And a nice little stroll it was. Well, nice if you enjoy 50cm visibility and freezing cold hands.
The visibility was so poor that I had no idea where I was during most of the ascent, and most of the descent. And I kinda know my way around that hill!
I was just using the VX7 handheld and rubber duck. The QRP section of the FMAC for 2018 has a couple of new antenna restrictions. The antenna must be omnidirectional - ie not a beam (for instance), and must be vertically polarised. Crucially though, it appears the Contest Committee has not stated any limits by which to define vertical. No “vertical” will be at exactly 90.000000000000 degrees to the tangent to the surface of the Earth at that point, and a handheld rubber duck certainly won’t.
I believe that idea behind this rule was to make contest newcomers (who the CC believe to be teenagers with handhelds connected to white stick aerials mounted outside their bedroom windows) more competitive. The actual effects of this rule in practice appear to be to (a) substantially reduce the number of entrants in the QRP section (those with beams and/or horizontal antennas now have to go in the 50w section, even if QRP), and (b) it is now difficult or even impossible for stations in the 10w vertical (10V) to work many stations in the 50R section due to the non-compatible polarisation (around two thirds of stations in the main section use horizontal antennas).
I certainly found that for some stations, I needed to tilt/rotate the handheld through a sufficient angle for them to be able to hear me. Quite what the limiting angle would be, that would define my polarisation as horizontal rather than vertical, I wasn’t sure - perhaps as well that it’s not been specified!
Anyway, a total of seven stations worked on 70cm FM, 5 in IO83, and one each in IO84 and IO93.