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G/NP-009 Remembrance Sunday


#1

Every year I try to make it to the Buckden Pike memorial on, or near, Remembrance Sunday. A Wellington bomber had crashed at the site during a snowstorm in 1942. The full story can be found here, although the site hasn’t been updated for a while - http://www.buckdenpike.co.uk/

My alarm went off at 5am and not long after I was in the car heading towards Skipton. The temperature at my QTH had been 4C, but when I left Skipton McDonald’s, where I’d stopped for breakfast, the large electronic sign on the Ford dealership was showing just 1C.

The drive to Buckden was uneventful, I’d found a Kings of Leon CD in a cupboard yesterday so I was suitably entertained. It was still dark when I parked up just beyond the White Lion pub, so after booting up, I donned my brightest headtorch. The last time I had done this walk, I had slipped in the ford and got a good soaking - I’d forgotten my torch and was using my phone to provide illumnation! Luckily, neither my phone or my expensive jacket were damaged. This time I had no problem :slight_smile:

I arrived at the summit at about 0815am and took some photos before erecting the dipole antenna. I was using an FT817 at 5 watts to a SOTAbeams BH4 with G4YSS loading coils to allow 160m operation. Its tough for QRP on 160m and signal reports reflected this but within 25 minutes, I had worked 4 stations on CW. A switch to 80m CW brought another 8 QSO’s. After using RockMites and KD1JV MTRs, I find the FT817 hard to get on with and I haven’t done much CW for a few months, so I was a bit rusty! I couldn’t get a spot to go out from RRT, so I gave up with 80m SSB before netting a QSO. It was packing up time anyway. Thanks to the chasers for putting up with the wobbly CW and weak signal / QSB, I enjoyed being on the radio again.

I reached the memorial at about 1040am after a brief walk from the trig point where I’d done my activation. Not long afterwards a guy arrived with a Dalmation called Roxy, the spotted friend really fancied my sandwich! A total of 9 persons , myself included, had soon assembled to observe a 2 minutes silence at 11am. The gathering was informal and I did not know any of the other people there. A more formal event happens on the Saturday before Remembrance Sunday when Skipton ATC hold a wreath laying ceremony.

The WX had been fine but not as good as the forecast had said, being quite cloudy. At least the wind was virtually absent and it didn’t rain.

I’m the guy in the red jacket and red hat, I have no idea who the other guys are!

73, Colin


SOTA News December 2016
#2

Hi Colin,
Do you have RRT configured to send SMS messages as well as via the Internet? I sometimes find an SMS spot will get through when the phone doesn’t see a good data signal and RRT aborts with an error on a CSV file or something. There are also apps that only spot with SMS. Of course without an Internet connection, you wont see whether you spot arrived or not and whether other activators are out. I have had situations where I have received spot data fro the Internet but have only been able to spot via SMS - strange situation.

In any case, well done on the activation.

73 Ed DD5LP / G8GLM.


#3

Hi Ed,

Yeah, data is pretty much useless on a hill with my phone/network. I downloaded RRT specifically to use the SMS feature, it’s easier than typing out the text manually like I used to do in the old days!

The SMS just wouldn’t go out of my phone. I sent a test spot the night before to ensure my details were still on the system.

73, Colin


#4

Looks like network coverage there is really bad if it didn’t even accept an SMS. It happens! My usual get-out is that I have a cheap Chinese Smart Phone with twoo SIM slots, so I have two networks to try. Often, but not always, when one is lousy, the other one works. I have to remember to change the default SIM to be used for SMS however (and have both registered on the gateway of course) - RRT (and the other apps) only send to the default network set for SMS comms. Setting the phone to prompt to ask you which network to use to send an SMS message works with the standard messaging program but not with the spotting APPs.

Ed.


#6

Hi Colin,
I really must give you a hearty slap on the back and ‘well done’ for your Buckden Pike activation on LF the other day. Your report and log make very interesting reading.

I think you have been to the remembrance event there before (if I remember right) and it’s good of you to make the effort and represent SOTA as it were. You were certainly away early and it’s a bit further walking from the pub than from the quarry at the top of Bishopdale.

If it had been me, especially with Phil G4OBK QRT for a QTH change just now, I would have expected nil QSO’s on 160m in full daylight, even at this time of year. However, you not only managed to qualify on that band but did it in supreme style. Finland in no less. Even the Black Isle and Isle of Lewis are ‘DX’ for top band at that time of day and the way I found out about this was by talking to one of your chasers on 2m-FM locally; G4SSH. Your QSO with Roy would be the only one with a vestige of line of sight in it, the others were obviously ionospheric and that’s pretty rare that long after dawn, as is getting so far north.

As for the phone; the ‘SOTA twins’ Buckden Pike and Great Whernside have always been two of the worst in that department. You are lucky if you can get a single text off in four hours, which is actually delivered. From those two I have to rely on Roy G4SSH who monitors 145.400 a lot of the time and can give me a spot. Even then you need significantly more than 5W (omni) to reach him, or a vertical beam pointing due east.

With 5 Watts this top band success is truly wondrous as the antenna system you can erect at a summit is many minus dB. I have done much worse with 100 Watts on many occasions so once again; well done to you! Mark G0VOF will be lapping this up for his next Top Band news.

Some other news on the 160m front is that another amateur has requested the coil build details. That is Ignacio EA2BD. Let’s hope the cause of LF SOTA will be furthered in Spain too.

