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2009 on The Cloud G/SP-015

Monday 5th January 2009

Ascended and activated in the last of the afternoon daylight. Used 2m FM handheld, and raised only two stations, GW1LDY and M3OUA. Very cold.

Tuesday 6th January 2009

Ascended by moonlight just after 5pm. Set up 40m dipole and got inside bothy bag in the “hole”. -6 degrees and menacingly cold on summit, but comfy and cosy in my bothy bag. DX - Palestine - and listening up, so most of 7.029 to 7.033 unusable. Self-spotted for 7.022MHz CW and worked GW0DSP. No other takers though, on a quiet frequency.

Packed away, then operated by light of headtorch on 2m FM, stood by the topograph with handheld. Worked only G3CWI and M1CUE. All change from my QSO bonanza activations up here over Christmas. Now I have made just six QSOs in my last three activations. What comes around goes around.

73, Tom M1EYP

Wednesday 7th January 2009. This one was important to me, for it would represent my 20th consecutive daily activation of The Cloud, running from Friday 19th December 2008. This matched my previous “record” of 20 from January/February 2008. Obviously, I’ll have to do at least one more tomorrow to set a new record!

After a necessarily torchlit ascent - no moonlight - I was set up and QRV on 7.032MHz CW at 0715z, a little later than intended. I worked Paolo IK3GER, but then the frequency was quiet.

I decided to look down the band. There weren’t any interesting CQ calls, so I tried myself on 7.012MHz CW. Back came OE5WLL, but then nobody else. I returned to 7.032MHz where I worked HA4FY, but again, no follow-up.

Tuning down the band again, this time I found a CQ call on 7.011MHz CW from EA6UN - Balearic Islands. That was a pleasing one, albeit not the K or JA I hoped for. Back on 7.032MHz was S51ZG, but again, no-one then waiting in the queue.

On 2m FM I worked Mike GW0DSP, but there was no response to my call on 70cm FM.

Still rather cold at -2 degrees this morning, but notably milder than last night’s -6. Thanks for the calls.


It was +2 degrees when I left the house at 0625z this morning, Thursday 8th January 2009. By the time I had got to work in Stoke-on-Trent, 0828z, it was -2 degrees! I did think it had dropped a touch when I was on the summit.

With no wind, I positioned myself right at the summit, sat on my foam mat leaning against the topograph. This was a mistake. Thirty minutes later I had a wet and cold behind, for the icy soggy mud had seeped through my foam mat and trousers. I should have thought that one through a little better!

On 40m CW, I worked only two stations - IK3GER at 0719, and S51ZG at 0731. Lower down the band, the only “DX” in evidence was a UE9…/4 on 7.006MHz. I didn’t get through.

The customary calls on S20 and SU20 just prior to descent were greeted with silence today, so it was another unresounding January activation of The Cloud. Where have the December hoards gone to?

73, Tom M1EYP

In reply to M1EYP:
Hi Tom.
4o meters is at present in a terrible shape after sunset/before sunrise. Band is dead on short distances. I received the IK and the S51, both around 559, but no signal from you.

Yes, perhaps time to go back to 80m for these activations. However, there was some genuine DX before sunrise on 40m last week, hence why I have been persisting with it.


In reply to M1EYP:

I think you would fare much better on 80m at the moment Tom, as well as the cw there’s always a good chance on 80m-ssb too.

For me, 40m propagation seems very poor this last few days with sigs well down from EU.


I agree with 40m has been poor, but unusual as well, which kind of makes it interesting! Last week it was difficult to work SOTA chasers in EU, but it was great fun listening to the DX from W and JA. More recently, again the usual EU chasers have been missing (apart from Paolo IK3GER who always makes the QSO regardless of condx!), but there have been interesting unexpected contacts with EA6, YL and even GW0DSP!

80m will get me many more of the SOTA chasers, but reduce the chance for exciting DX. But perhaps the DX chance has gone anyway. The “furthest DX heard” has been getting rapidly closer the past couple of days.


To have kept the run going would have required a night-time activation yesterday (Friday) as Marianne’s night-shift meant that a pre-work visit was not possible.

In the end, I didn’t go out to The Cloud, opting for a few beers with M0GIA and M1BYH instead. So the run stopped on 21 consecutive daily activations, beating my previous record of 20 - by one!

