Saturday 14th January 2012 was a belter. The schedule for the day was packed tightly from the get-up at 0630 to hometime around 0130 on Sunday. The first job was to pick up Jimmy’s mates Edward M6NSR and Craig, who would be joining us for the SOTA parts of the day.
The weather was beautiful with blue skies, bright sunshine and clear crisp views. We could tell even while driving from Macclesfield to Cloudside that we were in for a treat.
We kitted up on Cloudside, quite surprised that ours was the first car of the day to park there. Liam was in an unexpectedly cheerful mood despite the irritation of not being able to find his Nintendo 3DS that morning, meaning that he would miss out on the Playcoins the built-in pedometer would award him. He set off first, and was first to the summit of The Cloud G/SP-015 by quite a margin.
Jimmy M3EYP and Edward M6NSR did 2m FM using Ed’s FT-817 and Jimmy’s SOTA Beam. They were kept busy by a decent sized pile-up which kept them well entertained. On my first 40m CW activation of the year, I too was kept busy, and recorded 58 QSOs across Europe, with particularly good conditions for inter-G working. After pack-up, and seeing that Jimmy and Ed were packed up, I called on 2m FM on the VX7-R and made a further 9 QSOs. I had set-up close to the northern edge of the summit, and enjoyed fabulous views throughout my activation. It was most enjoyable.
Now came the familiar short drive across the valley to Gun G/SP-013. My last walk up here in 2011 was damp and boggy, but this time the ground was frozen, so it wasn’t half as bad. Again, it was 2m FM for Jimmy M3EYP and Ed M6NSR, and 40m CW for me. This time I made 24 QSOs, taking me to 91 for the day. This prompted me to unleash the VX-7R again to try for the century. This was achieved, before Jim and Ed, now back at the car, each worked me for QSOs 101 and 102.
There was no slack in the time, so en route back to Macclesfield, we called at the football stadium and bought our tickets for that afternoon’s match versus Torquay United, and Tuesday’s FA Cup replay away at Bolton Wanderers. It was then a little further north on the Silk Road to drop Craig and Edward off before returning south to The Macc (what used to be the Three Crowns) for lunch. This recently reopened pub is a free house specialising in local real ales and fine cheeses and pies - great for a pre-match luncheon.
We continued to the match where unfortunately Torquay ran out 2-1 winners, and then a quick turnaround at home to get back out to Gurnett (a small hamlet between Macclesfield and Langley). Here stands the Old Kings Head pub, these days a popular live music venue. I had a gig with a band called The Manatees, which I enjoyed very much, especially when my son Liam got up to sing a song and open up the second set. The amateur radio theme had continued through to the evening, with M1EYP on stage and M3EYP, M6NSR, 2E1AEQ, G0DMV and G3CWI in the audience. M1DDD was supposed to be going as well, but couldn’t make it in the end.
A cracking day - thanks to everyone who called in to our stations.