Black Down - G/SE-003

Following my successful evening activation of Leith Hill, I’m planning a similar trip to another of my local summits. This time I’ll be on Black Down, the highest point in Sussex. The potential activation area is quite large and includes two WAB areas. I’ll be operating from SU93 SXW, partly because it’s rarer, but mainly because it’s nearer to the car park! My preference for this activation is Wednesday 16th, but that will depend on the weather. I will confirm my intention on the day with a SOTAwatch Alert once conditions become clearer.

As before I will start on 3561, before moving to 7032. I’ll then try 80m SSB, hopefully on or around 3760. Depending on timing / battery state / conditions I may utilise other bands as well - 10116 and 5398.5 are obvious candidates, but I may give 70200 a go with a whip antenna.

I hope that this trip will be as much fun as the last.

73 de Les, G3VQO

Despite the reports of rain further north, the rainfall radar indicated that it was passing to the north of Sussex, and no further nasty blobs could be seen heading my way. So, it was an on-time departure for the thirty-minute run to Black Down. Once I arrived at the carpark the sky still looked rather ominous, but I had every confidence in a dry evening. I switched on the FT-817 with its rubber duck whilst organising myself in the hope of hearing Paul G4MD on Walbury, but couldn’t hear anybody. Having eaten my sandwiches to give me some strength, I set about moving the equipment and battery, and erecting the antenna.

Conditions did not seem as good as on Leith Hill the previous week, but I was soon calling CQ on 3561. There was no deafening pile-up, but a steady stream of callers found nineteen stations in the log before I heard prolonged silence. A QSY to 3760 (well just above that actually) found half a gap that I proceeded to insert myself into. With a cuckoo calling in the woods around me, I made my own call. Only six stations into the log this time, with some notable absences from the regular SSB chasers - perhaps the fact that it was not a bank holiday this time meant other calls on their time.

I then moved onto 7032 where I found many of the regulars patiently waiting for me, before deciding that I had time to explore other bands. A few calls on 10116 netted a couple of non-SOTA stations, but 60m was less successful. Channel FE was covered by a nasty noise, so I made a few CQ SOTA calls on channel FM without reply. I then tried the advertised 70200, both SSB and CW, but was not really surprised to get no response. Back then to 10116 to try for another two QSOs to make the magic four. I managed just one before feeling a few spots of drizzle. As it was just about sunset anyway, I decided discretion was the better part of valour and packed up. It was the right decision as the rain got steadily heavier as I drove homewards. In fact I had been lucky as, at home, the rain had been falling intermittently since shortly after my departure. So much for relying on rainfall radar!!

Thanks to all those who made my trip worthwhile. No points for me as I’d already “done” SE-003 this year, but a few satisfied customers. I’m debating where to try next, and whether to make it a dawn sortie rather than dusk - watch this space …

73 de Les, G3VQO

Hi dr Les,
mni tnx for the fb QSOs yesterday.
I was glad to work you with my SOTA-Rig (FT817,5W).
Sure hope for an s2s on your evening-activations soon and
hope that rain stops sometime here,it´s raining since 48 hours or
more now…grrr
Vy73 AWDH de Fritz HB9CSA,DL4FDM

In reply to G3VQO:

Hi Les.

Thanks for struggling with my low power. The 6’ indoor vertical antenna I use from this QTH in Cornwall does not work below 40m (so it says on the box), so I was probably only putting out a few milliwatts, but that’s enough for a CW contact.