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GM/SS-244 Belling Hill Report


#1

The best laid plans etc etc. If something could go wrong on an activation, this one had to take the biscuit. Arriving at the parking spot in reasonable time, I decided (rather foolishly) to carry far too much equipment. The customary FT 857, 20Ah SLAB, 10m fishing pole antenna, X-300 collinear, Antron-99, 2 poles for the antennas and just for good measure, another “just in case” 9Ah SLAB slipped into my coat pocket. I set off following Andy MM0FMF directions. I hadn’t gone 300m when I realised, something had to be jettisoned, quite frankly, Hercules would have thought twice about carrying this lot.

If I dumped the fishing pole antenna, this would have meant no 40m and as a result, a possible contract being taken out on my life by the unique chasers, especially after posting on the alerts, I would be working 40m. Couldn’t dump the collinear as that would put an end to VHF, so it had to be the A-99.

Second (and worst) mistake , I decided to wear trainers instead of boots for the ascent and this decision would come back to haunt me later. After taking a wrong turn, I found the the “tiny” cairn which marked the summit of the hill, I walked about another 250m along a very muddy path to were there was the remains of a large felled tree, ideal for bungeeing antennas.

After wringing out my socks, I set up the 2m antenna and called cq… and called cq… and calling cq. This was really hard going. After about 20 minutes I eventually got a call from GM4PKJ located between Aberdeen and Dundee, he was followed by G1XYS in Newcastle and finally MM3LSO who wasn’t a million miles away, I carried on, hoping to activate the summit on 2m, but alas, it wasn’t to be for reasons which will become apparent later.

QSYing to 40m was almost alien to me, I haven’t worked below 17m for about a year, IIRC. To make matters worse the SWR was far too high and even the auto tuner was struggling to cope with it. However, this was the least of my problems, as trying to find a clear frequency was proving a nightmare… so I did what any reasonable ham operator would do under the circumstances and crashed someones net.

Turned out, they were mostly WABers and were delighted to relieve me of NT61, a new one for three of them. Bade my farewell and found a clear frequency, spotted myself, called CQ worked a couple of chasers, only to have the frequency hijacked by some Italian station running a lot more power than my meagre 10 Watts.

Mark G0VOF came to the rescue and I QSY’d up a few Kc’s where it was clear and worked the pile up. Mark was brilliant, he stayed there until I QSY’d to 15m and then took the trouble to spot me. In the meantime, my wet feet were getting very cold and operating had become uncomfortable, however, I decided to tough it out. I worked the 15m pile-up for about an hour before, my by now, two frozen feet were causing me to rapidly lose interest in any form of radio. I worked one token station on the 12m band and two on the 10m band a couple more on the 15m and 40m band before I’d had enough and went QRT.

On breaking down the 2m antenna, I noticed the two elements inside the collinear, had rather frustratingly, parted company, a real sting in the tail! The decent was made in the company of a very experienced hill walker, who had completed over 1100 of the marilyns (sorry Andy, looked in my log and it was over 1100 not 1200) he was fascinated to hear all about SOTA and was really keen to look at the web site.

To sum up… 2m and the collinear from Belling Hill, well the jury is still out, until I try it again with the antenna connected properly, maybe next year.

I was hoping for a big score from this summit and if everything had gone to plan, may have got one but the radio gods decreed otherwise.

After wasting far too much time on VHF for just three contacts, about 85 contacts were made on HF in a shade over 2 hours, before I went off the rails a bit. Anyhow, 95 contacts for the day was OK, I suppose. Highlight of the day, apart from a couple of calls from the USA, was somewhat rather Ironically, in view of my frozen feet, a call from Iceland, a first for me on a SOTA activation.

BTW, for the activators who like views, this summit is for you. Even I must admit, it’s pretty spectacular, you can see so many hills from here, it would take about ten minutes to count them all.

Also, my apologies to Brian G8ADD, for not recognising your call straight away, really nice to work you and to Mark G0VOF, for renaming him Steve. Let’s just put it down to my cold feet :frowning:

Thanks to all the chasers.

Best 73
Mike MM6MMM


#2

In reply to 2E0YYY:
Nice to catch you on Saturday Mike, a new one for me. I had just tuned in to your first 40m frequency when you were hickjacked, but glad to have worked you shortly afterwards.

As for things going wrong on an activation, didn’t you once forget to take your radio?!

73
Jonathan
M6HBS


#3

In reply to M6HBS:

In reply to 2E0YYY:
Nice to catch you on Saturday Mike, a new one for me. I had just tuned
in to your first 40m frequency when you were hickjacked, but glad to
have worked you shortly afterwards.

No problem, thanks for the call. Yeah, the 40m frequency was wall to wall with operators. Mind you, of all the summits I’ve actvated, the noise level on this summit was easily the quietest! Not a plasma tv or PLT for miles, the S meter just didn’t move…

As for things going wrong on an activation, didn’t you once forget to
take your radio?!

I think you have me confused with G1STQ and the debacle of me lugging his 20Ah SLAB up the Gritstone Trail last year, only to find he hadn’t bothered to charge it!!!

Anyhow Jonathan, I’ve forgiven him now and hopefully, I’ll be giving him a hand to take the stabilisers off his motor bike this weekend. :wink:

73 Mike
2E0YYY


#4

In reply to 2E0YYY:
When will you ever learn???

