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Activation report G/SP-011 Freeholds Top 03/05/09

After only working a handful of stations from home on Saturday due to limited radio time, I thought I’d try to make up for it on Sunday with an activation of G/SP-011 Freeholds Top with Scott 2E0RCS.

Although the Sun was out for most of the afternoon it was very windy & without our tents, anything other than handheld contacts would have been quite difficult. As it was, the tents gave adequate shelter from the wind & we both had a very enjoyable afternoon. Our first contacts upon reaching the trig point were with Jimmy M3EYP/P & Tom M1EYP/P on Kinder Scout which was very nice :slight_smile:

Scott was soon set up for 40m SSB so I picked a spot on the other side of the Trig point as I was also going to be working HF.

I put out several calls on 80m SSB but only managed one contact, with Graham 2E0JYK near Ely in Cambridgeshire. Although I could have spotted myself, I chose not too as I had the luxury of several other bands available to try. The first one I tried after 80M was 6M SSB where I found Tony 2W0LAE/P on GW/NW-012, which made my fourth contact of the afternoon another summit to summit :slight_smile: I was then called by Mike G4BLH using very low power into a 10M yagi, not a bad contact as I was using about 30 Watts into a 60M dipole. HI

After a couple more contacts on 6M I called Mike again on 4M FM using the Wouxon KG699E & a quarter wave telescopic antenna & was very surprised at how well it worked. After a call from Ian M3LIU I QSY’d to 60M & had another summit to summit QSO with Ian GW8OGI/P on GW/NW-028 He had finished working on FE so he kindly left me with the frequency & I then had most of my further contacts on that band.

I was quite disappointed that I never managed to complete QSO’s with G1KLZ & G0TDM, but the QSB was working against us I’m afraid.

After HF I set up the 4M J-Pole & called CQ SOTA on 70.450FM. I was answered by Steve GW7AAV & had a further 6 QSO’s on 4M including another summit to summit with Ian GW8OGI/P, which was his first S2S on 4M FM :slight_smile:

I popped my head out of my tent & Scott was already packed up & ready to go so I packed my gear & we made our way home.

As I mentioned in an earlier post I took several photos & some video, which I have now edited & put online.

Thanks to everyone that worked me or Scott on what was a very enjoyable afternoon.

My video of the afternoon is here:

I hope you enjoy watching it as much as I enjoyed making it :slight_smile:


Mark G0VOF

In reply to G0VOF:
Really enjoyed the video but didnt work you … excuse for another ISW? Sean M0GIA

In reply to G0VOF:
Excellent report Mark,

Really good news I was number 4 aswell, I think that has to be my first QSO that helped an activator achieve the points!!

Hope to catch you again very soon!!



In reply to G0VOF:

Excellent video Mark. Even though you’re relatively new to activating, the content of the video is ideal and it provides a good demonstration of an activation for those that may be considering going out up the hills themselves. I would say that tents are a luxury though and not mandatory - even so, it looked a very comfortable way to operate! I might be persuaded for the next ISW.

73, Gerald

In reply to G4OIG:

Hi Gerald, Thanks for the nice comments :slight_smile:

In the end I’m glad me & Scott did take our tents, as although there is a wall at the summit, the wind was blowing in just the right direction to render it useless as shelter. As it also looked like we might get some rain (which we didn’t in the end), I thought it wise to take them. But you are right, they are definitely a luxury, the difference between outside & inside was remarkable, as I think one short bit of the video shows!

My tent is only intended for one-person, & being a little on the large side there was not much room for me once the radio was set up inside. HI! It also took me a bit longer than I would have liked to put up, but it it would cope with all but the most severe of weather & being one-person is very snug & warm when things turn a bit chilly.

I have been on the lookout for a simpler & quicker to erect (and slightly larger) tent as a simple shelter from the wind or rain, & have considered the very simple “festival tents” sold for camping at rock festivals & the like. They don’t cost anywhere near as much as a proper tent but I have been put off by the “throw them away after using them once” line, that often accompanies their advertising.

However, while picking up my normal weekly groceries at a well known supermarket whose name rhymes with Al-Fresco, I happenned across some very low priced single skin, 2 pole dome tents. I thought I’d have a gamble on one of the 2 person tents for £7. I set it up when I got home & although I don’t think it would survive a hurricane, & it would certainly leak in places during a torrential downpour, as a quick to put up shelter from the wind or rain it looks like it will do the trick. At 1.6 Kgs, it is also lighter than my one person tent & much quicker & easier to put up.

Unless my next activation is on a very high summit with guaranteed good weather, I will be trying it out.

I will keep everyone here informed on it’s performance.

