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