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2m Backpackers Contest

This Sunday is the second of the 2m Backpackers Contests. These are very SOTA friendly. Rules here:

http://www.vhfcc.org/cgi-bin/contest_rules.pl?year=2009&contest=144backpack2&seq=

73

Richard
G3CWI

I will have to miss this one due to Liam’s birthday outing on Sunday. I had a go for the first time last month, and loved it. It was a great afternoon. The rules have changed this year too, so that the real ‘backpackers’ are in a separate category to the ‘carpackers’. As it was, I recorded a really favourable score, and can’t wait to have another go.

Let’s have a few winners from SOTA activations this year!

Tom M1EYP

In reply to M1EYP:
Dont forget its also the practical wireless contest on 144mhz, this sunday, steve m0sgb

In reply to G3CWI:
If only the hours were a bit different, it would overlap with the big ARRL VHF contest…I could have made a real run at that…

The date is the same as the ARRL contest…this weekend. Our contest is a 2 day, VHF/UHF contest.

I regularly work up and down the east coast with a siumilar setup during the contest…

73,
Tom-N2YTF

Reminder that the next one in the series is this Sunday.

73

Richard
G3CWI

You doing 'owt in it Richard? I’m in LD with J & L, but am limited to less favourable sites, what with having Liam with us and wanting to be home at some sort of decent time after a 4pm finish.

So I don’t expect to do as well this time, but what the heck, I’m out with the lads!

It’s getting nigh on impossible to book a Youth Hostel to match one’s requirements these days, especially in the LD. The new quick tent is too small, the old big tent is too slow, so we are motelling it on the M6!

Tom M1EYP

In reply to M1EYP:

I’m camping Near St. Just in Cornwall this weekend, I will try and do an activation during the contest period.

73

Brian G8ADD

In reply to G8ADD:
Tom just watch the m6 around junction 33, it was heavy traffic yesterday around tea-time, i ended up going passed longridge to get home, but nice enjoyable scenary in the country side, m0sgb steve

This Sunday is the fourth in the Backpackers 2m contest series. The “3B” section is especially suitable for SOTA activators as it does not allow “carpackers” to enter.

Known SOTA participants have been well placed this year so far. In the first Backpackers they made up three of the top five stations (2nd M1EYP, 3rd G8HXE, 4th G0HIK) and in the second event G8HXE came first - well done!

The contest runs for four hours (1100-1500z) and is mostly on 2m SSB. All you need is a good site, an FT817 (or similar) and a small beam to have a competitive station.

http://www.vhfcc.org/cgi-bin/contest_rules.pl?year=2009&contest=144backpack2&seq=

Even if you don’t intend submitting an entry, the Backpackers stations will appreciate your calls. The forecast bad weather probably favours SOTA activators - we are usually well-equipped for it. And we get used to it!

73

Richard
G3CWI

In reply to G3CWI:

I’m going to try and get a square or two away from 83/93 and put in an appearance for this one. Definitely on foot but unfortunately in the 10H section due to the 857 having minimum output of 5W on 2m. Either way I hope to work some of you and dish out/share some points.

73 Chris
M1DTJ

In reply to G3CWI:
Over the last few years i have took part in the backpackers contest, From different locations high grounds and low levels like ld-018(stoneycove-pike) and sp-011(hailstorm-hill) and sp-010(winter-hill), Unfortuntally this year i have been very busy with work, the best one i did was from gd-003 with gd3yum. In 2007 me and Martyn won the first contest, if you have not tried it then give it ago great fun, sitting in a tent from high above the ground, If im not doing much this sunday will give a few points away, from a little hump :wink:

Steve m0sgb

Well, I watched carefully, and it didn’t appear Charlie G0PZO was going to be on from Moel Famau GW/NW-044, so I have baggsed that one for myself. Didn’t Charlie once (or more) win the Backpackers from Moel Famau?

So after ditching my original stupid idea of doing it from Black Hill G/SP-002, it’s over to the Clwydians for Jimmy and myself tomorrow morning. Foel Fenlli GW/NW-051 will be bagged as a hit-and-run 2m FM handheld rubbish duck activation, and we will set up “properly” on NW-044 later.

I notice that Ron GW4EVX has alerted to be QRV in the Backpackers from Moel y Gamelin GW/NW-042. I wonder if Ron would have first chosen Foel Fenlli, his usual Tuesday activity contest site, but opted to get a little further away from the stated intentions of the EYP’s? As usual Ron, we look forward to the S2S contacts.

Fingers crossed for the weather.

73, Tom M1EYP

In reply to M1EYP:

I like using my FT-897D portable as it has more “Bells & Whistles” than my FT-290, although as it doesn’t go lower than 5 Watts,it does put me in the 10 Watt Hilltoppers (Carpackers)section of the contest, despite my true backpackers / summit locations.

Given the terrible weather this weekend, if I do get out for the contest, it will probably be with the FT-290 & an umbrella, as I definitely won’t have time to pitch a tent & don’t want my FT-897 to get wet!

Best of luck to all :slight_smile:

73,

Mark G0VOF

In reply to G0VOF:
Bad weather today. So no contest for me. But will listen while out geocaching drive-by’s. Good luck to all doing the contest being it backpackers or carpackers

Congratulations to anyone who braved the dreadful weather conditions today and was on for the contest. I worked four SOTA summits but failed to get out myself.

