I was tired after a day's walking and activating in North Wales (Moel y Gamelin GW/NW-042 and Cyrn-y-Brain GW/NW-043) on Wednesday 15th March 2017, but couldn't help myself from thinking of an evening raid on Shining Tor G/SP-004 - my nearest summit - but not yet activated during the bonus period. Ah, but then I realised it was 80m CC CW contest night - and there was December to go at after all. After bashing the Bencher morse key in the shack for 90 minutes, I decided to go for it. I parked just before the Cat & Fiddle pub (still closed) and was surprised to see another car in the parking spot. The I could see a headlamp coming towards me down the path. I headed in the other direction, and despite my tiredness from the day, found I got into a decent stride.
This was very enjoyable night-time walking under a bright nearly-full moon and starry sky. I was on summit by around 2310 and took a few photos and posted a status update to Facebook. Just 5 stations were worked on 2m FM, but that was sufficient to collect the 5 points. I was kicking myself for assuming that my handheld was pretty much charged up - when it wasn't. Jimmy M0HGY did call me from home, but the charge did not survive and the contact was not quite completed. Callsigns were exchanged, reports were exchanged, but the final acknowledgement of the received report was only one-sided - so we scrapped that one.
I was starving when I got home about 0115z but couldn't find any bread or suitable things in the fridge. Fortunately, in a bag in the shack was an unopened chocolate reindeer left over from Christmas. It is now an ex-chocolate reindeer. It has expired. It has ceased to be.
I had forgotten all about the visit of Sorin YO2MSB to these parts. I was scheduled to have a gig in Stratford-on-Avon on the evening of Wednesday 3rd May 2017, so no SOTA plans were made. As it happened, the gig got cancelled, and instead I arranged to meet someone who was buying some radio gear from me. After concluding that piece of business, I was driving back on the Buxton to Macclesfield road and decided that I needed a walk. I am overweight. Well, I always am, but I am too overweight at present, so really need to improve the regularity of exercise. My VX7R and waterproof notepad were in the car, which was all I needed. At about the halfway point of the walk, I met Neil M0WBG and Sorin YO2MSB. This was a very pleasant surprise, and we walked the rest of the way together and enjoyed an excellent chat.
At the summit, Sorin was amazed at the possibility of switching on a VHF handheld, immediately getting contacts and qualifying the summit with ease! He was even more amazed that the first QSO was a summit-to-summit - with Tony G7OEM/P on Pendle Hill G/SP-005. My rig was passed around, allowing Neil M0WBG/P and Sorin M/YO2MSB/P to also collect the S2S contact. I made a total of 7 QSOs, 6 on 2m FM and 1 on 70cm FM. I said goodbye to Neil and Sorin and started my descent. During the return walk I called and worked M0JZT/P who was activating The Wrekin G/WB-010, and back at the car I was able to work both Neil M0WBG/P and Sorin M/YO2MSB/P, both still on Shining Tor G/SP-004 of course. It was nice to meet Sorin and Neil.
In response to recent moans about VHF/UHF activity, I decided to focus on that on Sunday 7th May 2017. But not with a good system or on 2m, oh no. No, I was determined not to have my results dismissed, so I challenged myself further. The band to be used was 70cm, the mode FM, and the equipment just a handheld with rubber duck. So how did I do with all these limitations?
70 cm FM handheld and rubber duck:
G/SP-004: 17 QSOs
G/SP-013: 6 QSOs
G/SP-015: 16 QSOs
Jimmy was using a proper 2m system with an 817 running 2.5 watts into a SOTAbeams MFD @ 7m on a SOTA Pole. Between the two of us, we made 122 activator QSOs on the day, all VHF/UHF, all FM, all QRP, and most of mine on 70cm with HT & RD! Great day out in the sunshine!
Three more activations in the sunshine on Tuesday 20th June 2017.
I left home at lunchtime and enjoyed a brisk walk up Shining Tor in shorts, T-shirt and sandals. It was a bit breezy, but not at all chilly. A curious bird accompanied me for about quarter of a mile from the path from the tearooms up to the top gate. We took it in turns squawking at each other and it was definitely staying with me, swooping from left to right in front of me and landing for a rest beside me every so often. In my head, I liked to think it was appreciating some company, but in reality, maybe the reverse was true, and it was a ground nesting bird protecting some eggs.
I tried out 20m JT65 again, and had a successful QSO with top SOTA chaser SP9AMH. With just three 2m FM QSOs on the handie to add to that, I packed up and descended, then drove over to Gun G/SP-13.