I cringed as I ascended The Cloud G/SP-015 on the evening of Tuesday 6th March 2012. The wind was up again, and I also knew that rain was on its way later. When was I ever going to get a calm evening to allow me to become challenging again in the UKACs? Perhaps I just got lucky with my campaigns in 2011!
As I arrived at the trig point and topograph, it was not as wild as I had anticipated during the ascent, so I decided to set up right on the summit. The topograph gives good shelter for the operator anyway. I was set up with plenty of time to spare, so had a quick natter with Macclesfield regulars Dennis G8RDO and Peter G4FPJ on 2m FM as part of the equipment testing procedure.
After 2000z, I got going into a decent rhythm, and worked plenty of stations, both running on 144.315MHz SSB and S & P around the band. My only difficulty was the noise from 400 watt station Chris G8APB about 1km to my south! The multiplier count was good, with IO64, 74, 75, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 91, 92, 93, 94 and JO01, 02, 03 all worked. Brian MW6OXO/P was missed for IO72 square, as was the DX from ON, PA, DL and F. JO00 was briefly heard, but not worked.
After 2130z, the temperature dropped, the wind picked up and the rain came in from the west. Things became much more difficult with me having to hang onto things for dear life, re-tighten the guys for the mast and huddle in a bothy bag that was trying to leave the summit, and making an even worse racket than G8APB around my head! This all conspired to dramatically reduce my QSO rate, which became dismal between 2130 and 2200z, and then pathetic for the last half hour.
I finished with 75 contacts in 17 multipliers, and a good spread of distant stations, but nothing outside the UK. I expect to finish in the top few, but no better than 3rd or 4th. The total for the activation, was 77 contacts, all 2m, with 74 on SSB, 1 on CW and 2 on FM. Good to work John GW4BVE, Jimmy M3EYP, Dave M0MYA, Matt G8XYJ, Pete M0COP, Brian G0JCQ, Mark G0VOF, Ivan G3IZD, Rob G0HRT, Roger G0TRB, Ron GW4EVX, Keith G8HXE, Paul M0PNN and Roger 2E0BMO from SOTA circles. I also heard Dave G6LKB and Carolyn G6WRW on the band but didn’t get to work them. Many thanks to all callers.