I was down in Liverpool continuing the clear out of my old childhood home. If you have ever had to do this you’ll know it’s easier to put it off than get on with the job. However, with the sale proceeding it’s time to get the job done. In between sorting and clearing I had a few jollies to brighten the days.
With a hurricane remant forecast for Sunday/Monday, the bext WX looked set for Friday. Brian G4ZRP came over and we polished off The Cloud SP-015, Gun SP-013 and Shining Tor SP-004. I’ve already written about these on Mike’s (2E0YYY) thread. We did a simple equipment activation. On Gun and The Cloud it was an FT-817 and ribbon feeder J-pole at either 1W or 2.5W and on Shining Tor the threat of imminent rain meant we used a VX-170 on its duck and also on the ribbon feeder J-pole at 5W ISTR.
These were intended as brief activations… we were happy to stay and work everyone who called but as soon as the immediate pile up dried up and nobody came back after a few calls then we packed up and moved on. Normally I’d pack up the antenna/pole/logs whilst Brian wandered of. This gave him time to drop out of the AZ and then call me for chaser points. We did this on 23cms using a pair of Alinco DJ-G7 handhelds. We spent longer on the summit of Shining Tor talking to Mike 2E0YYY than we did operating! Again we’d have stayed longer and kept calling but a brief shower had whizzed through and that seemed a good reminder it was time to stop.
Saturday was a clearing house day. My car has a luggage capacity of 2 m^3. I packed it to the roof and took 5 loads to the refuse/recylcing centre. I did find a kite I made in 1979 that was in really good condition still. As a teenager there were some essentials in my life. Girls, beer, telescopes, kites and interesting technology. The success-o-meter for those subjects reads: none, some, 60mm refractor, many, Texas TI59 programmable calculator! The kite was an Ed Grauel Sled, made from a black bin bag and 2 lengths of 4mm dowel. The sellotape used to attach the dowels had decayed but the plastic was perfect… no sunlight for 32 years! I’ll be flying it this weekend having repaired the non-sticky sticky tape. In the intevening 32 years, the plastic used in binbags must have been thinned out by a factor of 10 at least. Serious plastic in old bin bags and I doubt a new bin bag would be suitable.
Sunday I was playing Hide and Seek with my old radio club in Clocaenog Forest. This 2m DF hunt is spread over an area of about 400sq km and has been happening every Spetember for the last 15 years. This year most of my usual team were not playing so I helped out one of the foxes and acted as MC for the afternoon hunt. The WX wasn’t as bad as I expected, a bit blustery with the odd shower. As we finished early and I’d driven past Moel Fammau and Foel Fenli on the way I decided to snaffle at least one of them on the way back. I parked at the top car park. As usual there were lots of cheap skates blocking the road rather than paying. I think this is the 5th SOTA visit to this car park and the first time I’ve found the meter accepting money. 20p/visit is a OK with me
It was really quite windy now. 21mins later at the top of Foel Fenli it was proper windy. Enough to lift all 95kgs of me off the ground on one occasion. I used the bottom 2 sections of fishing pole to support the ribbon feeder J-pole and this time I had charged the Icom IC80 up and ran that at 2.5W for 3/4 of the time finishing of at 5W. The wind howled something wicked but it was surprisingly warm. After the calls dried up on 2m I switched to 23cms. I could have used the DJ-G7 for the 2m part of this but I didn’t have a charger with me unlike the IC-80. So it was easier to take both, work the bulk on the IC80 and keep the DJ-G7 for just 23cms.
Brian G4ZRP told me he’d worked Karen 2E0XYL from here when she was using the DJ-G7’s duck alone. So he was workable at about 51/41 on 23cms and a non LOS path. Then to see how much better my double quad is, I connected that up and Brian was 54. 3S-points / 18dB? Doubtful, I’d expect 10dB for a double quad but he went from noisy but workable to fully quietening. I’d worked Steve GW7AAV earlier on 2m and he was off locating 23cms gear but couldn’t be raised. At this point Bob G6ODU appeared on 23cms. A peak of the quad and he was 55/56, an excellent signal. Whilst working him I had Brian try to raise Steve. But it wasn’t to be. Next time then Steve. Back down double quick to the car park and back home via the Ruby Murray shop, Lamb Dopiaza, Peshwari Nan. Gawd knows how many carbs in that delight so I avoided a blood sugar test then and the next morning!
