The worst piece of SOTA software is Manuel’s “completes” feature on SOTL.as. Once you know of it every journey becomes some way of trying grab a complete or three. It’s costing me a lot of money!
And so… I had a 550mile round trip to attend Brian G4ZRP’s funeral. At one time I’d have driven down in the morning and back later but that’s a mug’s game. This meant staying overnight at least once. If I’m staying overnight once I could probably grab a complete. Or two. After all it was Brian who got me into SOTA and he’d be furious if I passed up the chance of a complete/unique/activation.
I didn’t want to go to the funeral, I knew it would upset me. But tough, you do it because you should. The downside (is there an upside to a funeral?) is it was held at Landican Cemetery and my eldest is buried there, so double upset for me. But anyway I was glad I went in the end. There was a good turnout of over 60 people and I met a ham who I thought was dead but wasn’t! And also met John G0MHF and Karen 2E0XYL from the SOTA world. After meeting many people afterwards I haven’t seen since moving to Scotland I set off on the completion trail.
It was 26C as I drove across Liverpool, very slowly , in the rush hour traffic. I’d planned to visit Geoff G6MZX on Friday night and activate on Saturday and Sunday but the WX had other ideas with torrential rain and thunderstorms for Saturday. So I decided Easington Fell G/SP-012 on Friday.and a WX check on Saturday. Eventually parking by the cattle grid it was still 24C. Funeral clothes off, walking stuff on and I was off across the moor. There’s no real climbing and I was at the cairn in no time. As I was in SOTA’s original heartlands, it was 2m FM first…
I have a power cable for the 2m handy that connects into the power loom for the 817. Handy and 817 can use the same LiFePO. Except I have a KX2 now and that doesn’t have the loom and the 817 with the loom was in the car. No matter handy seemed lively. A quick spot and I worked 8 in 2m FM using the VX-170 and a J-pole. The low battery indicator was flashing at the end, no matter I can charge later. Packup and back the way I came, 20mins to the car and 40mins after I was at my hotel for Friday night. I had a nice meal and a suitable amount of beer as it was still 22C at 2000Z.
A wide shot from the cairn of the track back to the car.
Easington Fell G/SP-012 summit.
M0FMF at the summit.
On a day like this Easington Fell was a lovely place to be. I’ll give it 5 out 5 for overall goodness.
The WX for Saturday was meant to be bad early on. But by Saturday morning there was a 2-3hr window when I could bag another summit. I had my 2nd cooked breakfast of the trip at the hotel (and very good it was) and was parked up for Pendle HIll G/SP-005 at Barley Road with what seemed like most of Northern England. It was very busy. I got a space as someone pulled out. I did the classic route: up to the farm, right and up the steep steps then left to the summit. Descent was right to the path and down the slightly less steep path.
Now I remembered to throw the other battery adapter in my bag so I could run the handy from the LiFePO. When I was setting up I found that I had not been thinking and used up some old DIN audio connectors for the power. The 817 loom has a 4 pin DIN socket to power extras and the VX-170 cable has a 4 pin DIN plug. The adapter plugs straight to a battery and is a 3 pin DIN socket. And there’s a cable with a 3 pin DIN plug. I had a 3 pin DIN socket and a 4 pin DIN plug… they don’t mate. OK I could cut the plug off if I really need to run the handy from the KX2 battery.
I did some hunting or S2S from GW and found 2 Welsh GW/NW-043, GW/NW-009 and also 1 English G/SP-001. I dropped to 2.5W to make the battery last and was able to work 10 2m FM stations without spotting myself. Heh, it’s good 2m FM in NW England. The low battery light was flashing something manic by the time I thought the sky was black enough that it was time to run away.
Ominous looking clouds approaching Pendle Hill G/SP-005
The steep steps up to the summit AZ. It looks worse than it is, about 20 mins pain to get the bulk of the climbing done.
The actual slope isn’t that bad. Just grit your teeth and press on. It was 22C and very humid so I felt like I was in shower by the time I summited!
The much easier step-free path down.
