On Friday 30th October, my family and I went to Great Malvern, parked in Wyche and climbed Worcestershire Beacon for my birthday treat. My sons had promised a gift of no whingeing all day and were genuinely positive and helpful for the whole walk. I arrived at the trig point at 12-15pm so I was late as normal for a 12 noon activation. Dry, windy conditions on top with milk of magnesia clouds much in evidence and visibility out of a JMW Turner painting but without the vivid colours.
I set up the SOTABeam quickly and was on the air in 10 minutes. When I finished calling CQ for the first time on 144 SSB, I released PTT and Roger Betts G0TRB / GB1WAB was already part way through replying. That’s what I call keen! We QSY’ed to 144.310 and he put a spot on Sotawatch for me. I had calls from Mark G0USL [Cheltenham] , my SOTA companion Geoff Passey 2E0BTR/M walking towards me on the Malverns, Matt M3WDS [Cheltenham], Don Roomes G0RQL [Holdsworthy, Devon] and today’s star caller at 815 km distant was Michel F6DUL/P. He said he was at 850m ASL in JN37IQ where his report to me was 5/1 and mine to him 5/7 reflecting his 100W stated output. That position is close to Belfort near Mulhouse. Isn’t it amazing what you can do with 5 watts on a hilltop? I’d doubled the output to get through!
I had a run of 7 contacts on 2m FM. All except one were in Cheltenham and Gloucestershire. The one was to Ian Meade GJ7DNJ, in Trinity on Jersey. Geoff BTR appeared at some point and was quickly fielding questions from the public on matters SOTA. When I had a moment to say hello, he gave me a birthday card and the bottle of wine that he carried the whole way! I took some time to chat with newcomer M6CJM Chris Martin in Cheltenham on what to do with his new hobby and ‘why not take up SOTA?’. He said he was taking notes on equipment.
I’d had enough after an hour of operating and chatted with Geoff while we defended our sandwiches from hungry hounds.
Thanks to all callers, Roger for the spot, Geoff as ever and my family for being positive whilst ‘Dad did his radio thing’. It is best to tell everyone in Cheltenham that you’re activating this one!
My next SOTA is in the Lake District 11-13 November with my own mountain goat – my Dad – legs and weather willing.
David Holman 2E0DAI