Hope everyone going to the rally has a good time.
I cannot make it this year.
Go early as apparently there are loads of road work - keep off the Promenard.
Hope everyone going to the rally has a good time.
I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow. I’m pretty sure Rob and Audrey will have a SOTA stand visitors book with them, so please make sure you sign it. Indications are that this year will be the biggest single gathering of SOTA participants yet seen in the UK, so make sure you are recorded as part of it.
This year we have the usual displays, information, quizzes and goodies, plus a new supply of SOTA merchandise for sale on the day.
As ever, I try to combine any representation - rally or club talk - with a demonstration activation, so tomorrow we will be heading for Billinge Hill G/SP-017 after the exhibition, QRV about 6pm BST. Anyone and everyone is welcome to join us on the perfect activity to close the main SOTA meet day of the year, and to enjoy this little period of extraordinarily good weather. The last time I recall anything like this in April was on Whernside in 2004 when Jimmy, Liam and I got a bit sunburnt!
Allow for extra travelling time folks - the population of the North West flocks to Blackpool when the sun is out and temperatures are unusually high for the first time in any year.
Live Blackpool update @ 3.30pm, typed on the SOTA stand.
Another busy rally - always is here at Norbreck. Loads of visitors to the stand, SOTA stalwarts and interested newcomers alike. The visitors book on the stand has 80 signatories so far.
New SOTA merchandise selling well, Barry will be pleased to hear. Glorious day in Blackpool, but not many G stations appearing on SOTAwatch Spots - think they were all here!
Thanks to everyone for coming. More details later.
Great to see you all on the stand. The new work wear fits well (Grey Polo). Hope to hear you all soon.
Well, to my surprise, the roads into Blackpool were not gridlocked on the scorcher that was Sunday 10th April 2011. But maybe that was because we were nice and early, getting to the Norbreck Castle Hotel venue in plenty of time to set up the SOTA stand.
Powered by a full English from the Lymm Truck Stop, we had got the two SOTA poles strapped to each end of the double table by the time Rob G4RQJ and Audrey arrived. Next job was to erect the SOTA Beam and SOTA Banner to make the stand instantly visible from almost anywhere in the hall, and then lay out all the merchandise, display items, radio station and laptop in an aesthetically pleasing and tasteful manner - so we left that to Audrey!
I managed to reconfigure the laptop to work on the venue’s wireless network, so we had live SOTAwatch Spots running throughout the day. The stand was busy as ever, although the general feeling was that the exhibition was a shade quieter than usual. The main activity at the SOTA stand was the meet & greet for existing SOTA participants, and in my case this included a first meeting with new MT colleague Rob G0HRT. Rob, along with Andy MM0FMF and Brian G4ZRP helped to staff the stand for long periods.
The flags, stickers, polo shirts and T-shirts sent down by Barry GM4TOE seemed popular with purchasers, and over £100 went into the SOTA coffers as a result. Audrey’s SOTA cakes and sausage rolls were well received as usual.
There were over 80 callsigns noted in the visitor book. Maybe Rob G4RQJ will note them in a reply to this thread. Thanks to everyone who visited the stand during the day, and grateful thanks to Andy MM0FMF, Rob G0HRT, Brian G4ZRP, Edward M6NSR and Jimmy M3EYP for their shifts in staffing the stand, and apologies to anyone inadvertently omitted. Huge thanks to Rob G4RQJ and Audrey for their considerable hard work and contribution every year in making the SOTA stand at Norbreck what it is.
We departed Blackpool, still bathed in glorious sunshine, just after 4pm, and made out way back to the M55 and M6. Jimmy directed me down to J26 and through Orrell and Billinge for our traditional post-Norbreck SOTA activation of Billinge Hill G/SP-017. This was also to be a new unique for Edward M6NSR. He had travelled up to Blackpool with dad Ray G0DMV and mum Emily 2E1AEQ, but was making the return south with Jimmy and I in order to activate another SOTA.
