Crowborough - G/SE-007

Thanks to Richard G3CWI for persevering in his determination to find a suitable spot for HF activations of Crowborough. Today I tried his latest find, as described in the summit notes.

Well, it certainly is a lot better than previous nooks and crannies, but is a long way from idyllic!

I parked in the Golf Club visitors’ car park as suggested. It’s undoubtedly private property, but, given its size, I don’t foresee any problems unless you visit on a day when there is a golf tournament taking place. The footpath, secondary path and clearing are all easy to find within a 100m stroll. I would suggest care when selecting the best spot for setting up as, by my calculations, the wood is on the very edge of the Activation Zone. By the debris strewn around I suspect that the clearing is also a venue for the local “yoof”, so don’t expect to be alone if you try an evening activation!

Anyway, today I suppose the local suspects were either in school or in court, so I had the place to myself! There are lots of trees to assist with the erection of an HF antenna, and some fallen trees ideal for sitting on. Sadly, the constant noise of traffic on the A26 is ever-present - there seems to be no escape on this summit.

A few calls on 7032.5 eventually found some customers, and fourteen stations found their way into the log before it went quiet. I announced a QSY to 10117, but I’m not sure if anybody copied that. After a few CQs there without response I decided to try 60m SSB. Channel FE was occupied with a loud CW station, so I called on FM. The band seemed quite noisy, but eventually I was called by G0UOO in Kent. He was a solid 59 with me, but found my QRP signal frequently disappearing into the noise. We did, however, manage to complete the contact, but conditions were such that there were no further takers.

By this time the forecast sunny day was raining quite hard! I packed up and departed, deciding to come straight home rather than attempting Cliffe Hill (G/SE-014) as originally intended.

So, the new operating site is best described as the best of a bad batch. Don’t expect to enjoy this hill if you activate it! I probably will not return until 2008 when I will at least get a point for my trouble.

73 de Les, G3VQO

In reply to G3VQO:

Well done Les. I found the golf club car park packed out on a Saturday afternoon, so I went down the A26 a bit to just past the club and there is a patch of firm verge that you can park on. I then walked back up to the A26 end of the footpath that you used and operated 2m QRO from just within the trees. As you say, not a nice one!

73, Gerald

In reply to G4OIG:

I’ve done this twice from the bench next to the A26. Gave up once due to sheer boredom (preferring to go plane spotting at Gatwick). I’m told there is a pub garden in the AZ, is this any better?
It gets my vote for SOTA’s crummiest summit. Tom EYP once said all summits have some redeeming feature, I haven’t found anything good about this one yet.


Mick 2E0MCV

In reply to M3MCV:

Did this from the council offices (public) car park in Pine Grove at approx. TQ515310. There was a fence to fix the pole to, and reasonable VHF takeoff. The carpark was empty. But it was 8pm.

You are probably safe leaving the bivvy bag, gaiters and Kendal Mint Cake at home when you activate this one. Although looking at some of the odd characters that passed by an ice-axe might be useful for self defence…

Not recommended for those of a nervous disposition.

73 de Paul G4MD

In reply to M3MCV:

You need to pick a nice warm and dry day and find the pub on the north side of the A26. Grab a pint and activate from one of the benches in the garden. It was refurbed last year and has gone up market, but I don’t think you’d have any problems using a 2m handy.

I was specifically trying to get my signals up to John GW4BVE, so ran 120 watts to a 5 element beam from a more private location, not wanting to attract the attention of the punters and their moronic kids… the sort I found on The Worcestershire Beacon that stood in front of the antenna even when asked not to!

73, Gerald

Tom EYP once said all summits have some redeeming feature…

You have a good memory Mick!

This one will be obvious - it will be the urban novelty value. I am hoping to activate it for the first time in 2008, so I’ll see what other worthwhile aspects I can find then!

The plan is to begin at the south-west end of Cornwall, do all the DCs, all the SCs and then as many remaining Unique SEs as possible before our time window expires! Hopefully they won’t be all as crummy summits as Crowborough and most of the DCs!


In reply to M1EYP:

That sounds like fun Tom. I’ll be able to advise on some decent places to eat near to most of the SE summits, and I’m sure I’ll join you at some point (probably not Crowborough!!). I’ll also take the opportunity to chase some of these summits myself from a convenient nearby spot.

73 de Les, G3VQO

Whether a ‘nearby’ spot would be ‘convenient’ I don’t know Les. For the plan is to prioritise HF - 40m, me starting on CW, then announcing/spotting an SSB QRG for Jimmy. Certainly this gives us a better probability of qualifying from the more remote Cornish summits. We may phase 2m FM in as we head Eastwards, but perhaps not if HF is holding up. 2m SSB will also be carried, but just for emergency use if struggling to qualify.

I certainly found it very difficult to qualify the DC hills in my pre-CW pre-SOTAwatch days. Hopefully it will now be much easier, and we wil make it across at least as far as Crowborough. I will have to mention my little plan to my wife fairly soon, as I imagine early booking will be essential for hostels/B&Bs in western Cornwall in the 3rd week of July!

Would be great to meet you for a joint activation/meal/beer Les.

Cheers, Tom