Back down the path and I went to see Geoff G6MZX as he lives about 15mins drive from Pendle Hill. His health is not 100% any more so activations are too much for him now. It was nice to chat with him for a few hours before it was off to NE England where there were 3 uniques and 2 completes. It seemed to take forever on the A59 / A1 with traffic and rain so I plodded along very sedately and got the car MPG from 41mpg to 56mpg simply by not driving like I had stolen the car
The next hotel was a bit posher and the room was fine but they had some stupid Wifi which they told you upfront they would monitor and sell the usage data. I just used my phone as a hotspot. The reviews painted the restaurant and bar as a bit pricey and the pub 5mins walk away as much better. So off I toddled having shot-up a gutful of diabetes drugs. I was not amused when having read how good the pub food was the barmaid told me they don’t serve food any more. I must have looked desperate as she said “Are you really starving?” and my reply was “I’ve just taken a load of diabetic drugs so I do need to eat.” Her reply was priceless, “Well pet I’ll get you a plate and we’ll order a Chinese takeaway for you”. Never, ever in all my years have I heard anything like that. The takeaway was used to delivering to the pub and 45mins later my meal arrived. I’d been on the beer by then as I needed the carbohydrates of course I staggered home later just before the torrential rain and thunder came. There was a tree in the grounds that was struck by lightening… there was a flash and bang at the same time and the hotel shook. I got back about 5mins before this.
Now I’d mentioned I’d be doing G/TW-001 on here and this is in Andy G6PJZ’s back garden. I had a message from him asking if I wanted company. Well that sounded like sound idea so I’d arranged to pick Andy up as I had to drive almost past his house. All arranged for 830 the next morning. I skipped breakfast at the hotel, it seemed awfully expensive and wasn’t included unlike the previous place. A BLT sandwich on the way made up for the lack of full English !
With Andy collected we did TW-001 first, the longer walk. It’s not terribly difficult and there’s a wee bit of climbing which Mr. PJZ did just fast enough to make me work, which was good as I had had bacon three mornings on the trot. We bumped into about 10 Australians doing the Coast to Coast walk and had a good chat. I’d had to lug the bag of radios etc. whilst Andy had his handy. He did say it was a delight not to have to lug anything but paper and handy for a change The KX2 was broken out and pressed into service. I’ve had it since the beginning of May and this was only its 3rd time on the air. Conditions were rubbish to fair but 30 and 40 CW brought in 10 QSOs and 7 countries. The first QSO was hard work till I noticed most of the antenna was actually laying in the heather. Ooops!
Andy G6PJZ enjoying he had nothing but a handy and notepad in his pocket on Urra Moor G/TW-001
The cairn that’s not by the trig point on Urra Moor G/TW-001 looking at the next target of Cringle Moor G/TW-003.
Once we both had run of out contacts we high-tailed it back to the car and made for Lordstones cafe. We had a coffee then set up again at a good pace for Cringle Moor G/TW-002. This is much shorter than Urra Moor and the WX was improving all the time from humid and murky to blue sky and warm but pleasant.
Again out came the KX2 and this time the antenna was fully erected first time! 10 QSOs on 20m CW with 6 countries feature and 1 QSO on 15m, I worked DJ2MX on 20 and 15 and was reported as much, much stronger on 15m. There was a UA or UR calling me faintly on 15m but he was sending above 30wpm and despite asking for his call he thought he’d worked and sent 73. Sorry NIL not in log
Nearly at the top. The WX was brightening up.
Summit cairn Cringle Moor G/TW-002, a rather lovely day now we were leaving.
The very distinctively shaped Roseberry Topping.
The new replacement mast at Bilsdale High Moor, the old one caught fire and was demolished. See mb21 - The Transmission Gallery for full details on the old mast, the fire and the replacement mast.
A right pair of Charleys! No a pair of Andys!
We got back to the car quickly and I dropped Andy off back where I collected. We’d put the world to rights whilst driving and walking and drinking coffee. I have to say it was a huge bonus having his company on these 2 summits. It added something extra and I hugely enjoyed myself.
After that it was A66, A19, A1, A71 for a lifetime. I just plodded home at 50/60mph and the car proudly announced 53mpg when I pulled in at home.
It cost about £285 for hotels, meals, beer, gin and fuel to cover a total of 655 miles. I activated 4 summits, all uniques and with the S2S QSOs ended up with 5 completes
G/SP-012 Easington Fell
G/SP-001 Kinder Scout
G/SP-005 Pendle Hill
G/TW-002 Cringle Moor - Drake Howe
That’s £57/complete. I said complete chasing is expensive. Or £9.19/QSO Actually when you consider I was going to the funeral it would had cost £135 for fuel, food and accommodation for that alone. So the summits on the way back were actually a bit cheaper. And anyway, I got to spend time with some like minded people which you can’t put a price to.
Now to plan what to activate next.