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G4OBK/P Gt Shunner Fell & Lovely Seat 18th Oct


On the strength of the weather forecast on Saturday I decided to go ahead with this activation yesterday. Once above 1500 feet it was miserable, mizzle almost all day with visibility never better than 100m. The radio part was great though and carried me through the day. This was my first HF activation since I went with the M1EYP/M3EYP crew to Ailsa Craig in August.

I sought information from the reflector the previous night regarding parking and route info, finding a post by G4YSS with the essential details in it (thanks’s John). I noted from his report that there were fences running over both fells, the common parking spot on the Buttertubs Pass is ideal as a lunch stop before the 2nd summit is tackled in the afternoon. I wanted to boost my top band score so the fences were vital with the antenna I intended to use. I needed to be in York by 5.30pm to collect my XYL from the railway station, so there was plenty of time. The one point Kisdon NP-026 which I want to get out of the way, will have to wait for another day.

Depart Pickering 0510z
Arrive Cattle Grid SD 868955 0700z walking by 0710z
Follow fence up to arrive Great Shunner Fell top at 0801z. An easy gradual moorland ascent, just boggy ground in places.

After visiting the stone shelter, which looked desolate in the mist and drizzle, I walked back well away from the Pennine Way to the corner fence post at SD 84980 97323 which was my activation point. G4SSH/A (Dial-a-Spot - thanks to Roy) was alerted via Vodafone and I set up the 30 foot HD pole and 130 foot inverted L. I turned on the 2m handheld to hear Geoff G6MZX/M on the Clitheroe Bypass and Geoff was chuffed to get the six points, a lucky QSO indeed.

30 foot DK9SQ pole
130 foot inverted L with two 66 foot radials and galvanised fencing as counterpoise. LDG Z100 auto ATU for 30/40/60m band, powered from Lipo battery.
Yaesu FT-857 75w HF 100w on 160m.
7 AH SLAB, Palm morse key.

I started on 160m 0830z with EI2CL Mike logged. Mike was not too strong but still heard me so that was good news indeed. It was well daylight but very murky. Then Frank G3RMD boomed in and had perfect copy on me thanks to his K9AY receiving loop. Frank is without doubt the most reliable SOTA chaser on 160m in the south and having heard him well on 160m last May on GD-001 but failing to make a QSO that time,it was a pleasure to make the easy QSO on NP-006. Tom M1EYP called in with very good signals. A move to SSB brought more so a decision was made to leave the link dipole in the car and risk again using the inverted L on Lovely Seat in the afternoon. This would not have been viable in my opinion if I was QRP with the FT-817 but with the FT-857 the QSO were coming in easily.
It’s worth listing who was worked on 160m for future reference:
On SSB (1843)G3RMD-G0RQL-GM7UAU-G8ADD-G3HKO. The only gotaway was G4BLH who was hearing me but unfortunely did not get my report.

I proceeded to 40m, then 60m and left out 30m as everything was wet and I was starting to shake, as was Treacle my terrier who accompanied me on the trip.

40m CW was full of WAG stations (not footballers Wives and Girlfriends but Worked all Germany Stations). 60m was in fine fettle and thank’s to Geoff G4WHA for telling me that 2E0EDX was on 2m FM, so I QRX’d on 60m to work Ian on my handheld before returning to 60m.

I packed up and left the scene at 0958z reaching the santuary of the car for coffee, a warm and a sandwich at 1046z. Some dry socks and another layer of clothing would have been nice - I wasn’t carrying any so another lesson learned. I had relied on the various weather forecasts (including MWIS) too much, that was also a lesson.

QSO count:
160m CW/SSB: 11
60m SSB: 16
40m CW: 21
2m FM: 2 (One S2S with 2E0EDX Ian on LD-004 Skiddaw)

4.4 miles walked with 667 feet of ascent.
To be continued with NP-030 Lovely Seat later…

Phil G4OBK


In reply to G4OBK:

Good report, Phil. I was a little surprised to make it with you on Top Band as my antenna was a G5RV at 25 feet, set up as a doublet, I must try that band more often!


Brian G8ADD


In reply to G4OBK:

It was really hard copy on 160m Phil, what with my local noise and your signal there one second, and gone the next. I heard a 559, but by then I was not sure if you were still ‘talking’ to me HI. By contrast, your top band signal was much better from NP-030 later in the day. By the way,I did hear Geoff G6MZX work you on 2m, but there was absolutely no trace of you here.

