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Spots


#1

Thank you to everyone that spotted us over the last few days while we have been out on the Lakeland fells. Mobile coverage has been really poor as we have not had any reliable 3G coverage on the tops and even Andy’s txt service failed us today on Red Screes. The mobile was showing some signal and connection but did not want to send txts.

The weather has been extremely hot making the climbing far more strenuous than we are used which has been adding some time to the estimated times of arrival; arriving late at the bottom has not helped either. I will always be on 40 metres around 7.118 and Helen has been calling on 2 metres FM.

With the weather set to stay this way for the rest of the week you can expect at least one hill each day until the weekend. Then we head off to Scotland…

Carolyn


#2

In reply to G6WRW:

Hi Carolyn,
I was listening for both of you today but the F2 critical frequency didn’t rise high enough for me to hear you well enough through the noise here. I did get the occasional bit of your voice but not well enough to work you.

I also listened for Helen who was occasionally opening the squelch on 145 MHz FM but again not well enough to work.

Telephone coverage in the Lakes is somewhat iffy & your experiences today do not surprise me.

One suggestion may be to put out a call on CW on 7032 KHz using whatever callsign was alerted. In theory, if the RBN hears that, at least people will know you are QRV. Of course, I know you do not like CW, but I also know that Helen has used CW & a call on 7032, even if not picked up by the RBN, will be answered at some point by a chaser you know, who will QRS & spot whatever you want spotted.

On the subject of Red Screes, I have looked up at that summit from the Kirkstone Inn & it is quite steep from there. I’m not sure which route you took but in today’s weather it must have been extremely strenuous.

Anyway, I’m just off put on my tin hat & duck down behind these sand bags I prepared earlier for the inevitable flack from you for suggesting CW might actually be useful :wink:

Well done both of you :slight_smile:

Thanks & 73,

Mark G0VOF


#3

In reply to G6WRW:

Vodaphone should be workable on Red Screes on 900MHz as there are sites at Wray Castle and Town Head which should be LOS from the summit. All the networks have sites in Ambleside but the path is a bit grazing so probably not that good.

Of course the issue is non-radio people find masts ugly and so ban them from pretty places like The Puddles. The cell site locations look like many of the antennas are hidden on churches.

It’s less of an issue with CW. As Mark says, maybe you could put a note in the alert… “QRV 2m FM init CQ on 7.032 CW”. Those who read the spot would be listening 2m and those who don’t listen on 40m first will call their hearts out wondering why you wont answer :wink:

When going to remote bits of GM, I now check the sitefinder DB for mobile locations and see which should be OK and take the correct phone. I have a collection of old junk phones with a cheap PAYG SIM so I can pick a phone for any network. That’s quite sad I suppose!

Andy
MM0FMF


#4

In reply to G0VOF:

I have noticed Jana DG5WU doing a similar thing with RBN, I know she always operates SSB so thought it odd when a cw RBN alert came up, after listening on the cw qrg and hearing nothing, I knew what was happening the second time an RBN alert appeared.

73 d Ken G3XQE


#5

In reply to G0VOF:

Hi Mark,

we just went up following the path from the carpark oppposite the Kirkstone Pass Inn (we can recommend the food and view at this watering hole which we partook after the walk). The track is not really visible from below but starts from the gate at the end of the carpark and is obvious all the way as you go. Nothing nasty (bar a few mild scrambles), it was just the heat that made it hard work,

Carolyn


#6

In reply to G6WRW:
We had the same spotting problem in the Dales last week. The phone showed a signal while I composed the spot; and lost it as soon as I was ready to send. Usually someone spotted us before the phone woke up again.

We were lucky with the weather; it was hot but cloudy much of the time. We also got soaked twice, the rain starting just as we set up. We were expecting this and the hills were steep so it was handys and dipoles only this time except for Rogan’s Seat which is just a long plod.

Good luck,
73,
Rod


#7

In reply to MM0FMF:

When going to remote bits of GM, I now check the sitefinder DB for
mobile locations and see which should be OK and take the correct
phone.

It’s a pity that the Sitefinder data is no longer being maintained. It seems that when the Information Commissioner decreed that the data had to be made public the mobile operators responded by declining to provide it. A bit of an own goal :frowning:

I have a collection of old junk phones with a cheap PAYG SIM so
I can pick a phone for any network. That’s quite sad I suppose!

A slightly more flexible and convenient method is to get a “global SIM” and put it in a spare phone. They’re mainly intended for foreign travel but work perfectly well in the UK. You get a UK number (typically registered in the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands) and can roam to just about anywhere. Mine can use all of the main UK networks except Three, and with my main phone on that, I have every possibility covered. Using the usual menu on the phone you can either lock it to a network or let the phone choose.

It has rescued me on a few occasions when I’ve been unable to get a usable signal on my main phone.


Martyn M1MAJ


#8

In reply to M1MAJ:

The global SIM is a good idea but all the “junk” phones I’ve collected are, sadly, still network locked.

I thought it was just EE that wasn’t playing ball anymore on Sitefinder but o2/3/Vodaphone still did update it. I must admit I haven’t checked. My last trip to NS land confirmed the database was suitably accurate, when I expected good o2/Voda/3 coverage I got it.

In fact it looks like there’s better coverage in the Far North of Scotland where there’s nobody and few tourists that in The Puddles where there’s gazilions of visitors.

