Disappointing Day on Hensbarrow Downs G/DC-008

I was looking forward to trying out my new CW key today on Hensbarrow Downs, G/DC-008. It’s a curious place as the nearest trig point is far below the top of the hill which as I understand it is a very old spoil heap now completely overgrown. I set up by the memorial stone from where there were far reaching views to both the north and south coasts of Cornwall. The photo below is looking south towards St Austell Bay. Extensive evidence of China Clay mining is also very obvious all around this area.

I had posted an alert to say I would open up at 09:00 UTC but I arrived over an hour early so I tried a bit of chasing first on SSB. After an early success on 40m with an S2S with Andy @G6PJZ/P on G/SP-007 I added Manuel EA2DT and ON3YB but really struggled after that with very heavy QRM at times. There are several masts near which might be the cause.

So I turned to CW and and with some difficulty called CQ on 40m. RBNHole spotted me but by this time I was shivering and my fingers were not doing what my brain was telling them to do. It wasn’t really cold and I had several layers on but the shivering got worse so I returned to SSB and I listened on 20m. I tried to contact HB9OOA/P on a summit but they couldn’t hear me and it was the same with IZ2FNJ/P. Two S2S opportunities missed. After a final QSO back on 40m with Ian @GW8OGI I looked on 80m but it was completely dead. Still feeling very cold I packed everything up and returned home.

So a trial of the new key will have to wait - and for a warmer day I think!

But I did spot some orchids on the way down. :slight_smile: Early Purple orchids, Orchis mascula, common, but still a welcome sight.


Hi John

Sorry to hear about your disappointing day. I was listening for you but no joy and I did hear GW8OGI going back to you. No doubt others were listening for you as well.

Do you have 60m in your armoury. This band was working well at that time with Don RQL booming in with me so no doubt that band was working. Worth a try in the future on both ssb and cw.

Hope to hear you next time.

73 Allan GW4VPX

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Day out. SOTA activation. Qualified.

That’s a success, not a disappointment.


I think my brain was also frozen. I can do 60m and should have given it a try. I also should have remembered this as it was the same situation on the last outing when 60m was working well and I didn’t try it.

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And an orchid too. :slight_smile:


Hi John @M0WIV ,

Did you try calling us S2S this morning? Sorry if you did and we failed to contact you - we heard someone call S2S while we were on GM/WS-016, but when we called them back we heard nothing, so moved on to the next chaser. Perhaps our mighty 10 watts wasn’t enough for them to hear our reply?

We’ll be active on more GM summits over the next week or so, so perhaps we’ll catch you then.

73, Simon & Nic

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I don’t remember hearing your call sign so not me I think. I’m putting today down to the recent solar storm which might have been responsible for all those pigeons going astray. It seems to have had a similar effect on me. :slight_smile:

Despite having some very interesting propagation features like NVIS, 60m is still very much under used especially in the UK sub-bands. You will find CW QSOs more relaxed and operators more patient on the whole than on 40m or 20m.

Try ~5354.5 for ops with WRC-15 allocation [that’s most EU countries] or ~5262 for UK ops only. Good luck with CW and the new key.


Thank you. I must note those frequencies down! :slight_smile:

To close to me John for 40 at the moment, I was listening for you and also called but nothing heard and I didn’t see a spot for 80.
60 would have been a better option we may have made it? 73 Don.G0RQL.

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I heard you very clearly (59) once Don, I think you were calling HB9OOA or it might have been IZ2FNJ. I need to get “Try 60m” written on the top of the radio. :slight_smile:

Well done on the activation John, I did listen on SSB/CW for you, but heard nothing.
HF Conditions were very poor yesterday, and are not much better today.


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There is a PDF document about the UK 60m allocation. It’s 5 years old now so a bit out of date but still very useful if you hand annotate the WRC-15 stuff on top of it.


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That’s an idea for me. It will read “Try 2m FM”. :grinning:

Sorry to hear of the trials on the bands, but the summit does have some compensation with the views and being easy to access. I am pleased to see the vegetation is taking hold on the hilll. It was definitely still a spoil heap with grey earth and sparse vegetation… but it was November!

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I was kicking myself for not bringing a 2m antenna or even just my little HT. I’ll get the packing right one day. :slight_smile:

The vegetation is interesting and I might return one day with a book and try and identify a few species. There are things called “pioneer species” which are the first to colonize a newly formed habitat. For example, after a larva flow certain species will be the first to grow on the larva field after a few years.


That would be interesting John. The summit is close to my daughter’s house. so I must get back up there and have a look at it. The earth was very slimy with the china clay waste in November 2017. It could have done with a layer of proper soil overlaying, but that would have cost a considerable amount. The vegetation will, of course, create a soil layer over time.

BTW, it was “fun” activating the old summit DC-004 on 2m SSB in 2006 with the spoil heap looming large on the path out to most chasers. Thankfully the then “Midlands Mafia” and John GW4BVE could hear me… just 4 contacts. Sound familiar? :grinning:

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So that’s what happened to DC-004! I knew there was a story but hadn’t followed it up. It does seem odd the SOTA summit is an artificial mound. By the same logic the Eiffel Tower should be a SOTA summit or the Blackpool Tower at 158m. :slight_smile: