25 years!

In a few weeks, on 7th July, it will be 25 years since my first call sign, M1BUU, was granted.

I’m not too sure how I’ll mark my quarter century as a licenced ham, but I’m thinking about doing a SOTA activation. The date falls on a Thursday, so I’ll have a few hours between school runs. I’m thinking that I’ll do Whernside G/NP-004 or Pen y ghent G/NP-010.

As a double whammy, my favourite QRP rig; the RockMite will turn 20 years old around the same time. The RockMite was given away as a party favour at the Lobstercon convention in July 2002. The radio was meant to be a bit of fun to communicate across a campsite. Fairly soon it became clear that the RockMite was capable of communicating across a much wider distance than just a campsite. Word got out and Dave Benson K1SWL started selling kits.

I discovered the RockMite in 2007 and I enjoyed building one, however it was a couple of years later when I plucked up enough courage to call CQ with it, whilst on a SOTA activation of Ingleborough, G/NP-005.

I’ve had many memorable RockMite QSOs over the years, including several transatlantic ones. I think it would be great to have some sort of celebration to celebrate 20 years of the RockMite.

Is there anybody else out there with a RockMite who’d like to put it on air in early July?

73, Colin


I’m guessing there’s not much interest in RockMites then. :cry:

My lad has left school now so it’s me and him kicking about until the school summer holidays. A visit to the Lake District has been requested, so I’m thinking about doing a hill north of Ambleside on Thursday 7th July to celebrate 25 years since gaining my call sign. I do want to take a RockMite, but I also want to do a voice mode so that my son can be more involved.

Not sure which voice mode to try, I guess I’ll take the FT817 as the IC-7000 will be too heavy to carry up a big hill.

My son got interested in Raspberry Pi and latterly into plane tracking, due to me stating that I wanted to buy a Pi for tracking planes. A Raspberry pi 4 seems to be impossible to buy at the moment, but my son already has one. My son spent some of his birthday money on an RX SDR dongle and has been tracking planes this week. It seems like I’ve promoted plane spotting as my son now wants to see planes from the lake district hillsides, and he seems to think Dunmail raise is a good location. I don’t think I can promise low flying jets on our SOTA trip!



As I’m sure you know Colin, Rombald’s Moor G/NP-028 is a good SOTA summit for plane spotting thanks to being very close to Leeds Bradford Airport. On my activation on Thursday every few minutes I struggled to hear stations thanks to a plane overhead. I think the number of planes has risen dramatically recently thanks to the ending of covid restrictions.

For me, the best voice mode is 2m FM as stations are strong. No doubt HF SSB has more chance of being exciting as you can work many more countries but I haven’t had too much success with my 5W from the FT817. Perhaps I need to try SSB more.

1 Like

Hi Colin

Listen to your son as he is more informed than you :grin::grin:…Dunmail Raise is a very good place to watch military jets :+1:…Honister and Kirkstone ok as well I think but it’s a case of ‘sit and wait’ and only Monday to Friday.


73 Allan

see link below


I met a plane spotter on Loughrigg Fell, if you want to combine SOTA with spotting that’s not a bad location. Planes also route East over Kirkstone Pass so Red Screes would also be an option, and on occassion they also fly through Threshthwaite Mouth - closest summit being Stony Cove Pike.

Mind, I have no idea how to tell when planes come through. Typically week days during the morning. A couple of Typhoons were having a play yesterday and actually overflew Windermere which is quite rare. Of all the jets they are definitely the loudest now that the Tornado has been retired.


1 Like

A couple of times in Ribblesdale (seen from Whernside G/NP-004 or Ingleborough G/NP-005) I’ve seen one or two military transport planes fly low along the valley. They don’t seem to have any markings so I think they must be private rather than RAF.

Yes, I remember the interference from the aircraft on Rombalds Moor.

Reminds me of working Roger G4OWG (sk) who lived at Rawdon. I used to always work Roger from G/NP-028, he seemed like a really nice guy and sadly I never met him in person.

My son is interested in the military jets really I think, although we did enjoy parking up near Leeds Bradford airport, when we lived in the western shire, and watching the holiday jets taking off.

I have a SOTABeams Yagi for 2m so might take that for some 2FM from the FT817. I’m not so confident in the voice modes, but at least my son would be able to follow whats going on. My son built a RockMite many years ago and has recently expressed an interest to get a foundation licence so I really need to look in to how I can support him with that. Things have changed so much in the last 25 years! I went to evening classes to study my RAE at Keighley College, the building doesn’t even exist now as far as I know.

73, Colin


What time are you thinking of going out Colin? I’ll try and give a you a S2S if possible (voice only!)

Hi Andy,

I’m still trying to form my plans. The youngest member of the family needs dropping off at school before we head off out to the hills, so a later start time is dictated. I’m thinking that if we head up to the Lakes, it will be at least lunchtime by the time we’re on a summit. Say 1030-1100utc.

73, Colin

No problem Colin. That probably restricts me to G/TW-002 with accompanying hound! I’ll see if I can bring the mast and slim Jim. I don’t know if we’ll have line of sight?

The priority, of course, is that you get to celebrate your anniversary and your son enjoys sharing the experience with you (I’m presuming you’ve booked a fly past by the Red Arrows? :wink:)