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70cms: Thank You!


#1

I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone that I worked on 70cms SSB from a very wet and windy Cadair Berwyn GW/NW-012 today. Particular thanks to those that took the extra trouble to get on air to work me by sorting out an antenna for the band. I worked one chaser using his 2m antenna, something that I wish more would do. With many rigs including the band, I hope 70cms will return to being used for SOTA as it was some years ago.

Despite the weather, Paul and I had a truly excellent day, even if we did not exactly achieve what was planned. It has given us a taste for further 2m + 70cms activations, so we will be giving that some thought over the coming months. I will post more information on our day out once I have dried out. :wink:

73, Gerald G8CXK


#2

Somewhat of an understatement :slight_smile: The initial concept was for a long leisurely activation using multiple bands but given the wind, the rain and the several degrees below freezing allowing for wind chill the reality was somewhat different :-s So apologies to anybody who was disappointed.

And my thanks too for those chasers who did give us contacts, especially those who went “beyond the call of duty” sitting in their gardens holding their beams aloft or even taking to the local high ground when signals were not workable from home. And to Don, M0HCU/P on Titterstone Clee for the most unexpected s2S’s !

Despite the conditions another magnificent outing :slight_smile:

73 de Paul G6GGP/G4MD

Edit: Apologies to the WAB trig point hunters too, we had hoped to work from there but conditions were just too bad to contemplate operation from the somewhat-exposed vicinity of the trig.


#3

Gerald and Paul,

Thank you both for the s2s today from G/WB-004

I was indeed using my 2m coaxial colinear, (Vertical!) with the bottom meter or so lying on the ground as it was so windy
Cracking signals from both of you!
I think it was my first ever 70cm s2s too :slight_smile:

Edit: And one of these days I’ll actually unpack the ELK antenna I seem to take to most places and never use! (maybe even attempt one of the satellite QSOs that have been talked about… That would be fun!)

Don
M0HCU


#4

Hi Don,

Many thanks for the 70cms S2S which was much appreciated. Your signals were very strong despite the antenna compromise at your end. I really do wish more people would take up the band… a small beam is a negligible addition to the kit and if it isn’t used then so what? If it is, then that would be brilliant.

Hope to work you again sometime soon.

73, Gerald G8CXK


#5

Apology not needed. The conditions you were working under were understood. Thanks for considering that award in the first place. As they say “there’s always tomorrow”.


#6

While not SSB, lets not forget the super cheap FM HTs PoFung (was Baofeng) BF-888S 70cm FM HTs at UKL10. One of these is so small that it and a longer whip (the rubber ducky is pretty well useless away from repeater range) or better still an arrow or simlar, possibly home made beam, makes a good addition to a HF SOTA pack, to give another option when out on a summit for some additional SOTA (simplex) 70cm contacts.

73 Ed.


#7

We did consider putting some calls out on FM Ed, but after an hour working SSB on the two bands we had had enough of the cold and wanted to get moving again. The mode is fine, but it does have a proportion of ops that understand little of SOTA and nothing of what it is like to operate outside in poor weather conditions. You can easily get caught by someone in a warm shack willing to describe to you in great detail what they had for breakfast. On 2m and 70cm SSB, thankfully that doesn’t happen.

BTW, I was carrying a tri-band handheld for use on 23cms FM and a quadruple quad antenna, but I wasn’t asked for the band and I didn’t fancy standing up to operate and getting blasted by the horizontal driving rain. It was bad enough when we were on the move, but standing out in it operating is not pleasant. I know from experience!

73, Gerald G4OIG (alias G8CXK)


#8

Thanks guys good to hear both the bands together again,Just got off the coach for a week in the Penines
only a hand held on board. 73 Don G0RQL.


#9

Well you are in the best part of the country for success with just a handheld. Have an enjoyable week. :smile:


#10

Fingers crossed for better weather when I do my 70cm SSB bit tomorrow (Tuesday) night from The Cloud G/SP-015.