We parked in the usual spot at the end of Beacon Road and took the short walk alongside the landfill before the final pull up to the summit. Jimmy and Ed pooled resources to set up a 2m FM station, while I chose to explore the conditions on the higher bands and set up the MM12.
There was some exciting stuff to be heard on both 12m and 10m, but getting through was difficult. I really need to replace the feeder for this aerial for something less lossy at these QRGs. Nonetheless, a QSO into EA8 (Canary Islands) on 10m CW was pleasing, and another one was SOTA chaser and activator Bernd DL2DXA, operating as EA8/DL2DXA. I was then chuffed to work my first ever Brazilian with a PY on 12m CW, following which the activation was qualified with Mike G4BLH in Brierfield, Lancashire! Rounding things off was a fifth and final contact, FM (Martinique) on 10m CW.
The number of contacts was not so impressive - as I say, need to replace the feeder - but the DX was nice, and a few band-DXCC slots crossed off for the 2011 G3WGV UK CW Table. Jimmy and Edward made 7 QSOs each on 2m FM, including S2S with Neil 2E0TDX/P and Karen 2E0XYL/P on Longridge Fell G/SP-014.
We reached home in Macclesfield around 9pm at the end of a long, tiring and most enjoyable day.
In reply to M1EYP:
The flags, stickers, polo shirts and T-shirts sent down by Barry
GM4TOE seemed popular with purchasers, and over £100 went into the
SOTA coffers as a result. Audrey’s SOTA cakes and sausage rolls were
well received as usual.
To be on the safe side and to make sure I didn’t run out of any lines, I hired a short wheel based Sprinter, as my own little van is not very well
On arrival at the hire company, I was presented with a long wheel based van, far too big for what I wanted and with the parking problems in my street, the last thing I needed. Left S-o-T at 5am and arrived at Norbreck at about 6.30.
Trade was extremely busy from the off and the number of SOTA family that popped along and said hello was amazing! SLABS and chargers seemed to be top of the shopping list and I was quite surpised at how many people went for the higher capacity SLABS. Bringing along extra stock turned out to be a good move and of course, buying SLABs at a rally saves the customers a fortune in shipping costs.
BTW, I’m pleased to report, there are 2 SOTA activators, who have joined my pretty exclusive 20Ah SLAB club…
Thanks for the pint of Diet Coke, Tom. It went down a treat! I’ll give you a shout on The Cloud tonight and sort out the coax.
Didn’t get away from the rally until almost 6pm and then was stuck on the M55 for over half an hour
There was some exciting stuff to be heard on both 12m and 10m, but
getting through was difficult.
Well done on the DX, this must have must have been the icing on the cake?
Finally, a big thanks to all who came along to my tables to purchased stuff on the day or say hello, but in particular, to the SOTA MT and their helpers for putting this all together and making it happen.
All in all, a wonderful day.
Glad you enjoyed it as much as we did Mike. I always find that Norbreck is the best radio show of the year, beating the bigger ones hands down as far as SOTA is concerned.
Rally pictures and activation photos now up on the Billinge Hill page on my website - http://tomread.co.uk
And now the visitor book - thanks to all…
A total of 89 - and they’re just the ones that signed the book and/or staffed the stand. There was certainly more.
Lots of prominent activators and chasers in that list above, so thanks to all for coming along. Hope to see you next year.
In reply to M1EYP:
I missed Blackpool last year as it was my silver wedding anniversary so it was great to meet so many other chasers and activators. More so was the ability to put faces to the chasers’ voices. Then you find you’ve seen some of those people at rallies on and off for the last 20 years and never knew who they were. I also had fun swapping hypo stories with a fellow junkie (diabetic)! (You know who you are.)
I was especially pleased to be able to thank Roy G4SSH in person for persuading me to start using CW. 2 years on and I’m still rubbish but it has put a huge amount of extra enjoyment into my radio activities.
As Tom says, see you all next year.