Monday was a big clearout day. Another 4 trips to the tip. 18m^3 of stuff disposed off in total. I’m back in 8 days to do more.
I was off home on Tuesday. Morning checking on what was left to clear, ringing charities to see what furniture they’ll take etc. More cleaning up. Taking out all the empty beer bottles. When you’ve been associated with a house for 47 years it’s hard work disposing of it and I needed to drown a sorrow or three! The drive back is tedious… M62/M6/M74/A73/A70. My car is very thirsty above 70mph, at 60mph the journey is 15% longer but I use 18% less fuel. 60mph it is. Well I have at least 2 more trips to do and at £85 a round trip, every penny saved is worthwhile.
Anyway, off the M6 at J35 for Hutton Roof Crags. Except I got lost and came in the back way rather than through Burton-in-Kendal. Rather than take the bag with the proper SOTA gear in it, I decanted the IC80, DJ-G7, double-quad, 2m J-pole into a small bag. This time I took the GPS, not in case I got lost but I wanted to see actually where the path is on the map. Into the walking gear and off. Then back to the car for some log paper. And then back again for a pencil.
From the car park it’s easy, out the back through the gate, up the steep path for 15m, turn right when you meet a track, follow this to a big track, left to the limestone crags on your right, right on the next path, follow this under the crags into the trees proper, follow the obvious path as twists through the trees, out onto an obvious worn path and up. Up, up, up till the gate in the drystone wall appears, through that, up 5 rocky steps, along the flat path to the trig. Job done in 21mins.
I’d have put the fishing pole into the trig but it’s filled up with rubbish now. Grrr! I held the pole, J-pole on it and called on 2m. B-awful! I must have used my VX-170 last time here because I was badly affected by pager QRM. I couldn’t see any nearby towers. I was operating 145.425 at first but 145.525 was better for less QRM. I managed to work 10 in the end. Nobody on 23cms despite Bob G6ODU being endstop. I couldn’t raise him on 2m when I was ready to QSY. I had a good chat with Sue G1OHH and we swapped junky’s syringe anecdotes (she’s a diabetic like me). The mother of all showers ran through and I had to hide behind the trig but stayed dry. I did lose the pencil at this time but found a broken, but just usable pen in the bag.
Time-gentlemen-please was signalled by the battery expiring in mid QSO. Sorry to Graham GW0HUS, but it died whilst I was waffling. I did call on the DJ-G7 but you had gone. The IC80 did about 1hr40mins in 2 activations on 2.5W/5W with me probably transmitting for 65+% of the time. It doesn’t have anything like the endurance of the VX-170. And it’s bladdered by a sniff of RF out of band. I feel the IC80’s days may be numbered!
Back down to the car park double quick as a long drive remained. Hutton Roof Crags is a wonderful wee 1 pt hill. I always feel chuffed having been for walk here. It’s simply very pretty and my spirits are always lifted by this place. Back in the car park there was a Jaguar XF. Now I do think these are immensly beautiful saloon cars. This one sported a mid-20s blonde in the passenger seat and a mid-50s grey man in the driving seat. Well there were sort of together in the middle when I burst out of the undergrowth. Blonde then struggled to cover her modesty, well both of them as they were hanging out of the front of her blouse. If you fancy a bit of afternoon delight with your boss don’t go to a car park with a slack handful of cars there and lots of dog walkers out on the hill! Well not unless you want to get caught.
So that’s 3 uniques, 5 summits, 7 points and quite an eyeful!
In order of climbing effort:
SP-013, 14 QSOs, 14mins car park to summit
SP-015, 10 QSOs, 7mins car park to summit
SP-004, 10 QSOs, 22mins tea-room to summit
LD-052, 10 QSOs, 21mins car park to summit
NW-051, 25 QSOs, 21mins car park to summit
I can’t promiss a semi-undressed blonde in the car park for Hutton Roof Crags every visit, but it’s well worth a visit if you’re passing. The hill not the blonde. Or possibly a longer walk in the very lovely countryside around there. It is a little gem. The others aren’t bad either, just Hutton is the nicest of the 5.