Your report brought back memories of my last activation of Cadair Berwyn GW/NW-012, when I did set up close by the trig point, and in bad weather too! Not pleasant, even in a backpacking tent (which mercifully turned out to be waterproof).

http://tomread.co.uk/cadair_berwyn_nw-012.htm


#11

Cadair Berwyn
9th May 2015

Paul and I set up this outing for several reasons, the main one being that we could assess our level of fitness, an important factor with a week in Scotland coming up and our outings being few and far between nowadays. We also had the idea of spending several hours on a summit to work a larger number of bands than usual. I also wanted to evaluate the performance of my new 20m vertical against the multiband dipole I had been using on the band. We would therefore have a reasonable weight in our packs to facilitate these ideas. After some discussions, we decided upon Cadair Berwyn GW/NW-012 which would give us a reasonable work-out on the ascent and provide us with a suitable activation zone to set up within.

I left home at 04:40 clock time (03:40z), wondering how I manage these early starts. An extensive speed restriction on the M1 delayed my arrival at Paul’s QTH, but after a quick coffee, we were away by 04:58z. The 60 mile journey to the parking spot near to the Pistyll Rhaedr Waterfall, the highest single drop waterfall in Wales and always a delight to see. It appeared that the waterfall was in fairly full spate when we arrived at 06:28z. Without any strict itinerary to work to and a loose activation time alerted for 09:00z, we took our time getting ready and were not on our way until 06:52z, just in time for the rain to start! It was just 7C at the car park.

As we ascended, the rain got heavier causing us to make a number of short stops to take suitable measures. The wind was unusually cold for the time of year and it gave me a headache - putting on my fleece hat under my jacket hood to cover my forehead solved that. Neither of us had experienced such conditions in early May – it was more like February. Paul told me that one forecast had suggested the temperature with chill factor would be minus 4C at the summit and it certainly felt like it!

Our chosen route was over Moel Sych and conditions underfoot were difficult. It was extremely wet and boggy in places and several detours to find drier ground were required. We found that we were somewhat out of condition, the ascent taking us 2 hours and 10 minutes, so that we arrived at the summit at 09:02z, two minutes after we should have been on air.

With the conditions on the summit just as bad as they had been on the ascent, we agreed that the only practical solution would be to use the summit shelter in the hope that few people would be out on the hill. We decided to review the situation after we had activated the summit on 2m and 70cm, as it would be necessary to set up on the fence line if we were to attempt HF. Paul expressed concern that running harmonically related bands might be an issue from the confines of the summit shelter, but apart from a small increase in the background noise on 70cm, we had no problems at all. Sat just 3 metres apart it was quite revealing as to how good the filtering in the FT-817 is.

I set up the 6 element DL6WU yagi on the third section of the telescopic pole and initially deployed the antenna at around 2 metres, holding the pole between my knees and using my left hand to steady it. Paul did the same with his 3 element SOTAbeam. I was first on and my initial call was answered by Rob G7LAS at 09:20z. Not expecting to hear him, I incorrectly read his call as G0LGS and beamed south-east towards Cheltenham. The matter was soon corrected and reports exchanged. Paul had a similar prompt start on 2m working Rod M0JLA. He next three contacts for both of us were Bob G6ODU, Karen 2E0XYL and Graham G4JZF in succession. Bob said that signals were stronger on 70cm – I joked that it was down to the extra elements on my beam, but it was probably down to me risking raising the antenna to 3 metres during the first contact, Graham was using his 2m beam for the contact.

While I was catching up on the news with Graham, Paul worked Nigel M6TZJ, followed by Don G0RQL. Don M0HCU/P then called Paul from Titterstone Clee G/WB-004 for a most welcome S2S. Once I signed with Graham, David M0YDH called me using a hand-held 6 element beam and we had a chat with decent signal strengths both ways. Don M0HCU/P was another using a compromise antenna, but putting in a rock crushing signal. Paul completed the run on 2m by working Paul M0TVU/M (who had driven up to Barr Beacon since he hadn’t been able to hear anything at his home QTH), Dave G0ELJ, David M0YDH and Gerry G1SWH. My next contact was with Don G0RQL down in Devon, 52/51 reports being exchanged with Don using a revamped 48 element Jaybeam. Gerry completed my log as well with his 5 watts producing a huge signal from near Wigan.

