With a nod to the great Frank Sidebottom (RIP) who was celebrated last night at Castlefield Arena and live on BBC Radio Manchester, today was Absolutely Fantastic. Friday afternoons sees two hours of Radio on my teaching timetable, and for two academic years now I have been delivering an enrichment course incorporating the Foundation Licence course and exam. On the afternoon of Friday 9th July 2010, I hired a minibus to take 15 of us to Cloudside.
The fifteen included 3 Foundation licensees from this year’s course (Year 7), two from last year (now in Year 8), 8 children who have done the course but who are not yet licensed (two of whom are intending retaking next year) plus two staff members - myself and Deb, the attendance officer.
It was Absolutely Brilliant Actually. First of all, the weather, despite a fair degree of pessimism on the Met Office website, held up beautifully. (Last year, the weather was Absolutely Bobbins). Secondly, the children were wonderful. They were expressing wonderment from half way up the hill, feasting their eyes on the open countryside and the far-ranging views - maybe for the first time ever looking at some of their faces!
At the top, I set up the 2m SOTA Beam with Joshua and Paul, while the licensees together with Qanita, Rani, Aroosa, Maryam, Manisha and Luke all headed with Deb for the excellent vantage point of the large slabs towards the north-west end of the highest area. I was chuffed to see so many of the pupils enthusiastically collecting images on their mobile phones and DS’s.
Once set up, I gathered this year’s M6’s around me while I demonstrated activating the summit and achieving four contacts. This was all on 2m FM. Edson M6EDZ took to the microphone and nervously but competently worked his four contacts, before Ali M6HUS also did so more confidently.
Then it was the turn of my strongest of this year’s cohort, Lauren M6LJS. She actually carried on beyond four contacts and worked six QSOs. In between, I grabbed some further contacts for myself, particularly the S2S opportunities with Richard G3CWI/P on Gun G/SP-013, Walt G3NYY/P on Seager Hill G/WB-022, Nick G0HIK/P on Kirkby Moor G/LD-049 and Rob G4RQJ/P on Mull Hill GD/GD-005.
The “old veterans” from last year - Charlotte M3YUR and Lewis M6LDP - then had a go on 2m SSB, and both qualified their activations. I was delighted with how well my licensed students did on their debut (or second) activations, and even more delighted that my non-licensed students really enjoyed the outing, and were kind enough to tell me so. But the greatest accolade must be a Big Fantastic ego-massaging thank you to my SOTA activating and chasing friends for making an effort to be there to work my students.
It was a great day. You know it was, it really was. Thank you!