Tom Read - click to email meBDXC ISWL WAB SOTA RSGB IOTA - see my radio page for more detailsLiam & Jimmy

The Cloud SP-015

 

The Cloud, G/SP-015 - 343m ASL - SJ 904 637 - OS Explorer 268 - 1 SOTA point          Map & summit information from SOTAwatch    Click to return to summit index

Tuesday 1st January 2019 - New Year’s Day - The Cloud G/SP-015

I was very organised during the day.  This in spite of only getting in from the previous night’s gig in Milton Keynes at 7am, and later spending New Year’s Day afternoon at the football (Macclesfield 1, Tranmere 1).  I got my rucksack packed ready, complete with rotating guying kit and SOTAbeams SB5.  I had charged up my headtorch battery, and the Windows 10 tablet.  Imagine my horror then when completing set-up on Cloud summit and discovering that the tablet had only about a quarter charge in it! 

I knew that the tablet would run out of charge before the hour of the MGMAC was through.  I decided just to do as much as I could, then switch to the concurrent FMAC, before going to SSB for the main event at 8pm.  Ten QSOs were made on 2m FT8.  A potential eleventh contact was looking tasty - but alas that was when the tablet ran out of charge - during the commenced QSO with a PA station, but before completion.  Thirteen minutes of the FMAC remained - and I made 13 contacts on 2m FM.  On 2m SSB, I added 90 QSOs, making a total of 113 for the activation.  Despite the battery issue, I won the MGMAC!

Winner's certificate for the inaugural 2m MGMAC

Time

Call

Band

Mode

19:11z

M0VXX

144MHz

FT8

19:15z

G7JWY

144MHz

FT8

19:22z

M0MLZ/P

144MHz

FT8

19:23z

G0RQL

144MHz

FT8

19:27z

G8EKG

144MHz

FT8

19:32z

MW0RKD

144MHz

FT8

19:34z

GI6ATZ

144MHz

FT8

19:37z

M1DDD/P

144MHz

FT8

19:41z

G0FCT

144MHz

FT8

19:42z

G0NWX

144MHz

FT8

19:47z

2E0LKC

144MHz

FM

19:47z

2E0LMD

144MHz

FM

19:48z

M0ICK

144MHz

FM

19:48z

M0NZO

144MHz

FM

19:49z

2W0JYN

144MHz

FM

19:50z

2E0OAI

144MHz

FM

19:50z

GW8ASD

144MHz

FM

19:51z

G8ZRE

144MHz

FM

19:51z

G4AQB

144MHz

FM

19:52z

GW4SHF

144MHz

FM

19:53z

M6YCE

144MHz

FM

19:53z

G6CVX

144MHz

FM

19:54z

M0MHW

144MHz

FM

20:01z

G4JLG

144MHz

SSB

20:02z

M0HWO

144MHz

SSB

20:02z

G3KAF

144MHz

SSB

20:03z

G4BEE

144MHz

SSB

20:04z

G4AQB

144MHz

SSB

20:04z

GW4ZAR

144MHz

SSB

20:05z

G8REQ

144MHz

SSB

20:06z

M0WBG

144MHz

SSB

20:07z

G4CLB

144MHz

SSB

20:08z

M1MHZ

144MHz

SSB

20:09z

G3UVR

144MHz

SSB

20:10z

GD8EXI

144MHz

SSB

20:11z

GW4SHF

144MHz

SSB

20:12z

M0ICK

144MHz

SSB

20:15z

G4RQI

144MHz

SSB

20:22z

G3WRA/P

144MHz

SSB

20:24z

G6CVX

144MHz

SSB

20:25z

G8XYJ

144MHz

SSB

20:25z

G0CER

144MHz

SSB

20:26z

G6AUS

144MHz

SSB

20:27z

G8AQA

144MHz

SSB

20:27z

GW4EVX

144MHz

SSB

20:28z

G3UBX

144MHz

SSB

20:28z

G4EII

144MHz

SSB

20:29z

M7DON/P

144MHz

SSB

20:30z

G4XTF

144MHz

SSB

20:31z

2E0ILF

144MHz

SSB

20:32z

G3SMT

144MHz

SSB

20:36z

G8DER

144MHz

SSB

20:39z

M0PNN/P

144MHz

SSB

20:40z

G0WWH

144MHz

SSB

20:40z

2E0XJP

144MHz

SSB

20:41z

2E0SAE

144MHz

SSB

20:42z

M0MHW

144MHz

SSB

20:42z

G6SPG

144MHz

SSB

20:43z

2E0DGP

144MHz

SSB

20:44z

G0CDA

144MHz

SSB

20:44z

G8KBH

144MHz

SSB

20:45z

G4DZL

144MHz

SSB

20:47z

G3SQQ

144MHz

SSB

20:47z

G5UM

144MHz

SSB

20:48z

G6NUM

144MHz

SSB

20:49z

M0KNV

144MHz

SSB

20:49z

G0FKW

144MHz

SSB

20:50z

G8EKG

144MHz

SSB

20:51z

G4ILI/P

144MHz

SSB

20:52z

M6OXO

144MHz

SSB

20:53z

G0NWX

144MHz

SSB

20:56z

G4ODA

144MHz

SSB

20:58z

M0SDL/P

144MHz

SSB

21:00z

M0XGS

144MHz

SSB

21:01z

G4ASR

144MHz

SSB

21:02z

M0MLZ/P

144MHz

SSB

21:10z

G3VCA

144MHz

SSB

21:12z

2W0JYN

144MHz

SSB

21:12z

G8YIG

144MHz

SSB

21:13z

M1DDD/P

144MHz

SSB

21:16z

M0UGA/P

144MHz

SSB

21:18z

G8ZRE

144MHz

SSB

21:19z

G4BKF

144MHz

SSB

21:20z

MI0KOA/P

144MHz

SSB

21:23z

M1MLM

144MHz

SSB

21:24z

G3TDH

144MHz

SSB

21:24z

G8ZZK

144MHz

SSB

21:25z

G7APD

144MHz

SSB

21:29z

G3ZXZ

144MHz

SSB

21:31z

G4CLA

144MHz

SSB

21:33z

F1BHL/P

144MHz

SSB

21:35z

G0HEL/P

144MHz

SSB

21:36z

G4FZN/P

144MHz

SSB

21:37z

G3MEH

144MHz

SSB

21:38z

G3WCB/P

144MHz

SSB

21:42z

2E0DXK/P

144MHz

SSB

21:43z

G3TBK/P

144MHz

SSB

21:45z

GM3SEK

144MHz

SSB

21:49z

GW8ASD

144MHz

SSB

21:50z

G8TIC

144MHz

SSB

21:54z

G1YBB/P

144MHz

SSB

21:55z

G3NPI

144MHz

SSB

21:57z

2E0LKC

144MHz

SSB

21:57z

2E0LMD

144MHz

SSB

22:01z

2E0OUR

144MHz

SSB

22:04z

G4FVZ

144MHz

SSB

22:09z

GM4AFF

144MHz

SSB

22:10z

M0ICR

144MHz

SSB

22:12z

M0WGF

144MHz

SSB

22:13z

G8BUN

144MHz

SSB

22:16z

MM0GPZ

144MHz

SSB

22:20z

G7ULL

144MHz

SSB

22:22z

G4TSQ

144MHz

SSB

 

Sunday 6th January 2019 - Gun G/SP-013 & The Cloud G/SP-015

Following Gun G/SP-013, and a warm-up in the car, I couldn’t resist popping over to The Cloud G/SP-015 on the way home.  This time however, I left the rucksack and main portable gear in the car and just took a quick stroll up to the summit with the Yaesu FT70D handheld.  First up was a S2W with Mark M0NOM/P who was on a subsidiary top of Top o’Selside (but not G/LD-048 itself, which he had done earlier).  This had WOTA reference LDO-106.  In total, 9 stations were worked, all 2m FM.  SOTA from Cloud summit is pretty easy, I must admit!

