Had the chance last week to activate some summits remote from home as I was working down in Essex.
Tried Bardon Hill first (CE004) and as time was limited (a quick stop-off on the way to work) I thought 5MHz would be the best band to gain a quick activation. How wrong I was, arrived around 0900UTC and spent the next 30 mins calling on all the channels without hearing anybody. Decided to go to 2M FM but couldn’t find the adapter to connect the slim jim to the 817 so resorted to the rubber duck - 5 qso’s later over the next 25 mins and I realised I had to go. WX was ok on the way up, poured down on the top, and sunny/hot on the way down so arrived back at the car steaming.
Tried Botley Hill on the Thursday afternoon and as the take off looked superb I tried 2m, what a mistake, two contacts in 40 mins, one local one on FM and the other with G4CZP/P on the Isle of Wight on ssb. Not to be defeated I put up the 5MHz dipole and brought in 8 quick contacts.
Off to Detling Hill - took me two hours to get there due to the traffic and diversions, and arrived on the top in light drizzle. Decided to go straight to 5MHz so put up the antenna and 20 minutes of calling produced nothing - decided to try 2m but after assembling the beam found that the connector was broken so tried a “handie and rubber duck”. One contact later, by which time the rain was bouncing down, I decided to try 5 again before retreating defeated. Just then a dog walker came by and guess what, the dog took an interest in the antenna and brought the lot down - by this time the rain had eased.
Assembled the whole lot again and tried 5MHz - GW0VMZ came straight back and “spotted” me - THANKS AGAIN. By this time the battery in the 817 was showing signs of dying but I managed another 5 contacts (don’t think I left anyone calling me but sorry if I did). Packed up and retreated to my favourite hotel in Gravesend to dry out, then a few beers in the Crown & Thistle, a chinese, and a few more beers with some friends in TJ’s.
On Friday I had the intention of trying CE001 and CE003, with possibly another if time allowed on my way back to Manchester so put out alerts before leaving the hotel ( I must get a decent phone so I can use spotlite ! )
Arrived on Cleeve Hill a bit later than estimated but set up the dipole and managed 6 5MHz qso’s. Having known I had put out an alert for 2m I tried on FM using a handie - the yagi still being broken. Two quick contacts resulted but the interference from the radio masts was BAD so I went away knowing that I hadn’t been too good to the 2 metre chasers.
Time was pressing so off to Bredon Hill CE003. Arived quicker than I expected and put up the 5mhz antenna, took a while to raise anyone but then 7 quick qso’s - thanks again to GW0VMZ for spotting me. Worked all who called and gave plenty of time for others before closing down.
Decided that due to the time, and it being Friday afternoon, that I had better get moving if I wanted to be home at a reasonable hour so all thoughts of another activation were ditched. (people to see in the pub !!) Gave a very quick call on 2m using a handie but no takers so off to the car.
Traffic was the usual Friday afternoon mess and it took me from around 2PM until 5:30 to get home - don’t you just hate travelling on the motorways on Friday !
May be back down in the South East soon so will try another couple of hills - but don’t think I will divert too far off the direct route home next time.