Regards, Mike G4BLH


In reply to G4OBK:
Good Morning Phil,
Thank you for an interesting report. You were putting out a fine signal on 160m from Gt Schunner fell yesterday. I was very pleasantly surprised when your signals popped up well above the noise floor. You should bring a wire fence with you on every activation in the future. The added height of your mast obviously helped, aided by the power available from your FT-857, so well done in transporting such a capable 160m station up the hill. I could (just) hear you on my transmitting aerial,which has a residual noise floor on 160m of S9 at that time of day, but the poor man’s Beverage, K9AY loop, was exhibiting an S2 noise floor, with the preamp in on the Icom 7000. It made for easy copy!
Sorry the weather let you down and many thanks for a great activation on 160M. I look forward to many more.

73 Frank


In reply to G3RMD:
Very good Frank - I made the mistake of stating the rig was an FT-757. It should have read FT-857! My apologies and my report is now edited to read correctly. I expect we will see John G4YSS out on 160m next, once the frost becomes a regular early morning feature!


In reply to G4OBK:

Hi Phil, were it not for me over indulging at Buxton beer festival on Saturday then I had earmarked that “pair” of hills for Sunday. We could have been fighting for real estate to get our wire up in the air. By the time I eventually got out of bed I decided to do some gardening instead.


My experience was the opposite to Mike G4BLH’s - good topband sigs from NP-006, but then nothing heard from NP-030.

Quite fancy doing those two again from Buttertubs - but on a nice day! I am determined to discover what Great Shunner Fell actually looks like!



In reply to M1EYP:
I agree most strongly Tom - I want to do those two again once I have finished off the NPs (9 to do yet) and on a day when there is a view. I think I would have been better filling the skip I have here in the garden at present as it stayed dry in Pickering until late afternoon. Although I did enjoy my radio I think Steve made the right decision. My rucksack and boots are still drying out.

73 Phil


Sunday 18th October

After returning to the car by the cattle grid in the Buttertubs Pass for some food and a bit of a warm at 1045z I set off for the Lovely Seat at 1112z. The mizzle looked like it was about to clear and then it came in just as bad for the rest of the afternoon. I felt Treacle had suffered enough and as there was no chance whatsoever of sunshine she was left in the car to have a nap.

Once again the metal fence was followed up to the top which was reached at 1137z. About 10 minutes from the top I noticed that I had a Vodafone signal so Roy G4SSH was called, who spotted me. Good job I rang him when I did as there was no signal on my network at the top!

After inspecting the stone seat at the top I walked over to the fence line at SD 87835 95050 where the station was set up with the fence as a counterpoise again. I ran the same set up as in the morning and was rewarded with a few more 160m QSOs, this time in the middle of the day.

Mark G0VOF in Blackburn was waiting for me on 1832 KHz at 1202z and was logged at 599 X 2. Condx were not as good and although I kept hearing Don G0RQL calling me repeatedly once I went over to 1843 KHz on SSB, Don was not getting my 55 report. GM7UAU from Greenock was heard also calling on SSB but did not respond when called back. Working Mike G4BLH was successful this time with 559/449 reports being exchanged. Frank G3RMD was 579/57. The 160m tally was expectedly less than it had been on NP-006: G0VOF-G3RMD-G4BLH (CW) with G0VOF-G3RMD repeated on SSB.

A move to 7035 KHz brought in G4SSH/A then G3RMD - well done in finding me amongst the WAG Stations chaps, and then a run of EU SOTA Chasers were logged. 60m was next and as I was slightly more comfortable after that this time 30m was activated, best DX being with UA3PY, the last QSO was with ON5QRP on 30m at 1310z.

QSO Count:

160m CW/SSB: 5
40m CW: 18
60m SSB: 15
30m CW: 9

I left the activation point at 1328z arriving at the car at 1346z. Distance walked a mere 1.7 miles in total with less than 500 feet of ascent. I will return to these two on a day when the views can be enjoyed.

Thanks to all chasers, spotters and G4SSH/A for the dial a spot service.

Phil G4OBK


Distance walked a mere 1.7 miles in total with less than 500 feet of ascent.

As your car was parked at the saddle / col, which you walked across between the two activations, then “less than 500 feet of ascent” would suggest Lovely Seat might not be a Marilyn! It must be marginal, as it was not in the original 1992 book, but added later when it was “discovered”.

The idea of 500 feet of reascent was the original criteria for the Marilyn concept, but it was approximated to metric to give the “official” definition of 150m (=492.125 feet).

