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Boulsworth Hill, VHF Fun Day


#1

On Saturday Morning (2nd Jan) it was looking quite likely that may planned activation of Boulsworth Hill SP008 for VHF Fun Day would have to be cancelled as I woke to find further heavy snow, living quite low down in Accrington I knew conditions would be much worse higher up.

However Sunday Morning started out bright and sunny, and checking the alerts on Sotawatch it seemed most of the activations were still on.

But on checking with the national rail website before setting off, I found the first of several problems that were to beset the day in that the planned train to Colne had been cancelled but after checking with the local bus company an alternative plan was made to catch the bus direct to Trawden (this did mean missing out on breakfast at Boundary Mills in Colne).

Having made the journey to Trawden I was supprised at how little snow there was, which made the first part of the walk very pleasant.

However on reaching the stepper part of the climb I was soon trudging though deep drifts, sowing down progress quite considerably but once the summit plateau was reaching things soon improved and the trig point was soon reached.
Having found some shelter in amongst the rocks the beam was put up and a call put out on 2m FM a small pile ensured including five S2S’s.

A quick tune around after this didn’t reveal any more stations so the decision to change the beam to horizontal for a go on ssb was made, however on lowering the mast and unclipping the coax disaster struck, the clip for the inner of the coax broke away leaving virtually nothing left, so unfortunately both 2m SSb and 70cms had to be abandoned.

After enjoying a flask of soup (Mulligatawny) several calls were put out on 4m FM but here the gremlins struck again in that the ICOM E90 had gone to low power and i was unable to change back.

At this point the as the visibility had deteriorated the decision was made to start the descent, on reaching Trawden a visit was made to the Sun inn for something to eat and a couple of pints of Mooorhouses Premier before the journey home.

Thanks to all the stations worked and now to get all the equipment sorted and repaired for next Sunday.

73s Phil


#2

In reply to G1OPV:

however on lowering the mast and unclipping the coax disaster struck,
the clip for the inner of the coax broke away leaving virtually
nothing left, so unfortunately both 2m SSb and 70cms had to be abandoned.

Hi Phil!

Don’t you just love it when that happens! Exactly the same thing happened to me the day before the VHF Fun Day. Fortunately it WAS the day before, so I was able to repair it at home in time for the Sunday event.

With a simple solder joint to attach the croc clip to the inner of the coax, I think it’s inevitable that this will happen after a number of clip-on actions in the field. Can anyone suggest a better way of attaching the croc clip to the coax, which would not put a repetitive strain on the inner conductor?

73,
Walt (G3NYY)


#3

In reply to G3NYY:

Glue filled heatshrink sleeving.

73

Richard
G3CWI


#4

In reply to G3CWI:

Glue filled heatshrink sleeving.

I did have heatshrink sleeving over the joint, as per the instructions, but it still snapped. (Admittedly not glue-filled!) This is the second time it’s broken in 2 months.

73,
Walt (G3NYY)


#5

In reply to G1OPV:

Hi Phil

Respect! Your determination to get to your summit is inspirational.

Sorry to hear about your problem with the feeder. I carry a small retractable-blade craft knife, if I get a break (which I try to avoid by remaking the terminations every 20 activations or so, including a liberal coating of Richard’s excellent liquid rubber goop to the exposed braid of the coax) I cut the cable back as necessary, strip the insulation then wrap a few turns of the offending wire round it’s element; then use the detached clip as a clamp to hold it in place. That trick’s got me out of trouble twice, but I’ve not tried it at sub-zero temperatures when one’s dexterity would be somewhat challenged!

All the best for 2010, and looking forward to working you again soon.

73 de Paul


#6

In reply to G1OPV:

Well done on getting to the summit Phil in adverse conditions. Paul and I certainly “tried out” the snow drifts over the last two days, so we know what you experienced. Also, great respect for your tenacity - to have to rely on public transport is an added burden that most of us do not have to bear.

I had the same problem as you had with the coax a couple of years back. I now always carry spare cables with me… and yes, it did happen again about a year later and it was really satisfying to be prepared.

Sorry to have missed you on 2m FM.

73, Gerald

P.S. Special note for Tom - I had Mulligatawny as well.


#7

In reply to G4MD:
Hi Paul I have changed the crock clips with the fuseholder bit from a 13amp plug .The bit the positive wire connects to.You have to pinch it in a bit because the elements are a smaller diameter than a fuse.If it now comes adrift its a small screwdriver job to put it back on.ATB Geoff G6MZX


#8

In reply to G4MD:

Sorry to hear about your problem with the feeder. I carry a small
retractable-blade craft knife, if I get a break (which I try to avoid
by remaking the terminations every 20 activations or so, including a
liberal coating of Richard’s excellent liquid rubber goop to the
exposed braid of the coax) >

I’m trying self-amalgamating tape as an experiment, instead of glue or heat-shrink tubing. I’ll see how long that lasts!