Time

Call

Band

Mode

13:30z

M0NOM/P

144MHz

FM

13:33z

G7WKX/P

144MHz

FM

13:35z

M0TXX/P

144MHz

FM

13:39z

G0OHY

144MHz

FM

13:40z

2W0JYN

144MHz

FM

13:41z

2E0LKC

144MHz

FM

13:42z

2E0LMD

144MHz

FM

13:42z

2E0DIJ

144MHz

FM

13:43z

M6JHI/M

144MHz

FM

 

Tuesday 8th January 2019 - The Cloud G/SP-015

Well that "Fun Evening" wasn’t much “fun”.  I was on summit and fully set up before 1900z.  That was as successful as the night got.  Despite a good VSWR indication, it was soon clear that signals both in and out were well down on what they should be.  I couldn’t find any issues.  I stumbled along making 8 QSOs on 70cm FM and then just 5 on 70cm SSB.  It was now 8.20pm, and I was freezing cold, hungry and fed up.  I suspected the coax extension might have a problem, so I thought I’d remove that and compare how things sounded with just the short length of coax to the croc clips directly between the 817 and antenna.  As I set about doing this, one side of the coax freed itself from the crocodile clip!  Looks like that was the problem.  That meant I could go home early, get into a warm house, and have my dinner.  I don’t think I’ve ever been so pleased to admit failure and have to abandon an activation early!  Still, 13 contacts, so ignoring the contests, in purely SOTA terms, the activation was a rip-roaring success.

Time

Call

Band

Mode

19:08z

2W0JYN

433MHz

FM

19:21z

G4AQB

433MHz

FM

19:24z

M0XGS

433MHz

FM

19:26z

M1DDD/P

433MHz

FM

19:28z

G3UVR

433MHz

FM

19:32z

G8XYJ/P

433MHz

FM

19:39z

2E0IXM/M

433MHz

FM

19:41z

MW0XAD/P

433MHz

FM

20:01z

G3UVR

433MHz

SSB

20:08z

G4JLG

433MHz

SSB

20:11z

G3UBX

433MHz

SSB

20:12z

G8GFQ

433MHz

SSB

20:17z

G8HXE/P

433MHz

SSB


Monday 14th January 2018 - The Cloud G/SP-015 & Gun G/SP-013

Dad’s Taxis was running with a 1930 drop-off and 2130 pick up.  Time therefore for G/SP-015 & G/SP-013 in between - if I got my skates on.   I invited the local FM chasers to be at their radios!  Well Paul M0PLA in Telford got them both!  I made 7 QSOs on The Cloud and 4 on Gun.  All 2m FM with the handie.  Pleasant couple of walks.  The gales had calmed right down. 

Next, it was time for a different type of FM radio - my son Liam’s weekly programme on Canalside Radio 102.8.  It’s a small scale station and the signal only covers Macclesfield, Bollington, Wilmslow and Poynton, but the internet means you can listen from anywhere in the world - so if you like proper old fashioned radio and good interesting music, have a click on the link.

Time

Call

Band

Mode

19:58z

M6AIF

144MHz

FM

20:02z

2E0LMD

144MHz

FM

20:04z

2E0LKC

144MHz

FM

20:07z

G1JDT

144MHz

FM

20:08z

M0PLA

144MHz

FM

20:08z

2E0GGI

144MHz

FM

20:09z

G4YLJ

144MHz

FM


Tuesday 15th January 2018 - Shining Tor G/SP-004, The Cloud G/SP-015 & Gun G/SP-013

A similar routine to the previous night - a bit of a time window between dropping Liam off at the pub (on this occasion) and picking him up.  Remarkably, it was 7 contacts on The Cloud, then 4 on Gun.  Again.  All on 2m FM with the handheld.

Time

Call

Band

Mode

20:31z

G0SLR

144MHz

FM

20:37z

2E0LKC

144MHz

FM

20:38z

2E0LMD

144MHz

FM

20:45z

G0OHY

144MHz

FM

20:45z

M6AIF

144MHz

FM

20:46z

M0MHW

144MHz

FM

20:48z

M0XOC

144MHz

FM


Thursday 24th January 2018 - Shining Tor G/SP-004, Gun G/SP-013 & The Cloud G/SP-015

Tom M1EYP        Path up The Cloud

 I took the headtorch just-in-case, but in the end it wasn’t necessary.  Again, I got four quick contacts, then no other interest, using the FT70D handheld.  Back in Macc to meet J & L for a Burns Night themed tea in Wetherspoons.  My Fitbit watch indicated just over 9000 steps - obviously setting out an 80m dipole makes the difference.  I’d have to go for a “constitutional” later.  Thanks to Pete 2E0LKC, Anne 2E0LMD and Greg M0NZO who worked me on all three summits.

Time

Call

Band

Mode

16:30z

M0NZO

144MHz

FM

16:34z

G0UXF

144MHz

FM

16:36z

2E0LKC

144MHz

FM

16:36z

2E0LMD

144MHz

FM


Saturday 26th January 2019 - Shining Tor G/SP-004 & The Cloud G/SP-015

Gig: Funktion & Co.

Venue: Flying Horse Hotel, Rochdale

So I got home from Shining Tor G/SP-004, caught up on a few emails, Marianne went out shopping, and Richard G3CWI messaged me suggesting an afternoon trip up The Cloud.  I had nowt better to do, so I accepted, and this time he drove round and picked me up (I had driven for G/SP-004 earlier).  The Met Office website indicated that we might have two hours to play with before getting a soaking.  However, as we were setting up, we could see the grey bank of rain barely a couple of miles away - and advancing rapidly!  We both set up on the lower ledge to the north-west of the main summit area, giving significant shelter from the strong wind.  The rain arrived just as we both went QRV though, so we were soon both in our respective bothy bags to operate.

Richard was on 40m CW with his very old longwire antenna, while I went on 20m with my newly refurbished groundplane aerial.  Conditions were shockingly bad.  Richard just about limped to four QSOs, but conditions were the least of my problems.  My tablet was not hearing the FT8 signals through the cable, and was not keying the rig in the other direction.  It was able to hear the signals - and indeed decode them - through the tablet’s built-in microphone, but not via the cable.  I double checked all the audio settings and poked around, but to no avail.

I concluded that another cheap OTG USB to micro USB converter lead had failed, so no FT8 for me.  So, CW then.  I got my Palm Paddle out of the Exped Drybag.  Then I got the Palm Cube.  And finally, I didn’t get the mini jack cable out - because it wasn’t there - it was still on the dashboard of my car - where I had sensibly put it after using it in the house for something else earlier in the week - and we’d gone to The Cloud in Richard’s car so it wasn’t there.  Eek.  SSB it would have to be.

Still, with a self-spot, I’d surely have a pile-up in no time.  I turned the radio on, and the band was so quiet I had to double-check the antenna was connected.  It was.  I then had to double-check the SWR.  It was fine.  Brilliant - highly unbrilliant conditions.  I called CQ SOTA a lot, with a self-spot - but it was a waste of time.  I replied to a powerhouse LZ contest station, who replied “Mike One Echo Japan?” - and that was as good as it got.  The rain was coming down heavier.  I could hear Richard chuntering something in my direction.  I couldn’t hear what he was saying, but got the distinct impression he’d had enough and wanted to call it a day.  Me too, to be honest.

