I grabbed an opportunity to have a play with my QRP radios this afternoon from my local summit, Rombald’s Moor G/NP-028.
The sun was shining, and whilst there was a bit of a stiff breeze it wasn’t really a problem. I laid out my ground sheet and then set about erecting the fishing pole mast. I suddenly remembered that I had forgotten to pack some earphones! I had to pack up all my gear and run back to my car. The route back home takes me past our local ASDA, so rather than waste valuable time going home, I ran into the store and picked up some new earphones. After about 40mins since leaving the activation spot, I was back there again, this time with earphones
I started on 7MHz CW using a QRPme Lil’ Squall transceiver powered from a 12V SLAB. The Lil’ Squall is based on the famous ‘Pixie’ design and uses the PA transistor as a mixer on receive. I heard some very quiet CW in the new earphones, but after 20 or 30 mins of CQ’ing I had worked nobody. I’m not sure whether the rig is deaf or not - I had looked at some propagation predictions before I had set out and conditions weren’t predicted to be up to much.
Packing the ‘Lil’ Squall’ back into it’s box, I unpacked it’s big brother, the ‘Super Tuna ]’ transmitter and it’s sidekick, the ‘Sudden Storm’ receiver. A ‘Tuna Helper’ was helping with the TX/RX switching. Again on 40m CW with the Tuna combo, I called CQ SOTA quite a bit but no fish were willing to take a bite
Deciding that maybe 17m might land me a ‘catch of the day’, I fired up my ‘Helvellyn’ transceiver, this being my PP3 challenge rig which I home brewed last year. I used my challenge battery to call CQ for some time, but again there were no takers. I tried to send a ‘self spot’ to SOTAwatch, but my template for Andy’s SMS server had disappeared into some obscure folder on my phone and I couldn’t remember the correct format needed to do it manually. DOH!
Nothing for it than to go on to 10MHz, the workhorse QRPpPP3 band! I fired up the MRM-39, 10 MHz PP3 challenge rig, again using the challenge battery, just as some drizzle started falling from the sky. I heard absolutely nothing on this band, not even BCI! The drizzle quickly turned to heavy rain and my CQ’s had produced nothing
No QSO’s, a 40 minute round trip to get some earphones, no ability to self spot and a thorough soaking makes this an activation to forget!
I have eventually found my SMS spot template on my phone and I have moved it to my ‘templates’ folder
Better luck next time!