I have always had the dream to visit the UK, land of football, the rock music, the Beatles, the Big Eye, the Tower of London and, much more recently, the SOTA programme. Another big reason is that my niece Rebeca is living there and most part of my family, mother, sister, nieces and nephew, were there last year during Christmas and End of the Year.
So, I purchased the flights in April and after it I sent an email to Sota reflector about my trip over the UK. I got an answer from G6TUH Mike and it was decided to activate 2 Summits: G/SE-006 Ditchling Beacon and G/SE-010 Firle Beacon.
From April to September 3rd I had moments of true anxiety, because I am a bit nervous but I have survived and I am writing this article, quite happy I must say.
I did not have a good sleeping time at the evening before September 3rd and I arrived at Lisbon Airport quite tired and stressful. The flight was delayed due to a birdstrike in the previous flight. Due to the delay our plane took too much time to land at Gatwick Airport and I was afraid because of the bus schedule. However, all went quite fast at Gatwick and I did not have problems with my passport and luggage.
I had other problem, I had previously purchased a bus journey from Gatwick to London Waterloo station. So I took the bus but it ended its jorney at West Brompton in London, not exactly where I thought. Fortunately I found the Underground station and thanks to a lady I purchased the 7 day Travelcard. At the time I was truly tired due to lack of sleep.
Then I met my niece at Moorgate and took a bus to her home. Fortunately until September
6th I had enough time to relax, despite some allergies.
In meanwhile I visited the Cray Valley Radio Society on September 4th and on the September 5th the HMS Belfast. At the CVRS Headquarters I met G3LHZ Mike Underhill and he talked about magnetic Loop Antennas, it was an outstanding part of the visit. At the HMS Belfast my visit had been arranged by M0AXP Joe and all went quite well and I operated as GB2RN on CW, it was indeed an honor. I met on the same day 2E0VAV Alan. Then Joe and I took 2 pints each and said goodbye.
Now it is time to write about the activations. I awoke pretty soon on September 6th, I had my breakfast and then I took 2 buses until East Croydon. Then I took a train to Haywards Heath rail station. When I arrived to my destiny I called on VHF G6TUH Mike and after some moments of misunderstanding (because he was waiting for me at the main entrance and I left station in another entrance) we finally met each other. We headed to G/SE-010 Firle Beacon, it took us about 20 minutes (I do not remember well because we were talking all the time ). We arrived to a gate and I learned that the summit belongs to a Lord.
However, people are allowed to walk through the property and in fact there was lot of people enjoying the weekend. The WX was relatively good, not sunny, some mist but very pleasant to walk. Very easily we reached at G/SE-010 Firle Beacon.
Because there is not any fence we installed, at first, a wire attached to a 1:9 balun on top of the Mike’s portable mast. After some tests we realized that antenna was not working and soon was replaced by a normal inverted dipole.
The dipole tuned very easily and soon we made 15 CW qso’s on 40 and 20 meters. I had been a bit afraid about the APRS2SOTA but it worked quite fine in both activations. Lot of people walked quite close us and they were quite interested in our activity. Mike G6TUH did outstanding work talking about our hobby and the SOTA activity, thanks a lot Mike ! Not everything went well in first activation, there were a lot of midges. At first they attacked Mike (English blood) but soon they learned that my blood was, after all, good for them and I was covered by midges. Fortunately no problems after it/no secondary effects .
Then we headed to G/SE-006 Ditchling Beacon. It took maybe more than 30 minutes (again I can not remember because we were talking all the time). When we crossed into Lewes I took some pictures, it seems to be a nice town indeed.
Then we arrived at G/SE-006 Ditchling Beacon.
Fortunately we did not find midges and soon we installed the dipole using the fence. We made 14 CW qsos on 40 and 20 meters.
Because we were very hungry we went to a pub and ate quite well, and of course with beers. Mike could only have one beer as he was driving. For the first time of my life I ate fresh codfish.
Well, it is difficult to say in words all Mike has done for my SOTA activations, without his help it would be quite impossible. So my big thanks to Mike and his family as well. It was really a honour to be with G6TUH Mike.
After lunch Mike drove me to Haywards Heath railway station and I took train to East Croydon.
My first two UK activations 8)
It was indeed one of my best days ever, thanks again Mike.
S ome pictures from the activation.
Thanks all for reading this report.