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DC Activations - Planning


#1

If you can’t work them activate them!

Helen and I have just booked a week in Cornwall for 15th - 22nd of March (week prior to Easter).

The nearest summit is Brown Willy DC-002 so we are hoping to do this summit on at least 80/60/40m ssb and 2m FM and as many of the other six DC summits as possible (all seven if we can). Will endeavour to be QRO so as many people stand a chance of working us as possible.

We would appreciate any advice and personal experiences on the DC summits that may not be available via the summits page.

Personally I need DC-002,003,004 and 006 so I will have to remember to work Helen from outside the activation zones (never done it yet).

Any special requests such as S2S tie-ins, 23cms or dropping off of Geocoins will be given due consideration.

Regards Steve GW7AAV
One day the sun will shine on me.


#2

My website informs on 5 of the 7, and the links are on the summits pages. G3CWI has done them all, and don’t think that his reports are linked. You will find them here: http://www.g3cwi.org.uk

Anyway, my very brief thoughts:

DC-003 Choose your car park - one part way up and one very close to the summit, and choose your operating position. Beware the warden!

DC-004 HF essential. The summit is lower than the rest of the landfill site in which it sits.

DC-005 Horizontal walk-in along access track to tx site. Have a game of hunt the trig. We couldn’t find it, but it is there somewhere.

DC-006 Expect an interruption from the lady at the house behind the summit, and from the local bobby she may well call out when she assumes you are up to no good.

DC-007 Long trousers and gaiters recommended. There should be a new SOTA award for any succesful transfer from car to summit that doesn’t involve being lacerated by the ebullient bracken that infests this hill.

I found 2m very slow going on these hills. HF would be much easier. I even found that QRP HF SSB, which is difficult enough in itself, easier than 2m! A bit of power on 2m SSB would probably work.

GL. Funny old place Cornwall! I will return there once, purely to allow Jimmy to catch up on his Uniques, and me to get DC-002. Then I will never return to that place.

Devon I would definitely return to. Very nice indeed.

Tom M1EYP


#3

In reply to GW7AAV:

Hi Steve,

Further to Tom’s comments:

DC-001 Not done it yet. The popular route seems to be from the lake. Red flags fly if the TA are out practising - notified in local newspapers.

DC-002 There are several access routes. If I was doing it again I would probably try from just near Camelford and walk down the route to Rough Tor and continue (signposted off the A road). Richard CWI’s route is flat, but longer.

DC-003 Easy evening activation - no warden.

DC-004 VHF possible - get people listening for you in advance. I used 25w to a 5 el and got up to Graham JZF no problem.

DC-005 Why bother with the track up to the summit - nice take off to the Midlands from where the track goes off right to Chapelhaies and North Down Farm - just east of the summit.

DC-006 No hassle - read my report on the reflector. PROW to within 200m of the OA land. I was not challenged.

DC-007 Long trousers and gaiters recommended - yes, definitely! Find the track running north up to the house and then cut off right at the old mine workings.

I used the usual 25W of 2m SSB on all but DC-006 and 007 where I used the QRO linear. Also ran HF.

As for Cornwall being a strange place, Tom had better be careful - I’ll send the son in law around with his brothers! Oh and if challenged just say that you are NOT an EMMIT! (http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=emmet) Having been down there in the summer I can see why they get so cheesed off!

73, Gerald

P.S. Don RQL has 23cms.


#4

Very useful further observations on the DC summits Gerald. We found the tourists and the locals as equally obnoxious and offensive as each other when we visited Cornwall. Reckon we ‘got unlucky’ with our sample of locals, but could see why the tourists got up their noses - they did ours as well! The final straw was two local twenty-something males making overtly lewd comments to Marianne, my wife. That effectively eliminated Cornwall from our family holiday shortlist forever more, and any future trip will have to be just me and Jimmy … Result!


#5

In reply to GW7AAV:
Hi Steve, I have just recently done them all around Christmas time, they are all pretty easy to do.
DC-002 Brown Willy is the longest walk in, its around 2.5 miles, but 2 miles is very easy walking along a track suitable for cars,and its pretty flat, however its access only for the farm etc. so park at the sign! If its a clear day you can see the trig point at distance so basically just head for it, if not it might be advisable be prepared with navigation equipment. It was a bit boggy on the climb up to the summit when I visited, so be prepared to get muddy!. I do have the tracks I used that I can send to you to upload to your GPS if you have one. Should mention, Brown willy is pretty rocky, there isnt a lot of flat area for HF antennas, but long as your prepared to pick your way over the terrain on the summit it should be ok.

DC-003 Kit Hill, is a doddle, you can drive to the trig point, literally, but in the spirit of SOTA you might want to park over the otherside of the car park, be prepared for lots of visitors asking what your upto, as there is a car park at the summit, its well used by visitors, I was there in the dark and rain and still had people asking me what I was upto!

