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Blackpool - Norbreck

The annual gathering for SOTA activators and chasers is upon us. Looking forward to meeting up with many again at the SOTA stand in the rally today.


In reply to M1EYP:

Have fun. I had to work last night so have changed my plan to go in to one to sleep all day. :0(

73 Steve GW7AAV

In reply to M1EYP:
Hope you all have a great day out by the sea. Unfortunately, as usual, I am working.

Have fun,


In reply to M1EYP:

Thanks to all the SOTA folks who stopped and had a chat today, it was a great day - I can’t believe how tired I feel now!

Thanks to all involved with the stand.


Sunday 15th April 2012 was an excellent day. Jimmy 2E0EYP, Liam and myself departed Macclesfield a little later than intended around 7.15am, but compensated by not stopping en route for breakfast. The back of my mind told me that decent bacon butties could be obtained in the Norbreck Castle Hotel while setting up for the rally, so we drove straight to Blackpool North Shore.

My memory had served me well, for the bacon butties were very nice. We met our dear SOTA friends Audrey, and Rob G4RQJ and set about preparing the SOTA stand. I guess we are into a system now, for it went very smoothly, and we were ready in plenty of time, even though the rally was starting 30 minutes earlier this year.

On the stand we had Rob and Audrey’s summit photo galleries and 10 year “then and now” photos. My FT-817 was rigged up as usual, into a SOTA Beam mounted on one of the poles above the SOTA banner. This was more for demonstration than actual practical use, as the 2m band was flooded with many VERY local stations (ie, inside the same hall) communicating to each other on 2m FM!

My laptop connected to the hotel’s Wi-Fi straight away, and so was used to show live SOTAwatch Spots, and also Richard G3CWI’s APRS track for his walk in the Staffordshire Moorlands that day. Certificates and trophies were on display, as were Colin M0CGH’s Rockmite QRPP radios. And centre stage was the fabulous SOTA 10th Birthday cake, baked and beautifully decorated by Audrey. Audrey, as ever, also brought lots of boxes of homemade sausage rolls, cakes and pastries to keep everyone either side of the SOTA stand well sustained throughout the day.

Staffing the stand were Rob and Audrey, Jimmy and myself, Colin M0CGH, Andy MM0FMF, Edward M6NSR, Brian G4ZRP, Rob G0HRT, Jim G0CQK and no doubt several of the following. It was often difficult to tell where the division was between the crowds behind the stand, and the crowds in front!

SOTA participants visiting the stand included Martyn M1MAJ, Caroline M3ZCB, Carolyn G6WRW, Helen M0YHB, Keith G0OXV, Stuart G0MJG, Geoff G6MZX, Roger 2E0BMO, Colin G4UXH, Bob G6ODU, Dave G6LKB, Clifford M6LKB, Josh M0DIT, Phil M1PAC, John GM8OTI, David M0TUB, Ray G0DMV, Jack G0BPQ, Derek 2E0MIX, Alan M1EYO, Aled MW0UPH, Heather M6UXH, Emily 2E1AEQ, Greg M0TXX, Derek G4XEE, Paul 2E0FPC, Roger M0GMG, Keith G8HXE, Phil G1OPV, Alun 2W0CYM, Sue G1OHH, Doug G1KLZ, John G3WFK, Terry G0VWP, David M3LFC, Derek G7LFC, Nathan 2E0OCC, Brian M0OYG, Martin M0ZIF, Nigel 2E0NHM, John M0PLN, Neil 2E0TDX, Kevin M0XLT, Karen 2E0XYL and many, many more.

Other visitors signing in and coming to chat included Roy G1NUS, John G4LGX, Alfred M3RNX, James G0EJQ, Dave 2E0KWM, John G3ZVQ, David M3ZKU, Chris G4HYG, Lee G0DBE, David G3UFO, Merv MI0TMW, Colin GM4HWO, John G0UCP, Pete G0WGL, John G3WGQ, Richard 2E0NTT, Lee M0ZPZ, Dave GW4ZAR, Andy M1BYH, George 2E0GEO, Barry MW0IHL, Gail M3XKY, Denis 2E0BSV, Graham 2E0TRU, Elaine 2E1BVS, Tony GW8ASD, Val G6MML, Glenn G6HFF, Martyn GW4CQZ, Nicholas M6NHK, Michael (SWL), Geoff G7JZM, Cliff G4YHP, Dennis G6YBC, Lee G0AMU, Russel M3LCZ and Neil 2E0MTX.

Comments in the visitors book included:

Great contacts, best 73
Safe descents
No casualties again - yay
Really interesting stand - liked the 4m beam
Great stuff
Nice to meet you
Yet again!
Good advisce
Nice friendly stall
Great meeting all
Good stall
A great 10 years
Always a pleasure

Not present at the stand, because he was busy in the other room on his own stand, was Mickey 2E0YYY. We would have come and seen you earlier Mickey, but we were just as busy as you were!

Suffice to say we were well attended, and very busy at the stand right through from 10am to 4pm. This rally never fails to deliver in terms of representing SOTA, and it was difficult to find time to deal with my own shopping list, or take the morse test (Certificate of Morse Proficiency) that I had booked in some months earlier.

I did eventually though, as it turned out, did Andy MM0FMF and Roger 2E0BMO as well! We were all successful in the 12wpm assessment, although I had to do my sending a little faster in order to be able to do it without mistakes!

Those mistakes came later. Colin M0CGH had very kindly constructed a Rockmite 30m QRPP rig for me, and brought it to give me to have a go in Kjell LA1KHA’s PP3 Challenge. I couldn’t wait to have a go, so on the way back south from Blackpool, we called in on Billinge Hill G/SP-017.

Jimmy 2E0EYP, Edward M6NSR (who met up with us on the stand, but drove back south in my car), Liam and myself set off from the usual parking spot at the end of Beacon Road. We walked up past the refuse tip road and up the hill to the trig point. The lads set up with handhelds and SOTA Beam for 2m FM work, while I erected the 30m dipole for use with my new toy.

I wasn’t sure whether my paddle was playing up - sometimes the dots can get intermittent, seemingly due to some bad connection in the plug. But it may have simply been me not being used to the response of the keyer in the Rockmite. The result was a great deal of rubbish sending from me! Therefore many thanks to the eleven stations that were patient and put up with whatever nonsense I was sending, and eventually worked me!

The details, in the usual PP3 Challenge format are:

Battery: #1. Activation: #1
Summit: G/SP-017. Band: 30m
Radio: Rockmite 30
Antenna: Inverted Vee Dipole @ 6m agl
Battery: Duracell Pro-Life
Finish Voltage at room temp: Not a clue
New DXCCs: 7
Cumulative DXCCs: 7 (S5, G, DL, LA, HA, OZ, OM)
QSOs: 11. Cumulative QSOs: 11

Jimmy and Edward both comfortably qualified the summit on 2m FM despite the usual mush, while Liam used the trig point as a backrest while he concentrated on his Nintendo 3DS. Then it was back to Macclesfield to complete a long but utterly enjoyable day out.

Thanks to every single person who joined us on either side of the SOTA stand. I really enjoyed all the chats, and am looking forward to next year already!

73, Tom M1EYP

In reply to M1EYP:
A great day out as usual Tom and a real pleasure to meet up with so many friends both old and new. We will try to cover things in greater detail in The View from The North but thanks to everyone for a really super day out.
Rob and Audrey

Hi Dad,

Greg’s callsign is now M0TXX.

Jimmy 2E0EYP

Thanks both. I now have the visitors book from Rob so will update the roll-call in the post above.