With no more local summits left this year I have been revisiting them by good routes to get S2S, DX and just because SOTA is fun. I was hoping to do Pen-y-Ghent G/NP-010 from Halton Gill via Plover Hill but the weather forecast was for low cloud all day. It seems a bit of a waste to travel any distance to just be in a cloud so instead I went to one of my nearest summits, Cracoe Fell G/NP-032 where the parking spot is about a 20 minute drive away. The forecast this morning had changed to rain instead of just mist but I was keen to get out and my wife wanted the house to herself so I still went. When I started walking it was no more than drizzle but it did begin to get quite wet. By the time I got to the summit it was properly raining. I set up my tarp next to the wall and was pretty comfortable for the whole time. It was only when I got up to change the antenna that I felt a bit wet and cold but once back under the tarp I was pretty comfortable again.
I decided to start on 30m as this meant I would only need to change the link once on my 20/30/40m EFHW as the full wire is resonant on both 20 and 40m. The band felt like 40m with many UK callers as well as around Europe. In total I had 41 QSOs on the band over 40 minutes with 2 S2S.
Not surprisingly I didn’t see many people stupid enough to be out like me but at one point I did see a large group on the other side of the wall. They looked like youngsters so I think they might have been a DofE Award group. They were unlucky to have such weather for their expedition.
On 40m there were only 8 QSOs (with 1 S2S) as most people I usually contact on the band had probably already worked me on 30m. 20m brought 23 QSOs including Canada and USA, both with good signals. I switched back to 40m to work MW6GYU/P on Snowdon GW/NW-001. I noticed a spot for 9H4RH/P on 9H/GO-001. He was quite weak and had quite a pile up. It was hard work but we completed with 339/449 reports. Robin sent me an email afterwards saying conditions north from Malta to the UK were not good so he was surprised I called in. He also included a photo of his sunny operating position, unlike my wet one!
2m FM brought 9 local QSOs. Finally I set up the 10m groundplane. I was on the band for about half an hour and only worked 5 stations but it did include LW2DO. It took me a moment to realise he was in Argentina which is a new country for me so I was very pleased my 3W had made it that far. I did have a tune around the band and heard plenty of signals including a station in Uruguay but he couldn’t hear me.
Finally it was time to pack up and go back down. It was still raining and much of the path down had turned into a stream. Despite being wet I was pretty comfortable and really glad I had bothered to go out in the rain. Argentina and an S2S to Malta made it worthwhile. Plus I was happy with the total of 88 QSOs.
There’s a big layby on the left just after the village centre as you come from Skipton. You can walk back along the road towards Skipton to pick up the track but I usually walk towards the church and pick up the track there. It’s a bit further but it avoids the road. It’s also possible to make a good round walk by following the track from the church to Cracoe. There’s an access point on to the moor and a good path to the summit. It heads to the left of the obelisk but it’s better than the direct route as I discovered when I first tried to descend that way! You can, of course, do the walk in either direction.
I’ve found it to be excellent recently. I usually start on 40m and have sometimes struggled to get many contacts (although it seems to have improved this autumn) but as soon as I’ve switched to 30m I’ve had a good run.
Many thanks for the contact on 40m CW Richard. I had just taken my lunch into the shack and put on a Steeleye Span record (yes vinyl!) when I noticed your spot. Then as I called you, my XYL came to ask me a question, so I turned my concentration level up a notch to copy you against the voices of Maddy Prior and my XYL. I found that I can copy well through such QRM, but the XYL had to wait for a reply as I cannot send morse and talk at the same time.
Well done on an excellent activation. An activation in the rain is often very pleasurable, as though you’ve conquered the elements. Drying the kit off later, less so.
Thanks for the contact. You did well coping with the QRM! Most of the kit is now dry although my emergency plastic bivy bag is still wet - I’ll remember to fully open it next time. Fortunately I have plenty of space in the garage to spread everything out.
I went out again yesterday. This time the forecast was the opposite way round. I hadn’t planned to go out as it was due to be wet and I didn’t fancy a second day in the rain. But by the afternoon it still hadn’t rained and the forecast looked reasonable so I made a last minute decision to got to Sharp Haw G/NP-029 which is about a 15 minute drive away. Hoping for some American DX I took groundplanes for 15/12/10m. In my hour on the summit I worked 2 stations in Arizona and one in Michigan plus Lithuania on 15m. On 12m another in Arizona and the same one in Michigan plus the Canary Islands. Was there a worm hole to Arizona? On 10m the only reply I had was from Phil @G4OBK although we never completed the QSO. Perhaps I imagined it. I had a tune around and the band sounded fairly quiet except for the same Uruguay station I heard from Cracoe Fell. I tried calling an Argentine but he didn’t hear me. Perhaps this time I was too late in the day for 10m?