I called on the handheld, got a couple of 2m FM QSOs so I could at least call it an “activation”, and swiftly packed up.  Rubbish activation.  But an activation nonetheless.  Now it was time to cheer myself up by playing covers of Abba, Spice Girls, Bruno Mars, Justin Timberlake, Pharrell Williams, S Club 7, Dolly Parton, Shania Twain, Queen, Bon Jovi and Robbie Williams to a load of inebriated revellers in Rochdale…

Time

Call

Band

Mode

15:51z

G0NAJ

144MHz

FM

15:52z

G0UXF

144MHz

FM


Sunday 27th January 2019 - The Cloud G/SP-015

Woke up at 1130.  Went to big Tescos in Congleton to get the shopping for Sunday dinner.  Via Bosley Cloud.  Very windy and gusty.  It was hard to stand up on the summit never mind write logs in the notebook.  2m FM HT - 4 QSOs.  Thank you to the station that reported the wind noise to me.  M0HGY and I would now be on cooking duties so that dinner was on the table when the Station Manager got in from work.

Time

Call

Band

Mode

12:39z

G0NAJ

144MHz

FM

12:40z

2W0NAJ

144MHz

FM

12:42z

2W0MRS

144MHz

FM

12:45z

2E0DIJ

144MHz

FM


Thursday 31st January 2019 - The Cloud G/SP-015

Last time out, my system didn’t work properly.  I suspected the cheap USB female to micro USB male adaptor cable, as a previous one the same make had failed.  While up town, I bought a new adaptor - one not involving a cable, so a very compact piece of kit.  Lunchtime involved a visit to the SOTABEAMS factory where I met Richard G3CWI and Sean M0GIA, followed by Thursday Curry Club lunch and a pint with those two OMs at the local Wetherspoons. Very good it was too!

Sean M0GIA & Tom M1EYP at SOTAbeams    Wetherspoons curry club

The walk to the summit was tricky with compacted snow on the path and steps turning to ice, and hard ice at that, with very low temperatures. It was subzero all day in this end of Cheshire.  At the summit, a very icy wind would have made operating uncomfortable to say the least, so I dropped down to the north-facing ledge.  After setting up the 20m GP, I hunkered down in the cave-like hollow beneath the rockface, for good shelter from the wind.  With the new adaptor, the full tablet-WSJT-ZLP Mini SC Pro system was working flawlessly, so it appeared my diagnosis had been on the money. 

View over the Dane Valley        View over the Cheshire Plain

It was, however, a good long time before I could be sure everything was working properly.  Despite several self-spots, I couldn’t buy a contact when calling CQ.  Ultimately, I resorted to answering the CQ calls of others, and scraped together the nominal four QSOs this way.  No exotic DX, no rare DXCCs.  It didn’t bode well for the DX S2S event coming up that next Saturday, but being on 14.092MHz, and away from the mush on 14.074MHz, would probably help us out in this respect.  We could but try! 

The descent was a bit dodgy in places, with any earlier weaker parts of the ice now frozen hard again - plus the fact that the gradient was negative - which tends to be more slippery than positive!  Same observations for the initial part of the driving - downhill, down Red Lane and down to the A54.  I progressed very gingerly and slowly throughout that leg of the drive.  Now I needed to get the gear on charge ready for Saturday.

Time

Call

Band

Mode

15:05z

UX1IW

14MHz

FT8

15:23z

YL2QV

14MHz

FT8

15:26z

M3ECT

14MHz

FT8

15:46z

R2AOD

14MHz

FT8


Saturday 2nd February 2019 - The Cloud G/SP-015

Pre-dawn on Bosley Cloud        Tom M1EYP

5am get up and breakfast.  A necessarily slow and careful drive to Bosley, negotiating the roads that were covered with black ice.  I was on summit and setting up before sunrise. This was difficult with frozen ground but I found a way.  It was -4 degrees Celsius - and I felt it!  Use of the bothy bag soon added 3 degrees to my immediate climate, and the temperature actually rose as far as +6 degrees as the bothy bag soaked up the bright sunshine later. 

Streetlights in the nearby towns        Sun starting to rise

It was a slow start on 20m FT8.  Use of the non-standard QRG of 14.092 MHz made working chasers a more realistic prospect.  I could see M0HZH/P and JI3BAP/P on the band activity window and receive their transmissions, but they didn’t hear my calls.  A couple of FT8 SWL at least.  Same goes for chasers GW0PLP, G4OBK and DL4FO - I heard them; they didn’t hear me! 

Nice day        The summit was soon busy

It was turning into a stunning morning on The Cloud, and inevitably the summit was soon busy.  A few chasers were worked, then I reverted to the more standard 14.074MHz FT8 frequency.  A few stations responded to my CQs but it was very slow going.  Plenty of JA, HL, HS, BA etc DX was now populating WSJT-X, but my level of success in working it remained “constant”.  I made a total of 9 QSOs, all 20m FT8.  No DX.  No S2S.  But we’ll try again sometime, maybe when it’s not so cold!

Excellent views        Never easy trying to take a selfie facing the sun!

At least it was dry - no precipitation and very low humidity. Therefore, thankfully, I was able to collapse my SOTA Pole on the summit this time.  Many thanks to all activators and chaser that took part.  I intended to try this event again shortly.

Time

Call

Band

Mode

07:21z

IK2LEY

14MHz

FT8

08:08z

EA2LU

14MHz

FT8

08:13z

G4TJC

14MHz

FT8

08:38z

G3CWI

14MHz

FT8

08:56z

SA4BLM

14MHz

FT8

09:15z

UT5ERD

14MHz

FT8

09:20z

UX7QV

14MHz

FT8

09:32z

EA3QQI

14MHz

FT8

09:58z

G1WAE

14MHz

FT8

 

Sunday 3rd February 2019 - The Cloud G/SP-015

Gig: Stu Clark & Friends

Venue: The Venue, Lymm

It was still a winter wonderland on our local hills in Cheshire.  No snow had fallen the past few days, but temperatures remained mostly subzero to keep the white stuff on the ground.  On the popular paths though, it was getting very compacted, icy and slippery - so bring on that thaw that was due in the next few days!  

Still plenty of snow     FT-817 etc

It was the 70cm AFS event on the Sunday morning and my contest group (Tall Trees) was asking for participants in order to have at least one full team of four operators.  I had a busy Sunday ahead - including the teatime gig above - and also didn’t fancy sitting out in the snow and subzero temperatures for four hours, knowing that three of them would be mind-numbingly slow!  So I figured I’d just go out and do the first hour - I’d get at least 50% of all the contacts I was ever going to make then anyway! 

SOTAbeams SB270                    Good take off for the antenna                    Looking across to Bosley Tower

My hands got very cold very quickly when I took my gloves off for setting up, but then warmed up during the setting up process.  Then they got cold again when resetting the mast which had collapsed, and wouldn’t warm up again.  So back on with the gloves, which were on and off frequently for the next hour!  23 QSOs were made, all on 70cm SSB. Squares worked were IO74, IO81, 82, 83, 91, 92, 93 and JO02. So a very modest contribution, but sufficient to keep the contest manager (Reg G3TDH) happy. 

Tom M1EYP     Daft place to leave an antenna!

