I had a few hours to spare, so thought I would take a walk up Cairnghaver with my little Small Wonder Labs SW40+ (set for 2 watts, reasonable power but not too hard on the eight AA batteries). I couldn’t spot myself because my ISP had gone down, so thankyou LA1ENA for doing so.
Although Cairnghaver is listed with the Mourne Mountains, it is actually one of the Craigantlet Hills at the Northern end of County Down, nearly on the shore of Belfast Lough. You can drive up the back of the hill to the radio masts, but a walk up through Cairn Wood is more in the SOTA spirit. It is a twenty minute walk, through Forestry Commission conifer plantation lower down, then deciduous woods higher up. It was a pleasant walk today in warm sunshine. Even though Spring was late this year, the wood sorrel was out, early and abundant, carpeting the forest floor.
The activation zone extends into the woods, so I threw my end-fed half wave antenna over a tree and began calling CQ, only to discover that my Palm straight key, which has never given me any trouble before, was sticking, requiring me to pull it up as well as press it down. I couldn’t see anything wrong with the spring, so decided to keep going , and managed a few QSOs with chasers around Britain and Europe.
My apologies to all who suffered my terrible Morse, and thanks to those who persevered long enough to exchange details.