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An evening at Gun


#1

A break in the weather in the early evening and the local weather forecast predicting rain on Friday found me looking at my rucksack already packed in the hall. I made a snap decision to go for Gun and remain dry instead of hoping for dry weather at Hope Mountain . Gun is a local hill and so I know it well, thus I packed Wellington Boots (what are they called in France wonder?).

A quick drive and I was there. Some blue sky and sun on the distant Cheshire Plain. Walked in along the “path” which was more like a stream in places, good call on the boots.

Set up at the trig using it to support the pole and 2m beam. FT817 + 30W pa. First call resulted in Graham JZF’s reply. Had a pleasant chat followed by a few more contacts. Best DX Don G0RQL. Most contacts were in the Midlands. 2E0HJD was weaker than expected and did not sound out of breath despite running up the stairs. Those CW spots must be increasing his fitness greatly.

Left in twilight at around 2100z. Thought about a pint on the way back but in the end did not bother. A pleasant trip - but quite slow going compared to the usual HF CW pile-ups. Still easily qualified the hill. Quite enjoyed SSB - wonder why more people don’t use it?

73

Richard
G3CWI


#2

In reply to G3CWI:

Quite enjoyed SSB - wonder why more people don’t use it?

Oooh! You Devil!

Sorry to miss you, it was the night for the climbing club…

73

Brian G8ADD


#3

In reply to G3CWI:

thus I packed Wellington Boots
(what are they called in France wonder?).

Les bottes de caoutchouc (rubberised boots)

73 de Les, G3VQO


#4

In reply to G3CWI:

Quite enjoyed SSB - wonder why more people don’t use it?

No comment!

73, Gerald


#5

In reply to 2E0HJD:

I think the carbon copy contacts on 5 megs where you can write the
names in the log at home and just tick em off as you work em on the
hill has taken away the pioneering spirit of experimenting with bands
, antennas etc.

That sounds like sour grapes from someone without access to 5MHz, and is completely inaccurate in my experience, as both activator and chaser, given the current state of the band.

Les, G3VQO


#6

In reply to G3CWI:

2M SSB : Use it a lot, FT817 + home-brew 3-el Yagi, and no pa. Suspect I can get as far as the 2M horizon with 5 watts so don’t see the need for the extra power (and don’t have a pa anyway!) Have had quite a few pile-ups on this mode.

HF : Not there yet but on the way. May get a old call re-instated (G6 …) and start afresh and go for an HF MG with that call.

CW : Was beginning to get enthusiastic, but reports of CW pile-ups are putting me off. Have listened for some of the CW activations, but all at far too high a speed for me to read (OK, lets be honest, write) the calls and the QRZ?

Sour grapes : None at all. It’s all a case of personal choice on the part of the activator. Perhaps a little ‘trendiness’ comes in to it. As an aside, I’ve just planted a Black Hamburg outside the greenhouse to grow through a hole in the wall. Couple of year before we get any fruit, though.

All for diversification.

Regards, Dave, M0DFA


#7

In reply to M0DFA:

As an aside, I’ve just planted a Black Hamburg outside the greenhouse
to grow through a hole in the wall.

Isn’t that a hat ??? :wink:

73 de Les


#8

In reply to M0DFA:

Dave - listen out for my CW activations on Sunday morning and Monday & Tuesday afternoons. Still very much QRS at the moment. The pile-ups are no problem. They sort themselves out really. You just call a station that you heard (or even just a couple of letters that you picked out). If you couldn’t make anything out, you just call CQ again! You’re the activator - you’re in charge.


#9

In reply to M0DFA:

Dave

There is no need to have a CW pile-up if you dont want one. Simply dont alert and come on any frequency other than 7.032 and you will be sure of a quiet life.

Re 2m SSB - I have always enjoyed this. It was listening to 2m SSB portable stations that got me interested in the whole “portable” thing in the 1970s. As you say, diversification is a good thing - remember when SOTA was mostly just 2m FM and it seemed that only I did 40CW? I am pleased to see Rob’s forays into data and the various other new things people are doing. Good for SOTA and amateur radio in general IMHO.

73

Richard
G3CWI


#10

Really the CW pile-ups are quite civilised - honestly!!

As Tom says, it’s largely down to the activator to impose their “rules” on the callers, and 99% catch on really fast. For example, if I get a part-callsign, I’ll call for that station and deliberately ignore any other callers with totally different callsigns. I’ll keep trying until I either complete the contact, or can no longer hear the original caller. In any case, I’ll then call CQ rather than replying to the “breaker”.

If, however, after a CQ I copy more than one callsign, I’ll reply to the first, complete the contact, and then call the next without a further CQ. I also tend to ignore people calling “SOTA?” or “REF?” over the top of others in a pile-up - they just need to listen until the next time I give it!!

Perhaps we keen CW operators need to stop emphasising the pile-ups that we enjoy so much, as it could be putting off less-experienced operators - the opposite of our intention.