The descent was tricky in places, with the path down The Cloud resembling (and behaving like) a cresta run.  I think the cold got to my brain as well.  I was focused on safely negotiating a nasty patch of black ice on the hill down to the A54 (Congleton to Buxton) road.  I then heard a strange noise from the roof of my car.  I stopped and got out to inspect.  And there was my SB270 antenna, set as a 6-element beam for 70cm, loose on the roof of my car.  Quite remarkable that I had driven a mile from the parking spot and it was still there.  I took a photo of it, as one does in this Facebook-obsessed age and got back into my car to resume the drive home.

I heard the same noise again.  I stopped again, got out of the car, took the antenna off the roof and actually put it away this time!  Yes, previously, having taken the photo, I actually hadn’t bothered to then put the antenna in the car!  What a spoon.  It’s not really one of my gigs tonight, but my good friend and superb fingerstyle guitarist Stu Clark had invited Liam and I to perform a guest spot in his show later. That would be good fun, but first we were off out for a Chinese Sunday lunch.  Yum.

Time

Call

Band

Mode

09:10z

G4JLG

433MHz

SSB

09:10z

M0OMB

433MHz

SSB

09:11z

2E0DGP

433MHz

SSB

09:11z

GW4ZAR

433MHz

SSB

09:12z

G3TDH

433MHz

SSB

09:12z

G8REQ

433MHz

SSB

09:13z

G4BEE

433MHz

SSB

09:17z

GW3ATZ

433MHz

SSB

09:18z

G8AQA

433MHz

SSB

09:25z

GD8EXI

433MHz

SSB

09:26z

M0GAV/P

433MHz

SSB

09:27z

G0ODQ

433MHz

SSB

09:30z

G3PYE/P

433MHz

SSB

09:37z

G8DOH

433MHz

SSB

09:41z

G4YHF

433MHz

SSB

09:44z

G3SQQ

433MHz

SSB

09:47z

2W0JYN

433MHz

SSB

09:48z

G4GSB/P

433MHz

SSB

09:50z

G8NEY

433MHz

SSB

10:03z

G4ODA

433MHz

SSB

10:05z

G3UVR

433MHz

SSB

10:19z

M1BXF

433MHz

SSB

10:21z

M0XGS

433MHz

SSB


Tuesday 5th February 2019 - The Cloud G/SP-015

I was looking forward to 2m contest / activity night.  Then I spotted this:

Terrible wx forecast!

I was still going for it.  But I reserved the right to wimp out of the main UKAC before the 2.5 hours were up!  I would try and stick it out for the duration of the MGMAC (1900-1955z), but couldn’t promise how long after that I’ll stick it out for.  My headtorch, LifePO4 battery and Windows 10 tablet were all fully charged up though at least!

I just about kept everything dry.  With difficulty.  Great difficulty.  Even with a bothy bag.  The wind and the rain, and the very damp mist that preceded the heavy rain, proved too problematic in the end and I abandoned the activation.  I had problems with the interface again and kept getting error messages.  Combine that with one wind-induced antenna collapse and a station incorrectly using the VHF EU Contest mode - causing it to be auto-enabled on my WSJT-X - causing more wasted time as I hunted for a way to disable it - and I made only 5 QSOs on 2m FT8 in the MGMAC.

I squeezed a single contact in on 2m FM before 8pm, so there would be a token entry in the FMAC.  The rain became heavy as the UKAC began at 8pm.  The wind buffeted the bothy bag msking it noisy, and making it difficult to keep the damp out.  I made 6 QSOs on 2m SSB before losing the will to live and deciding to call it a night.  I got a bit wet during packaway and descent.  A terrible contest effort, but at 12 QSOs, I guess a perfectly respectable SOTA activation! 

I was glad to be back in the car at the parking spot with the heater on.  I was now thinking of popping into the Harrington Arms for a pint on the way home!

Time

Call

Band

Mode

19:23z

G6EIH

144MHz

FT8

19:25z

G8HXE

144MHz

FT8

19:26z

G0EHG

144MHz

FT8

19:36z

G4PDF

144MHz

FT8

19:40z

M0MLZ/P

144MHz

FT8

19:54z

2W0JYN

144MHz

FM

20:00z

G0RRX

144MHz

SSB

20:01z

G4BEE

144MHz

SSB

20:02z

G4EII

144MHz

SSB

20:03z

GW8ASD

144MHz

SSB

20:03z

G8AQA

144MHz

SSB

20:06z

G3UVR

144MHz

SSB


Saturday 9th February 2019 - The Cloud G/SP-015

Good news. The FT8 system was all working perfectly again.  I’d been having audio problems, traced to cheap adaptor cables, and then to a replacement adaptor that provided only a loose and wobbly connection.  From Amazon, I ordered a USB-B (printer type) to micro USB cable, meaning adaptors would no longer be required.  Well it all worked like a dream.  The weather forecast had indicated 60mph+ gusts from the departing Storm Eric, in a WSW direction.  I figured therefore that the NE ledge below the small cliff face would provide almost complete shelter.  And indeed it did.  I would have been unable to operate anywhere on the summit plateau with a fishing rod mast!

11 QSOs, all 20m FT8.  YL, SP, ES, ER, RA and 6 x UR.  A sunrise photographer took great interest in my activity and equipment, and asked if he could take photos.  He took loads! I later learned that EU to VK opened right up about 0900 as I was driving back to Macclesfield!  Oh well, never mind, another time!

Time

Call

Band

Mode

06:34z

YL3BF

14MHz

FT8

06:40z

UR6ISV

14MHz

FT8

06:54z

SP4OLL

14MHz

FT8

07:22z

ES1QV

14MHz

FT8

07:28z

ER3BN

14MHz

FT8

07:31z

UR3VDZ

14MHz

FT8

07:38z

RA3TPJ

14MHz

FT8

07:41z

UY5MB

14MHz

FT8

07:42z

UT0HB

14MHz

FT8

07:55z

UR6QV

14MHz

FT8

08:00z

UT1HP

14MHz

FT8


Tuesday 12th February 2019 - The Cloud G/SP-015

76 QSOs - 20 on FM then 56 on SSB.

5 DXCCs: F, G, GD, GI, GW.

12 QRAs: IN99, IO74, 80, 81, 82, 83, 91, 92, 93, 94, 95, JO01, 02.

1 S2S: Simon G7WKX/P on Shining Tor G/SP-004.

Map of 70cm FM QSOs        Map of 70cm SSB QSOs

It was slow going by 2145z, and I was feeling very cold.  An early finish and a trip to the pub trumped the prospect of eking out another 5/6 contacts in that final three-quarters of an hour!  I’m slacking in my old age.

