I had a long drive back from Ongar, Essex, the third gig in three days down that neck of the woods. I eventually got home at 0630 BST. Jimmy M0HGY had expressed a wish to activate our local three summits with me on the Bank Holiday Monday 7th May 2018. Inexplicably, after just two hours sleep, I was awake before Jimmy and getting ready for another day in my walking boots.
Monday 7th May 2018 - Shining Tor G/SP-004
It was a fairly late start after shopping for sunglasses (I’ve already lost those I had in Lanzarote) and a 20-32 battery (which I thought was the cause of erratic behaviour from my Palm Cube - but seems it isn’t). It was already the middle of the day when we parked just ahead of the Cat & Fiddle at the start of the main track, and the sun was a demon. It wasn’t quite afternoon, nor indeed the last day of June though.
Unsurprisingly, the route to and from Shining Tor, and indeed the summit itself, were pretty busy with plenty of sensible people taking advantage of the most untraditional British bank holiday weather.
Jimmy M0HGY used his new clips (found and ordered from some online plumbing supplies merchant) to attach his MFD to his SOTA Pole, and these worked really well - and importantly removed any risk of mangling the elements inside the MFD! He had a busy session on 2m FM, netting 25 QSOs.
It was the good old 20m vertical with elevated groundplane for me, which got me some QSOs, including S2S, but fairly slow going on a fairly dead band. I finished with a spot of 2m C4FM Fusion, connecting my Yaesu FT-70D to Jimmy’s MFD. Lunch was Heinz Chicken Noodle soup from the flask, which was still most enjoyable in weather more traditionally associated with cold beer and ice cream.
Next - on to Gun G/SP-013 - where else?
Monday 7th May 2018 - Gun G/SP-013
The drive from Shining Tor G/SP-004 to Gun G/SP-013 was truly awful. For most of the way, along the narrow winding country lanes through Bottom o’ the Oven, Forest Chapel, Wildboarclough and Wincle, I was stuck behind a Tucsan, which was doing 15mph on straight sections, and 6mph around bends. This, coupled with the late start plus my exhaustion through lack of sleep, gave the whole day a kind of “slow motion” feel to it. This concerned Jimmy as he was aspiring for more urgency in our MO for our upcoming SOTA trips. I assured him that today was not a normal day!
The radio set up was exactly the same - FT-817 + MFD = 2m FM for Jimmy M0HGY, though he did add SA4BLM on 20m SSB to his 18 VHF contacts. We both worked Simon G4TJC/P and Helen 2E0VMD/P on 2m FM for S2S with Winter Hill G/SP-010. An unspectacular yet sufficient stint on 20m CW did for me.
At the end of the activation, we swapped positions so that Jimmy could try a little HF, while I attempted some C4FM-Fusion.
Finally, it was off to The Cloud G/SP-015. Jimmy originally only suggested the first two - for which he hadn’t yet collected activator points in 2018! However, Facebook brought it to our attention that exactly one year ago - 7th May 2017 - we went out and did all our local three. We simply had to do that again.
Monday 7th May 2018 - The Cloud G/SP-015
I was now so tired that I could hardly move, so muscle memory alone got me to the summit I think. the summit area was fairly busy as expected, so I went to one of my favoured spots, a flat grassy area close to the cliff edge. I liked that the grass here was very short, after meeting an adder the previous day! I didn’t like the presence of a tied-up little black bag of dog dirt right where I was about to set up. Why do people do that? It just doesn’t make any sense, as well as being horribly antisocial.
Jimmy made 13 QSOs on 2m FM on this one. I made a few QSOs on 20m CW, but again very slow going. Just a handful into Europe, some into the USA and one or two into England.
I finished again by trying C4FM via Jimmy’s antenna, and adding four QSOs to my total by doing so. Jimmy also went on Fusion on added two of his own.
While Jimmy was packing up, I waited by the topograph and called on S20. Some disgruntled local amateurs replied to complain about use of Digital Voice. Earlier in the day someone was deliberately transmitting FM while I was operating on C4FM, causing the AMS on my rig to kick in and reset the mode to FM. I disabled the AMS at the time - but had completely forgotten, so I was inadvertently transmitting in Fusion on the 2m calling channel! When I realised, I quickly reinstated the AMS on my rig - and apologised! I think my mind was now frazzled.
Just before we descended, we heard Mike 2E0YYY/P on Overmoor, a HEMA summit, with a huge signal. Jimmy called in and worked him, then passed the handheld to me. Of course, in that very instant, the one-way QSB kicked in and I wasn’t heard.
Thanks to everyone we worked for contributing to a great day out in the hills.