Jimmy was disappointed as he wanted me to extend the run, probably indefinitely. But it was all pretty “pointless” really!

I’m sure I’ll be back before too long.

73, Tom M1EYP

I was back on the evening of Tuesday 13th January 2009 for the RSGB 70cm Activity Contest. The outward journey was delayed due to having to collect a scouts neckerchief and woggle for Jimmy, but I was commencing by ascent, by torchlight, at 7.45pm.

The direction of the gentle but cold breeze, together with the areas of soft ground that would take a peg, dictated that my mast, and myself, were parked right on the Eastern edge of the summit. This afforded a great view of the nearly full moon rising up over The Roaches and a star-studded sky. I was perfectly comfortable here so did not deploy the bothy bag, although it was always an option.

With a chocolate-covered Kendal Mint Cake for company, I made 26 contacts on 70cm SSB, then a couple on 70cm FM. It was quite a good night in terms of the number of QSOs for this band, but not in terms of DX, which was non-existent. The nearest thing to DX was M0GHZ at 195km.

It was a reasonable night’s work, and just before 10pm I packed up and descended by the relatively meagre light of the spare torch - the main one had just run out of charge. However, the night was still brightly moonlit, so progress was easy enough.

The drive home was broken up by a rare stint of repeater chatting (GB3MN 2m and GB3MR 70cm), and a nip into the Harrington Arms in Gawsworth for pint of Robinsons Mr Scrooger Humbug ale and a bag of root vegetable crisps.

Many thanks to everyone that called in.


It was high time I did a pre-work dawn activation again, so I did so on Friday 13th February 2009. Going to bed at half-past midnight with a couple of bottles of the excellent Wells Banana Bread Ale inside me was not compatible with a 6am start though.

Imagine my surprise therefore, to be awake and alert at 0555z. My surprise continued with the discovery of a calm dry morning, the opposite of what the forecasters had led me to believe.

In fact everything went like clockwork until I arrived at Cloudside to find a white van parked along the parking area, taking up three spaces. I just about managed to squeeze my car in with the correct/more considerate orientation behind him, still leaving access room for the gate. As I got out my rucksack from the back seat, one of its plastic clips pinged against the close-by white van, resulting in a series of incoherent yells from its driver.

The ascent was pleasant in the cool morning air, and considerably less icy than it had been on Tuesday night. I enjoyed the walk, and although I was wearing my headtorch, there was no need to turn it on.

On summit, I set up the 80m dipole and was QRV by 0708 UTC. I sheltered on the Congleton side of the topograph and enjoyed a comfortable operating position with a panoramic view of the wakening bear(town).

What sounded like a big pile-up was in fact the simultaneous calls of LA1ENA, DL4FDM and G0AZS. After working all three, the frequency fell silent, so a couple of unanswered calls later I went to SSB. This portion of 80m was busy as usual, but I found a reasonable slot on 3.661MHz. However, no-one answered the calls on SSB.

I returned to 3.557MHz CW, but still no responses, although I later noted that Marc G0AZS had tracked my move to SSB and back to CW on SOTAwatch - thanks Marc. I dropped down towards 3.500MHz to see who was calling CQ. I answered one from CT3FT which was very satisfying, and was then called by F6ACD.

Just after 7.30am, I packed up the HF station, and was bang on cue when calling on 2m and 70cm FM at 0745z. Response here was nil. It was now a very bright morning with a beautiful sunrise over Gun G/SP-013. I enjoyed my descent and drove to work pleased with the activation. It was only five contacts, but it’s quality not quantity!


In reply to M1EYP:
Hi Tom you were spotted as being on 3.666 and that is where I was listening.But there were strong station either side of 3.666 creating S9 of spatter.all the best 73 Geoff G6MZX.Ps heard you on cw.

Hi Geoff,

Thanks for listening. At the end of my CW ops, I sent QSY SSB 3.660, but ended up on 3.661 to avoid QRM.

Please call me on CW anytime. QRS is fine.

