The previous weeks weather was good all the way upto the bank holiday weekend and so we decided to activate something a little further away than the usual 2 of Winter Hill and Billinge Hill. So Tal-Y-Fan NW-040 was chosen as a relatively easy 4 pointer which would take me to 101 activator points. I had described this hill to Peter as similar to the ascent of Winter Hill but without the Tarmac. Thats how I remembered it from last time.
I’ve now come to the conclusion that hills are more difficult when you can see where you are going. My first activation of this summit was done in heavy rain, howling winds and visibility down to about 15 meters. It seemed fairly straightforward. It seemed a little steeper this time!! At least Peter had the 24Ahr SLAB. The wx this time was windy and grey skies but no rain.
Set of early to miss the BH traffic and hence arrived early on summit. A bit windy but the wall provided excelent shelter. Set up the Sota beam on the banana shaped pole and proceded to plug it into the 817. Whooops, no microphone. That was back in wigan. No real disaster, we still had the vx-7 for FM and the FT-857 for other stuff. Peter was playing around with HF on the 857 so I rigged up the vx-7 to the sotabeam. First problem is that when the power plug is inserted or removed from the vx-7 the rig restarts. On the first couple of qsos this happened a couple of times. Then I noticed that I hadnt actually connected the sotabeam to the vx-7. So the first 4 contacts were done on the rubber duck at ground level.
28 qsos later on 2m FM with 4 summit to summits (M1EYP/M3EYP on Great Coum, G0VWP Blencathra, M3FPC on The Wrekin) and the qsos dried up. Lets try HF. I havent actually done an HF activation before (except for working German World Cup stations after one of the backpackers last year).We had 50w into a 20m length of wire draped over a fishing pole in a sort of inverted V. 7Mhz was full of contest stations but went upto 7.115. Heard G1INK on SP-014 Longridge fell. Moved upto 7.120 and called cq but nothing heard. Tuned around for a bit and came back to 120 and there was a GB station calling. Worked him and moved upto 7.125. Success at last, ON3WAB came back to a call and spotted me (thankyou), we were getting somewhere. DF2PI and GM4FAM both in the log in quick succession with good signal reports. The from nowhere came a broadcast station out of the noise. That ended the 7mhz excursion.
Now onto 2m SSB. My prefered band/mode and I was looking forward to this. Sea paths to Ireland and Scotland and the height to working well into England. It was actually very dissapointing in dx terms. 7 qsos and all relatively local (Chester, Cumbria , Liverpool). I could heard an ON calling cq contest at about 57 but from past experience, his transmit capability is 1000% better than his receive capability so my replies went unanswered.
Back to 2m FM for another 7 qsos and then onto 70cm. Considering the time spent on this band and its so-called quietness, it wasnt too bad. 2 qsos on FM, and then 3 on SSB (yes SSB). That was in 13 minutes. I’ve called CQ on the band for longer without reply, so I count this as a success (especially the SSB). Vertical SSB seems to work best as people seem to have colinears and the like for 70 rather than beams. Will be trying this mode more often.
After 4 hours 11 minutes of activating there were 53 in the log. Started raining lightly on the way down, and became heavy as we crossed the last stile to where the car was parked.
A very enjoyable day with some minor trials and tribulations.
Many thanks to all worked.