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Fun Evening 7/8/07


#1

Hi everyone, it’s that time of the week again, so get your SLABs or internals charged up and let’s have you up your local hills again

Last weeks turnout was absolutely superb, let’s hope we can match or even better it this week.

Chasers/spotters, as always we depend on you and always need your assistance, a couple of stations went unspotted last week, even though they were heard and worked, so tonight, if you have facilities and hear a summit station, please put a spot on sotawatch, rather too many spots than none at all.

As always just a reminder SAFETY SAFETY SAFETY

You are responsible for your own safety so PLEASE take care out there.
Remember that the nights are now drawing in and it will start getting dark earlier as the summer progresses, so please take this into account when planning your outing, especially for your packing up/descent time.

Good luck and have fun out there.

73 Mike GW0DSP


#2

In reply to GW0DSP:
Hi Mike and any other evening activators, I will be mobile home from work at 18:00 hrs (19:00 local) and hopefully will be able to catch you en-route. If “Mission Control” is not activating maybe Barry can keep a listen on 70cms for me and let me know where you are operating. If he is then maybe I can bag him too.

I notice tonight is also the 2m activity contest so there should be a few stations out and about. Ron GW4EVX is alerted for Foel Fenlli so I hope to catch him either on the way home or when I get back. The WX looks nice here at the moment and hopefully it will stay that way.

Good luck and good DX to all

73 Steve GW7AAV


#3

In reply to GW7AAV:

I’ll look for you throughout the evening Steve and I’m sure Barry will also, so don’t rush home, will catch you on 60/40 or 2m sometime in the evening.
I guess the Fun evening is a blessing for those on 12 hr days.

73 Mike GW0DSP


#4

In reply to GW0DSP:
Unfortunately my driver has decided she doesn’t fancy an outing tonight so I will be chasing instead, hope to do something next week.

How about an in-the-dark activation some time when the evenings draw in? I can think of a few summits that would be pretty safe in good condx!

73

Brian G8ADD


#5

In reply to GW0DSP:

Hiya honey - I`m home.

Sorry for no HF tonight - I took all the equipment but just didn`t get time. My main activity tonight was testing the new SB5 SOTA beam. It worked well, 35 contacts on 2m & 2 on 70cms. I thought about HF, however as the sun went down about 9pm local, so did the temperature, to about 7C. The attraction of a warm car beat HF into 2nd place.
73 Steve G1INK.


#6

In reply to G1INK:

Back home from NW-062 after yet another successful evening. You didn’t miss much on HF Steve, both 60m and 40m were still in poor shape.

Your new 5 element sotabeam (SB5) works superbly well Steve, you were a crushing signal and it is a real credit to Richard G3CWI who designed it and builds them. I’m sure that they will be in huge demand.

It was a very good night for 2m.

I managed 28 contacts on 2m, including s2s contacts with…

Steve G1INK/P on SP-013, Jordan M3TMX/P on LD-052, Ron GW4EVX/P on NW-051, and Barry MW3PXW/P on NW-042.

60m-ssb, just 4 stations worked Alistair GW0VMZ, Martyn M1MAJ, Graham G4JZF and Dave G0AOD.

40m-cw just peter ON3WAB.

Total contacts 33

Thanks to all stations worked and for the chasers/spotters for their continued support.

As the nights are drawing in, I think it’s time for us to decide how long we can keep the fun evenings going?
Maybe the time is right to make it for just an hour, vhf/uhf only?

Let’s have everyones opinions on it.

73 Mike GW0DSP


#7

In reply to G8ADD:
How about an in-the-dark activation some time when the evenings draw in? I can think of a few summits that would be pretty safe in good condx!

Well Brian, All good you saying all this on the reflector, but when are we going to see you, out and about on the summits ??
From the sota data-base i see that you have only done two summits !!

31/May/2004 G/CE-002 (Walton Hill) G8ADD/P 1 0 1 15
25/Jul/2004 G/WB-003 (Stiperstones) G8ADD/P 2 0 2 17

Missed you on Helvellyn for some reason, and also missed you on your last one you was going do ??
So do we wait up all night again for your activation on a summit, That you never do ??
Steve m0sgb


#8

In reply to M0SGB:
Yes, I do neglect to fill in the database, it’s a deadly chore, there’s quite a bit to go in, 7 0r 8 so I will have to bite the buckle soon. Funnily enough, I also missed you on my last activation, it does happen!

No, skip the recriminations, its old news and I’ve already apologised, lets just consider the proposition. I suggest a mild dry evening at the back end of September or October, on summits that have easy access such as Walton Hill, Pole Bank, Stiperstones etc, hills that present no problems by torchlight.

73

Brian G8ADD


#9

In reply to GW0DSP:
It is possible to carry on for a while, if people remain interested, at the end of the second week in September sunset will be about 1920 local with about a half hour of good twilight in clear weather, but things deteriorate rapidly after that. Other considerations are lower temperatures and the possibility of driving home in fog, offset to some extent by the improved chance of an opening.

73

Brian G8ADD


#10

In reply to G8ADD:

Thanks for your input Brian.
I think we will be able to carry on safely for maybe 2 or 3 weeks, but would like a few more to offer up their opinions and/or advice.