Time

Call

Band

Mode

S2S

19:01z

G8ZRE

433MHz

FM

 

19:03z

M1DDD/P

433MHz

FM

 

19:06z

2W0JYN

433MHz

FM

 

19:07z

G0RRX

433MHz

FM

 

19:08z

GW4SHF

433MHz

FM

 

19:08z

M0TXE

433MHz

FM

 

19:11z

M0TMD/P

433MHz

FM

 

19:14z

G3WRA/P

433MHz

FM

 

19:17z

G7WKX/P

433MHz

FM

G/SP-004

19:19z

G1YBB/P

433MHz

FM

 

19:21z

GW3ATZ

433MHz

FM

 

19:22z

G0KZH

433MHz

FM

 

19:33z

G4ILI/P

433MHz

FM

 

19:36z

G8XYJ/P

433MHz

FM

 

19:39z

G0EAK/P

433MHz

FM

 

19:40z

G4AQB

433MHz

FM

 

19:43z

G7CFS

433MHz

FM

 

19:45z

G0CWM

433MHz

FM

 

19:47z

G8HXE/P

433MHz

FM

 

19:53z

G3TDH

433MHz

FM

 

20:00z

G3KAF

433MHz

SSB

 

20:00z

G4EII

433MHz

SSB

 

20:01z

G8HXE/P

433MHz

SSB

 

20:02z

G2ANC

433MHz

SSB

 

20:03z

G4DPZ

433MHz

SSB

 

20:03z

GW4ZAR

433MHz

SSB

 

20:04z

G8REQ

433MHz

SSB

 

20:05z

G3TDH

433MHz

SSB

 

20:05z

2W0JYN

433MHz

SSB

 

20:06z

G6SPG

433MHz

SSB

 

20:06z

G4AQB

433MHz

SSB

 

20:09z

G3UBX

433MHz

SSB

 

20:11z

G7LRQ

433MHz

SSB

 

20:13z

G4CLA

433MHz

SSB

 

20:14z

GD0AMD/P

433MHz

SSB

 

20:16z

M1DDD/P

433MHz

SSB

 

20:17z

G4ODA

433MHz

SSB

 

20:18z

GI6ATZ

433MHz

SSB

 

20:19z

GD8EXI

433MHz

SSB

 

20:25z

G8ZZK

433MHz

SSB

 

20:27z

G8DIR

433MHz

SSB

 

20:28z

G3UVR

433MHz

SSB

 

20:29z

M0OMB

433MHz

SSB

 

20:30z

G4OAR/A

433MHz

SSB

 

20:30z

M0TXE

433MHz

SSB

 

20:31z

GW4SHF

433MHz

SSB

 

20:32z

G0RRX

433MHz

SSB

 

20:32z

G0CDA

433MHz

SSB

 

20:33z

G4RRA

433MHz

SSB

 

20:34z

G4JLG

433MHz

SSB

 

20:35z

G8ZRE

433MHz

SSB

 

20:36z

G0EIY

433MHz

SSB

 

20:37z

2E0OUT

433MHz

SSB

 

20:40z

M6KMB

433MHz

SSB

 

20:41z

G0UUU/P

433MHz

SSB

 

20:46z

G3VCA

433MHz

SSB

 

20:47z

M0RSD

433MHz

SSB

 

20:53z

G3SQQ

433MHz

SSB

 

20:56z

M1MHZ

433MHz

SSB

 

20:57z

G3TBK/P

433MHz

SSB

 

20:58z

G8GYX

433MHz

SSB

 

21:00z

G3XDY

433MHz

SSB

 

21:04z

G3WRA/P

433MHz

SSB

 

21:06z

G1YBB/P

433MHz

SSB

 

21:07z

2E0DXK/P

433MHz

SSB

 

21:13z

G0CER

433MHz

SSB

 

21:13z

G4NTY

433MHz

SSB

 

21:15z

GW0MDQ

433MHz

SSB

 

21:16z

G0ODQ

433MHz

SSB

 

21:17z

G8BFF

433MHz

SSB

 

21:19z

G4CZB/P

433MHz

SSB

 

21:24z

G6IML

433MHz

SSB

 

21:31z

G4ZTR

433MHz

SSB

 

21:32z

G4FEV

433MHz

SSB

 

21:38z

F1BHL/P

433MHz

SSB

 

21:43z

G8PNN/P

433MHz

SSB

 


 
Thursday 14th February 2019 - The Cloud G/SP-015

Tom & Marianne on the Hollins        Marianne approaching Langley village

The main walk of the day was a favourite of mine and Marianne’s.  It’s a 12 mile circular via Macclesfield town centre, over the Hollins to Langley, then up over Tegg’s Nose to the cafe, before walking back down Buxton Road to town and then the remaining couple of miles home.  The occasion was Valentine’s Day, and the Valentine’s afternoon tea event at Tegg’s Nose Country Park cafe. 

Teggs Nose    Teggs Nose Country Park

And what a feast it was - soup, sandwiches, cakes, more cakes and even more cakes, scones with jam and cream, coffee, chocolates and shortbread - amazing!  Red roses on the table, and decorated with rose petals.  Add to this the fact it was a glorious sunny day with clear blue skies making hillwalking a total delight. Plenty of brownie points in my rucksack today. 

Afternoon tea  Tom M1EYP  Scrummy cakes 

But after 12 miles, and over 20,000 steps, I still hadn’t actually done any SOTA.  That was to be rectified with an evening jaunt up The Cloud for the 6m MGM and UK activity contests.  I was feeling perfectly organised, and arrived punctually at the parking spot with all batteries freshly topped-up.  I inserted the rechargeable battery pack into the Petzl headtorch - but it wouldn’t turn on.  I tried it with normal AAA cells instead, but it was the headtorch itself that had failed.  Very disappointing - and infuriating.  So my being a little ahead of time soon morphed into my running half-an-hour behind schedule, by having to drive down to Congleton, and pick up an Energiser headtorch from the big Tescos there.

Map of 6m FM QSOs        Map of 6m CW/SSB QSOs

I managed to get QRV on 6m FT8 just after 1930z. I had only about 40% of the full contest period to work with.  As such, 11 QSOs was not too shabby, but it was annoying not to be able to do the full 55 minutes despite thorough preparations.  In the main UKAC, I made 75 contacts, all on SSB except for one (MM0CEZ) on CW.  At least the RSGBCC has done away with the silly requirements to use vertical omnidirectional antennas for the short contests ahead of the main UKACs, so I didn’t have to lose even more time by changing over aerials.  So all QSOs in the maps above were made using 5w from the FT-817 and SOTAbeams SB6 (Moxon).

