Well, I had alerted for 7am (06 UTC) but in all honesty did not really know if I would actually do a SOTA activation before work. I’m usually still asleep on a work morning until gone 7am, despite being able to leap out of bed at 6am on a SOTA morning. Making today a SOTA morning, therefore, must have made the difference, for I was wide awake at 4.45am, and annoying Marianne with my restlessness. I got up, went downstairs, had a spot of breakfast, and left the house around 5.30am.
Twenty five minutes later I was at the small parking area on Cloudside, but it was cold, and the rain very heavy. I was early, so decided to sit it out for a bit to see if the rain would abate somewhat. With the good take-off to the north from this spot, I turned the car radio on. A new station, Oldham Community Radio on 99.7MHz was logged. Switching to medium-wave, BBC Radio 5 Live was rolling through all the news (Prince Harry, Madeline McCann & Gordon Brown) that I had already heard on the drive down from Macc. Radio London (‘Big L’) was audible on 1395kHz.
At 6.24am, I decided to strike for the summit. A spot was sent stating “QRV in 20 mins”, and up I went. It was a nice climb so early in the morning with the thick mist and therefore eerie summit atmosphere. It was pretty wet on top though, and quite cold.
My initial CQ calls around 6.40am (0540 UTC) did not elicit a response, so I went onto the GB3MN repeater, from where sufficient interest was created to prompt four mobile stations to QSY in turn to S18. Shortly after 7am (my alert time was for 06UT) the four stations either side of the Dee Estuary appeared, as they had faithfully promised to do last night, plus one more mobile who had been tipped off by the guys on MN repeater. At 7.15am (0615z), I went QRT, and down to the car. I was pretty wet and cold by now, and looking forward to getting in the car and whacking the heater up.
By the time I had regained my usual commuting route to work, I was about 25 minutes ahead of my normal schedule, indicating that future pre-work activations are viable, and could last a little longer in good weather. I even hope to do one tomorrow.
Nice activation, and good to work nine stations in half-an-hour, all before a quarter past seven in the morning! And I remembered my pencil this time, so although my notepad was soon saturated, I could still write on it, and the waterproof paper didn’t tear - and furthermore, later dried leaving everything “as written”. Thanks to all stations that called; six out of nine were regular or occasional SOTA chasers.