Getting one's rucksack, water, soup, clothes, boots, coat, batteries etc
ready, even for some local activations, is time-consuming work. Doing it times
three is exhausting stuff. At least Jimmy sorted out his and Liam's clothes
which saved me a job, and also put the SOTAwatch Alerts on for me.
But the job was done, and I was flopped down at my PC in the shack, late in the
evening, with the last can of Stella in the house, and looking forward to a bit
of SOTA for the next day. Five points would be a relative bumper haul for
me these days! Jimmy would cop for seven. He was amused when putting on the
Alerts that we were scheduled to do SP-013 at 1300 and
SP-015 at 1500. I suggested that we get up at 0200
and do SP-004 at 0400, and have a rest in between. His
amusement suddenly ended abruptly; I can't imagine why.
Well, we had a good day. The main objective was to see if Jimmy could
activate on 40m using SSB, QRP and SPOTlite. The answer was yes, although it
didn't work out on the third summit of the day. Dusk was approaching though,
there were no gaps between the contest stations, and they themselves could no
longer hear our QRP as the skip started to get longer. But considering that we
wanted to test these working conditions in order to have a better chance of
qualifying Kisdon G/NP-026 (and others with poor
VHF take-off) the next time we go there, it was good to confirm that we could
either nominate a frequency (or be spotted) on
SOTAwatch via SPOTlite, or answer the contest stations if an event was on.
This all worked fine before 4pm.
We kicked off with a cooked breakfast at the big Tesco in Macclesfield -
bacon, scrambled egg, sausage, black pudding, tomatoes, mushrooms, hash brown,
beans and pot of tea. We then parked in the usual spot just short of the Cat &
Fiddle pub on the A537 and walked to Shining Tor G/SP-004.
Although the temperature was rather mild (varying between 9 and 11 degrees), the
winds were strong again all day, adding significant windchill. We were able to
get comfortable in shelter. We found this huddled at the foot of a wall on
Shining Tor. Unfortunately, the 40m dipole and fishing pole remained exposed to
the conditions, and collapsed several times during the activation! This problem
did not repeat itself on the two later summits, which are of course both a good
500 feet lower than this one.
I made a few contacts on 40m CW, and Jimmy some on SSB. We made S2S contacts
with Luc ON6DSL/P and Klaus DF2GN/P, both on 40m SSB. After quite a long stop on
summit, I sent the lads down with my car keys, and volunteered to pack
everything away alone. When I returned to the car, Liam was inside it, but Jimmy
wasn't. "Where is he?" I asked. Liam told me that he was "over there somewhere
looking for a geocache". He returned, triumphantly, a couple of minutes later.
We now headed along the lanes via Bottom o'th' Oven, Forest Chapel,
Wildboarclough, Wincle and Danebridge towards Gun G/SP-013.
Thanks to the following stations, all worked on 40m with 5 watts:
Why should the fun end in the Summer? Well the minor
inconvenience of darkness didn't stop me last winter, whether it be early
morning or teatime, so I figured there was no need for me to miss the RSGB
6m activity contest on Tuesday 23rd September 2008. The only thing
was, I had already activated The Cloud G/SP-015
on the Tuesday morning. But I quite fancied a walk up Shining Tor G/SP-004
anyway. Jimmy M3EYP was all set to join me for an evening out by torchlight,
but decided at the last minute that he preferred to stay in and revise for
his maths exam.
I was a bit behind schedule when I arrived at the parking spot just before
the Cat & Fiddle, at 7.30pm. There was just about enough shreds of daylight
left to see me to the summit unilluminated, by 7.50pm. But there wasn't
enough daylight left for setting up, so on went the headtorch. It was
rather tricky getting the 6m delta loop up by torchlight in quickly
enveloping darkness, and increasingly strong westerly wind. However, by
8.10pm, I was settled into a dry grassy patch under the wall, warm and
comfortable, and QRV.
There was the occasional glimpse of tropo on the 6m band, in other stations'
contacts that I overheard. Generally though, conditions were flat and I
worked 16 contacts into G, GW and EI, with the best DX being 305km into
IO80. By 9.10pm, I had made only two contacts in the past 30 minutes,
and all the stations still audible on the band I had already worked. CQ
calls on 6m FM, 70cm FM and 2m FM were unanswered, ao I set about the
painstaking task of very carefully packing away.
After a very careful scan of the area with my torch, I set off on the
descent. A little earlier, the sky had cleared to leave a wonderful view of
the night sky. It had now clouded over again, and a little light drizzle was
falling, so the torch was crucial on the descent. At 10pm, I reached the
car, loaded the boot, and decided not to have a swift pint in the Cat &
Fiddle. Despite having alerted on SOTAwatch, and having my own QRG in
the contest for a while, no regular chasers appeared, and I found when I
returned home that I had not been spotted. Thanks to the following,
all worked on 6m SSB with 5 watts:
Despite the torrential rain during my drive home from work on Tuesday 7th October 2008, things had dried up and the weather forecast suggested that the rain would move away during the evening. So I decided to go for it. Unlike two weeks ago when I could ascend in the remaining dregs of daylight, my "2-in-1" halogen headtorch was needed from the start of the walk this time. The ascent took twenty minutes, and I carried out my "shelter assessment" upon arrival at the summit. The wind was coming in from the South-West, so I hunkered down in the corner of the wall. I sat on my mat on the ground and used the bench as an operating desk.
It was pleasant and comfortable to start with. Sheltered from the wind, I felt the benefit of the mild 11 degrees evening temperature. And the rain was continuing to hold off. By 9.05pm, I had made 31 contacts with 8 square multipliers. Best DX was Don G0RQL at 306km.
Although things were slowing down, there were still more stations and squares to be had, including a GM station. However, the weather turned quite nasty, with the wind suddenly swirling and strong, and heavy rain lashing down. Enough was enough, and I hurriedly packed the station away. As well as the wind and rain, thick fog was now down on the hill, which demanded extra concentration and slower progress on the descent. I was in the car and dropping down the A537 towards the lights of Macclesfield by 9.50pm - with Danny Baker on BBC Radio 5 Live, and the heater on full-blast. Many thanks to all stations, worked on 2m SSB with 5 watts: