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Boxing Day activations

Boxing Day activation #14

Looking at the spots I do believe No. 14 was me. This one was a little more premeditated than the Xmas Day activation, but preparations were still lax!

It was off to The Cloud G/SP-015 again on a gloriously clear and sunny Boxing Day 2012. After setting up the MM17 (groundplane vertical for 18MHz), I was a little delayed in getting started while I fielded questions from several interested onlookers. The Cloud was very busy!

I was anxious to see how the MM17 performed, as I had only repaired it at home that morning. And a lousy repair job it was too. I couldn’t find my decent wire strippers, and am otherwise notoriously bad at that task (the wire just keeps getting shorter…), so I tinned the ends of the radials and the coax outer and put them all together with a big blob of solder. Then quickly wrapped them all up in insulating tape!

When the first nine minutes brought eleven QSOs, I felt happy that the repair was good, even if it might not last forever! CW signals were strange on 18MHz, with many suffering slight echoes - multipath propagation? I moved up the band to do some calls on 18MHz SSB, and recorded 8 contacts.

Resuming on 18MHz CW, I add seven QSOs to bring the 17m CW tally to 18 contacts. I then broke off to pack away the 17m antenna, and replace it with a 30m dipole. I plugged this into my Rockmite 30 and connected the PP3 battery. There was a big delay while I programmed my CQ call into the Picokeyer - it took many, many attempts before the playback matched what I intended!

In any case, no-one answered my calls on 10.115MHz CW from the RM30. Perhaps the PP3 has had its day. I hear a bit of a shriek and a moan in my headphones just after keying. Anyway:

Battery: #1. Activation: #23
Summit: G/SP-015. Band: 30m
Radio: Rockmite 30
Antenna: Inverted V Dipole @ 6m agl
Battery: Duracell Pro-Life
Finish Voltage at room temp: Not a clue
New DXCCs: 0
Cumulative DXCCs: 19 (9A, DL, G, GM, HA, HB, I, LA, LZ, OE, OK, OM, OZ, PA, RA, S5, SM, SP, SV)
QSOs: 0. Cumulative QSOs: 74

A chap wandered over and introduced himself as Dave G6HZJ, a SOTA chaser from Northwich, Cheshire. He said he had never done any activating. I said “Would you like to?” and thrust Jimmy’s Yaesu VX-110 at him. He accepted the offer, but chose to make just the one QSO. He was with friends and the weather was starting to close.

It was perhaps because I hadn’t anticipated being on summit so long that I didn’t check what the later weather was going to do - although I have some recollection that the Met Office website had suggest dryness until evening. But not so, here were some spots of rain that seemed sure to be followed by much worse.

I pulled the bothy bag from the rucksack, and placed it over me. And now it was down to the business of 10MHz CW using the “QRO” of 5 watts from the FT-817. And what a difference, as I made 26 QSOs including a S2S with Peter HB9TVK/P on Buechemer Irchel HB/ZH-014.

A natural break in running allowed me to grab the handie and seven 2m FM QSOs from the relatively comfortable position of being sat down inside the bothy bag! However, after the final run of 10MHz CW contacts, I reluctantly accepted that the increasing wind and rain were not about to abate anytime soon, and began the packaway routine.

I took a windchilled buffeting and a rain-lashed soaking during the pack-up, but still got the VX-110 at the trig point before descending. I added four more QSOs to the log, although I was now very uncomfortable. The descent was disgusting, in mud and puddles all the way, so good job that I was at my car within ten minutes. The heater was on full blast, and my rucksack was immediately emptied so that contents could begin having an airing immediately.

I chatted to Jimmy M0HGY on 2m FM during the drive home. The total QSO count for the activation was 63.

Happy Boxing Day,


In reply to M1EYP:
My activation of Tal y Fan GW/NW-040 was about the same time.

The rain started as Sue and I left the car and was torrential by the time we reached the trig point about 40 mins later. Back this up with an estimated 30MPH wind (plus gusts) and sitting at the exact summit was out of the question.

We crossed the wall at the stile and took shelter in the bothy bag for 15 minutes to complete 10 QSO’s, all on the FT-270 with the Sotabeams 2m dipole. Thanks to all the chasers who were very thoughtful when I said I needed to get a shift on because of the wx. Also it was very nice to exchange “seasons greetings” with everyone.

By the time we set off down it was into the teeth of the rising gale, with the proverbial hosepipe rain. Fortunately it is only 25 mins back to the car.

Still, rather a bad day on the hill than a good day in the office.