2007 was the year I started activating SOTA summits. The bug for activating took a while to take hold. My first activations where quite hit and miss affairs with next to no planning apart from climb hill, call CQ and see who could hear me. For example my very first summit was Ben More (GM/SS-001) which I did on the 9th June 2007 with the FT-817 (which I still use and which has extensively travelled) and its rubber duck antenna!
In the August of that year I had the opportunity to visit the Isle of Man for the first time so I decided to plan. For a change. The 5 qualifying summits are not major walks but I researched possible parking spots and walking routes for what for me was a proper multi-summit SOTA expedition.
Unfortunately the visit coincided with a Foot and Mouth outbreak in southern England and all the footpaths on the island where there was the possibility of coming into contact with livestock were closed. This made all the summits out of bounds except for Snaefell (GD/GD-001) which could only be accessed via the mountain railway. This put me in a dilemma; if we go on the railway could I claim the activation? I am not a “purist” and have been on many drive-on summits since but at the time I nearly didn’t activate the summit because I had not climbed to the top proper, what would people think?
The summit of Snaefell was fenced off with instructions to stay within the boundary and vicinity of the summits station with one area inside the activation zone. I reasoned that because it was the only way I could reach the top of Snaefell was by railway and I had recently climbed a Munro they cancelled each other out so I could activate. I see no point in getting to the summit to walk a few metres out the activation zone to walk back in, sometimes it is just not possible. Something else I have come to realise is it would be near impossible to reach MG with just “easy” summits!
The activation was a minor success as I see it, qualifying with 10 contacts on 2m FM over 35 minutes with a home built 3el Yagi. The weather was not kind on that day with no visibility and a wind which caused the rain, which was steadily falling, to make everything quite damp.
So what is this rambling for? Very soon we will be re-visiting the island and hopefully I will get all the summits activated. Bands and modes will depend on the weather and propagation but as my stays on the summit tend to be around the hour mark there should be opportunity to chase me, vhf and HF will probably be used, watch for alerts.
Any requests for a particular band or mode for a sked? I will try my best to provide a contact. Any summits that anyone needs for completes?