G4YSS Activation of G/NP-010 on 02-03-11.
PEN-Y-GHENT on 40m CW, 80m CW/SSB, 160m CW, 4m FM & 2m FM.
G4YSS using SSEG Club-call GX0OOO/P. All times UTC.
Accompanied by Hazel.
IC706-2G, adjustable dipole, 5m mast, 160m coils.
One 9.0 Ah Li-Po for HF & 2m FM.
IC E90 4-Band FM, 5W H/H with 4m-band HB half-wave vertical end-fed and 7.4V, 1.3 Ah Li-Ion detachable battery.
QRO pack: 11.5kg (25 pounds).
Pen-Y-Ghent was my Daughter-in-Law Hazel’s very first 2000 footer and the first of nine SOTA’s that she has done with me in a 12 month period. Today was the penultimate day we had available if we were to make it ten in a year. Fortunately the weather forecast was good. I left the choosing to her and she deemed NP10 to be the best of the English ones she’d done so far. The craggy climb up the south end of the mountain is the main attraction for her; whereas many NP’s are just grassy and boggy. It’s not difficult to agree that NP10 is a good all round experience and one summit in the day and a shorter drive along an experimental route, in a car which was not my own, would prove to be a breath of fresh air to me.
Three year-old Grandson Jack was woken up at 06:00, dressed, breakfasted and delivered to the childminder’s for 07:10. How’s that for getting your own back on noisy toddlers! My XYL Denise agreed to pick him up at 17:00. We were driving from Scarborough by 07:20 (in Hazel’s car – mine still doesn’t have the required paperwork) arriving at the honesty box (£1) near Dale Head Farm (SD 8426 7145) for 09:50. Though similar to our last SOTA; NP17 last year, the driving route was changed again as follows: Sutton Bank, a short section of A1 between exits 49 & 48, Minskip, Farnham, Pateley Bridge, Grassington, Arncliffe and Halton Gill. It’s 101 miles. We returned via the same route and it avoids York & Harrogate through two rush hours thereby saving 2 x 30 minutes. Traffic was moderate on the way and light on the way back.
We booted up & set off walking for Pen-Y-Ghent at 10:00 in hazy sunshine and a light breeze arriving at the summit by 11:06. There were just a handful of people at the trig point and again a quiet activating area was found down the wall and south from the trig. Hazel phoned Roy (G4SSH) a few minutes later relayed a conversation while I erected the mast & dipole. After intending to start on 10.118, we went for the more adventurous 7.032 when Roy told us that it was perfectly clear today. I had no desire to compete with the Russian Military; it was bad enough when someone started calling CQ over me on 7.032 but more of that later. Things didn’t go according to plan. I had told Roy, ‘40m CW in 15 minutes. It was fatal to do this then switch on the 4m FM rig just to check the antenna. There was a QSO on there which I QSK’d mainly because activity on 4m is still quite sparse and ‘a bird in the hand’…… This led to further QSO’s and a late start on 40m. (See below.)
PEN-Y-GHENT, G/NP-010, 694m (2,277ft), 4pts, 11:06 to 14:57. Zero C rising to 4C, less than 7 mph wind. Sunshine but with hazy viz. No lying snow. (LOC: IO84VD – WAB: SD87).
4m FM – 6 QSO’s:
I was not supposed to be on here at all yet but for reasons detailed above 4m got my attention. After working two stations in QSO, namely M0JRB & H4YLV - Robert & Bob in Ossett & Liversage respectively, I was called by a further 4 stations and logged G7RNX - Alex in Dalton, GW7AAV – Steve in Connah’s Quay, G4ZRP – Brian in West Kirby and G6TGO – Ian 4 miles from Manchester Airport. I used my home-brew half-wave and with a IC-E90 running 3.5 Watts. Most reports were 55 to 58 with 51 from Steve. There would be two more 4m FM QSO’s later on but I was now overdue for 40m CW by 15 minutes.
