Cancelled plans and endless frustration

Is it okay if I have a little rant?

I’ve been trying to do GM/SS-167 now for about 6 weeks. A combination of bad weather, bad health and a busy life has ruined my plans each successive week. It has become an albatross around my neck. There’s no shifting it.

This morning I woke up after a really good night’s sleep ready to go, bags all packed. And yet again I have a pain in my foot that’s enough to make me immediately pull out. Even a trip to the shops to get my lunch for the trip for five minutes was enough to put me off.

Waking up with pain is demoralising. Your day ruined before it’s even begun. I have recurring leg issues that I have ups and downs with. When it’s fine I scramble up really big hills like it’s nothing. When it’s at its worst I literally hobble. I’m already having treatment for it and whatnot so I’m not after any advice on that side of things. But it does mean that making advance plans is something of a game of roulette for me.

I’m not sure if I am alone in this regard but I often think that I’m letting people down when I cancel an alert - like I’ve let people down. What if people made plans? Went up a hill for an S2S? What if someone is annoyed because I cancelled? It’s stupid, I know. You have to think of yourself, of course. When I’ve cancelled due to poor sleep I feel frustrated but ultimately I don’t want to fall off a hill and have no regrets. When it’s because of pain I feel annoyed, like the universe is trying to stop me having fun.

Maybe perfect is the enemy of good and I should have gone on some of those past occasions. Who knows? But I’m sad here again, wasting a Saturday and missing out on a really lovely day with little wind. There aren’t a lot of those lately. The inevitable “pain-free day with high winds” will appear next weekend, I’m sure.

In short I’m pretty narked and I’m just going to “Netflix and Chase” from home or the nearby park. I’m not even sure why I wrote this, to be honest. Maybe to hear your experiences? An explanation for anyone who’s seen my alerts and wondered what the hell was going on? Another SOTA participant asked me about it on air the other day so folk notice these things…


Hi Mark. I understand your frustration but don’t give up.
In the summer of 2017 I broke my ankle and spent almost 3 months without being able to do an activation. In 2018 I had a double inguinal hernia and underwent surgery. In 2020 I almost left this World because again due to a hernia my intestine got stuck and I was taken by ambulance for emergency surgery.
It is true that they were forced vacations. I recommend you take a long time so that you can stabilize yourself and calmly and without haste begin to activate.


Hi Mark,

You are certainly not alone, I share you sense of obligation to chasers and fellow activators. I feel guilty if I fall behind schedule, and then make myself still later by trying to update my alert times. I suspect that your concerns are the symptoms of a well developed empathy and sense of respect for others, and are to be applauded.

I am comparatively new to SOTA, learning during the COVID pandemic, and participating in few joint activations to date, so I am working it out as I go. I am not going to break any records, so have set myself the goals of enjoying every activation, enjoying every QSO, and attempting to be polite and respectful at all times. In this regard, I strive for perfect and accept my best endeavours.

These are just my thought and there are many wiser than me in this group.

Good luck with your GM/SS-167. The right day will come.

73 Kevin, MW0KXN


I understand your frustration, I alerted for a summit yesterday then cancelled, and did the same again this morning. A poor nights sleep and arthritis in the morning means I don’t have the fitness or will power to tackle a summit sometimes. On a good day I’m fine.

I too feel guilty about cancelling an activation and those missed opportunities for a S2S.

Try not to be too disheartened, I’m sure there’s a lot of others out there in the same boat too. Hope we manage a S2S sometime and you get to activate SS-167 soon! GL


I recognise this obligation thing towards chasers, as I’ve seen it many times from many well-known and well-regarded activators over the last two decades. I seem to have been unaffected by that aspect myself, and still, as always, just activate exactly how I like - when / where / style / length / bands / modes / antennas etc etc. I just see it as I do plenty of activations, so over an extended period of time, I’ll give out plenty of opportunities for chasers to work me on suitable working conditions.

(I recall with some amusement, my choice to do some activating purely on 2m CW described as “Selfishness of the Highest Order” by a prominent chaser at the time!!)

Over the course of those last 20 years, many times I have planned something, but found that circumstances, or health issues, or weather, or someone having to drop out etc etc has altered or cancelled things at the last moment. It’s annoying at the time, definitely, but without doubt better to “do the sensible thing” than press on regardless and risk getting into difficulty.

When you’re really looking forward to something it’s tough. I recall one of the G/LD Youth Hostel weekends many years ago. We were all looking forward to it for weeks, but on that weekend, gale force winds and flooding were ripping through the Lake District. Hillwalking would have been extremely irresponsible (and unpleasant and dangerous). in any case, the YHA suffered damage and power cuts, and we all had to troop off home (navigating around flooded roads) on that Saturday morning anyway.

Another time, Jimmy @m0hgy and I were up early on a Saturday morning in December, and heading off to G/LD to attempt the Langdale Pikes Wainwright round, including High Raise G/LD-019. Jimmy complained of a cold on the early part of the journey, and by Warrington we made the decision to call it off and return home. Over the next few hours came a massive snowfall that would have left us stranded had we gone much further, and certainly our walking plans would have been impossible anyway.

I’m surprised no-one has said “The hill will still be there tomorrow” yet - or maybe they have. But it’s very true!

I think out most frustrating one was our GW completion summit, which got cancelled several times (work, home circumstances, weather etc etc), then when we were finally about to set off and bag it, the PM locked us all down literally the night before! But we got there in the end - you always do.

Anyway, “Netflix and Chase” sounds pretty good to me - enjoy!

1 Like

I have lost track of the number of cancellations I have made, sometimes weather, sometimes stuff happening ( Jumping in the car and finding a nail in the tyre or having to drop / pick up the family ) and sometimes because I don’t feel up to the walk… and it is frustrating. I have spent this week not activating G/DC-002 as I might cope with the temperatures but my four legged companion probably wouldn’t. So…I have my bags fairly ready and the route organised so that when the day comes that it is possible I should just be able to go. Over the last year I dropped to a 4 day week and I did notice that Fridays did seem to coincide with rubbish weather, probably just coincidence but it did seem like the weather gods had access to my plans….
Hope to work you when you get up that summit! 7: Paul


I have dragged some of the phrases out the topic, I feel like it was me writing this!!!

Honestly you are not alone, I used to consider myself a great trusted Activator until I got ill, I loved getting up some tough summits and always made sure I got up on time and stayed until all the chasers were done.

Don’t knock yourself as others have said, it happens to all of us!

My chronic illness prevents me from doing any major summits now and in my previous posts I have echoed your frustration. As the group will always say the Hill will be there longer than we will so you have to be safe before all else.

And if there are any chasers who are angry with any cancellation, its their problem not yours!! The Activator is always in charge !!

Best wishes for a speedy recovery and I always advise "do what the doctor tells you to do"

best 73 Tony


All very good points, and thanks for indulging me. I spent some time this afternoon starting a 2m Yagi for satellites and Earth use, so not a wasted day at all. It’s a @K6ARK design, but more permanent than the tape measure one…

Legs and feet hurt quite a bit, so no regrets I guess.


Alerts are advisory, not compulsory. Activations always depend on activators’ circumstances which all chasers should understand and respect. Don’t feel bad. You are definitely not alone.


I have the same problems with sometimes waking up and feeling unable to go out for various reasons.

Sometimes, and this may not apply in your situation, it helps if you can just roll out of bed and go without too much thinking about it. I always feel better for going out, sometimes my plan might just have to change slightly.

Don’t worry too much about the alerts, if someones arranged a s2s with you beforehand then you can let them know by text/whatsapp etc.


Here’s a little psychological trick that you can apply when needed:
Just think about how good it’s going to feel when you finally make the fourth contact on that hill!
Hang in there, pal!

1 Like


Like a lot of other folks, I’ve felt the frustration, too. Not near any summits, so alerted for an unactivated summit while visiting relatives in KY. When driving by the summit was obscured by clouds with lots of flashes inside. Not a good day, had to cancel that alert. But did get to make its first activation about a year later. It was still there and patiently waiting.

Another try I drove 4+ hours to Mt Mitchell in North Carolina based on a good weather forecast. After arriving had to wait in the truck for an hour or so for the torrential rains to quit. Then got on the trail to start with the HT on 2m due to more pending weather. After about 2 calls the ranger came by on another trail telling hikers he was advising people to leave the summit due to an approaching thunderstorm. After hearing approaching thunder it was time to collapse the metal stick in my hand and head back to the truck, as I still had another 4+ hour drive home. Didn’t make that activation, but planning another attempt. Another cancelled alert.

The hills are patient, they’ll still be there waiting. Take care of yourself, and good luck on having all the conditions align properly. It’ll happen.

Best of luck,

Mike, N4VBV

1 Like

This is quite natural Mark. Thankfully I’ve rarely had to cancel an activation, but on the few occasions I have it has not been without regret. The last time it happened to me was in January when I felt unwell when the alarm woke me. With a 4 hour drive from Northumberland to do a couple of 4 point summits on the GM/CS - GM/ES border planned, I reluctantly decided to cancel. That day driving 350 miles was not an option. I felt bad, both for the chasers (particularly those I had advised of my intentions by email) and for myself as this was to be the only opportunity for some time.

Hopefully the treatment that you are receiving will prove effective and you will get back on the hills again soon. I count myself fortunate to be relatively unscathed so far, though (and I’m sure others will agree), increasing age does have its negatives! :frowning_face:

73, Gerald


Yes, instead of looking at young women where I’m old enough to be their father I now find myself looking at young women where I’m old enough to be their grandfather. As you age you need to take Alan Clark MP as a role model :wink:

And yes, I don’t like failing to carry out an activation after alerting. I too feel like I’m letting people down. I just have to try harder next time.


Hah. Well I just turned 40 so maybe the universe is shouting at me…

It’s fine, there’s plenty of summer left. Ish. We’ll get this knocked off and then I move in September so have some new territory to explore.

1 Like

40? Seriously?
Nobody could be that young!


But a child!!!

1 Like

I know why you’re feeling bad about canceling alerts, its because you care about the chasers, and thats not selfish at all. A good activator always thinks about his regulars, thats no vice.

I hope your health gets better, I delt with a minor ankle issue two years ago and it felt awful to not activate, thankfully its 99% healed and I’m back.

Hopefully things work out better for you, wishing you all the best!