Dodgy Keying on Cracoe Fell

We’ve had some very cold weather here along with some snow so I chose a local summit, Cracoe Fell G/NP-032, for today’s activation. As I drove to the parking spot in Rylstone the car showed a low of -8C. It was a glorious day with not much wind so it didn’t feel that cold as I walked to the summit. The wind was a bit stronger on the summit but there’s a large rock that gives good shelter. With my down jacket I felt too warm at times!

This time I decided to start on 10m CW instead of ending the activation on that band. I didn’t have many QSOs but they were enough to qualify the summit and included an S2S to Greece so I was happy with that.

Next was my usual starting band, 30m. Just after calling CQ I managed to drop my paddle and it got covered in snow. I brushed off the snow but it continued to insist on sending extra dots and dashes. I desperately tried to adjust it and turn down the keyer speed while chasers started calling me. They must have wondered who this idiot was. I managed to complete the QSO with SQ9IDE despite sending his call wrong several times. Fortunately the paddle sorted itself out fairly quickly and I was able to put the speed back up and work the pile up. I don’t think many people were out today so all the chasers were calling me at once. So thanks to the chasers who had to put up with me trying to get my paddle to work properly.

Looking over to Pendle Hill G/SP-005

We do get sun in Northern England

Not a bad shack for the day


I checked for an alert for you but it was for 11am. I was tasked with taking my son to Ingleton for lunchtime so that my wife, who works in Ingleton, could then take him to college in Kendal where they were having a review meeting. It meant that at around 11am I was preparing an early lunch.

Looking at the beautiful hills, I really do want to do SOTA but I had to be around to pick up my youngest son from the school bus after school today (my wife still in Kendal with oldest son).

It’s frustrating but I simply don’t have time at the right time to chase you on your SOTA adventures. I made do with going to look at the Yorkshire Three Peaks from the road in their ermine coats.

Pen y ghent G/NP-010

Whernside G/NP-004

Ingleborough G/NP-005 :heart: My favourite hill!

Sorry to hear about your key, hope that you’ve got it cleaned up and working again. I recently made some paddles for my RAG key, I snapped one of the original 3D printed paddles. I was kindly sent some replacement arms FOC, but I feared that they would break again. I bought some neon orange acrylic sheet and made some paddle arms from that, hoping that they will be stronger. It took me a while to get the key set right, I think I’ve got there now. I do love my Palm Pico but I’m trying to spread wear among my other keys.

73, Colin


Great sun and snow pictures, Richard.
I was on Josephine Peak, W6/CT-025, this morning and also had keying problems.
Out of the gate Christian, F4WBN, calls in but I cannot send his call as the dit side of the paddle has an intermittent open. After several failures to send his full call, he gives me a 599 and 73. Then the same thing happens with Scott, N4AAJ. I frantically pull out my KXPD3 backup paddle and am in business again. Whew!
When things dry up I tune down the band a bit and find a QSO just finishing. I drop my callsign at the right moment and Alain, 5R8AL, comes right back to me! We have a few overs, 559 both ways, before he QRTs for dinner. Not bad for 5 watts and a dipole!
No snow today, but Josephine is high enough in the San Gabriel mountains to get some if the storm is cold enough.
72, David N6AN


I was out early because I needed to be back to pick up my daughters from school. Although the footpaths in town have all been gritted the ones nearer home look pretty treacherous with ice so I dropped them off on my way to do SOTA and picked them up afterwards. It is starting to get mild again today so hopefully they will be OK this afternoon. I’m glad I went out yesterday as the wind has picked up today and it’s cloudy. Although the headline temperature yesterday was well below freezing it didn’t feel that cold wrapped up well sat in the sun.

It was just a temporary glitch. The snow or water had either affected the mechanics or were shorting it out. It sorted itself out quite quickly and was back to normal after a few QSOs.

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Well Done Richard. Really Good to make so many QSO’s. under very difficult conditions. Many thanks for hearing my call and putting me into your log. 73 de Paul M0CQE.