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2009 on Gun G/SP-013


#1

Thursday 9th July 2009. Parents’ Evening. Jimmy and Liam to pick up from scouts afterwards. However, there was a small time window that would allow a “nip up Gun” between leaving Stoke, and picking up the boys.

It was extremely windy, and rather uncomfortable at the summit. I made just two contacts on 2m FM on the VX-7R before silence reigned. Further CQ calls produced nowt, and the cut-off time to be back at the car, in time to collect Jimmy and Liam was fast approaching. I gave in, and descended.

Thanks to Derek G4XEE and Colin M3NVJ for the calls.

Tom M1EYP


#2

Scouting again. Thursday 23rd July 2009 was the end-of-summer stand-down do for the Macclesfield Explorer scouts, and a required taxi run for Jimmy M3EYP to Barnswood Scout Camp in Staffordshire, for games and barbecue. I thought I would activate nearby Gun G/SP-013 between the 8pm and 9.30pm local that Jimmy would be there, plus Richard G3CWI invited me out for a pint.

I decided to kill three birds with one stone, pick Richard up on the way out, drop Jimmy off, do a joint activation with G3CWI, run Jimmy home then go out for a beer.

And that is what we did. Richard operated 2m FM - with my VX-7R having forgotten to pack his own radio - while I activated on 20m CW. It seemed that Richard was enjoying far more activity than I, with 20m CW appearing to be slow going. However, it turned out that his considerable activity spanned the grand total of three QSOs. Apparently, conversations were involved (shock horror)!

I made eleven QSOs on 20m CW, with DXCCs SP, RA, DL, LZ, HA, ER and OK. 9pm (2000z) was the cut off time, and we packed up and descended. I picked Jimmy up from the scout camp, and headed off back to Macc. And then it was beer time, and several very fine pints of Adnan’s Broadside to complete a rather pleasant evening.

Tom M1EYP


#3

It was a late start on Gun SP-013 tonight, as I had to pick Jimmy and his mates up from Knutsford cinema, and run them all home. However, that proved to be a blessing in disguise. I arrived at the parking spot for Gun at around 8.25pm - twenty five minutes after the 6m contest had started, but just as the heavy rain of the last few hours stopped. So I probably wouldn’t have wanted to be ascending and setting up any earlier.

I managed to be QRV by 1948z, with Brian G4ZRP first in the log. Conditions were awful, and it was one of the poorest contests of the year, if not the worst. Despite sticking it out until the end of the contest at 2130z, I only racked up as far as serial number 020. As well as conditions being poor, being absent for that most active opening 45 minutes was a killer blow.

No GM, no EI, no GD, no GI and no continentals. To make matters worse, a couple of incomplete exchanges/gotaways from JO01 - and I missed that multiplier. At least the weather remained mild and dry, and in the end I packed away the bothy bag early as it was unnecessary.

The remaining life in my headtorch batteries was less than I had figured, and I was resorting to the back-up wind-up torch for the last hour and the descent. Irritating! My socks got soaked in the waterlogged ground on the ascent and descent. Further irritation!

Completely unirritating was the welcome return to the Harrington Arms in Gawsworth, for a late pint of Tit For Tat and bag of Burts Firecracker crisps. Thanks to the SOTA chasers that called in for the point.

73, Tom M1EYP


#4

Tuesday 18th August 2009 was the day Jimmy had arranged to lead another of his walks with his school mates. This time, the target was Shutlingsloe, probably Cheshire’s finest summit and best walk. I did the taxi duties, picking up in Macclesfield and Bollington, and then running them up to their start point at Standing Stone car park, Macclesfield Forest. En route, the three lads were namechecked live on Canalside Community Radio 102.8, by broadcaster Nick Wright. The route Jimmy had planned for himself, Edward and Craig was Standing Stone - Trentabank Ranger Hut - Shutlingsloe summit - Standing Stone, about 4 hours worth including a leisurely lunch and radio stop on the summit.

