheld. Four QSOs were made on 2m FM. We then followed the byway and road to Mompessonís Well from the Plague era, then I found a great path down to the village of Eyam. A swift pint in the Miners Arms, then back up the roads to the cars at Foolow - a circular walk of around 15km.
Sunday 19th May 2019 - Wendover Woods G/CE-005
Gig: Joe Longthorne
Venue: Brick Lane Music Hall, London
It was the other way round from the previous day. Afternoon gig, all done. Then on the way home, and calling in on this summit for a quick activation.
The summit was activated @ 1724z. Just one QSO - with Dave G1MZD in Northamptonshire. No other callers, but an enjoyable chat with Dave. 59 both ways with me just using HT + RD.
Saturday 8th June - Wendover Woods G/CE-005
Gig: Joe Longthorne
Venue: Grove Theatre, Dunstable
So holidays were over, and back to work. The highest point of the Chilterns was the obvious choice for a SOTA activation associated with this show. By the time I got there, there wasnít realistically time to set up HF and play on my favourite modes (FT8 & CW). I walked to the trig point on Aston Hill with my Yaesu FT70D handheld and called CQ.
I made a grand total of one QSO on 2m FM! It was then a typical workday for me - load-in, set-up, soundcheck, dinner in Wetherspoons, play the show, drive home. I was hoping to make more QSOs in my next activation - not that itís possible to make lessÖ As anticipated, I didn't make it all the way home after the show and took a nap in a lay-by on the A50. Then went up Gun G/SP-013...!