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Does it get any better than this?

On Cloud 9. Let me explain.

Jimmy M3EYP got his latest two Maths and Further Maths A-Level modular results through this week - and they were an A in Mechanics 3 and an A* in Core 3. As a reward, he requested an activation on the Saturday, coupled with a pub meal and a couple of pints. Seemed reasonable!

Captained the work staff football team to a surprise away victory in Crewe, versus one of the strongest school staff teams on the circuit on Friday evening.

Back to Saturday, and The Cloud was the target, as Jimmy was yet to collect his 2011 activator point from there. M3EYP/P made 22 QSOs on 2m FM, while M1EYP/P made two on 2m FM and nine on 20m CW. However, it was the Commonwealth Contest, and those nine were 4 Canadians, 2 from Cyprus and 1 from British Military Bases, Cyprus (ZC4), plus 9M6 East Malaysia and VK - Australia! Both of these were brand new DXCCs for me, and quite thrilling to work them on a SOTA activation, running 5 watts into a simple aerial made of four lengths of wire!

But even that was not the end of the joy. While descending, I listened to BBC Radio 5 Live on my VX-7 and found that not only had Macclesfield Town won away at Northampton, but Port Vale had lost at home. Could it get better? Yes. We entered the Harrington Arms in Gawsworth and asked if they were serving grub. “Yes, I’ll get you some menus” came the reply. But we had already spotted “Haggis Pie” on the specials board. “They won’t be necessary” I responded, “Two of them!”.

Jimmy and I celebrated the football results, exam results and DX results with pints of Hannibal’s Nectar ale. Does it get any better than this?

Tom M1EYP (happy, if you hadn’t guessed)

In reply to M1EYP:

Back to Saturday, and The Cloud was the target, as Jimmy was yet to
collect his 2011 activator point from there. M3EYP/P made 22 QSOs on
2m FM, while M1EYP/P made two on 2m FM and nine on 20m CW. However,
it was the Commonwealth Contest, and those nine were 4 Canadians, 2
from Cyprus and 1 from British Military Bases, Cyprus (ZC4), plus 9M6
East Malaysia and VK - Australia! Both of these were brand new DXCCs
for me, and quite thrilling to work them on a SOTA activation, running
5 watts into a simple aerial made of four lengths of wire!

Snipped for brevity

Tom, I remember talking to you a couple of weeks ago at your school and you telling me how you had never worked VK. Well done on 2 new DXCCs. Great result.

Radio is like sticking your hand into a lucky dip, you never know whats coming out.

Last Tuesday, at about 1500z, I put a cq out on 28.478 using 50 watts and a CB antenna.

First call was from ZS2DK followed by ZS1AX, ZS6AF, ZS6RSN, ZS6PMB, ZS1VK, ZS1ROM, ZS6OIN, ZS6LHT all in the space of 20 minutes. This was quickly follwed by two European stations, who had clearly been monitering what was going on, popping up 3 Kc’s either side of me with their 1.5kW.

Oh well… Fun while it lasted.

73
Mike 2E0YYY

In reply to M1EYP:
Well done on the results Jimmy and a well deserved beer and nosh up!

Excellent DX Tom with “MAGIC MOGGY”, It was just a matter of time until you wrapped RF around the globe, Can you do it again? I am sure you will as these sunspots increase in their numbers.

Sean M0GIA

Thanks for the nice comments Sean and Mike.

Does it get any better than this?

Since posting the report above, I have learned that I won the March 2m UK activity contest. Something tells me I should really have stuck an extra couple of lines on the lottery today.

Tom M1EYP

Something tells me I should really have stuck an
extra couple of lines on the lottery today.

My Mum has already got 2 lines for the lottery tonight.

Jimmy M3EYP

The way things are going today, there will be two jackpot winning tickets in tonight’s draw - mine and your mum’s!

Dad M1EYP

As if that will happen, we never win the lottery.

Jimmy M3EYP

In reply to M3EYP:

As if that will happen, we never win the lottery.

Jimmy M3EYP

Hi Jimmy, I won a tenner last Saturday, the first win for months. Sadly, I lost it all on Wednesdays draw :frowning:

Oh well, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Mike 2E0YYY

In reply to M1EYP:

So does that mean you’re EYPPY! :slight_smile:

Congrats to you and Jimmy!

Karen 2E0XYL

Thank you for the congratulations Karen.

Jimmy M3EYP

All our lottery lines matched two numbers I am informed. So looks like the winning streak ended sometime on Saturday evening. I was certainly thinking that - and questioning my own sanity - as I got up at 4.30am on Sunday 13th March 2011, and drove to Cloudside in heavy rain. And it was freezing cold as well. Bonkers.

The ridiculously early start did mean a return of one of my favourite things - a headtorch-lit ascent in darkness. Even by early March, the need for torches is no more for a more typical 7am activation.

It was pretty horrid on the summit, cold blustery wind, squally sleet and rain and the whole surface of the place utterly filthy with mud churning up everywhere. Nonetheless, I was there to enjoy myself, so up went the MM20 and down I went by a side of the topograph, although no one face of it actually afforded much shelter.

There was not any Commonwealth Contest activity to be found before daybreak, so I got into a run of my own on 14.015MHz CW. A few known chasers worked me as well as the usual interest from Ukraine, Russia and Bulgaria.

