My apologies for suddenly going QRT today from GW/SW-015 at around 14:16, after completing a QSO with Vlad, OM1AX. Others were calling, but lightning threatened.
First today I activated GW/SW-009 Mynydd Troed, including 24MHz S2S contacts with Mike 2E0YYY/P on G/SP-015 and Carolyn GW6WRW/P just across the valley on GW/SW-041.
Carolyn mentioned the growing static crashes, and we agreed that it was time to get off the hills.
I just had my gear packed, when the rain arrived. It looked like a passing downpour, so I decided to sit it out in my bothy bag. After 10 mins, it stopped, and I moved off. Ominous dark clouds and the occasional flash of lighting found me jogging down the path faster than I have done for some years :o)
Back at the car on the col between the two hills, I eat a cheese roll and listened to the static crashes on the car radio, pondering the next summit.
The sky lightened, and the crashes reduced in frequency and strength. I decided to attempt Mynydd Llangorse GW/SW-015.
It was a pleasant walk up and along the ridge, very mild with a light wind. Using my PAYG phone, which unusually had some data credit, I edited my alerted time for this summit. To do that was much easier than writing a spot, as I had to hold the phone up over my head to get a signal. (Note to self: must email Andy to register for SMS spotting)
On 24MHz, Mike 2E0YYY/P was first in the log for another welcome S2S. I didn’t hear any other SSB signals, and so moved to CW so that RBNgate could do its stuff.
The sky was darkening again, and the static crashes were returning. With no replies, I considered calling it a day, when suddenly a small pile up appeared from the noise, several very strong signals. Four QSOs followed - OK1KT, N4EX, OK1ZE, and then, through my final QSO which was with Vlad OM1AX, the rig started clicking. The clicks increased rapidly in frequency until it was a loud rising buzz. I started getting shocks off the Palm key, and visible sparks played around the gear. Scary!
The pole was guyed, rather than being tied to a rock or fence post (luckily there aren’t any on this summit), and I was sitting right at the bottom of it. This allowed me to grab the base and lift it upwards and sideways, to drop the pole and vertical wire immediately onto the ground.
I packed up quickly and left. There was no thunder or lightening this time, but I was lashed with rain and hailstones on the way down. Happily, I had taken waterproofs with me for this one, so no harm done.
The FT817 and Elecraft AATU seem to have survived, which is pretty impressive, and so did I of course, which is even more pleasing.
So, thanks to all who contacted me, and sorry for vanishing without a word, but I’m sure you will understand!