I awoke with my alarm at 0400 UTC. I awoke again with my second alarm at 0405 UTC. I awoke for a third time without an alarm at 0530 UTC - drat.
So I was always going to be late. While checking SOTAwatch in the kitchen over a mug of coffee, I saw that Rob G7LAS had switched his alert from The Cloud G/SP-015 to Bardon Hill G/CE-004 to escape Storm Brian. I took the opportunity to amend my own from Gun G/SP-013 to my favoured The Cloud G/SP-015. I knew the prevailing wind was southerly, so I reasoned I could set up relatively comfortably just below the rocks at the north end of the summit.
So why I didn’t stick to Plan A, goodness knows. Broadcast weather bulletins all day have been reporting that Storm Brian has not materialised in quite as destructive force as predicted, and I certainly felt setting up the 20m GP was viable when I reached Cloud summit. I did, with difficulty, and one running repair needed as a radial snapped away, but then made a few S2S QSOs. All too soon though, the mast was on the ground again, the result of a second radial snapping. I had wondered during the earlier to drive whether to use my SOTAbeams guying kit to take the strain off the radials - how I wished I had!
There was no rain forecast for this part of the day - but it was lashing it down as I made the second repair, and to be honest, I was a bit fed up. As I was making this second radial repair, the third radial snapped - and this was with the system lying on the ground and no part of it under strain or tension!
At last I had some clarity of thought. I quickly completed the second and third radial repairs, but then packed everything down and back into the rucksack. I made the short walk to the sheltered “mini cave” operating spot below the rocks on the north end of the summit, and set up again there. As I set the GP up again, with not a breath of wind to contend with, I gave myself a good mental ticking-off for not doing this to start with - as I had originally envisaged when editing my alerted summit earlier!
The rest of the activation passed without incident! Well there was the usual nonsense when a station on an adjacent hill refused to work me and another who suddenly couldn’t hear me when I enquired on-air about my access to the HEMA Database - http://hema.org.uk/activatorLeague.jsp - but it was only what I was expecting.
20m CW: 7 contacts, including 2 S2S
20m SSB: 13 contacts, including 8 S2S
Total: 20 contacts, including 10 S2S. 3 SOTA SWL logs.
OE5AUL/P on OE/OO-330
OE5YYN/P on OE/OO-330
OE5JFE/P on OE/OO-330
G7LAS/P on G/CE-004
GW0WPO/P on GW/NW-043
2E0HPI/P on G/TW-002
OE9HRV/P on OE/VB-388
LZ2OQ/P on LZ/KV-021
HB9SOTA on HB/AR-004
YO8SSH/P on YO/EC-630
2E0YYY/P on G/SP-004
SV1RHL/P on SV/EP-067
OM/SQ9MDF/P on OM/ZA-021