As you say, I am new to activating & I am still finding my feet. What to take & what not to take etc. I do like to have as many bands available as possible, which the FT897 & Wouxon KG699E more than adequately provide. After running out of battery power on Boulsworth Hill the weekend before & letting some chasers down, I did not want to be in the same situation again, so I took a little more than would be wise. I knew beforehand that Freeholds Top does not involve much vertical ascent, but I would not have been able to carry the same weight up a more strenous ascent, so this was more of a one-off experiment I suppose. Scott 2E0RCS, who is much more experienced than me in SOTA had a pack weighing 8 KGs, mine weighed 23 Kgs!

Very nice to have that extra power, & great fun, but not very practical to carry so much weight up anything steeper than a gentle stroll.

Once I get my act together & have elimated genuine non-essentials from my pack, me & Scott are intending to share activations on a more regular basis, which should lighten my pack considerably :slight_smile:

In any case I have really enjoyed the summits I have activated so far, even Freeholds Top, which some people have not liked. There was plenty of space in the activation zone, & I had visions of the aerials I could put up if only I’d brought enough wire :wink:

As I’m sure it says somwhere on the SOTA website, a summit can be activated with a simple 2 Metre VHF handheld tranceiver or with a multiband MF to SHF station, the choice is entirely down to the activator.

One thing I’d like to add is, when possible, stop for a moment & admire the view :slight_smile: If nothing else, it gives people like me a chance to catch their breath. HI!

I take my hat off to all the regular activators, I am now getting a sense of what it takes to do what you do!


Mark G0VOF

In reply to G0VOF:

Just a black page with “My Fifth SOTA Activation G/SP-011 Freeholds Top” at the top and a link to you webpage. Is it some IE only stuff?


In reply to MM0FMF:

Hi Andy,

It is a Windows media video *.wmv embedded in a webpage, Do you have Windows media player on your computer? If you do, has your firewall blocked any content?

Windows media player should appear below “G/SP-011 Freeholds Top” And above “dogswebspace.com

If you have no luck getting the page to load correctly, you could download the file directly, although it is rather large at 70Mb. You should be able to right click, then “save target as” on the link below, or clicking the link should open Windows media player directly, if you have it on your computer.

I would have used Youtube, but it is a little large for my account.


Let me know if you still have problems.


Mark G0VOF

In reply to G0VOF:

Hi Mark,

I have the same problem as Andy I think. Firefox (my default browser) doesn’t see the .wmv file for some reason but the page works fine in IE on my system.



In reply to M0RCP:

Hi Rick,

I have come across similar problems with different browsers before. It does get quite complicated trying to solve them. The file itself should be available to download directly from the link I posted, but if you both have no luck I will try to make it smaller, or shorter & put it online in a different format.

Thanks for the interest though :slight_smile:


Mark G0VOF

In reply to G0VOF:

I downloaded the wmv file from the link and played it back with VLC and it worked fine. I stopped using Windows Media Player a long time back as it was always the route for another security violation and switched to VLC. Without looking too deeply into it I think you’ve probably used an IE only extension on the webpage which is why nothing shows up on a standards compatible browser like Firefox. Your web host is decent though… I was able to download it at 10Mbps and max out my cable modem. So it was on my PC in an instant.

The luxury of a tent to keep you out of the wind. The number of times I’ve grubbed about trying to find somewhere in the AZ to get out of the wind doesn’t bear thinking about!


In reply to MM0FMF:

Hi Andy,

Not having the first idea about html it took me years just to be able to embed a video in one of my WebPages, & as I used the html from somebody else’s site as the basis for my embedded video it could be that they didn’t quite get it right. I couldn’t get it right at all, after years of trying, but it does at least work with IE.

Thank you for the compliments about the download speed :slight_smile: Yes, I am more than happy with the host I chose, after many years of running out of space on the web, or on friends servers I took the decision to purchase a chunk of the internet for myself & it has served me very well :slight_smile:

Sadly, it didn’t take many decent quality videos for me to find that I have almost filled my little chunk of the net. I am very averse to deleting things from my site as there may be links somewhere that would no longer work, but it looks like I will have to do if I don’t want to fork out for some more space.

To save using my webspace & also to make it easier for others to view my videos I have set up a youtube account specifically for my radio related videos. I was a little perturbed to have to shorten my 12.5 minute Freeholds Top video down to less than 10 minutes!

There isn’t a hope in hell of shortening the original 22 minute epic of my first SOTA activation though, so that will have to live on my site forever.

I have been very surprised with the number of views to two videos I have posted so far have had. I didn’t announce them anywhere but the shortened Freeholds Top video has already had 36 views in less than 14 hours. There must be quite a lot of interest in SOTA & amateur radio out there :slight_smile:

The address of my youtube amateur radio related page is http://www.youtube.com/user/G0VOF

The address for the youtube version of my Freeholds Top video is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x6vbPYuQmMc

Not as good as Inky’s, but people obviously enjoy them :slight_smile:


Mark G0VOF