40m CW – 27 QSO’s:
First up in response to a CQ on 7.032 were G4SSH and G4OBK. Good to know that 40m was carrying G traffic as well as European. Frid was next – DL1FU who I more often than not work on 80m these days. After that a significant pile-up developed putting my CW skills to the test. As I have explained before, in order to get through QSO’s as quickly as possible, I have to set my keyer to 22 WPM. The problem is I can’t read CW at that speed; only callsigns and reports. That aside, chasers from the following countries were worked: G, DL, HB9, EA, HE, OE, EC, ON, 9A, OK, HA & S51. Late in the proceedings someone sent, ‘F es F Nr?’ I explained that I didn’t know it and spelling out, ‘Yorkshire Dales National Park’ was just too much to cope with at the time.
I tried my best to keep the RF output to 30W or 50W but because of QSB and later some serious and possibly deliberate QRM, I was forced up to 100W for a few QSO’s. Things got really bad around 12:06 when a strong station PA1MAX commenced calling CQ on my QRG. There was no response to several applications of QRL – Pse QSY – Tnx. I laboured through another two difficult QSO’s and a confirmation to DL3HXX (after my confusion with DL9SXX) that our earlier QSO was good but worries about the power being wasted got the better of me. At 12:13 after sending ‘UP’ – ‘UP’ I slowly ‘dotted’ my way to a clear channel – 7.032.6 where I was immediately found by OK1ZE and a few more stations. It was unbelievable but true – here again at 13:23 was the same station once more right over me calling CQ but this time drifting up and down the band. It almost lost me a QSO with Kevin G0NUP but the band dried up just after that and I was off like a shot to 80m CW in the hope it might be more trouble free. Again Hazel was keen to get involved with the logging; something she couldn’t do with CW but she did look up some names for me.
80m CW – 13 QSO’s:
Phil G4OBK started off the 3.557 MHz session with his usual strong signals but unlike the 18th Feb, European stations were also loggable in the form of DJ5AV, F5SQA plus Mike EI2CL. The rest were G chasers who were probably unable to hear me on 40m. Conditions were improved from those of 2 weeks ago but still not good. There was QSB and the majority of QSOs required 100W with 30 to 50 for the rest. Scarborough stations G4SSH & G4OOE got through on here and there was a rare appearance from Gerald G4OIG. Also logged were: G4OWG, G0TDM, G0NES, G4UDU, a rare G4CPA & G3RDQ.
80m SSB – 16 QSO’s:
A move to 3.724 brought in 15 UK stations plus surprisingly, Andre ON4CAP. Brian G8ADD was guarding the frequency for me. As well as established chasers, it was good to be called by five Foundation Licence holders namely: M6AMO, M3XIE, M6NJB, M6HBS & M6LEP (aka M0LEP). The final Scarborough stations G0NUP Kevin and G3HKO Des got through. (Des called me in CW and was answered accordingly). Brian G0BFJ chased SD87. The others were MM1MPB, G0RQL, M0OYG, G7CDA, G6ODU & G4CPA to say hello. After Roy’s ‘heads-up’ Alan M6AMO posted me QRV on here and at the end Roger G4OWG who must have been listening in, helped by posting an impending QSY to 160m. It was at around this time that Hazel discovered sitting in the sun was far preferable to getting out of the wind in the shadow cast by the wall so I moved the station a few metres.
160m CW – 4 QSO’s:
With noon only 90 minutes behind us, there was only a small chance of QSO’s on 160m. Luckily Phil G4OBK was available today and he’s more or less a ‘banker’ unless I’m in GW, GM or have only QRP. So it proved as we exchanged 599 reports. However that was not until the end of the session. Rob G4RQJ opened it with quite a strong signal followed amazingly by Roy G4SSH who was ‘grass-hopper high’ at 229 but who correctly QSL’d nonetheless. Reg G3WPF usually puts in a good signal and so it was today - 599.