73

Richard
G3CWI

What dreadful weather conditions?

Jimmy and I drove out from Macclesfield after a rare home breakfast of Corn Flakes, and reached the Penbarrass car park by about 8.50am. Despite heavy rain throughout virtually all of our drive westwards, it was now dry, albeit very menacingly cloudy, and we set off in full waterproofs, but with fingers crossed!

Moel Famau GW/NW-044 was the target for the 2m Backpackers Contest later today, but you can’t do that summit without its loyal partner Foel Fenlli GW/NW-051. So our first move on the morning of Sunday 19th July 2009 was to head left (south) and tackle the iron age hillfort.

Deliberations as to which ascent route to select came to an abrupt halt when the gate was padlocked. “That section of the path is probably closed” I suggested to Jimmy. The choice had been made for us, and we continued on the Offa’s Dyke Path before cutting left along the ramparts towards the summit.

Some orange cones marked the top of the closed section of path, and the wooden stairs there were so badly damaged as to be almost totally absent. I suspected that other sections needed attention too, as I know from the past just how badly eroded and loose some of the steeper segments can become.

Onto the summit, it was an unashamed 2m handheld rubber-duck hit-and-run style activation. Contacts weren’t so easy to come by, possibly ironically due to our low-effort operating conditions. Courtesy of a couple of multi-callsign stations (Mike GW0DSP / GW1LFX and Mac M0TXR / 2E0VBQ / M3VPM) we each got to our qualifying quota of four, but we pressed on until we each had at least four unique stations in the log as well.

With 12 QSOs between us, and no-one else calling, we called time on NW-051 and descended the same way we had ascended, not that there was any choice! Back down at the car park, I decided to jettison my walking poles. I decided that I would have a better rhythm on the very gradual Moel Famau path without them, and put them back in the car.

We are never tempted (apart from the very first time) to climb the steeper paths that cut the corner as we commence our walks to Moel Famau. This morning, as usual, we followed the big wide path around the big wide angle, keeping a decent pace. The weather was remaining improbably dry, but we still wanted to summit as soon as possible, and get the tent up for when the heavens did open!

Moel Famau summit was reached just before 11am, so the timing was beautiful to be fully set up and settled down before the contest start at midday (1100z). Jimmy M3EYP cracked on with some 2m FM operating from his VX-110 while I erected the SOTA Beam and the 2-man tent. Things now moved much more quickly, and he soon had twelve stations in the log, especially after the SOTA Beam was set up and he plugged into it using an adaptor.

With the time approaching midday, I flipped the SOTA Beam over to horizontal and set up my FT-817 station inside the tent. I failed in my mission to establish my own QRG right from the start of the contest, so things were slow initially with just four QSOs in the first ten minutes. However, I was then bedded down nicely on 144.310MHz SSB and enjoying a little run. The little runs were never anything more than little though. In fact the best stretch in the whole contest was one on 145.375MHz FM. I used FM to good effect several times in otherwise quiet periods, although of course the km score per contact won’t be exactly competitive on FM. Better than not making any contacts however!

A few S2S contacts popped up. These were with G8JAY/P on Ruardean Hill G/WB-021, G1OPV/P on Whitbarrow G/LD-056, G4RQJ/P on Top o’ Selside G/LD-048 and GM4GUF/P on Tinto GM/SS-064. By the end of the contest I had reached serial number 062, with 46 multipliers in the bag - 5 countries; G, GM, GW, GI and EI; 11 squares; IO63, IO64, IO81, IO82, IO83, IO84, IO85, IO92, IO93, IO94 and JO01; and 30 postcode/district locators; BB, BD, BL, BM, BT, CH, CM, CW, DG, FY, GL, HD, LA, LE, LL, LN, LP, ML, MR, NP, OL, SK, ST, SY, TF, WA, WN, WS, WV and YO.

The little tent gave us adequate respite from the chill, the wind and the later rain. We could hear people on Jubilee Tower behind us saying things like “What are they doing?”, “I think they’re doing a survey” and “No, I think it’s CB radio, I didn’t know that was still going”. One chap came and introduced himself as Phil G0DOR. Inside the tent, sustainence was of the form of Bouillebaisse soup - an especially al a carte flavour for my birthday of course!

The rain had been driving down pretty hard for the last hour of the contest, but we had been mercifully spared from it before then, so we couldn’t complain. We got a bit wet as we packed up, but as soon as we stepped away from Jubilee Tower to begin the descent, the rain stopped. All in all, we had been very lucky with the rain. It could have been much worse.

Anticipation grew on the drive home, as we were having friends round for my birthday. The weather even cheered up enough to allow use of the barbecue and newly installed decking, even though half-an-hour before the event, it looked like neither would be called upon!

I had bought in two cases of Macclesfield’s Storm Brewing Company’s ‘Pale Gale Ale’ (same people that brew the famous Bosley Cloud beer) to treat my guests. By bed time, the 24 bottles had become zero, and that was with most people drinking lager and wine. It seems it was the amateur radio contingent amongst the guests that took a particular liking to the PGA!

Many thanks to everyone who worked me, whether for SOTA, contest or both, and thanks to those that wished me a happy birthday - it certainly was.

73, Tom M1EYP