Seeing as this summit is only half an hour down the road from the home QTH there was no excuse for not activating it before it disappears of the radar. My assistant decided that he would rather hang out at the skate park with his mates rather than help Dad out with the gear so this one was a Jack Jones activation. I’d initially planned to do Cleeve Hill today but the weather looked a bit marginal and I didn’t want the journey down to Cheltenham to be rewarded with a sticky wicket on arrival. Fortunately the late afternoon WX in sunny Cheshire was exactly what it says on the tin.
After a late start due to essential repair work on the sectional mast following a slight accident earlier in the week (saying nowt) the starting point for the walk was the layby on the Coppermine lane near the fork in the road to Rawhead Farm. On arrival I realised that I’d left the usual time source: mobile phone on the kitchen table, good job I had the Tom Tom - I’ve always maintained that the clock in those things is infinitely more useful than the navigation system.
The summit route was the steadily undulating edge track through the woods which had dried out nicely from the previous night’s torrential downpour. A little hint for activators here: if you wish to make an easy route really difficult for yourself, have the boom of a 5 ele jaybeam sticking up out of the bergen a couple of foot above your head. A lot of stooping was required to avoid the low branches and the overhanging, sandstone rock outcrop before turning onto the leading face of the hill. Fortunately, the route was relatively quiet so there was minimal staring and interrogation from other walkers.
On arrival at the summit I had to back off from the trig to find a fence post for the usual bungee arrangement to secure the mast and beam. After an initial call on S20, Steve GW7AAV was first out of the traps like a ferret up a drainpipe on a day with relatively little summit activity. After a steady stream of local-ish takers I turned the beam around a southerly arc for a while but all was relatively quiet in that direction with the exception of David 2E0DAI.
After exhausting the FM contects I flipped the beam horizontal and QSY’d to the SSB portion and had a scan around the beacons (the band was flat as a pancake) then a brief ratchet with Ian G8ZVZ in Ledbury. After calling on 300 Frank G3RMD in Cheltenham and John G6VS in Widnes replied to the initial call. Some nice contacts followed: including Graham G3OHC in Selby (we can hear you 59 everywhere Graham!), Don G0RQL in Devon and s2s with Rob GD4RQJ/P on GD-005.
A very enjoyable Sunday stroll with a big, heavy backpack and activation of course. Definitely one to do a couple more times before it disappears, certainly on 70cm and maybe even on 40/80m which is unknown territory for me. Many thanks to all who called and glad to have given SP-016 to those who hadn’t already worked it.