In the meantime, I picked up my pet Liam (who needed exercising) and some tasty lunch items from Madisons Bakery, Weston Estate, Macclesfield. This, together with the inclusion of the Nintendo DS in the rucksack, provided Liam with his motivation.

As we arrived on Gun summit, we were not alone. A group of about 15 ramblers were having their lunch on summit, and thousands of flies were making quite a nuisance of themselves! How we all wished for the wind to pick up on this bright warm day!

Liam called for the bothy bag, so he could lunch and DS without further insect interruption. I got cracking on 20m CW, and left my handheld monitoring 145.500MHz FM in case Jimmy called. After working just three on 14.017MHz, there was M3EYP/P calling CQ from Shutlingsloe. I worked him, and then resumed on 20m CW, working a total of 12 in the end.

In between my CW QSOs, I was passing Liam successive lunch items under and into his bothy bag, as well as batting flies off my head. Who said men couldn’t multi-task?

On the way down, I eavesdropped on Jimmy’s progress. Unfortunately, no-one else had answered his CQ calls on 2m simplex, so he was now chatting via the GB3MN repeater. Back at the parking spot, I reconnected the FT-817 as a mobile rig in my motor, and worked Brian M0OYG/P, Nathan 2E0OCC/P and Jennifer M6MIJ/P as they activated Worcestershire Beacon G/WB-009.

I then established 2m simplex contact with Jimmy again, as I drove up to Standing Stone to collect him and his mates. All expeditions safely and successfully completed.

Tom M1EYP


#5

In reply to M1EYP:
Hi Tom I think the fly`s have followed you from GM/SS246.ATB Geoff.


#6

In reply to G6MZX:
Yes but did the flying ant’s travel down to Gun as well?

Phil


#7

I thought they were flying ants on Ailsa Craig. It was you they liked anyway Geoff, no doubt they’re all in your shack with you now! These were great big flies, they swarmed a couple of feet above you, but made no attempt to land. Still rather they weren’t there though!

Tom M1EYP


#8

I was hoping that the flies would have moved on by Saturday 22nd August 2009. Sadly not, and they had to be endured once again. This time I used good old 7.032MHz CW and made 17 QSOs, before a single handheld 2m FM contact with Jim M3WID. Thanks to all callers.

Tom M1EYP


#9

Thursday 5th November 2009 was bonfire night of course. Jimmy’s Explorer scouts were meeting at Barnswood scout camp for the evening. This being a stone’s throw from Gun G/SP-013, I was happy to undertake the taxiing, and grab a quick activation in between.

I wanted to repeat the night-time 20m experiements of a few weeks ago, but after setting up the Magic Moggy, found that the band was completely dead! No CQ calls were answered, not even after I self-spotted. Stupidly, I hadn’t thought to take an alternative band antenna with me.

I stood by the trig point and called on my handy, generating five 2m FM QSOs in short order. It was nearly time to pack away, so I tried once more on the 20m set up. I heard a CQ call from LU - Argentina and one from AG - USA special event (?), but they didn’t hear my replies. A few quiet US SSB stations occupied lone points on an otherwise empty 20m band.

And then my radio burst into life as I tuned past a very strong SSB signal. It turned out to be a ragchew between Richard M0DSK, Audley, Stoke-on-Trent, and Nick M1DDD, Quarnford, near Flash, Staffordshire Moorlands. So now, at last, I did get a couple of contacts on 20m - but in terms of DX they were both closer to me than any that I had worked on 2m with the handheld and rubber duck!

At almost 9pm, I hastily packed away by torchlight, descended to the car, and picked Jimmy up from the scouts. Progress was slow on all of the above due to the thick freezing fog that was shrouding the moorlands. The inside of a warm house and a Speyside single malt beckoned attractively.

Tom M1EYP


#10

Jimmy was back at Barnswood scout camp for his Explorer scouts’ Christmas Camp over the weekend. I knew I had to pick him up from there at 3pm on Sunday 13th December 2009, so when Sean M0GIA telephoned to say he was going up Gun G/SP-013, the afternoon’s plans all clicked into place.

