As a regular participant in the RSGB VHF UK activity contests on Tuesday evenings from home, & having participated in one of the 144MHz backpackers contests last year, I thought I’d make a bit more of an effort this year with regard to portable operating.
One of the big encouraging factors in this, has been the success & enjoyment I have had from SOTA, both as a chaser, & more recently as an activator.
You may remember my first SOTA activation on 1st March, Pendle Hill, which was genuinely something I did not intend, but I’d got to the summit & had a radio with me, so I thought, why not?
Since then, I have had the pleasure of activating several other Southern Pennine summits, either on my own, or as a joint activation with Scott, 2E0RCS.
I have really enjoyed all of them, not only for the radio aspect, but also for the healthy exercise climbing hills provides.
I knew several weeks ago that I wanted to participate in this Sunday’s 144MHz backpackers contest, & I had thought long & hard about a suitable location. I am fortunate enough to have 1000 foot plus land very close by that does work very nicely for VHF, which I used last July for testing purposes, but for this year I had bigger ideas.
My experience in March, with only a Yaesu FT290, sat on the ground just next to the trig point of Pendle Hill told me that it is a good spot for VHF
Maybe that is when the seed was sown in the back of my mind, I had to get back up there with a bit more gear & a decent aerial.
So, that was it,after I’d finished reading the GB2RS news at about 10:10, I set about packing what I’d need for a 144MHz only activation. This reduced the weight I’d normally carry by a large amount (although I think it was leaving the top few sections of my roach pole at home that made it much easier )
With no HF or 6 metre aerial’s, this was quite a departure from the “norm” for me, & being a both a contest & a return to the place that was a sort of “baptism by fire”, with it being the summit of my first SOTA activation, I chose to do this alone & un-announced.
I have to say, although I was probably carrying more weight that I was on 1st March, I found climbing the hill today quite a bit easier. Maybe the exercise is doing me good after all
I didn’t get a large number of contest contacts in my log, but it was nice to work several regular sota stations & a few summits too. I spent more time just listening & enjoying being up there
I do apologise to any chasers that may have wanted to work me on 2M FM, but after looking at the incoming weather I thought it prudent to pack up after working on 4M. It is a good job I did, as while I was folding up my tent the rain started to fall.
In the 10 minutes it took to walk from the summit to the start of the path downhill I got soaked more than I had been throughout the rest of the entire day. There was even some Hail in that rain, & I’m glad I had a hat as I’ve just done my hair & it might have stung a bit
In any case, I had great fun look forward to doing it again
The £7 tent from the big shop that rhymes with “Al Fresco” worked fine
I have uploaded a 29Mb windows media video, which can be downloaded from this link. After my failure at web design last time, the file is linked directly.
I hope you enjoy it
PS Sorry for the gramatical error in one of the captions.