Callsign: 2E0OMB (if you know how to change usernames on the reflector please let me know!)
Some of the best summit weather we have had for a few weeks, so I decided to cycle into Ennerdale, and walk up onto High Stile.
Setting off in the early light of dawn from my QTH (at 0645 hours) with panniers stuffed full of warm clothing, and a backpack on my back (I don’t trust panniers for radio equipment), it is about an hour’s cycle ride to the foot of high stile. I locked my cycle to a wooden fence near the Gillerthwaite outdoor centre, and changed from cycle shoes to walking boots.
The walk up to High Stile from this point passes by Red Pike - but I veered off the main fottpath before the Red Pike summit, with the aim of activating this Wainwright summit on the way down.
By about 0930 I was on the High Style summit - it is a bit of a slog up mostly grassy slopes (quite steep at times) with a rocky path for the last 100m. The col between Red Pike and High Style was mentally noted as a future wild camp spot (although no nearby water source means it is not ideal).
On the summit I got ready my SotaBeams pole with a slimjim for VHF operation. This was the first trial of a new guy plate that I 3D printed - it makes use of plastic carabiners allowing the guy lines to be stored and wound separate to to plate (the plates supplied by SotaBeams have holes which are too small for use with carabiners). The plate seemed to work well, and was a big improvement on previous activations where the guy lines had become tangled whiles stowed.
With the anntenna connected to an FT-818 via RG58, and powered with a 3S LiPo I was soon ready to call CQ on 145.500 FM. First to respond were G4VFL and 2E0MIX, whom I had spoken to the previous evening, and who were kindly listening out. 2E0MIX spotted me, and I was soon managing a pileup on 2m.
The FT-818 seemed to struggle with the pileup - becoming overloaded with the signals (or maybe I’ve just not worked out how to setup the radio appropriately for this kind of operation), but over the 40mins I worked over 20 stations. I like to chat with chasers whenever possible, rather than be in full contest mode. Stations from Northern Island, Wales and Scotland were worked, with most reporting a string signal suggesting good conditions. Was pleased to have worked all of the home countries.
Once 2m had quietened down, I moved onto HF. I have recently constructed a lightweight linked-dipole, so after hoisting onto the pole, and pegging out the ends, I gave it a first test on a summit, starting on 40m. A high SWR initially was located to a crocodile clip I had forgotten to connect on the link. Once it was working, the next difficulty was finding a free frequency. After settling into a narrow clearing on 40m I spotted myself, and was soon managing a big pileup. Calls on 40m lasted around 30-40mins, and included stations from Sweden, Norway, Poland, Spain, Italy and the SW of the UK. I was also pleased to make a summit-to-summit with HB9BHU on HB/BE-138 - my first summit-to-summit on HF.
Next it was onto 20m, which seemed a much quieter band, and easier to find a clear frequency. S57S called into me on 20m and we had a brief chat - I had heard him on 40m but kept asking him to repeat, thinking I had not heard his full callsign (it is a rather odd callsign).
Once 40m had quietened down it was getting towards midday, so I started packing up. I headed back down via Red Pike, which I activated (WOTA) allowing me to chat to some of the local chasers. Once finished, I retraced the route I had taken earlier in the morning.
It is always a relief when I spot that my cycle is where I left it, and sure-enough the cycle and panniers were untouched (I have previously left bike and panniers unlocked for a couple of days in such locations when I have forgotten my lock). The contents of the panniers - my smelly cycling shoes, gloves and socks are presumably a good deterrent to both thieves and sheep.
It was a good activation with 56 QSOs, some new equipment proved and a pleasant time spent on the summit.