73,
Walt (G3NYY)


#9

In reply to G3NYY:

The result should be similar Walt. I had the cable fail electrically (solder joint to croc-clip) and the self amalgamating tape held it all together so I couldn’t actually see what the problem was until I cut it away. Hence why I carry a spare cable. A cold wind-swept summit is the last place I want to be faffing around with cables - over recent days it’s been hard enough straightening them out!

73, Gerald


#10

In reply to G4OIG:

The root of the problem seem to be the nature of the centre conductor of the coax. Even though it’s multi-strand, after the insulation has been cut away it’s just not resilient enough to withstand repeated flexing without breaking. I suppose the answer would be to use heavier-duty coax … but then that would add to the weight.

Ho hum!

73,
Walt (G3NYY)


#11

In reply to G3NYY:

I must admit that I have been tempted to buy some of the thin very high grade cable that is available to make up a couple of croc-clip + balun assemblies terminated in a BNC in-line socket, but I don’t think that would provide a solution that is mechanically any better than the ones I have using RG-58.

I did find it difficult to open the croc-clips yesterday when on Fountains Fell NP-017 as I had cold fingers - it was minus 6C when we got up there. Despite keeping my gloves on as much as possible, I find that there are some jobs that need bare hands and touching metal soon extracts the heat from ones digits. Fingerless mittens are a non-starter for me as I suffer from Reynards Syndrome, but surprisingly this winter is not as bad as last in that respect.

73, Gerald


#12

In reply to G4OIG:

Fingerless mittens are a non-starter for me as I suffer from Reynards Syndrome

That’s better than wearing fingerless gloves and having Steptoe’s Syndrome :slight_smile:

Have you not considered some of the sniper’s gloves where the index finger and thumb can be exposed (originally for trigger action) and recovered. You’d only need to expose them for long enough to press,twist,clip etc. and then could get them warm again.

Andy
MM0FMF


#13

In reply to MM0FMF:

In Antarctica we used silk gloves but these were only the base layer. Over them we wore Dachstein Mitts and over them we wore Skidoo mitts or winter-mountaineering mitts. The silk inner gloves are readily available from outdoor shops but make sure you get nice thin ones.

73

Richard
G3CWI


#14

In reply to MM0FMF:

The best hand covering by far is Dachstein mitts, if you attach them by a lanyard to your belt with a small carabiner you can slip them on and off quickly and when you push your hand into one it goes from numb to toasty in a very short time…but they ain’t cheap!

You can buy a couple of re-useable hand warmers for a few quid and they are good value, too.

73

Brian G8ADD


#15

In reply to G8ADD:

The best hand covering by far is Dachstein mitts

They certainly were the bees-knees 25-30 years ago. I am not so certain that they would compare too well with modern gloves though. I still have mine but I never wear them, favouring lighter modern alternatives.

Dachstein Mitts are not that expensive - you can pay far more for gloves. I seem to recall that they are also useless when saturated.

73

Richard
G3CWI


#16

In reply to G3CWI:

I never found any gloves that I could work through with warm hands, perhaps there are better ones now, but are they as quick and easy to slip on and off as mitts? I don’t know. Certainly by comparison the easily obtained thinsulate type gloves are useless but no doubt there are far better available. By the way, a lanyard to the belt was an error, I usually fixed mine to a tab on my sleeve.

73

Brian G8ADD


#17

In reply to MM0FMF:

That’s better than wearing fingerless gloves and having Steptoe’s Syndrome :slight_smile:

Oh you are a wag Andy!

Must say I haven’t really thought about a solution for keeping my hands warm other than keeping my thermal gloves on for as much time as possible. That is really the key to controlling the problem that I have, as it is darned painful when the circulation returns to fingers that have gone into thermal shut down. Last year it even happened to me when I was getting ready for an ascent - it was minus 7C when we parked up. In similar conditions and at the same temperature yesterday morning, I had no problem. Maybe I’m cured!

73, Gerald


#18

I find that my hands warm up really quickly while I am setting gear up / packing gear away or operating CW. At all other times they can be inside my gloves or my jacket pockets. Result!

Tom M1EYP


#19

In reply to G8ADD:

I find I am somewhat allergic to wool especially if it gets in the eyes
as a result I prefer fleece type gloves which are fine until they get wet.
Anyone know where I can get waterproof over-gloves?

Actually fleece mittens would be even better but I’ve never seen them on sale.

For really cold conditions especially when walking down hill I have some
ski type mittens which are great if a little bulky.

Rick.


#20

In reply to M0RCP:

Anyone know where I can get waterproof over-gloves?

Rick

Google told me lots of places! Bikers use them a lot.

73

Richard
G3CWI