Today I activated another local summit (20 minute drive to the start). It was not the greatest day with a number of mistakes and it was hard work to get the 4 contacts I needed for the point.
I started on 30m CW. The first problem was I had left behind the bit of cord I use to attach the EFHW to the top of the 4m pole. Fortunately I had a spare guy so I could fashion something. I called CW for some time before noticing that the power indicator on the FT817 wasn’t flashing, so I was running 2.5W instead of 5W. Correcting this didn’t make much difference but I was eventually called by HB9JOE. He was a good 599 and he gave me 559. But no more contacts on 30m.
Next was 40m. CQ SOTA didn’t bring me any response even though I was spotted by RBNHOLE. Giving up on the CQs I answered one from SM3EXO who was a very strong 599. We had a QSO but he said he would give me a report on the next over, but said I was very weak and I never did get a report so it didn’t count.
I then switched to 20m where the CQ eventually got me RW3XZ (599/559) and SP9AMH (559/449). But nobody else called.
I still needed one more QSO but it wasn’t coming on 20m so I lowered the pole and replaced the EFHW with the slim jim for 2m FM. CQing eventually brought me M6AIA Andy in Dewsbury (59/44) for my fourth contact. I used the SOTA Spotter App on my phone to self-spot. It remembers your previous spot and this made me realise I had been using the wrong reference (Rombalds Moor) all along - I’d alerted with it and sent it to my CW partners. Having spotted with the right referenced I was then called by Phil G4OBK in Pickiering who was a good 55 but he could barely hear me. I think he had seen my spot and had called when I finished the previous QSO.
As I didn’t have very long until I had to collect my daughter from school it was time to pack up and go home.
As I only had 3 CW contacts using the wrong reference it was easy to email them all so hopefully they will log the correct reference.
I quickly made my 2m slim jim last year shortly before going on holiday to Wales so that I could activate Snowdon. That was a success but I’ve been meaning to make a new antenna for VHF/UHF since then as the SWR is a bit high and it has an overlong lead of RG58 that is a mess. I also found that the SWR was sometimes even higher and it looks like the BNC connector has a loose connection. So that’s another little project!
My lack of contacts on HF was disappointing. I’m hoping this is just down to the recent CME and unsettled geomagnetic field. On the summits I’ve activated on HF it has taken between 5 and 20 minutes to qualify so this was hard work.