Time

Call

Band

Mode

19:32z

G3YDY

50MHz

FT8

19:34z

GI6ONL

50MHz

FT8

19:37z

G3PUO

50MHz

FT8

19:39z

GM6NX

50MHz

FT8

19:39z

G4APJ

50MHz

FT8

19:41z

G0EHG

50MHz

FT8

19:42z

M0NZO

50MHz

FT8

19:46z

M5SB

50MHz

FT8

19:50z

M0VSE

50MHz

FT8

19:51z

G3ZNU

50MHz

FT8

19:53z

G0NNF

50MHz

FT8

20:00z

G7RHF/P

50MHz

SSB

20:01z

G3TDH

50MHz

SSB

20:02z

G3UVR

50MHz

SSB

20:03z

2E0XJP

50MHz

SSB

20:04z

G3KAF

50MHz

SSB

20:05z

G4EII

50MHz

SSB

20:06z

G4JLG

50MHz

SSB

20:06z

M0WBG

50MHz

SSB

20:07z

G0TVM

50MHz

SSB

20:09z

G4YHF

50MHz

SSB

20:09z

G0CER

50MHz

SSB

20:10z

G8REQ

50MHz

SSB

20:10z

G4CLA

50MHz

SSB

20:11z

M0OMB

50MHz

SSB

20:11z

GD8EXI

50MHz

SSB

20:16z

GI4SNA

50MHz

SSB

20:17z

G0WUS/P

50MHz

SSB

20:24z

G4FZN/P

50MHz

SSB

20:25z

G3TBK/P

50MHz

SSB

20:27z

GW4ZAR/P

50MHz

SSB

20:27z

2E0VPX/P

50MHz

SSB

20:29z

G0HEL/P

50MHz

SSB

20:30z

M0VSE

50MHz

SSB

20:32z

M0ICR

50MHz

SSB

20:33z

G1YBB/P

50MHz

SSB

20:35z

G0HC4FM/P

50MHz

SSB

20:36z

G1HLT

50MHz

SSB

20:37z

G4ODA

50MHz

SSB

20:38z

G0EAK/P

50MHz

SSB

20:42z

GW4MBS

50MHz

SSB

20:43z

2E0OUT

50MHz

SSB

20:44z

G4OAR/A

50MHz

SSB

20:45z

G1DRW

50MHz

SSB

20:46z

G4XRS

50MHz

SSB

20:46z

G4FAD

50MHz

SSB

20:47z

G3RKF

50MHz

SSB

20:48z

G8XYJ

50MHz

SSB

20:50z

2E0MDJ

50MHz

SSB

20:50z

G3ZNU

50MHz

SSB

20:51z

G1MZD

50MHz

SSB

20:52z

G8FMC

50MHz

SSB

20:52z

G0LGS

50MHz

SSB

20:54z

G4DZL

50MHz

SSB

20:56z

G8UGS

50MHz

SSB

20:57z

G1EBW

50MHz

SSB

20:59z

M0JAV

50MHz

SSB

21:00z

G0MZZ

50MHz

SSB

21:02z

M0DCD/P

50MHz

SSB

21:06z

GW4SHF

50MHz

SSB

21:08z

G3WCB/P

50MHz

SSB

21:09z

G4SDM/P

50MHz

SSB

21:12z

G8GRS

50MHz

SSB

21:14z

G3WRA/P

50MHz

SSB

21:14z

G3MEH

50MHz

SSB

21:15z

G7LRQ/P

50MHz

SSB

21:19z

F1BHL/P

50MHz

SSB

21:21z

G4ASR

50MHz

SSB

21:23z

G8GYX

50MHz

SSB

21:26z

G8ZRE

50MHz

SSB

21:27z

G4FVZ

50MHz

SSB

21:36z

MM0CEZ

50MHz

SSB

21:44z

G4ERO

50MHz

SSB

21:46z

G3VCA

50MHz

SSB

21:51z

G4LKD

50MHz

SSB

21:53z

G3VLG

50MHz

SSB

21:55z

G4CRF

50MHz

SSB

21:58z

G3SQQ

50MHz

SSB

22:01z

G4FVZ

50MHz

SSB

22:04z

2E0DXK/P

50MHz

SSB

22:05z

G8BUN

50MHz

SSB

22:12z

G4VFL

50MHz

SSB

22:15z

G4BEE

50MHz

SSB

22:17z

G4NTY

50MHz

SSB

22:18z

GW3XRM

50MHz

SSB

22:21z

GW0GEI

50MHz

SSB

 

 

Sunday 17th February 2019 - The Cloud G/SP-015

 

I was up with the 0500z alarm, but wasn’t really getting things done very quickly after that.  By the time I’d got out of the house, drive to Bosley, walked up the hill and set up on the ledge beneath the cliffs (essential for shelter for the 10m mast & GP on such a blustery morning), it was gone 0730z.  An hour later than my intended alert time, but still about right to hit any propagation that might be on offer.  The new GP aerial, radio-wise, was working well.  It received well, and got out well.  But practically, it didn’t work well.  I’d chosen to use some very lightweight wire - superb for dipoles, but not really robust enough for groundplanes, especially great big ones like this.  I was concerned about the strain on this wire, particularly the radials, so I used a mast guying kit to try to get around that issue.  That seemed to work on the GW/NW-043 activation a couple of days earlier, but I suffered several breakages on this morning.

 

The good thing was that I had now worked out everything I needed to do - and materials I needed to use - to rebuild the antenna, which I hoped to do that week.  It was unfortunate that the first breakage occurred just as the signal from Andrew VK1DA on VK2/ST-053 was really starting to come up.  I listened to him working John ZL1BYZ, who was a big signal with me.  By the time I was QRV again, Andrew had QSYd to 20m, and I never found John again.  The activation wasn’t a complete failure though.  I made a total of 56 QSOs as follows:

 

30m FT8: 10

30m CW: 43

2m FM: 3 (including S2S with Bill G4WSB/P on Stiperstones G/WB-003)

 

The last QSO before taking down and packing away my crumbling antenna, was T45FM, a special event station for Punta Maya Lighthouse, Cuba.  So there was a little bit of DX at least.  Now to put the lessons learned into practice and rebuild the 30m GP so that it was more fit-for-purpose!

 

Time

Call

Band

Mode

S2S

07:37z

G3RKF

10MHz

FT8

 

07:45z

OH6KSX

10MHz

CW

 

07:47z

SP9PND

10MHz

CW

 

07:48z

DL8DXL

10MHz

CW

 

07:49z

IK2LEY

10MHz

CW

 

07:59z

IN3RSV

10MHz

CW

 

08:00z

SA4BLM

10MHz

CW

 

08:18z

IW1DFU

10MHz

CW

 

08:20z

HB9EWO

10MHz

CW

 

08:21z

DJ5AV

10MHz

CW

 

08:22z

OM3TDD

10MHz

CW

 

08:23z

DL8MF

10MHz

CW

 

08:24z

IK3DRO

10MHz

CW

 

08:25z

DL6JCB

10MHz

CW

 

08:26z

9A1AA

10MHz

CW

 

08:26z

IU4FJI

10MHz

CW

 

08:37z

HB9LZC

10MHz

FT8

 

08:42z

OE5PEN

10MHz

FT8

 

08:45z

OM7OM

10MHz

FT8

 

08:48z

SQ9CWZ

10MHz

FT8

 

08:50z

M6RUG

10MHz

FT8

 

08:55z

SQ6WZ

10MHz

FT8

 

08:59z

SQ1BHK

10MHz

FT8

 

09:01z

OE5FSL

10MHz

FT8

 

09:03z

G7ADF

10MHz

FT8

 

09:34z

IN3KLQ

10MHz

CW

 

09:36z

OK2PDT

10MHz

CW

 

09:36z

OK1KE

10MHz

CW

 

09:37z

I5QJ

10MHz

CW

 

09:38z

DL8DZL

10MHz

CW

 

09:39z

SM7DIE

10MHz

CW

 

09:40z

SQ3IMX

10MHz

CW

 

09:41z

IK2ILH

10MHz

CW

 

09:42z

HB9CNV

10MHz

CW

 

09:43z

DL2DXA/P

10MHz

CW

 

09:47z

OK1FMJ

10MHz

CW

 

09:49z

SP9NLI

10MHz

CW

 

09:50z

OE1UVA/3

10MHz

CW

 

09:51z

SM6AMU

10MHz

CW

 

09:52z

DL5DXS

10MHz

CW

 

09:53z

DL3HXX

10MHz

CW

 

09:54z

F5JKK

10MHz

CW

 

09:55z

DM5MU

10MHz

CW

 

09:55z

SP9AMH

10MHz

CW

 

09:56z

HB9CLT

10MHz

CW

 

09:57z

DJ1YFK

10MHz

CW

 

10:00z

EA2PI

10MHz

CW

 

10:01z

YO6CFB

10MHz

CW

 

10:03z

CT2IWW

10MHz

CW

 

10:04z

OK1MNW

10MHz

CW

 

10:05z

EA4ESP

10MHz

CW

 

10:06z

YL3FO

10MHz

CW

 

10:07z

DL8MBS

10MHz

CW

 

10:19z

T45FM

10MHz

FT8

 

11:19z

M1DDD/M

144MHz

FM

 

11:20z

M6NSV

144MHz

FM

 

11:22z

G4WSB/P

144MHz

FM

G/WB-003

 

Friday 22nd February 2019 - The Cloud G/SP-015

Nice activation lapping up the sunshine under the cliffs on the north-eastern ledge of The Cloud.  Very happy with the new antenna and the design modifications I made after the first couple of outings.  These were:

  • Used extra strong military green wire

  • Used a custom made centre plate

  • Guyed to the centre plate, not just to the ends of the radials

  • Used brand new guying cord for this

  • Used guying rings and insulators of decreasing size up the mast to keep the radiating element in better control

  • One extra radial - now 4, instead of 3

It was because of the wind that I went down to the sheltered ledge at the edge of the escarpment.  The only issue here was space for the radials - this is a large antenna.  I managed to deploy the antenna, but two of the radials were angled upwards from the feedpoint (ie pegging point on higher ground), not down as is customary, and three of the radials were all directed within a 90 degree angle!  So far from the optimal groundplane, but it still did it’s job, and importantly, there was no windload on the mast.

