Wednesday 14th November 2018 - no activation
Gig: Liam Read (Open Mic)
Venue: Swan With 2 Necks, Macclesfield
I should have done an activation with it being a gig day, but I got a call to do a day’s supply teaching in Newcastle-under-Lyme. Even so, I should, and the initial intention was, to activate The Cloud G/SP-015 on the way home, but in a rare episode of apathy, I couldn’t be bothered.
Thursday 15th November 2018 - no activation
Gig: The Sound of Music (bandcall)
Venue: Brookdale Theatre, Bramhall, Stockport
I was determined not to suffer a second day of indifference to SOTA activating, so decided I would activate The Cloud G/SP-015 after finishing my music arranging work for the day, but before heading out to the gig (bandcall). I needed to scan in and load all the Sound of Music scores on my iPad as I wanted to be able to handle pageturns with my Bluetooth pedal, rather than missing a note or two. I then had to knock out a new band arrangement of “Hurt” that Joe wanted to perform at weekend, before transcribing a bass part for a North American customer.
After that lot, I could have done the activation, but it would have meant rushing about and keeping an eye on the clock. So for the second day running, I didn’t bother. This was turning into a crisis.
Friday 16th November 2018 - The Cloud G/SP-015
Gig: Joe Longthorne
Venue: Sheldon Ivy Leaf, Birmingham
Determined not to make it three days of apathy in a row, I set off in plenty of time for the gig and made straight for Bosley. I only walked up with the handheld, but had a great activation that included S2S with Phil GW4HQB/P on Snowdon GW/NW-001, and Matt GW8XYJ/P on Ysgyryd Fawr GW/SW-016.
The Skirrid was a nice contact from Cheshire just using a handheld. Matt and I repeated the exchange after moving to C4FM (Yaesu System Fusion) mode.
The gig venue was “a bit of a change” from Glasgow Pavilion a couple of weeks earlier!
After the gig in the Midlands, I drove down to Malvern Link where I had digs booked for the night.
Saturday 17th November 2018 - Worcestershire Beacon G/WB-009, Bredon Hill G/CE-003 & Cleeve Hill G/CE-001
No gig - day off
Staying in the Malverns, the first priority for Saturday had to be Worcestershire Beacon. Problem was I’d slept in until 11am, the bed was so comfy! This is not good for a multi-summit day in the back end of November when the days are short.
I was not prepared for the hit I was about to suffer at the car park on Beacon Road, before the start of my walk. £4.20 to park. £4.20!!! I’d opted for the longer easy approach rather than the short steep option, but I certainly paid for it!
Again, I’d only carried the handheld, confident it would be all I’d need. Sure enough I collected a good number of QSOs, and I couldn’t believe my ears when a GJ7 called in. The station from near Les Platons (GJ/JE-001) on Jersey was 59 with me, and gave me 52/53. Nice bit of tropo!
Unfortunately the satnav was in for repair and I was back to the old days of using Google Maps on my phone. It took a bit of getting used to again, but ultimately, it successfully delivered me to the top of the lane out of Kemerton, and the parking spots on the shoulder of Bredon Hill G/CE-003.
The walk up through a small wood and several fields with a very gentle gradient, was very pleasant, and I had forgotten just how spectacular the Iron Age Hill fort up there was.
The 2m handheld again was sufficient for an easy and rapid qualification on 2m FM, with Stu G0LGS and Matt 2E0MDJ both worked again in Fusion mode.
As I descended, I realised that the price of my lie-in that morning, would be that I’d only have time left for one more activation that day. I reset the Google Nav for Cleeve Common and set off.
Little did it, or I, know that the existence of a race meetings at Cheltenham would cause the complete closure of an A road, so it could be entirely devoted to punters leaving the racecourse. I was far from gruntled. I did manage to find a way round and up onto Cleeve Hill G/CE-001. Parking was at a premium up there, but fortunately someone was just leaving as I arrived.
The walk to the trig point is trivial on this one - just a few hundred yards along a flat field. For the third time in the day, the summit was qualified on 2m FM with the handheld.
My issue now was getting accommodation for the night. Nigh on impossible around Cheltenham on a race day it would seem. I messaged my sister-in-law in Chandlers Ford who I’d already arranged to stay with after Sunday’s gig in Portsmouth, to see if I come come a night early. This was fine, so I had a bit more driving to do. It worked out well though, as I enjoyed a very pleasant evening catching up with Charmaine and Rob over a couple of beers and a bit of supper.