Always a winter winner, Red Screes

Red Screes G/LD-017, was my first ever SOTA summit, on 28th Dec 2016. I’ve always taken the ‘easy’ option of the 45 minute stone staircase from Kirkstone Pass, although this is a summit that can be included on linear routes and I really should make the effort sometime.

Now that I’m around 650 points in it makes sense to make use of the winter bonus booster where possible. The forecast today didn’t include the words ‘heavy rain’ or ‘upland gales’ which was enough for me.

Equipment today was the IC-705 on internal power and 5w RF on all bands, my friend Nigel’s M5TUE (foundation course buddy) QRP trapped end-fed for 20m, 30m and 40m, a guying kit and Decathlon 6m mast, Spectrum Communications SlimJ and tarp. As I ascended I ended up in the cloud and the tarp was essential as the mist turned to light rain now and again.

Obvious Cloudbase on Ascent

Lingering Snow

Summit Shelter

Anyone look like their profile picture anymore?

As I wanted to work Rick 2E0FRS who was on a VX3 running 1w in Lancaster I started with the SlimJ. I taped the mast to the walking pole keeping the tarp up, a configuration I’ve never tried before. By keeping the angle of the pole tilted into wind I managed to keep the strain on the tarp to a minimum. I then worked 2m FM and had a lot of nice contacts including Andy @G8CPZ who had arrived on Hutton Roof Crags G/LD-052 for a Lake District S2S and Mark in Leeds G7SXR a healthy 118km away.

12:01 2E0FRS/P 70cm FM 51 53 Richard
12:08 MW0RJO/P 2m FM 53 53 RJ
12:09 G0LWU 2m FM 59 59 Andrew
12:11 G0TDM 2m FM 58 53 John
12:12 G6AEK 2m FM 59 59 Dave
12:13 G4ZRP 2m FM 59 59 Brian
12:14 M0SSD 2m FM 59 59 George
12:15 G1OHH 2m FM 59 59 Susan
12:17 GW1KGW 2m FM 59 58 Colin
12:18 G8CPZ/P 2m FM 59 59 AJ SOTA G/LD-052
12:19 G7CDA 2m FM 59 59 Douggie
12:19 M1DHA 2m FM 59 59 ALAN
12:20 M7ASK 2m FM 59 59 Jonathan
12:21 M7MCG 2m FM 59 59 Mick
12:21 G7SXR 2m FM 53 31 Mark
12:22 GM4WHA 2m FM 55 41 GEOFF
12:22 M0TRI 2m FM 59 59 Andrew

Last caller was @M0TRI Andrew - sorry for not clicking on the callsign Andrew - my other Foundation Course buddy.

Moving to HF I relocated the 6m mast at the other end of the end-fed antenna. Originally I was going to point this downwind from the mast but because of a path in the way I ran the antenna parallel to the path approximately NE to SW.

Summit Shelter

Decathlon 6m mast in the distance

Starting on HF I found the SWR flickering a bit and I believe QSB was also affecting my QRP signal. Regardless I had a number of contacts including Chris very quick off the mark @F4WBN, @SQ9MDF Leszek and great to be chased by Guru @EA2IF.

12:33 F4WBN 20m SSB 59 57 Christian R
12:34 SQ9MDF 20m SSB 59 33 Leszek
12:34 EA2IF 20m SSB 59 55 Op. Guru
12:34 SQ9NOT 20m SSB 59 33 WIOLETTA
12:35 EA1DHB 20m SSB 59 54 Ricardo
12:36 EA4BQG 20m SSB 59 57 GUILLERMO
12:36 SA4BLM 20m SSB 59 53 Lars
12:38 IU1KGS 20m SSB 53 31 Carlo
12:39 OM1AX 20m SSB 59 55 VLADO
12:42 EA2DT 40m SSB 59 55 Manuel
12:42 G0FEX 40m SSB 59 58 KEN
12:42 G0FVH 40m SSB 59 57 DAVID
12:43 G6NHW 40m SSB 58 58 Pete
12:43 MW0OFA 40m SSB 59 58 Frank
12:44 G4IAR 40m SSB 58 57 Dave
12:44 M0NTC 40m SSB 58 59 Gez
12:45 EI9GLB 40m SSB 59 57 jim
12:45 2E0ESY 40m SSB 59 57 MIKE
12:46 G4IPB 40m SSB 59 57 PJ
12:47 EA2CKX 40m SSB 57 52 PEDRO
12:47 2W0JHE 40m SSB 59 57 Lee
12:49 2E0FEH 40m SSB 59 58 Karl
12:49 G3YZY 40m SSB 59 56 Howard

