Well I had an excellent evening out!
Given the forecast for heavy thundery showers this evening I debated whether to cancel, but though the sky was somewhat glowering when the time came to leave work it was still dry so off I set, the Satnav piloting me very efficiently the short distance across Wigan and to the chosen parking spot at the end of Beacon Lane. Plenty of room for two cars here, but watch out for the wall to wall dog poo :-s
Kitting up was surprisingly instinctive, and I hesitated only to text my wife (so that she knew all was going to plan) and Gerald 'OIG (who was planning to head for some local high ground the better to listen for me). The route up was obvious and easy, which was fortunate as (a) I had neglected to bring a map and (b) having not been out for some time my lack of fitness is supreme :(. Once at the summit I quickly assembled the trusty SB3 (such a shame they’re not still available) and mounted it on a short pole cable tied to the fence, the trig forming a very convenient table for the rig.
Pointing the beam to the South East, I was delighted when my first call was immediately answered by Frank G3RMD, who had been listening for me having noted my alert. He kindly spotted me, and within ten minutes the summit was qualified, thanks to “local” Colin G8JSM, Rod M0JLA; and Don G0RQL providing as he so often has for me that crucial fourth contact Further calling to all points of the compass however failed to produce any further responses, Gerald having texted me to let me know he had hit technical issues at his /P location and was thus listening from home without success.
Frank eventually called me back, and very helpfully checked 60m for me. QSB on 2m was heavy, and he fancied he noticed a slight auroral quality to my signal which may not have augured well for HF but we decided to give it a go anyway. As it happened we immediately made contact on 5.3985, and thanks to a further spot from Frank in short order G0RQL, MI1AIB, MM0GGI, GI0AZA and G0LGS joined him in the log to well qualify on that band too.
Gerald let me know by text that I was not getting over his local noise, so we gave it a final try on 2m again but though I could copy Gerald at 2x2 he was not hearing me - unsurprising as he was running 400W erp compared to my 30!
As I changed to 60m it had started spitting with rain, and by now it was beginning to intensify so I rapidly packed up and headed down the hill, and was glad to reach the car just before the heavens opened properly.
So all in all an excellent evening, made more so by the camaraderie from my fellow SOTA-ists. Special thanks to Frank for all his assistance, and to Gerald for going to great lengths to try and work me even though on this occasion he was the one that got away!
I expect to be working in this area for a while, so hopefully will get a chance to do a few more evening activations over the coming weeks and I look forward to repeats on some of the other local summits
73 de Paul (G6GGP/P this time!)