Andy
MM0FMF


#9

Nowadays is amateur radio only really possible where there is mobile phone coverage? Gosh how things have advanced.


#10

In reply to G3CWI:

I was starting to think that, too!

Brian G8ADD


#11

In reply to G3CWI:

Nowadays is amateur radio only really possible where there is mobile
phone coverage? Gosh how things have advanced.

I find it rather worrying how often it seems to be necessary to self-spot in order to get contacts from a summit. There was a time when calling on 5.3985 was almost guaranteed to get me started, after which somebody would usually hang around to track band changes etc. This is certainly no longer reliable, and it’s not just changing band conditions as the usual suspects often turn up after the spot.

Without self-spotting I think I would quite often have to leave the summit with few if any contacts (and almost certainly not with the chasers who want them).

But I am loath to criticise chasers for not sitting glued to their radios listening for calls. I certainly don’t have time to do that, and have no reason to expect that anybody else does.

With a tinge of regret therefore, I think we do have to accept that we have become dependent on public network infrastructure to orchestrate the direct contacts that we desire.


Martyn M1MAJ


#12

In reply to M1MAJ:

I find it rather worrying how often it seems to be necessary to self-spot in
order to get contacts from a summit.

I have never found this, Martyn. Perhaps you need to try CW? Long ago, I stopped posting advance “Alerts”. Even so, I cannot remember a single occasion in the past two years when a couple of CQ calls on 7.033 or 14.061 has failed to elicit at least a few replies. Then, usually, one of the stations who responded will be kind enough to place a spot for me and a small pile-up results.

73,
Walt (G3NYY)


#13

Martyn is a CW op Walt!

Tom M1EYP


#14

In reply to M1MAJ:

This is certainly no longer reliable, and it’s not just changing band
conditions as the usual suspects often turn up after the spot.

Without self-spotting I think I would quite often have to leave the
summit with few if any contacts (and almost certainly not with the
chasers who want them).

I think it is self fulfilling. If we become used to the idea that (most) activators self spot, then it could be argued that there is little point in monitoring the bands. Also, because we can self spot, there is no great need to use a well known frequency to call, which makes monitoring even more hit and miss.
I’m not sure of a solution - even if there is a problem…

Adrian
G4AZS


#15

In reply to M1EYP:

With regard to 5 megs, Martyn, it happens to be my priority band but at this time of year I tend to spend more time outdoors and just pop in occasionally to see whats cooking. In fact I`m considering hooking up my W3EDP antenna into the greenhouse and leaving the 817 monitoring FE or FM when the chatterboxes are on, though that means a few minutes delay before I can get to the PC and post a spot! It is noticable, though, how more and more chasers on 80/60/40 give R4 reports citing high local noise levels. Its not as bad here as it was since my neighbour moved and took his big plasma TV with him, S8 noise on 60 has dropped to S4, but things could easily change…

Brian G8ADD


#16

In reply to G6WRW:
Tom M6GGZ and I hope to catch you for S2S or Wainwright to summit this Friday 25th July. We should be walking with my Dad over Dollywaggon Pike and Helvellyn plus 2 to 3 other Wainwrights, activating all on 2m FM. I’ve 14 Marilyns in G/LD still to climb so hope to visit at least 3 more this weekend. G/LD completion by walking with my Dad John is my personal goal in SOTA. We’ve walked over 69 Wainwrights and outlying fells to date. If only I could keep up with the mere 79 year old…

I think in Lakeland it is important and very helpful to alert on WOTA website too. That way we’ve had terrific support from the local fell top amateur radio devotees as soon as we arrive at the first top. WOTA is an excellent scheme anyway. I rarely ever self spot in G/LD as the regulars are listening out for me on S20.

Post activation drinks are almost always in the Watermill Inn in Ings so I can complete all the twisty lanes driving before my glass of ‘Dogth Vader’ HI

73 es sd

David M0YDH


#17

Regarding spots, it has been appreciated that a few chasers have been kindly waiting for us ready to put a spot on even though we could have been up to an hour late. It helps that we have been on WOTAs too as the locals have been eager to get their points. It is like “the olden days” when there have been people patiently waiting. I would not complain that people are not waiting by their radios as I have spent time waiting in the past without success (normally for good reasons). Then sometimes I have been first to spot a station before the pileup when I have been desperate for a particular summit.

Carolyn
G6WRW


#18

In reply to M0YDH:

We should be on Dent (G/LD-045) in the morning if our plans come to fruition, before heading to Cartmel for a geocaching event (so no summit on Saturday probably). Helen will probably call on 2 metres.

If it remains as hot as it has been then take lots of water (and a little extra) and expect it to be hot and sunny.

We are hoping to be on Pillar (G/LD-006) tomorrow if the sun does not get to us on the way up,

Carolyn
G6WRW


#19

Hmmm, torrential rain when we did it, not sure which is worse. It sure was a scorcher on Gun today, not sure I’d fancy taking on Pillar in that.

A formiddable mountain - have a good one and stay safe.

Tom M1EYP


#20

In reply to G6WRW:

Hi Carolyn,

Not sure where you’re doing Pillar from - Gerald and I did it from the YH at Ennerdale and found it to be one of the most gruelling ascents of all the LD’s. Well worth it though :slight_smile: (We carried on and stayed overnight at Black Sail - that was an experience in itself! then did High Stile the next day)

Sadly won’t be on tomorrow, but have a good time stay safe and hope to catch you both on Friday

73 de Paul G4MD