Why should the fun end in the Summer? Well the minor inconvenience of darkness didn't stop me last winter, whether it be early morning or teatime, so I figured there was no need for me to miss last night's RSGB 6m activity contest.
Only thing was, I had already activated The Cloud G/SP-015 on the Tuesday morning. But I quite fancied a walk up Shining Tor G/SP-004 anyway. Jimmy M3EYP was all set to join me for an evening out by torchlight, but decided at the last minute that he preferred to stay in and revise for his maths exam.
I was a bit behind schedule when I arrived at the parking spot just before the Cat & Fiddle, at 7.30pm. There was just about enough shreds of daylight left to see me to the summit unilluminated, by 7.50pm. But there wasn't enough daylight left for setting up, so on went the headtorch.
It was rather tricky getting the 6m delta loop up by torchlight in quickly enveloping darkness, and increasingly strong westerly wind. However, by 8.10pm, I was settled into a dry grassy patch under the wall, warm and comfortable, and QRV.
There was the occasional glimpse of tropo on the 6m band, in other stations' contacts that I overheard. Generally though, conditions were flat and I worked 16 contacts into G, GW and EI, with the best DX being 305km into IO80.
By 9.10pm, I had made only two contacts in the past 30 minutes, and all the stations still audible on the band I had already worked. CQ calls on 6m FM, 70cm FM and 2m FM were unanswered, ao I set about the painstaking task of very carefully packing away.
After a very careful scan of the area with my torch, I set off on the descent. A little earlier, the sky had cleared to leave a wonderful view of the night sky. It had now clouded over again, and a little light drizzle was falling, so the torch were crucial on the descent. At 10pm, I reached the car, loaded the boot, and decided not to have a swift pint in the Cat & Fiddle.
Despite having alerted on SOTAwatch, and having my own QRG in the contest for a while, no regular chasers appeared, and I found when I returned home that I had not been spotted. I might return to Shining Tor in a couple of weeks for the 2m contest.