G4YSS Activation Report, G/LD-001, Scafell Pike, 14-10-07 (using GX0OOO/P)
All times BST (UTC plus 1 hour) unless otherwise stated.
Equipment: FT817ND with internal 8 x 2.6 Ah AA Ni-Mh’s. 5W to an 80/60/40m ‘link’ dipole at 5m centre, 1m ends.
’Walking mate’ William, his teenage daughter Rebecca, her friend Lewis and I, formed the team for this one.
Will drove us away from Scarborough at 03:30 local, arriving at Seathwaite by 06:23. After a comical episode featuring our lone female trying to use the dark, ‘spooky’ ladies toilet, armed only with my small Mag light, we set out in dim daylight at 07:10. Our route was the same as the two previous years; up the Corridor with a return via Esk Hause, and plenty of stops on the way.
Time was getting on by the time we had negotiated the Corridor ‘scramble’ at NY 2189 0852, so I made my break for the top just after this, at around 09:30 BST.
SCAFELL PIKE, G/LD-001, 978m (3209ft) 10 pts (IO84JK, NY20) 10:12 to 13:17 BST, 9 deg C, 20 mph wind, low-cloud most of the time.
Erecting the dipole single-handedly over the summit rock-field was (as usual) a frustrating experience; the antenna wire caught on every possible obstruction and its support kept falling over. For the first time ever, two passing members of a backpacking club volunteered to steady the mast for me, whilst asking lots of questions about my activities. They had sufficient radio knowledge to suggest that my antenna might be screened to one side by the summit cairn. After a brief explanation about the properties of ‘short-wave,’ they were interested enough to ask for the address of the SOTA website and have in fact contacted me via email to send a photo of the exercise! What unexpected kindness.http://www.spiritburner.com/backpackers/2007/scafell/scafell10.07.htm
It took so long to get the antenna just right, that William & party summitted before I even touched the key. Since Will could not find my QTH in the fog, I received a PMR call from him in the middle of a phone conversation with Roy G4SSH and our quick initial QSO. I had actually managed to locate a clear frequency on a Sunday morning; namely 3.725 MHz and signals back to Scarborough were more than satisfactory, despite significant fading.
A QRV at 09:52z was earlier than announced but stations were lining-up to claim their 10 points, within 3 minutes of Roy’s internet spot! By 1013z ten of them were in the log, including Tom M1EYP with well-sent QRS CW. A good start but as the rest of my party approached waving a GPS and evidently wanting to descend, I began to think I might now be really pushed for time. I found out later the reasoning behind this. Apparently 16 year old Rebecca was shivering after a few minutes but declined to don her coat ‘because it might make me look fat.’ Upon hearing the Morse code, Lewis commented, ‘That’s what they used to do before telephones’ but he did mention that he found it interesting. After I had activated the appropriate GPS route for Will, off they went into the clag and away I went to SSB, working 17 regulars and one newcomer in 33 minutes. Jimmy M3EYP was the youngster among them.
I knew I’d be playing catch-up later but just wanted to pop onto 40m CW to give the Europeans a chance. ‘Shouldn’t take too long,’ I muttered to myself. Soon after being found by Scarborough op Des (G3HKO) after several CQ calls on 7.033, I realised the enormity of the task. I haven’t been ‘out’ on a Sunday for two years and they were calling 20 or 30 deep. Struggling to pick out a single callsign, I began to simultaneously shiver and panic, spraying out extra dots but at least the new keying switch was working perfectly and the temperature rose slightly, as the low-cloud lifted for half an hour. To cut a long story short, 38 QSO’s were logged on 40m CW in one hour. That’s going some for me and it included a 10 point each way S2S with Fritz, DL4FDM on the 1165m summit of Blauen, DM/BW18. There was a healthy mixture of UK, French, Swiss, German, Czech and Hungarian stations. Twice I seemed to bottom the job but more callers arrived. I was forced to ‘pull the plug’ on a gaggle of anonymous ‘Jug handles’ at 12:04z and pack up the station. Hopefully by then, all the regulars had been worked.
A man appeared out of the recurrent mist, asking ‘Which way to Angle Tarn?’ He was a newcomer to walking, had a map but no compass and had become slightly disorientated. We walked together to Esk Hause, where I turned left towards Seathwaite, arriving at 14:58 BST. Nervous of the possible reception after leaving the top 2 hours late, I approached the car but Will had only arrived there 5 minutes before me, so all was well. We were home early at 18:30 but not before I’d tried my very best to ‘clean-up’ an unseen cyclist at the roundabout in Keswick. Certainly, his words would not be acceptable on amateur radio.
Stats: 991m of ascent, 9 miles walked, 292 miles driven.
Total: 66 QSO’s, comprising:
10 on 3.5 MHz-CW.
18 on 3.5 MHz-SSB.
38 on 7 MHz-CW.
THANKS to all STATIONS WORKED and to G4SSH, G4JZF, G3HKO and G0AZS for spots and G4SSH for his excellent ‘fone-a-spot’ service.
Well done to Roy G4SSH and Cris GM4FAM on their 10k chaser point total. To Ian G7KXV; you need a notice Ian, ‘Running-in, Please Pass.’ To John GW4BVE and Ian: Hope you’re both soon fit again.
73, John (G4YSS using GX0OOO/P, SSEG Clubcall)