I had packed the Palm Pico Paddles and even plucked up the courage to alert for 30m CW. In the end I didn’t have too much trouble apart from fixating on the odd wrong number and starting off badly assuming the first caller was F4WBN! After 30m I was still just about warm enough to brave a 40m CW activation to try and bring in some UK CW operators which worked a treat, thanks for all the QSOs and your patience with my copying. I did try and keep my sending with long enough gaps to suggest my copy speed to the chasers.

12:57 F6FTB 30m CW 599 569 CHRISTIAN
12:58 DL1FU 30m CW 599 559 Friedrich
13:00 DL3NM 30m CW 559 339 Hannes
13:03 DJ5AV 30m CW 599 339 Michael
13:04 OE6WIG 30m CW 559 559 Franz
13:06 GM4ZMK 30m CW 519 359 Richard
13:09 EA1AXW 30m CW 559 559 OSCAR
13:12 OH3GZ 30m CW 559 559 JUKKA
13:26 EA2WX/P 30m CW 559 559 Marcial SOTA EA2/BI-055
13:36 G3RDQ 40m CW 599 579 DAVID
13:37 M0BKV 40m CW 599 579 DAMIAN
13:38 M6BLV 40m CW 599 449 John
13:42 DL6WT 40m CW 599 579 Juergen
13:44 G4YBU 40m CW 599 599 TIM
13:47 F6FNA 40m CW 599 559 JEAN-PIERRE

One last SSB S2S with @CT2GSN Joao who was nice and loud and an easy QSO to complete.

13:50 CT2GSN/P 20m SSB 56 55 JOAO SOTA CT/TM-002

Just after Joao I found two mountain rescue guys standing at the front of the tarp. We had a nice long chat. I noticed on the way up that an exercise was in progress, apparently dog training. They had decided to ‘pop-up’, one of them in wellies! Once again the digital handhelds they use now didn’t seem particularly popular, but of course handhelds are only good line-of-sight for the most part. Mountain Rescue don’t have the luxury of only using their equipment on the tops of summits!

Better visibility now towards Ullswater

Frozen Summit Tarn

The descent was made much more interesting with the breaking cloud cover.

Vehicles on the Pass Road

Ill Bell finally receiving some sun!

On the descent

Quick zoom test of the camera - fully zoomed out

Fully zoomed in!

The Struggle - heading towards Ambleside

Atmospheric Clouds!

Really loving the IC-705 now. The recording facility is great and the quality of the recording is superb. It has also convinced me I was seriously overmodulating and in fact I think the Mic volume needs tweaking down again to around 15%.

Thanks to all the chasers. The ADIF Processor indicated I had valid callsigns which was a first for CW. Hopefully they are both valid and the right callsigns! Still fixating on wrong numbers, more practice needed.


Thanks for the report and pictures Mark, you really took me along to the summit with you. I enjoy doing Red Screes and I’m sure I’ll get an activation in before the end of winter bonus.

I’m a little envious of activators going out into the hills whilst I’m stuck in isolation!

73, Colin


Thanks for the QSO and the report Mark. Red Screes is on my to-do list - and as I have more work to do ( only 417 points ) I will try - greek letters permitting - to activate this year. It would be another complete too - my total complete target for '22 being 50 it is - even by the end of January looking possible.
73 Paul


I listened for you on a couple of bands Mark; but nothing at all this time - propagation or the orientation of your wire? The wonders of radio :grin:


Great report there and good to get you ITL Mark

73 Richie


Hi Mark!
A remarkable result of excellent activation. As usual, I admire the photo. I’m sorry that my call sign is not on your list.