Cheers, Tom

In reply to M1EYP:

Hi Tom,
surprised to hear you with such a strong signal today (559-579).
Condx were excellent this morning with LA1ENA and G0AZS both also
559 to 579 on my poor antenna (windom fd4, up 5-8m)
The time was maybe to early for most of the chasers :wink:

Vy73 es cu 4 s2s soon
Fritz dl4fdm,hb9csa

In reply to DL4FDM:
Hello Fritz and Tom
Nice signals from both here in south-Norway. Fritz a bit stronger with 569.
Rig here was FT-817 and 5watts to a dipole antenna.
Hope to see you both soon again.
73 de Aage

In reply to M1EYP:
Hi Tom

Yes interesting conditions this morning. When you started calling at 07:08 you were weak and had very rapid “fluttering” QSB. Then as you worked Aage your signal became more solid and just as strong as Aage too. By the time you worked me after Fritz, you were up to 599. Must have been the “greyline” transition as the long skip shortened… hi

I did then spot you on 3.660 but deleted that when you moved back to 3.557. I was only using 5W from the K1 today so very pleased to get the nice report(s).

73 Marc G0AZS

Saturday 14th February 2009 saw a good activation with a strange ending. Jimmy, Liam and I ascended from Cloudside and enjoyed the crisp fresh morning air in temperatures of 4 degrees Celcius. I set up with an operating position viewing East towards Sutton Common and The Roaches for a pleasant vista.

It was 80m this morning, with Jimmy doing the SSB and me concentrating on CW. It was good fun with plenty of contacts between us, despite the very last minute announcement of intention - Jimmy self-spotting en route in the car.

Plenty of walkers passed by and showed interest in our activity. They were all fascinated, and one even remarked “Blimey, short wave ham radio, I thought all that had stopped years ago!”.

Until a gentlemen, a rather large chap, and his wife arrived, and from my operating position, I could hear him ranting at the topograph; “What an eyesore”, “Well it shouldn’t be there” etc. He gave me daggers as he settled down to eat his picnic on the trig point base, with his wife and two dogs. I started packing away. No-one was calling after John G4WSX anyway.

I got the impression that he was in a bad mood and wanted a confrontation. Sure enough, as I was winding in a dipole leg, he addressed me for the first time. “Have you got a licence for that?” he asked. “Yes” I replied. “But this is National Trust property and you shouldn’t be doing that”. I told him that in actual fact it was accepted on a temporary and low-impact basis, but that I respected the fact that he didn’t like it, and was therefore packing up. A process I explained to him, that would take no more than four minutes.

However, he definitely was up for an argument, and started asking me if I had public liability insurance in case one of the wires landed on his wife’s head and injured her! Then the most remarkable thing happened. The other walkers, of which there were now quite a few, chipped in and supported me!

I guess they had heard enough of this chap’s bleating and confrontation, and started on him! He was asked if he had insurance for his dogs, or written NT permission to eat his picnic on the trigpoint! “Don’t be so ridiculous” one of the walkers told him, “This spot is for everyone to come out and enjoy whatever they do”. Another lady walker added “I think it’s really interesting what they’re doing, leave them alone”.

Then to top it all, his own wife gave him a ticking off, saying “Oh pack it in, they’re doing nothing wrong”. At last, he went silent, although his face went purple and the steam was puffing out of his ears!

I chuckled to myself as Jimmy, Liam and I trotted down the hill. The morning mini-expedition was rounded off with a nice lunch purchased from Danebridge Chippy in Congleton.

But what a weird turn of events. An extremely rare expression of disapproval from a passer-by, and an unexpected strong show of support from all the other walkers.


In reply to M1EYP:

Hi, Tom.

Very interesting report. It is very nice that other people supported you and your SOTA activity.

73, Milos S57D

In reply to M1EYP:

Ho ho! I was lambasted on Cleeve Hill once for “blocking the Cotswold Way”. I was doing no such thing, and in any case I immediately offered to move. A party of amblers (one with a child in pushchair) heard the exchange and weighed in in my support.

Of course we must be sensitive to other users but some people will object to almost anything it seems.



In reply to G3CWI:

Quote “Of course we must be sensitive to other users but some people will object to almost anything it seems.” Unquote

I know, but being liberal myself I usually offer to accomodate where I can.


In reply to M1EYP:

Sorry for the noob question, but what’s with The Cloud being activated all the time? Why’s it so significant?