A Different World

It was an early start on Sunday 8th February 2015 for the final event in the AFS Superleague series, a four hour 70cm contest. My plan was to head for The Cloud G/SP-015 to operate portable and SOTA qualifying, leaving the shack for Jimmy M0HGY to use. Together with Nick M1DDD/P and out Contest Manager Reg G3TDH, we were able to put out a full team for the Tall Trees Contest Group.

It was gloomy, damp and murky in freezing fog as I made my way along the country lanes from Broken Cross, through Gawsworth, North Rode and the Dane Valley, to Cloudside where I parked. A tinge of excitement came as I noticed a bit of sunshine and blue sky above - and the “roof” of the freezing fog slightly below.

Having climbed to the summit, the spectacular panorama opened up. There was a superb inversion layer, and above it whereI was, existed a completely different weather system. Hardly any wind save for a gentle cooling breeze, bright sunshine, mild temperatures and clear blue sky.

The only other land visible was to the east, where Sutton Common, The Roaches, Merryton Low and Gun G/SP-013 poked above the clag.

Local contesters in IO83 reported unpleasant weather as I worked them, in total contrast to the utter pleasantness on Cloud summit!

The event itself was quite slow, which was predictable with half the volume of activity spread out over almost twice the contest duration. I worked at a leisurely pace, taking several breaks to gather photos and post them live to Facebook.

I finsihed with 52 contacts - all 70cm SSB except for one on 70cm CW. Squares worked were IN99, IO74, IO80, IO81, IO82, IO83, IO84, IO85, IO90, IO91, IO92, IO93, JO01 and JO02, although this contest did not have a mutliplier component as such. So not very exciting radio-wise, but a massively enjoyable morning out.

The highlight came around noon when I was able to stand close to the trig point and observe my brocken spectre below!

The descent and drive back to Macclesfield soon had me resubmerged into the original damp and gloomy world of everybody else…

Here is a map of the contest QSOs: http://www.rsgbcc.org/cgi-bin/vhfresults.pl?kml=/2015/coYbBfsEWn1kOkCbCjC67BtUZBZQNHh


Nice one Tom.

It was similar rising out of the fog above Longdendale to Black Hill. I could see various summits down the Pennines poking up through the fog. Perhaps one of them was The Cloud. Black Hill is a bit flat for any chance of a Brocken Spectre!

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Indeed Simon. It seems all of us who were out yesterday got a real treat. I couldn’t believe just how much warmer it was above the fog - and how much colder it was again once the clag finally rose and enveloped the summit.

Snap! I started out with a lovely day neer Peebles and have photos of fog filled valleys, hardly any wind at ground level. At 570m ASL it was breezy and within 20mins of reaching the summit I was enevloped in mist followed by a howling gale coming up from nowhere. The walk down was into the wind and was harder than the ascent. The temperature had risen markedly because everywhere was frozen hard as concrete on the ascent and was soft was blancmange on the return.

Still, finding deep snow at 570m at a latitude similar to Moscow in the middle of Winter should not be surprsing, nor the fact the wind was properly cold. To make up for less than spectacular weather and getting cold and wimping out before US S2S bonanza started, I had a pot of rosy and possibly the best bacon roll ever in the Laurel Bank Tea Room in Broughton. :wink:

Thanks for the pictures Tom. Heard you once down here in IO91 but not strong enough to call.

What power does the 817 run on 70cm?

John G8XTJ

Inversions like this often bode well for 2m DX. Anyone work anything interesting?


I returned to “Different World” mid-morning on Sunday 15th February 2015, but it had returned to “Normal World”. That’s fine though, as it was a pleasant and bright February morning, and I had just booked a holiday to Tenerife (EA8) and secured permits for Mount Teide EA8/TF-001. So the prospects of a completely different class of inversion and/or breathtaking views are now quite real.

This then was the first local activation with an eye on developing the kit list for EA8. Initial thoughts are along the lines of: FT-817 powered by internal rechargeable AA batteries, providing HF SSB for Jimmy, VX-110 and VX7R handhelds providing us both with 2m FM (and comms between ourselves if necessary), and HB1B CW transceiver for me (80/40/30/20), also powered from internal cells. The only antenna, to be shared, would be the end-fed on minipole, with Z-match tuner, allowing all bands from 40m through 10m. 20m would be the band of choice, and we would hope to pick up local 2m FM QSOs.

The first mistake I made was forgetting that the HB1B needs headphones / earbuds to monitor the audio! So my first HB1B activation for a good long time never happened! I had the 817 with me though, so fired this up with the Tracer LiFePO4 pack, for which I had just received a replacement T-bar connector and lead. I used the new SOTAbeams Anderson Powerpole splitter product, the version that has a USB phone charger connector on as well, so for once my Galaxy S3 did not run out of juice during the activation!

Details of the activation:
40m CW: 4 QSOs
40m SSB: 10 QSOs including 1 S2S (GW/SW-008)
30m CW: 3 QSOs including 3 S2S (G/CE-004, GW/SW-015, YO/WC-099)
20m CW: 11 QSOs
20m SSB: 7 QSOs including 1 S2S (DM/BM-116)
10m CW: 2 QSOs
2m FM: 8 QSOs including 4 S2S (G/CE-004, G/WB-002, G/WB-003)

Total: 45 QSOs, including 9 S2S.

At 1354z I switched off and descended. I had a roast lamb dinner to devour…


You will have to be quick in EA8/TF-001 (2hours permit including walking up and down from the cable car. )
I regretted not having something higher than 20m -HB1B when we were there in Nov

  • specially at mid day.

Thanks for the s2s today with Eva.

73 Angel

Did you attempt to activate El Teide Angel? Our permit is for 1100-1300, so it will be midday for our activation - in April. Do you think 20m will be difficult due to absorption?