Good luck in the coming months for getting the final points required for MG by the way. There is no better time of year to start planning that and with 1/4 of your points gained in winter, you certainly have the experience.

73, John
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#7

Hi John,

Thank you for the kind words. I’d already activated Buckden Pike G/NP-009 this year so it was a non-scoring activation for me, it didn’t matter if I made contacts or not. I thought I would 160m a try because it would be something different to do. I did try to be on air as early as I could as I thought 160m would be iffy.

As noted in a different thread, Marko (OH9XX) has an excellent RX (and TX!) antenna so it was definitely his side doing the heavy lifting! This is a recording I made of my QSO with Marko on 160m, warts and all -

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/56287387/oh9xx.mp3

Yes, I have attended the memorial a number of times on or near Remembrance Sunday. I take a keen interest in the past and I think it’s important to remember how things were for our ancestors and how our lives are different, but also to think about events in our time. I guess it sort of feels more special if you’ve battled through bogs, and, more often than not, bad weather, to stand at that site and think about things for a while.

I find the phone signal is very up and down. I’ve found that switching the data mode to the simplest possible also gives better results, I can switch mine to 3G only which works better than allowing 4G. I do have a Vodafone SIM in an older phone, I used it on my adventure to the Isle of Coll back in July, I usually carry it my pack. I had managed to send a ‘selfie’ to Facebook a little earlier, so I guess a little perseverance would have paid dividends.

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/56287387/20161113_081112.jpg

I hope Ignacio @EA2BD builds some coils and manages to activate on 160m, it certainly is fun to try different bands/modes and do something that is not so easy.

I don’t have much choice when it to power - my FT817 is the best I can do! I have some spare LPF boards for my amplifier but I think it would be doing well if I got 10 watts out of it! Dom M1KTA has kindly pointed me in the direction of some amplifier designs, so maybe I will build an amp in the coming months.

Yes, I’d noticed the absence of G4OBK, I didn’t know he was moving QTH, I guess that explains why his QRZ page said he was QRT undergoing treatment for SOTA addiction!

Yes, MG is very much a target, I had hoped to have got there by the end of August, but it didn’t happen, touring the British Isles from the Hebrides to Dawlish got in the way! Once the points reset in January, it MG won’t take much effort at all, although I find that January is usually awful WX wise and February is drier and colder with less wind.

73, Colin


#8

My wife went on a Christmas shopping trip yesterday organised by my son’s primary school. Every year the school hires a coach to take parents and teachers to York for some retail therapy and socialisation.

As my youngest son is now 5yrs, we decided that he would probably manage a walk up Buckden Pike quite well. I bought both of my lads some walking boots a few weeks ago and we gave walked up Sharp Haw G/NP-029 last week to try them out.

My sons on the summit of Sharp Haw G/NP-029.

Whilst my wife was out on her shopping trip, me and my boys walked up Buckden Pike, we made excellent progress and we arrived at the memorial cross at just the right time to take part in the service.

I had tried several calls on 145.500 FM, as per my alert, from the trig point, but no replies were forthcoming. I hadn’t taken any HF gear as doing any radio at all was pushing it a bit!

I found out during the service that the sole survivor of the Polish crew of the Wellington bomber, that had crashed at the site, had passed away in July this year, aged 95. The attendance at the service was the largest I’ve witnessed to date.

Buckden Pike summit G/NP-009

The back of the service sheet.

73, Colin


#9

Another year has gone by and another Remembrance Service at Buckden Pike G/NP-009.

I’ve recently moved from Haworth to Bentham. Buckden Pike used to be my nearest 6 point summit, a relatively simple journey. Buckden from Bentham seems to be an entirely different matter! My smartphone sat nav suggested 3 routes, all seemed very much a dog leg. I opted to drive over the dales via Settle and Malham, passing through Arncliffe before Kettlewell and then Buckden. I’m really glad that I didn’t meet any traffic on the road but I was inconvenienced by cows, sheep, and gates, whilst a hen pheasant had a very close escape just feathering my windscreen (bird of very little brain!).

I must have been later than usual as I normally start my walk in the dark, today I set off in full daylight. I reached the summit at 0918, and I was thankful that the weather was dry. My commute home in the dark along the A65 the previous evening had been very difficult with the driving rain. There was plenty of water in the burns but otherwise the ground was much drier than I had feared.

I was pleasantly surprised by the propagation on 40m, I’d deployed the dipole at about 5m due to the wind, I wasn’t able to find my pole guying kit due to the house move. The SOTAbeams 3 band antenna just managed to hold itself up with 3 ground pegs. I used my home built MTR5B with 3S Lipo. It took a few minutes of CQing on autopilot but then I had a nice, steady stream of callers. I haven’t been on the key since I operated GB18NH at the National Hamfest in September but I think I did OK considering. I had to ask for a few repeats of call signs but i managed far better than I thought I might. Apologies if any callers thought I was a little off my game today. 40m worked so well that I didn’t bother with 30m, I needed to pack up and head to the Memorial in any case.

There was a very good turn out of public, the most I have ever seen, in past years there’s only been a few of us besides the Cadets from 264 (Skipton) Squadron. The service was short and simple and included a performance of the Last Post via a recording. Even the sizeable pack of dogs present observed the period of silence (barking had previously commenced as the cadets received their orders!).

Members of the public were thanked for their attendance before everyone headed off to work up some heat!

Colin