The main objective of working DX on 30m was met, with the bonus of working a DX S2S on 30m, and a S2S on FT8.  Some DX on FT8 would have been the icing on the cake, but the phrase “water, water, everywhere, but not a drop to drink” springs to mind…

30m CW: 23 QSOs - DXCCs: DL, EA, F, G, HB, I, LA, OH, RA, SM, SP, VK, ZL

30m FT8: 29 QSOs - DXCCs: 9A, DL, EA, ES, F, G, HB, I, LY, OE, OH, OK, SM, SP

2m FM: 10 QSOs - DXCCs: G, GW

Total: 62 QSOs

3 S2S: VK1DA on VK2/ST-053 - 30m CW F5LKW/P on F/AM-337 - 30m FT8 G7OEM/P on G/SP-014 - 2m FM

An interesting thing to note as I was about to walk off the summit, there is a new marker post up there on one of the paths, designating it as a “shared trail” for walkers and mountain bikers.  Cycling until recently was entirely prohibited on The Cloud, though a great many ignored that restriction.  Other than that regrettable development, a very pleasing activation. I was feeling gruntled.

Time

Call

Band

Mode

S2S

07:40z

G4HGI

10MHz

FT8

 

07:43z

DG4KAI

10MHz

FT8

 

07:45z

IK2LEY

10MHz

FT8

 

07:47z

ES2HV

10MHz

FT8

 

07:49z

9A4ZM

10MHz

FT8

 

07:54z

VK1DA

10MHz

CW

VK2/ST-053

07:59z

OH3GZ

10MHz

CW

 

08:01z

G4DUQ

10MHz

CW

 

08:02z

DL6CGA

10MHz

CW

 

08:04z

SP4AWE

10MHz

CW

 

08:05z

IK3DRO

10MHz

CW

 

08:08z

VK4TJ

10MHz

CW

 

08:09z

ZL1BYZ

10MHz

CW

 

08:15z

OE1KRQ

10MHz

FT8

 

08:22z

M0TMD

10MHz

FT8

 

08:26z

IZ3QCH

10MHz

FT8

 

08:36z

HF9D

10MHz

FT8

 

08:39z

OH3OJ

10MHz

FT8

 

08:48z

EA1AHY

10MHz

FT8

 

08:50z

DL1VVQ

10MHz

FT8

 

08:53z

OK1ZE

10MHz

FT8

 

08:54z

SP3EIE

10MHz

FT8

 

09:00z

OK1USU

10MHz

FT8

 

09:01z

OK1KT

10MHz

FT8

 

09:03z

SM7WW

10MHz

FT8

 

09:09z

DL5WF

10MHz

FT8

 

09:13z

F5LKW/P

10MHz

FT8

F/AM-337

09:17z

DH8WC

10MHz

FT8

 

09:22z

HB9GIQ

10MHz

FT8

 

09:36z

SP1JPM

10MHz

CW

 

09:37z

SA4BLM

10MHz

CW

 

09:38z

HB9AGH

10MHz

CW

 

09:39z

UA3ECJ

10MHz

CW

 

09:40z

DL0BZA

10MHz

CW

 

09:41z

DL4ROB

10MHz

CW

 

09:41z

DJ5AV

10MHz

CW

 

09:42z

DJ1YFK

10MHz

CW

 

09:43z

LA5WNA

10MHz

CW

 

09:45z

F8CZI

10MHz

CW

 

09:46z

DM4TJ

10MHz

CW

 

09:47z

EA2DT

10MHz

CW

 

09:48z

HB9AFI

10MHz

CW

 

09:48z

SM6AWZ

10MHz

CW

 

09:51z

DL1HRY

10MHz

CW

 

10:01z

DG6TOM

10MHz

FT8

 

10:03z

IU4DEG

10MHz

FT8

 

10:13z

SQ6DXI

10MHz

FT8

 

10:30z

DG5NET

10MHz

FT8

 

10:33z

DF1OA

10MHz

FT8

 

10:36z

IZ2ZQF

10MHz

FT8

 

10:52z

OH5ELO

10MHz

FT8

 

10:56z

LY2FN

10MHz

FT8

 

11:36z

G0OHY

144MHz

FM

 

11:40z

2E0EZT

144MHz

FM

 

11:42z

GW6CWD

144MHz

FM

 

11:43z

G4CFP

144MHz

FM

 

11:45z

M6LBE

144MHz

FM

 

11:46z

G7LMF

144MHz

FM

 

11:46z

G7OEM/P

144MHz

FM

G/SP-014

11:54z

G0UFE/M

144MHz

FM

 

11:57z

2E0LKC

144MHz

FM

 

11:58z

2E0LMD

144MHz

FM

 

 

Sunday 24th February 2019 - The Cloud G/SP-015

Gig: Biscuit Brothers Bandeoke

Venue: Station Bar & Grill, Clitheroe

Easington Fell G/SP-012 might normally be the obvious SOTA to bag en route to this one, but Marianne was cooking roast beef Sunday dinner, to be served at 4pm.  I couldn’t miss that!  So I nipped out mid-afternoon while she was busy in the kitchen for a rapid activation of the usual.  On another glorious and amazingly mild day, it was no surprise that plenty were out on the hills.  There was even a bit of enhancement too, and I received something French on my handheld as I scanned through the 145.350MHz FM frequency.  So, just lolloped against the topograph with my Yaesu FT-70D handheld, I made nine QSOs on 2m FM.

This included two S2S - Mike GW7HEM/P on Y Garn GW/NW-004, and Viki MW6BWA/P on Fan Nedd GW/SW-007.  After dinner, I was on the road to Clitheroe to see what people wanted to get up and sing with the band. (The kids in this band - the other two are nearly 20 years younger than me - think they’ve invented this ‘Bandeoke’ concept.  I haven’t the heart to tell them it’s been going for donkey’s years and used to be called ‘Free and Easy’…!)

Time

Call

Band

Mode

S2S

14:57z

GW7HEM/P

144MHz

FM

GW/NW-004

15:00z

G0NAJ

144MHz

FM

 

15:03z

GW4VPX/P

144MHz

FM

 

15:04z

2E0DIJ

144MHz

FM

 

15:07z

2E0LKC

144MHz

FM

 

15:08z

MW6BWA/P

144MHz

FM

GW/SW-007

15:09z

2W0JYN

144MHz

FM

 

15:10z

2E0LMD

144MHz

FM

 

15:13z

M0VOM/M

144MHz

FM

 

 

Friday 1st March 2019 - The Cloud G/SP-015

I was on my way home from a day’s supply teaching in Newcastle-under-Lyme, and wondered about getting stateside on my newly built 30m GP vertical antenna.  So I repeated my regular old trick of the past when teaching in the Potteries, and visited The Cloud G/SP-015 on the way home.  There was only a light breeze, so I was able to set up this enormous antenna right on the highest point. There was no issue with windload, but the radials had to be carefully placed not to block any paths.  I operated on FT8 on 30m, but I don’t think conditions were particularly favourable.  DXCCs worked were EA, G, HA, OH, RA and several URs.  I also put out a few calls on 2m FM with the handheld.  A total of 17 QSOs were made in the activation, 10 on 30m FT8, and 7 on 2m FM. Many thanks to all chasers.