I started packing up approx 20:45 local last night and it had started getting quite dark by that time even though there wasn’t a cloud in the sky.
Even worse was the sudden drop in temperature once the sun fell below the horizon.
I should imagine that it wasn’t far from ground frost conditions by the time I left the summit. I notice from Steve G1INKs comments that the same can be said for him also.

I think a wise move might be to switch to 2m-fm/ssb only operation for 1 hour, 18:00utc to 19:00utc, this would allow for a safe daylight descent for the next few weeks at least.

As far as operating in the dark is concerned, it has to be a definate NO from me, even for the drive up summits.
I can’t speak for everyone but I think it would be irresponsible and dangerous to expect anyone to do so as the summer draws towards an end.
We haven’t had any incidents of serious problems or injury on Fun Evening and I would like to keep it that way by eliminating any risk whatsoever.

What does every-one else think? let’s have your suggestions.

73 Mike


#11

In reply to GW0DSP:

A very enjoyable evening Mike with three S2S, one with you on NW-062, Tom M1EYP on SP-015 and Steve G1INK on SP-013.
I had 45 contest contacts, the last one at 2120bst with Richard G3CWI/P who was on 61 contacts! A good advert for his new beam if that is what he was using.
Regarding operating in the dark, the rule of thumb I follow on NW-051 is to start packing up 20m after sunset, which last night was approx 9pm. Because I take a lot of gear with me it takes several minutes to pack up and even though it is quite a quick descent via the ‘north face’ of the hill it was nearly 10pm getting back to the car. I just had enough light to descend safely without using a headlight but if I had stayed 5 minutes longer on the summit (very tempting with all the activity!) it would have been a much more hazardous descent.
So I will not be doing any more activity contests from there this year but will try to support any future fun evenings before the evenings draw in too much.

73
Ron.


#12

In reply to GW0DSP:

Mike,

The key issue for an activation in the dark is preparation. I agree with Brian that it would be quite simple to activate in the dark, but safety measures at least equivalent to those for a winter activation (clothing, torch, etc) should be taken. I also would suggest that anyone contemplating this does so only on a summit that they know well - learning the local topography under such conditions is not the thing to do, even if the walk back to the car is only a short distance. It is easy to get disorientated in the dark.

Many of us stayed on for the whole contest yesterday evening and concluded our activities after 22.30 local time. It was dark, but I could easily see to dismantle my mast and antenna, possibly due to light pollution in the Midlands area. Of course being close to the car (in which I operated, not being on a SOTA summit), there was no walking involved, but it would not have been a problem to have walked, even without a light. It was also not especially cold and I did not feel the need to put on my fleece when I got out of the car. Having said that, conditions out on a more remote summit location would have been very different and I’m sure that Richard CWI out on Merryton Low did not find it so easy to dismantle his station.

73, Gerald


#13

In reply to G4OIG:

Hi Gerald

Thanks for your valued input.

Fully understood on all comments, most would have to agree with you.
My main worry is that on fun evenings we do have younger ops out there or as we have already seen, we have had quite a few “first time” activators coming on the fun evenings.

The dismantling in the dark isn’t an issue as you say.

Hope mountain is a drive up for me, with the car only 20 metres from the operating position, yet last night while gathering in my HF antenna, I put my foot in a rabbit hole and over I went, had the light been better, I may have seen it.

73 Mike


#14

In reply to GW0DSP:

we do have younger ops out there or as we have already seen, we have had
quite a few “first time” activators coming on the fun evenings.

Precisely why I would say it is only for regular experienced operators who are well prepared on a summit they know.

I put my foot in a rabbit hole and over I went, had the light been better, I may have seen it.

Obviously you haven’t done your groundwork Mike! Hi Hi.

73, Gerald


#15

In reply to G4OIG:

I did my grounwork ok Gerald, when I hit it, hi, not a pretty sight, if anyone had been videoing it at the time, it would have definitely been one for “You’ve Been Framed”.

Strange how the human Psyche works, but even up there with only wildlife for company, the first thing I did was get up and look around to see if anyone was watching, hi.

73 Mike


#16

In reply to GW0DSP:

It seems the rabbits grounwork was the cause of the trouble! I hope you didn’t hurt yourself, Mike. This points out one rule that I think must apply to night activations - don’t go alone! A good headtorch is a necessity, too, because it looks where you look.

Thinking about it, I suppose a night activation seems no big deal to me because in my Scottish winter days I often began and finished routes in the dark. It might seem more out of the tree to others, perhaps.

Anyway, if there is little support for it this year there is always 2008; it seems that the number of chasers is increasing as the word gets around, so this should increase the number of activators, too, when things get into their stride next summer.

73

Brian G8ADD


#17

In reply to G8ADD:

In reply to GW0DSP:

It seems the rabbits grounwork was the cause of the trouble! I hope
you didn’t hurt yourself, Mike.

I hurt my back badly, my old injury and had trouble driving home. Luckily, Barry M3PXW followed me back home. I didn’t get much sleep last night with the pain but it is easing off now.

This points out one rule that I think
must apply to night activations - don’t go alone! A good headtorch is
a necessity, too, because it looks where you look.

Agreed, I use the Petzl type, bought originally for beach fishing at night.

Thinking about it, I suppose a night activation seems no big deal to
me because in my Scottish winter days I often began and finished
routes in the dark. It might seem more out of the tree to others,
perhaps.

You’re a better man than me, I’ll leave it to the more experienced, although I can see the attraction in it, especially on a clear night with zero light pollution.

73 Mike