As regards CW speed, because it is virtually impossible to adjust the keyer speed of the FT-817 “on the hoof”, I keep it set at what I hope is a happy medium - boringly slow for the aces in 599 conditions, but a bit too fast for the newcomers. However, I am more than happy to slow down by increasing the spacing between letters to help anybody, as Tom will testify. With my recent QRO operations adjusting the speed is much easier and I will confess to “turning up the wick” for the regulars. I must remember that I may be frightening the others - sorry!!

So, please don’t be put off. We’re a friendly bunch really, and there are so many summits that just don’t seem to get activated often on other modes.

73 de Les, G3VQO


#11

In reply to 2E0HJD:

But whats stopping the cw only ops taking up the mic some as well so
broadening their horizons, and activating on two modes instead of just
one.

Nothing at all Mick. In fact, of my nine activations so far during April and May, only one has been purely CW-orientated. One other turned out that way only because, despite numerous calls, no SSB stations found me!

The operators who do this have great success getting many in the log,

Not strictly true in my experience. Quite often a major proportion of the SSB callsigns in the log are from stations I’ve just worked on CW. You see, we ARE a friendly bunch!!

73 de Les

edited to add -
Our constant entreaties to newcomers to “come join the fun” on CW should not be seen as a move towards world domination. It is genuine advice intended to allow SOTA activators and chasers to get the most from their hobby. Regardless of whether CW “floats your boat”, it is undeniable that the combination of low power and inefficient antennae make the narrower modes much more likely to “make the trip” in marginal conditions. For example, this morning’s 40m SSB activity from EI/GW4BVE/P was just about detectable here. If John had been on CW (and he’s quite entitled not to be!!!) I reckon we could have managed a QSO, albeit a rather scratchy one.


#12

In reply to G3VQO:

However, I am more than happy to slow down by increasing the spacing between letters to help anybody, as Tom will testify. With my recent QRO operations adjusting the speed is much easier and I will confess to “turning
up the wick” for the regulars. I must remember that I may be frightening the others - sorry!!<

The art of being a good CW op is to match ones sending speed to the speed of ones QSO partner - that’s what I was taught. After all, going off at speed can just result in a request for a repeat and that in itself is inefficient operating.

I personally still use a straight key and while my CW is nowhere near perfect, I do hope it has rhythm. Many ops nowadays have either never learnt or have forgotten that morse is a language. Without rhythmical expression it sounds like the spoken word voiced in a monotonous tone without accent. I won’t name names, but some SOTA CW contacts I’ve had have been absolutely brilliant in that I have been able to read the morse in my head without any effort whatsoever - very useful when the logging pad is kept small through necessity. So those out there trying morse, keep at it - there are some really good CW ops in the SOTA circle.

As for 2m SSB… well, that’s where it’s at… isn’t it?

73, Gerald


#13

Another evening activation while the weather was good. A lot drier up on Gun than last time. Slow going on 2m SSB again with 13 contacts in just under 2 hours. No DX about but managed G, GW, GM, EI and ON (525km). Not bad for an evening’s “work”. Few chasers about but logged 2E0HJD, G4BLH, GW0DSP and M3PXW - thanks guys! Very cold towards the end.

73

Richard
G3CWI


#14

m3pxw?


#15

In reply to G3CWI:

I agree with Tom.

M3PXW, Barry, Ellesmere Port.

73 Mike


#16

In reply to 2E0HJD:

Well it’s a funny old world…

Till I got into SOTA last year I’d hardly used phone for quiet a while!

As a G8 (no HF), I cut my DX teeth on 2m SSB in the late seventies and still enjoy it very much. The batteries last a lot longer than on FM too. Got a 3 ele beam recently which is now part of the ‘standard kit’.

Now how about some 2m CW :slight_smile:

They say variety is the spice of life… would like to try SOTA microwaves sometime and how about SOTA TV, so the chasers can actually see the fabulous view from the top!

73 Ian.


#17

My own evening, well late afternoon at Gun was today, 23rd May 2007. I had an unexpected window of opportunity to do one of my on-the-way-home-from-work activations. But, with it being, indeed, unexpected, I had already done The Cloud G/SP-015 early that morning before work. So my first visit of the year to Gun it had to be.

I set up down the grass bank from the trig, in the lee of the prevailing wind. 40m CW brought five consecutive German stations, before four consecutive English and Welsh stations on 2m FM completed the activation. Then I went home and had me tea.


#18

I had almost forgotten that Jimmy had yet to activate this local hill in 2007. Until he forcefully reminded me.

An opportunity to visit arose on Monday 30th July 2007, and we enjoyed a pleasant hour on summit working through many stations on 2m FM.

We were originally going to move on to The Cloud G/SP-015 afterwards, but the wind was getting stronger and colder, and this was sure to be worse on that exposed summit. We went home instead.