Time

Call

Band

Mode

17:17z

OH8MXJ

10MHz

FT8

17:21z

M6RUG

10MHz

FT8

17:25z

UR5WCA

10MHz

FT8

17:29z

M0NZO

144MHz

FM

17:30z

M6XBQ

144MHz

FM

17:31z

UR9QQ

10MHz

FT8

17:32z

2W0JYN

144MHz

FM

17:34z

MW6SHJ

144MHz

FM

17:37z

2E0LKC

144MHz

FM

17:41z

UT3UCR

10MHz

FT8

17:44z

G0OHY

144MHz

FM

17:45z

HA1TNX

10MHz

FT8

17:46z

RN3QN

10MHz

FT8

17:48z

RZ3OA

10MHz

FT8

17:48z

M6NVS/M

144MHz

FM

17:51z

EA5IIE

10MHz

FT8


Saturday 2nd March 2019 - The Cloud G/SP-015

It was too windy for 17 candles for SOTA’s 17th birthday, so an activation comprising 17 QSOs it had to be (well not really, that was just a coincidence I noticed after getting home…)  I had a couple of hours free between taxiing Liam to Congleton and back where he was meeting a mate for the afternoon.  Obviously that would be spent on Cloud summit, doing FT8 on 30m - mainly.  On the ascent, it was noted that the pathworks had progressed higher up towards the summit after a dormant few weeks.  The reworked path, with tree-trunk borders, now extended just into the activation zone.

I set up beyond the summit rocks, just above the north ledge.  It was a little breezy, but not so windy as to feel the need to actually drop down to the ledge to set up.  As it was, there was a “courting couple” down there who looked like they would prefer not to be disturbed.  The only problem with erecting the huge 30m GP antenna where I did was that loads of walkers passed within a few metres of it, and without exception asked me to explain what I was doing.  Of course, I was happy to oblige, even if it did hammer my QSO rate!  Not that there was any potential of a mega haul in the log anyway.  There were no signs of any proper DX, and the band was closed to North America.

The first 25 minutes of operating saw me scrape to the nominal four QSOs in what was looking like a total yawnfest.  It reminded me of those initial activations 17 years ago in 2002, using a 230mW Standard C108 handheld and taking half-an-hour to complete four good contacts!  In protest at the embarrassment that is FT8, and its pathetic QSO haul, I switched to the entirely superior CW mode - and made three QSOs in the next twenty minutes…  Maybe the 30m band wasn’t playing today?

I started, out of sheer boredom, putting out occasional calls on 2m FM, but that was pretty quiet too.  30m FT8 then picked up at least, and the QSO rate actually increased to the dizzy heights of one every three minutes!  Eventually the call came from Liam to say he was ready to be picked up.  I told him I’d be at least half-an-hour, and to go in somewhere to sit down and have a hot chocolate while he waited.

Total QSOs: 17 (as if by design for SOTA’s 17th birthday)

30m FT8: 12

30m CW: 3

2m FM: 2

Time

Call

Band

Mode

14:04z

ES3RM

10MHz

FT8

14:07z

G4TJC

10MHz

FT8

14:16z

SO5WD

10MHz

FT8

14:27z

SQ4CUX

10MHz

FT8

14:37z

OK2PDT

10MHz

CW

14:40z

OH6KSX

10MHz

CW

14:40z

RN3QN

10MHz

CW

14:57z

SP4JAW

10MHz

FT8

14:58z

2E0IXM

144MHz

FM

15:00z

I3QDK

10MHz

FT8

15:04z

EA5DNO

10MHz

FT8

15:08z

IK4XQT

10MHz

FT8

15:10z

OK2PDT

10MHz

FT8

15:13z

EA1AER

10MHz

FT8

15:16z

S57ILF

10MHz

FT8

15:19z

SQ5IRH

10MHz

FT8

15:41z

2E0DIJ

144MHz

FM


After Gyrn Moelfre GW/NW-049 on Sunday 3rd March 2019, it was time for the drive back across to East Cheshire, and thoughts of my local summits Gun G/SP-013 and The Cloud G/SP-015.  I connected my phone to my car’s Bluetooth so I could have a chat with Jimmy M0HGY.  Marianne and Liam were still out at a concert in Manchester and he was sorting himself some dinner.  Jimmy pointed out that I’d matched our previous joint record of seven SOTA activations in a day.  I was still full of energy, and mentioned to Jimmy that I was thinking of adding in The Cloud G/SP-015 and Gun G/SP-013 on my way home! His response? “You should do Shining Tor as well then dad and make it 10”…  The crazy thing is I actually thought about actually doing that, a couple of times, briefly!

To the summit...                    Up the steps...                    Tom M1EYP

I can do this walk with my eyes shut, so the darkness of night is not really a problem.  Especially not with a fully charged Petzl headtorch illuminating the way.  What I forgot to do was take any photos at the actual summit.  At least my activation was on 2m FM though, so it was obvious I was up there!  It was windy on The Cloud, but significantly less so than it had been on Gyrn Moelfre GW/NW-049, so maybe Freya had now passed through and heading north.  Four QSOs made, all 2m FM with the handheld, before moving across to Gun G/SP-013.

Time

Call

Band

Mode

21:06z

2E0DIJ

144MHz

FM

21:08z

M3MQW

144MHz

FM

21:10z

M6OBQ

144MHz

FM

21:11z

M6YCE

144MHz

FM


 

Tuesday 5th March 2019 - The Cloud G/SP-015

As I arrived on summit, it was less windy and less damp than forecast.  That was good of course, but the forecast was crystal clear that things would, at some point, deteriorate sharply.  It was therefore a bonus I guess that the deterioration didn’t really start until around 2130z. But when it did, I knew things were only going to get very much worse from that point, so I called it a night and packed up.

2m FT8: 9 QSOs

2m SSB: 54 QSOs

 

Time

Call

Band

Mode

19:06z

G4APJ

144MHz

FT8

19:08z

GM8MJV

144MHz

FT8

19:14z

G8YPE

144MHz

FT8

19:18z

GI6ATZ

144MHz

FT8

19:20z

G3PUO

144MHz

FT8

19:22z

G4KRN

144MHz

FT8

19:24z

G4HGI

144MHz

FT8

19:41z

M0LYI

144MHz

FT8

19:53z

G3IXZ

144MHz

FT8

20:00z

M0OMB

144MHz

SSB

20:01z

G3XNO

144MHz

SSB

20:02z

G3SMT

144MHz

SSB

20:03z

G4EII

144MHz

SSB

20:03z

G8ZRE

144MHz

SSB

20:04z

GW4ZAR

144MHz

SSB

20:05z

2W0JYN

144MHz

SSB

20:06z

G4OAR/A

144MHz

SSB

20:07z

G8UGS

144MHz

SSB

20:08z

2E0EZT

144MHz

SSB

20:09z

G8REQ

144MHz

SSB

20:10z

M0HWO