Your little legs are just not built to carry all that equipment on your own Mike - especially at your age too :slight_smile:

I keep telling you that a simple home-brew wire linked di-pole and an FT-817 is ALL you need! Add a 4AHr battery, log book, pencil and a bite to eat and your all done. Any more and you’ll need the help of Donkey. And you did’nt invite Donkey on this outing so I stayed at home. And laughed all the way to the pub.

Dried your socks out?


#5

As for things going wrong on an activation, didn’t you once
forget to
take your radio?!

I think you have me confused with G1STQ and the debacle of me lugging
his 20Ah SLAB up the Gritstone Trail last year, only to find he hadn’t
bothered to charge it!!!

I don’t think so Mike - from June the 30th!

“I left Henley-on-Thames at 0830z driving the 40 miles in about 1hr 20m. As I was pulling into the car park, I received a phone call asking if I needed my FT-857 as I’d left it on my sisters coffee table. I bit my tongue put my head in my hands and returned to Henley. It was touch and go as to whether I went back to Walbury Hill or went home. I went back to Walbury Hill, now running well over 3 hours late, this coupled with a 120 mile drive, I was not a happy bunny :-(”

Jonathan
M6HBS


#6

In reply to M6HBS:

I don’t think so Mike - from June the 30th!

"I left Henley-on-Thames at 0830z driving the 40 miles in about
1hr 20m. As I was pulling into the car park, I received a phone call
asking if I needed my FT-857 as I’d left it on my sisters coffee
table.

LOL…

73 Mike
2E0YYY


#7

In reply to 2E0YYY:

I hadn’t gone 300m when I realised, something had to be jettisoned

It’s only 480m to the summit! :slight_smile:

Andy
MM0FMF


#8

In reply to MM0FMF:

In reply to 2E0YYY:

I hadn’t gone 300m when I realised, something had to be jettisoned

It’s only 480m to the summit! :slight_smile:

Not when you take the wrong path it is’nt :wink:

Mike 2E0YY


#9

In reply to 2E0YYY:

Not when you take the wrong path it is’nt :wink:

Ah! I shouldn’t laugh…

I led Brian G4ZRP all around the flank of Parlick as I missed the path then we went straight up to the col with Fair Snape Fell. Then I led him all the way up Parlick and said “Oops, wrong summit” and then all the way back to the col before going the correct way. Oh, how we laughed as we marched uphill (again) into the driving wind!

Andy
MM0FMF


#10

In reply to MM0FMF:

In reply to 2E0YYY:

Not when you take the wrong path it is’nt :wink:

Ah! I shouldn’t laugh…

I led Brian G4ZRP all around the flank of Parlick as I missed the path
then we went straight up to the col with Fair Snape Fell. Then I led
him all the way up Parlick and said “Oops, wrong summit” and
then all the way back to the col before going the correct way. Oh, how
we laughed as we marched uphill (again) into the driving wind!

You sound like the Grand Old Duke of York, Andy… And so easily done.

Yep, I turned left too early at the first tree line and realised my mistake after about a 500m walk in the wrong direction. The ground under foot was dreadful and that’s when I got soaked :frowning:

Mike 2E0YYY


#11

In reply to 2E0YYY:

Hi Mike,

It was very nice to work you on 40m, a bit lower in the spectrum than usual but a good signal with me at least.

You should actually be thanking Don G0RQL for his help, as it was only by finding Don’s superb signal while he established a QSO with you a few KHz away from your self-spotted QRG, that I knew you were there.

Don really does have a superb station from HF to UHF (& beyond), so I do hope he doesn’t give up HF chasing at weekends due to the “Zoo” that it can be at times. Don does generally get through any pile-up, & rightly so :slight_smile:

And as for calling me Steve, well, as Steve GW7AAV called at the same time as me you were both right, & wrong, at the same time. If you had called Steve Mark, & given him the callsign G0VOF that would have been just the same. It is nice to be the first call pulled from a pile-up, but on this occasion, I think me & Steve must have doubled & your brain mixed up our names & callsigns. Easily done in the cold, so maybe it was getting to you earlier than you realised.

On your new 40m QRG you were a pretty reliable signal despite any SWR problem so it really was no problem monitoring you on 40m until you decided to QSY to 15m.

After spotting you on 15m SSB I listened for a few minutes & realised from hearing other stations working you that once again you had to QSY a little to avoid QRO QRM, so I adjusted my spot accordingly. I then left my radio tuned to you 15m QRG while I did some work on the computer. A highlight for me, apart from hearing stations working you for well over half an hour, was hearing a North American station with a multiple “same letter” callsign, calling you & saying that with a call like MM6MMM/P your name had to be Mike! I seem to remember he was called Nick?, but I’ll have to check your log for that info.

I could not hear you on 15m, but your signal on 40m seemed pretty consistant with me, it’s a shame you couldn’t give 10m a try, as that has been pretty good recently.

I’ve never been a big DX chaser, but last Saturday morning I answered a CQ call & had a very nice unhurried chat with VU2DSI who then carried on calling CQ without much success. Surely there couldn’t only have been me hearing him on 28.560MHz?

I think that was the first time I have worked India on 10m, & it was so easy!

Even though I miss most of the really good stuff due to the limited amount of time I get to play radio, It’s still really nice to have decent F2 propagation back on 10m :wink:

Thanks for the new summit & best 73,

Mark G0VOF