So I guess Lovely Seat is a “special” Marilyn with less then 500 feet of reascent, but qualifying on the 150m criteria. Are there any others?



In reply to G4OBK:
GM Phil,
Good to work you on your second summit on 160. Not quite as strong as the first (midday effect) but a very respectable signal on cw and ssb. If you can, please give me a bit of prior notice of your next 160m activation. I have made up a loaded dipole for the band, and would like to try a 160m Summit to Summit from a local hill.
John, YSS might do the same, if he is out and about before you.


In reply to G3RMD:

Yes Frank, I will try to give some more notice next time if I am considering the 160m band. The decision to activate is usually based on the WX forecast 2 days previous before I make a decision that would be worth alerting. It would be great to make an S2S on 160m over such a distance!

In reply to M1EYP:

For Tom regarding Marylyn status: The ascent was measured by GPS, downloaded to Memory Map on my return home and the tracklog was then converted to route, which cuts a few rough corners off the track and gives an assessment of ascent/descent. The ascent and descent was 492 ft as measured by that method.

So yes, it is very close!



For Tom:

Just reviewing the mapping again - I parked my car at the cattle grid which is 1723 feet ASL according to the computing mapping but a little further north at spot height 526 SD 86877 95678 it is 1729 feet ASL. This is in old money of course, metric would be 525m / 527m according to Memory Map with the top of NP-030 at 674m/2210 feet, again according to Memory Map, which is of course based on OS data.

I think Marc G0AZS is the man with the knowledge and mapping to comment on this one!

73 Phil


In reply to G4OBK:

From Wikipedia (so it must be true!)

" 1. There is some controversy whether Lovely Seat actually qualifies as a Marilyn hill because there is doubt if it has the required 150 metres of Topographic prominence from the Buttertubs Pass, the height of the pass on the OS map is 526 metres giving re-ascent of only 149 metres. The fell did not appear in Alan Dawson’s original 1992 book but has been added later and seems to have been accepted as a Marilyn nevertheless. "



In reply to G4OBK:
Thank you for the account of your G/NP-006 and G/NP-030 operations. On considering the relatively late start-up from Great Shunner Fell, I was surprised to hear you coming in so well on 160m in bearable QRN. Much more surprising was that sending my call once was enough for you to hear me and be first in the log. In case it is of value, according to the SOTA database, the distance from my QTH to G/NP-006 is 284 km. But a few hours later, when you were on Lovely Seat, local conditions on 160m were very different. The neighbourhood QRN generators were in full flight rendering 160m and 80m useless. Finally, having checked 40m “just in case”, amidst the WAG activity unexpected unusual short skip provided FB signals from G/NP-030.

73 de Mike, EI2CL


The 2006 RHB update sheet shows that the drop from Lovely Seat to the col with Great Shunner Fell is exactly 150m - but ESTIMATED. It will be interesting to see if it attracts future scrutiny. I cannot find any accounts of the surveying process that promoted it from Submarilyn to Marilyn in the first place, but suspect that the long term future of NP-030 is far from assured!



In reply to M1EYP:
I cannot find > any accounts of the surveying process that promoted it from Submarilyn to Marilyn in the first place, but suspect that the long term future
of NP-030 is far from assured!


Dammit, I’d better grab that one quickly!


Brian G8ADD


In reply to G8ADD:

Dammit, I’d better grab that one quickly!

I have to say the exact same thought crossed my (small) mind!



In reply to MM0FMF:

Small minds think alike!


Brian G8ADD


ISTR Cheriton Hill SE-015 and Brighstone Down SE-012 also have a drop of 150m. I don’t think the former was in the original book, but added later.

(Just to increase your anxiety gents!).

The other one that had a recorded drop of 150m was Raw Head SP-016 - and that’s now been killed!

Of course there’s no point getting overly anxious about “missing out” on a summit that might get deleted. I don’t think anybody activated LD-002, CE-006, SB-002, SB-003 or LD-016 during the five days (!!!) that they were valid SOTA summits (2, 3, 4, 5, 6 March 2002), so no-one will ever be able to claim that they are a 100% G completist!

Undeterred, many people have made efforts to activate condemned summits since then - WB-001, NP-025, NP-021, SP-016 and spring to mind.

The latest RHB MARHOFN quotes: “We will put some serious effort into surveying the SubMarilyns and marginal Marilyns listed with 147m to 153m of re-ascent. However, we still have to finish our project on the marginal 2000-foot hills of Wales before we start on those hills in England” - so more changes could be on the way in the next couple of years.

Lovely Seat - watch your back!