DC-004 Hensbarrow Beacon, this is a around a half a mile walk pretty easy going, should have no problems, long as the weather is ok, I say that as it was awful when I did it and it throws a whole new prespective on things.

DC-006 Carmengellis, this too is not too taxing, you park your car by the clay workings, plenty of room, and walk to the trig along a defined path, 10 mins. should get you there!

DC-007 Watchcroft, If you get down that far, again is pretty easy to get to, you park your car just off the road opposite the track that leads to the house and then to the summit. Its about 3/4 of a mile from here, but as said the weather was awful when I went so I chanced my arm and drove to the house, plenty of room to park, but bare in mind its private access, I knocked on the door explained what I was about and they was very happy for me to park which reduced the walk to just under 2 tenths of a mile, howling winds and rain, I was very grateful.

DC-001 High Willhays, I did this one just over a year ago, the normal parking spot is the car park at SX562919 and walk round the reservoir etc., I think this route is mentioned elsewhere, however I used to live in Devon for 15 years so I got to no Dartmoor fairly well, you can drive over the moor to within a 15 minute walk from the summit, however, the road, like most on Dartmoor have deteriorated over the years and not been kept in good repair, I drive a Volvo V70 and was able to get to there ok, but it is tricky and you need to pick where the wheels go, if you have a 4WD then its a lot easier. If you fancy having a go using this route then head out of Okehampton upto the army camp, pass the camp and take the road onto Dartmoor, you will really need a map to get yourself there to be honest, but you will see a bridge that goes over a stream, you need to turn right befor this bridge. Eventually, assuming you negotiate the pot holes etc., you will get to an area where there is a sign saying no vehicles other than military beyond this point, this is where you park and as mentioned its a 15 minute or so walk to the summit.

DC-005 Christ Cross, this is another easy one, you drive virtually to the summit, there is room to park a couple of cars in front of a dissused farm gate opposite the path to the true summit. once parked cross the road, through the gate and follow the defined path to the transmitter towers, I set up on a fence just by the towers and operated 2 mtrs no problem, I was actually pointing the 2mtr beam directly at the transmitters and was still able to work the midlands chasers with no problems on ssb.
Worth mentioning I got back to the midlands on 2mtrs ssb on all of the DC sumits with no problems, …dispite the weather!!

If you do have a problem with getting contacts, Don, G0RQL is 5/9 everywhere and is only to pleased to make a phone call!

As mentioned I can send you the tracks that I used on my Garmin etrex vista if its any help, but you shouldnt have any problems to be honest. You might want to consider stopping off and having a crack at some of the SC summits on your way back, they are all pretty accessible and it does break up the driving!

John
M0JDK


#6

In reply to G4OIG:

I lived in Cornwall for a couple of years after living in Devon, I agree, Devon is a wonderful place, particualy North Devon, in fact I still have a cottage in Bideford, but Cornwall, hmmm, I wouldnt care if I never saw it again, your ok if your holidaying spending money!!! my trip to activate the DC’s was probably my last trip to Cornwall. I am afraid I have had the same experiences as a lot of others with locals.

John
M0JDK


#7

In reply to M0JDK:

Don, G0RQL is 5/9 everywhere

John, It would surprise me if he wasn’t as we can often hear him working stations on 2m ssb from here and he is usually 5/9 from the summits :0D

Any tracks for the Garmin would be very handy. My email is on QRZ. Thanks for all the info so far.

Regards Steve GW7AAV


#8

In reply to GW7AAV:

Hi Steve, Have just e mailed you the GPS routes that I used, I have re-drawn the route for High WillHays, DC-001, to start from Okehampton army camp, this will take you along the roads to the summit, you will reach a sign that says only military vehicles beyond this point, thats where you park and a 15min. walk should see you to the summit, as stated, bare in mind the pot holes on the road, but with care it is driveable.

Regards,

John M0JDK

P.S. my xyl has just passed her Foundation licence today, so might have another chaser/activator in the pipeline!!


#9

In reply to M0JDK:

Cheers John they will make things easier, I am sure.

Congratulations to Mrs JDK. I am all in favour of less grumpy old men and more YLs of the radio, but that doesn’t mean AAU is getting the mic…OW! What was that for?

Tee Hee

Steve GW7AAV

PS Trying to get the destinations in to the SatNav (no problems with the GPS and Memory Map), however lots of the smaller roads seem to be missing on Helen’s Garmin but are on my TomTom. Very strange. Even stranger Hens Barrow Down is Cocks Barrow Down on TomTom, must have had a sex change.

PPS Anyone know about mobile phone coverage on these summits?


