“The Cloud” activation (G/SP-015) with my excellent 5 year old helper, Ben.
Sounds simple enough, but my only previous activations being Bardon Hill, twice, I was about to learn some important lessons. The lessons I guess all the “old hands” on here have each had to learn. Bear in mind this is a 1-point summit and an easy one at that! I’ve done a lot of caving in my time, 12 hours in freezing water, I’m not a pussycat!
Having left the home QTH of Swadlincote-in-the-sunshine, we arrived in the lay-by for the cloud at the correct time - in the pouring rain and heavy mist! Not a problem thinks I, we both have coats and it’s not that far to the summit. Ben, special-class trooper, took it all in his stride and we actually arrived at the trig point in good time. Now the fun was about to start - and it had everything to do with being totally under-equipped for the conditions.
The set up was a Baofeng 2m FM handheld rig (2w), a G7LAS Slim Jim, log book, pen etc…
Firstly the logbook failed to function… the pen simply didn’t make any impression on the page whatsoever. Even when I tried to mark up the typical “Callsign, QTH, Name, RX, TX” column headers - I failed drastically!
Being a pig-headed kind of a fellow I pressed on, connected the hand-held to the slim jim and began calling CQ. A nice gent from the Stafford Radio club returned my call, but I could hardly hear him. By now the rain was really starting to drive! I realized the hand-held was generating all kinds of non-existent signals (some up to 30 over 9) that did not exist in the real world… Some kind of strange internal signals (it’s a cheap Chinese radio/toy.) I’d heard these signals at home before while using the hand-held and assumed they we’re local interference! I was wrong!
Then the problems with the hand-held subsided for a while but the “real” signals began wavering… oh no! The “weather proofing” job on the Slim Jim (long overdue) was still overdue and the open end of the coax feed was pointing upwards - into the rain! The nice gent from the radio club was still calling me and I returned his call - just as the G7LAS “super-quick-click-a-trick Slim Jim fast release mount” popped it’s release pin and plonked the entire lot on the mountain side in a total mess!
This, combined with the lack of moral, only which comes from that mountain top drizzle - started to bend my patience.
Ben, a dedicated collector of the activator points, wasn’t pleased but… “THAT’S IT… WE’RE GOING HOME!!!”