Wednesday 20th November 2019
The pattern for this family pre-Christmas break was becoming abundantly clear. Family weren't interested in going for a walk. Family weren't interested in getting up early. Jimmy M0HGY was not interested in joining me for SOTA activations. So if I was going to get my SOTA fix, I just needed to get myself up at 5am every morning, go and activate something, and be back at the apartments around about the time that we would all be ready to go for a walk into the city.
So another early get-up on the Wednesday, and off I drove onto the Isle of Purbeck. It's a shame that Swyre Head G/SE-012 is no longer valid for SOTA, as that was my favourite of the two (now one) Purbeck hills. But it was later discovered not to have the required prominence, and so had to be deleted from the scheme. Nine Barrow Down, while not as endearing or picturesque as Swyre Head, has grown on me over the years though, and I did thoroughly enjoy the short easy stroll to its summit.
It's pretty flat over a large area at the top, and a bit of a guessing game as to where the true summit actually is. The metal tank up there is probably as good a bet as any. For the activation, I dropped a little to where the toppled trig point has been dumped, in order to avail myself of a more sheltered position, plus use a convenient hole in the concrete to support my mast!
I was keen to be heading back as soon as possible, so my HF back-up was the "almost never fails" 20m. Sure enough, no takers on the handheld - although I did get five 2m FM QSOs just before leaving the summit. On 14MHz though it was no problem, and six CW contacts went quickly into the logbook.
The walk down was equally pleasant, but the return drive saw me hit some Southampton rush hour traffic - which was to be expected I guess. Nonetheless, I was back in sufficient time not to cause annoyance to family members, and we all ventured into Southmapton city centre for more fun, beer and some delicious Russian cuisine at the Christmas markets.
The next morning I would make my second visit of the year to Butser Hill G/SE-004.