#10

In reply to GW7AAV:
I got mobile coverage from Carnmenellis. I also got a 2m path to Spain, and then a dead rig! Painful memory…

There seems to be a general down on the Cornish here. I have been visiting Cornwall regularly for over thirty years. They are very like the Welsh, which is to say that you get what you give. I have found them very friendly and helpful, in fact lovely people, but some I know are quick to take offence.

I wouldn’t mind moving to the Lizard, just think, IN square, popularity on VHF/UHF assured!

73

Brian G8ADD


#11

Regards Steve GW7AAV
One day the sun will shine on me.

Only on the righteous Steve - I’ve not seen it for the last 50 years :slight_smile:
I need 2 3 and 5 to complete :frowning:

Roger G4OWG


#12

Hi All,

I think the general rule of thumb is that the further down you go, the less hospitable the people get. Certainly everyone is very friendly in Lostwithiel where my daughter and son in law live. Nice ale as well! I’ve never had a run-in with the Cornish, but they have a reputation… enough said Mr Stein!

I have one comment to make on John’s description of Brown Willy -

Brown willy is pretty rocky, there isnt a lot of
flat area for HF antennas, but long as your prepared to pick your way
over the terrain on the summit it should be ok.

Not sure whether you are thinking of the right summit John. Certainly Rough Tor is very rocky, but there is a large expanse of grass on Brown Willy and HF antennas are not a problem.

73, Gerald


#13

In reply to G4OIG:
I was definitely on Brown Willy Gerald, have the pic posing at the trig point. For all the anoraks, S1172 in the number!!but having said that, I was in awful weather and in the cloud visibility was only a few feet, so maybe I never noticed the grass your referring to, but typically when descended the weather all cleared up.

Just looked at the pics I took, and its very rocky round the trig point area for sure!!!

Mobile phone coverage is 100% on all the summits, at least with Orange, I no as I rang back to the midlands on each summit to get spotted.

John
M0JDK


#14

In reply to M0JDK:

Hi John,

My comment was aimed at providing guidance for Steve. There were no visibility issues when I activated the summit and the grassy area was plain to see. Steve might have thought it was a difficult summit on which to get a mast erected. Yes, the area around the trig is very rocky… it is an interesting summit with a very strange cairn on it - I resisted the urge to add a stone - the top stone was already small enough to have some trouble defying the wind!

As you ascend from the small river between Brown Willy and Rough Tor, you see (well I did) the summit of Brown Willy to the right of the path. At the summit to the left of the path is an outcrop of rock to which to I bungied the mast. I used this area purposely to avoid visitors to the summit. The HF dipole ran from there and so avoided any problems with the public. The rock was also a nice shelter from the breeze, making a pleasant day even better.

73, Gerald


#15

Thanks for that info John/Gerald. I usually try to string my dipole so it decapitates the most muggles possible and even with red and white steamers flying from it I have nearly succeeded a couple of times.

I did reply to a previous comment but it seems to have vanished! Did I say something?

Regards Steve GW7AAV


#16

In reply to G8ADD:

I wouldn’t mind moving to the Lizard, just think, IN square,
popularity on VHF/UHF assured!

73

Brian G8ADD

And some great radio history down there too!
73
Graham G4FUJ


#17

In reply to M0JDK:

Thanks to all for the useful info on this thread, the DC’s are on my must-do list for this year as well!

If you didn’t mind, I’d be most grateful for your info on the vehicle route to the vicinity of DC-001. Wonder if Satnav will find it - I was amazed to discover that it took me through the quarry roads virtually to the summit of SW-008 the other day. Getting out of the quarry up onto the hill was not so easy…

73 de Paul G4MD


#18

In reply to G4MD:

Paul,

Just had look and found the map for DC-001 on the PC so I have e mailed it to you along with the GPS route as well, if you use G3CWI’s way points it will take you to the car park by the reservoir, the army camp is well sign posted out of Okehampton though so you shouldnt have any problem finding that, basically turn uphill at the traffic lights in the town centre and keep going!!

Regards,

John.
M0JDK


#19

In reply to G4MD:

I wonder what Satnav you have Paul?

Just when we were thinking that Helen’s Garmin 310 Deluxe knocked the socks off TomTom on my PDA we found that some the roads we want to use in Cornwall were missing from the Garmin but included on the TomTom.

Steve GW7AAV


#20

In reply to GW7AAV:

Hi Steve

I’ve got a TomTom for road use, found it to be spot on thus far. No problems when I visited the Begwns last Saturday, so they’ve obviously updated the map since Richard posted his comment on the summit info which warns of inaccuracies in this area.

Only issue I’ve got is with speed limits, which quite frequently seem to be incorrect.

73 de Paul G4MD