After the essential pre-Christmas card/gift exchange at relatives in Flash, I then dropped back across the Staffordshire Moorlands to the Gun parking spot, between Meerbrook and Rushton Spencer. Sean was on his way, with Greg 2E0RXX.

Immediately over the stile, Sean started to gear up with his HF pedestrian mobile system, so he was left lagging behind. Greg pushed onto the summit to set his own HF multiband antenna up, with Liam close behind and then me.

A biting cold wind had me carefully selecting a relatively sheltered spot just off the summit to pitch the small tent. Once that was done, in crawled Liam to commence his afternoon’s Nintendo DS activities, while I set up the 80m dipole for the first time in ages. Although it was Gun, and they weren’t needed for the walk, I talk a pair of Leki poles with me, specifically to use to support the ends of the dipole legs slightly higher off the ground. I have found that this makes dramatic differences to the SWR indication.

Everything was set up and ready to go - but it was nearly 3pm. So I had to descend, drive down a couple of lanes and pick Jimmy up from Barnswood. Then drive back up to the parking area again, and ascend Gun for a second time.

Jimmy brought his 2m handheld with him and soon made a contact on 2m FM. But only one. I then worked a good number with strong signals on 80m CW, while Jimmy crawled into the tent to join Liam and I away from the biting cold of the December air.

After working down the pile-up on 3.549MHz CW, I announced (in CW) a QSY to 3.660MHz SSB. The last station I worked on CW - Fritz DL4FDM - kindly replied back acknowledging the QSY and saying that he would spot. This was much appreciated.

Unfortunately, that part of the band was very congested, so I was forced to find a clearer area around 3.639MHz SSB and self-spot anyway. In haste, I neglected to change the default ‘1’ to a ‘3’ on my Spotlite, but the chasers knew that they were talking to Jimmy, and indeed Martyn M1MAJ posted the correct spot - thank you.

The frequency came alive, and Jimmy had a big pile-up to work through. I left him to it, and exited the tent to see how Greg 2E0RXX/P and Sean M0GIA/P were getting on. They weren’t. Sean had made two QSOs on 20m SSB including one to Italy, while Greg had managed a big fat zero on a variety of HF bands.

Sean began to descend, while I spotted Greg on 7.055MHz SSB. Still his calls were not answered. Jimmy’s ongoing pile-up suggested that plenty of chasers were monitoring SOTAwatch at the time, so I wondered about the effectiveness of Greg’s antenna system. Jimmy completed working down his frequency, so then we were all packing away, and following Sean down the boggy path to the cars.

Sean and Greg had an oncoming deadline to hit, so the customary pub stop at the Harrington Arms in Gawsworth was attended just by Liam, Jimmy and myself. The Robbies Old Scrooge was lovely (even though I partook in far too much of it two nights previously), and we all took advantage of the pub’s fine range of proper pork scratchings and Burts chips.

It was very pleasant to be back on 80m again, and I might well repeat that from the Lakes next week.

73, and thanks for the contacts,

Tom M1EYP


#11

In reply to M1EYP:
Not so good today playing pedestrian mobile from the activation area of a summit, I have now found that my aerial is not as efficient as it could be and where SSB at QRP levels are concerned efficiency in the aerial system is of the greatest importance. Next time! Sean M0GIA


#12

It’s a fantastic receiving aerial. From inside my tent where I was doing 80m, I could hear the FB sigs you were getting from across the pond. Your subsequent projects have not matched the perfection of the Magic Moggy yet.

I know one of your contacts was Italy. Where was the other one?

Tom M1EYP


#13

In reply to M1EYP:
Oldham!!! I did briefly work a KB? on 17m when i set up near the entrance to the walk in but it was a struggle for the other station.

CW would have cut through so in part thats the answer, more power is another option, better bands conditions wouldnt go a miss either.

Your subsequent projects have not matched the perfection of the Magic Moggy yet.

I am sure everyone would agree mono band resonant aerials are winners and thats why nothing has not equaled the performance of the Magic Moggy, well its not just resonance thats the key to squeezing every last drop of RF out of a piece of wire! TBC. Sean M0GIA