After a further few minutes of unproductive calling, we came to the conclusion that after an hour of operating we had exhausted the available contacts and a move to FM was considered. We agreed that as the weather was closing in, with visibility down to little more than 15 metres, we would be wise to pack up and make our descent, thoughts of an HF activation from the fenceline being dismissed very quickly - a decision which was vindicated when we stepped out of the shelter and into the bitter wind that at times made standing difficult.

It took us around an hour and a half to get down to the car. As the wind was coming from the west, we decided to descend on another route by the lake to give us some respite from the cold and it proved to be rather pleasant. We had to take great care with the water-logged path being close to the precipitous edge, not as though we could see the drop, on the upper reaches at least! The weather improved considerably as we descended and once down near the lake, we looked back towards the summit which we could see was still enveiled in the clouds.

Once back at the car, we got out of our wet gear and carefully stowed it before purchasing a drink at the cafe. We were joined by some delightful Chaffinches that came down to take some seed that had been put out on the fence posts.

I must say that despite not having achieved anything like what we set out to do, we had a really enjoyable day. It was really good to get back to a simpler activation, so much so that further 2m + 70cm outings are likely to be planned in the near future. Keep an eye on the alerts.

73, Gerald G8CXK


#12

Once again a number of keen chasers were there to help me qualify Mynydd Nodol GW/NW-048 and Foel Goch GW/NW-039 on 70cms on Saturday. Thanks to you all. Apologies to anyone who missed me, especially on Foel Goch when I rather prematurely went QRT on account of the dire weather conditions and having discovered a fault on the feeder. The latter could have been easily rectified as it was only the link cable with the choke balun on it and I carry a spare, but there was no way of altering the weather which was about the worst that I have ever experienced out on a hill. Thankfully, as a result of past experiences, I have my kit reasonably weather-proofed and with it stashed under my tarp, it survived pretty much intact with only minimal drying out required.

73, Gerald G8CXK.


#13

I was in Fife Saturday and got noticeably wet walking the few hundred yards from the car park to the GM Microwave Roundtable venue. I had a look at the spots later on and thought “hmm no G stations out, the WX must be rubbish everywhere in the UK today. Oh hang on, Gerald is out in this WX, there’s dedication for you!” I’m impressed you bothered venturing out considering what is was like.

It was rubbish here yesterday and was wild this morning with serious gusting and long drawn out very heavy showers. It seems to have calmed down now and is just grey, wet and miserable but not terribly cold.


#14

Hi Gerald

I completely missed you on the first hill, however I did hear you on the 2nd but was unable to raise your attention!

Good to see 70cms being used, especially the SSB portion!

73

Matt G8XYJ


#15

Yes, Karen 2E0XYL said something similar. She wondered whether we would venture out, but then decided as it was Paul and myself, there would be a good chance we would be out. Of course over the years we have had many a soaking and my 817 permanently lives inside a protective box and eve that rarely comes out of the backpack on a hill. Only during conditions like we had on Ailsa Craig does it see the light of day.

Sorry to hear that Matt. I am afraid you (with others) got the short straw created by the conditions. I am sure I was on for maybe 8 to 10 contacts on the hill, having made 7 on Mynydd Nodol in the morning, but it wasn’t to be. Thankfully I did manage to qualify the hill before the wheels started to fall off.

70cms FM fell victim to circumstance as well. No time to get that mode in and get Paul sorted out on Mynydd Nodol. I did briefly consider trying with the handheld on Foel Goch, but decided against it in favour of getting down to the car as soon as we could.

73, Gerald G8CXK


#16

Foel Goch: The kit hides under the tarp awaiting rescue as I set about dismantling the antenna. Note the 3 guys into the wind technique to support the pole (which incidentally had suffered damage on Mynydd Nodol…


#17

No qualms this end Gerald! It was nice to see somebody activating on UHF, regardless of whether or not I worked it!!

73

Matt G8XYJ


#18

My 70cm SSB activation from The Cloud G/SP-015 yesterday:

FT-817, 5 watts, SOTAbeams SB270 antenna (set as 6 el beam for 432MHz).

Needed to fix the feeder cable before heading out, as it had parted company with a crocodile clip in the weekend’s 2m CW contest.

After resorting to operating from my car in last week’s 2m UKAC due to the horridness of the weather, it was nice to be on the summit on a dry night once again.

59 QSOs. Best DX F8BRK in IN99 square.