Frank G3RMD, Mike EI2CL and a couple of others were conspicuous by their absence but I know the 160 chasers will have tried hard to hear me. 100W was needed on 1832 but 160m is well worth the time & effort spent on it. Had this been a couple of hours later things would likely have been different. Leaving it until last (of the HF) was the best I could do.
4m FM (again) – 1 S2S:
While Hazel removed the 160m coils and rolled up the dipole, I happened to hear a signal on 70.450 FM. This turned out to be Barry MW6BDV/P on one of my favourites Y-Lliwedd GW/NW-008. Barry had already completed three or four S2S’s on 4m – an excellent day’s work! Signals were 57 both ways.
2m FM – 24 QSO’s
I wasn’t due up on here. It was merely an attempt to reach my friends in Scarborough. That was a failure but one thing led to another and oh bother, just to make life even more hectic – a lift! There were a lot of mixed signals & noise on 2m but most QSO’s were local. Half seemed to be SOTA chasers. However three ‘gems’ which got this session underway were S2S’s with Neil & Karen 2W0TDX and 2W0XYL on GW/NW-042. Signals were 60 over 9 both ways. I had forgotten to adjust the power setting after Top Band so was putting out 50W of FM. After that I called Barry on NW8 despite working him on 4m earlier.
MM1MPB who I’d worked earlier on 3.724 called but signals between us were far worse than on 80. Two Geoffs G4CPA & M6MZX plus Kevin M0XLT (MX0BCQ) put me in the running for the CRAG award. They were followed by Mick M0PVA who is still suffering with pain that sadly impedes his walking of the hills these days. Near the end there was a very difficult QSO with M6PEW/M owing to a QSO which had suddenly appeared over him but we exchanged in the end. Power was reduced to about 15W after the initial ‘battery blistering’ 50W.
4m FM (yet again) – 1 QSO:
The day would not have been complete without working Mike G4BLH on 4m FM now would it? We arranged it on 2m but I apologise for being pretty well tired out by this point after almost 4 hours on the summit. 59 both ways.
The descent took 48 minutes as against just under an hour on snow last year and it was a sunny and still day by now. The car was gained by 15:45 and we were underway by 15:54 to arrive home in 2 hrs 22 minutes at 18:15.
The total distance driven was 202 miles and the picturesque 101 mile return was a reversal of the morning route.
Thanks to ALL STATIONS WORKED and to the valued spotters: G4SSH, G4OBK, M6AMO, G4OWG, G4RQJ & G4BLH. Thanks to G4SSH for telephone liaison and on-air QSY notification.
Total: 92 QSO’s, comprising:
27 on 7.032-CW.
13 on 3.557-CW.
16 on 3.724-SSB.
4 on 1.832-CW
8 on 70.450-FM
24 on 145.475-FM
Battery utilisation (IC706): 96% discharged 11V nom / 20C, 9.0 Ah Li-Po.
NP-010: 270m (886ft) ascent, 5.5 km (3.4 miles). 66 min up, 48 min down.
Summit time: 3 hours - 51 minutes.
Walking time: 1 hour - 54 minutes.
This was once again a very pleasant day out. The WX was on its best behaviour for the time of year and the driving was lower pressure and the journey time via this new route, quicker than is often the case. Despite chilling at times and running out of things to do, i.e. Logging, Aerials, MP3, Texting, Sudoku etc, Hazel said she had enjoyed it again and was pleased that she’d achieved her aim of 10 summits in 12 months. She also got quite a few ‘Hi to Hazel’ passed to her over the air. We now need to work towards her Foundation Licence – much of the studying is now completed. That should energise her and help me out if she can put on 2m FM while I tackle Top Band and the like. The number of QSO’s was 92 as against 67 last year. Pity it wasn’t 100 but we ran out of time and probably bands.
73, John G4YSS,
(using GX0OOO/P; Scarborough Special Events Group Club Call)