As the sun rose, I scanned around again, and fairly quickly found 5N7M, Nigeria. I tried, but couldn’t get my signal through. I had plenty of time though and consoled myself with probably having another opportunity later. As it turned out, I didn’t, and 5N was a getaway.

But then I found ZA/I2GPT, working split down near the bottom of the band. This was a bigger treasure. For I have worked Nigeria before; it was on 24MHz CW from South Park in Macclesfield while Sean M0GIA and myself were testing the newly built MM12. Albania, however, had never been worked by me. The closest I ever got was a few Radio Tirana English Service QSL cards in my collection!

I fiddled through the 817 ‘F’ menu to get the A/B split operation going, waited for the next invite to call, and keyed in my callsign. Worked him first time - result! My mood lifted, and no signs of any other Commnwealth stuff yet, I went to 14.022MHz to do some running for the SOTA chasers.

Despite being headed up by Phil who ‘clustered’ me, this run did not last long. It would have done if The Cloud had a WFF reference - but it does not, and it seems that particular programme has a lot of sorting out to do before it resumes issuing new area reference numbers.

I didn’t fully check the rules of the Commonwealth Contest in advance, but listening around to the activity, I deduced that (a) stations at both ends of the QSO must be in Commonwealth entities, and (b) contacts within the same Commonwealth entity are not valid. I did try to cheekily call the occasional GI or GM station when things got very quiet for them - and I needed them for the 2011 G3WGV UK CW Table - but was tactfully ignored. The exception was MD0CCE who kindly gave me a quick 599/599 exchange without serials.

Now more contest activity could be seen, although maybe not as much as the previous day, and of course many of the stations on had already been worked by me on the Saturday. I heard a VK station (VK6DXI) and worked him first call. This was followed by Gibraltar courtesy of ZB2EO, a very big signal.

After another run for the chasers on 14.022MHz CW, I worked my second VK of the morning - and third of all-time with a surprisingly easy contact with VK2IM.

Then things got really exciting, but frustrating as well at the same time. I heard good signals from VP8ANO, ZL2BR, VK4EMM and ZL2AZ. I spent the last 45 minutes of the contest (0915 to 1000z) trying to call these stations, but couldn’t get any of them to hear me. Oh well, I suppose I’ve had worse days!

It was a nasty old morning on Cloud summit, and I felt damp and cold and uncomfortable despite two fleeces, coat, hat, overtrousers and 100% indoor operation - bothy bag. Maybe being there for over four hours had something to do with it. On the way down, I met two guys walking the Gritstone Trail, having set out that morning from the Rushton Inn. We compared notes and compared accommodations used as I recounted my own Gritstone Trail walk of 2007. There was now a blue sky and sunshine, which was very nice, but five hours late in showing up!

Many thanks for all the calls today. Because I was hunting the DX again, the QSO rate was pitiful considering the amount of time up there. All the same, those 34 QSOs did include a ZA, a ZB and 2 VKs. I’ve had worse days.

Tom M1EYP

In reply to M1EYP:

fairly quickly found
5N7M, Nigeria. I tried, but couldn’t get my signal through. I had
plenty of time though and consoled myself with probably having another
opportunity later. As it turned out, I didn’t, and 5N was a getaway.

Wrong choice of band, Tom. I worked him on 80m this morning! :slight_smile:

Well done on the VK’s, though … good going with QRP.

73,
Walt (G3NYY)

In reply to M1EYP:
Can you do it again? You answered that one!

Sean M0GIA

Wednesday 16th March 2011. I hadn’t planned to do a before-work activation, but accidentally woke up at 5.30am. So I decided to go up The Cloud G/SP-015 and get a bit of fresh air before work.

I used the MM20 again, and had a remarkably enjoyable activation. Operating from 0700 to 0753 UTC, I made 70 contacts on 20m CW. DXCCs were E7, EA, EA6, ES, EW, G, HA, I, LY, LZ, OE, OH, OK, OM, OZ, RA, S5, SP, UA2, UA9, UR, YO, Z3 - a pleasing 23 DXCCs including (I think) some new ones on 20m CW for 2011.

I hope I keep waking up early - that was fun!

Tom M1EYP

The evening of Tuesday 22nd March 2011 saw my next SOTA trip up The Cloud G/SP-015. This was for the RSGB 6m UK Activity Contest, and was important for me - because I was not actually winning that one! However, being in 2nd place by only 35 points meant that a solid if not spectacular performance on the night should see me pull away in the lead again. (My 2011 6m campaign stuttered in the February session when I was away in IO94 and unable to properly research a suitable site. The multipliers came to my rescue that night and kept me ‘in the mix’ even though I lost my lead).

I ascended the hill at dusk, switching on my headlamp about halfway up as a precaution against twisting my ankle on uneven ground. At the top I realised I hadn’t packed a guying ring for the pole, but I did have the back-guy from the 80m dipole, so I set up the 6m delta loop with that instead to keep things upright.

In fact, I found that this was a much easier and quicker way to set up this antenna, and that I could get the shape of the loop right first time without any trial and error. It was a little more tricky to change the direction of the antenna - but not majorly difficult, so I think this will be the way to go from now on.

Conditions seemed to be very good down into IO91 square, from where there was plenty of activity as well. Squares worked were IO64, IO71, IO80, IO81, IO82, IO83, IO84, IO91, IO92, IO93, JO01 and JO03. IO85, IO94 and JO02 were heard briefly around the band, but not found to work myself. As usual there were a few SOTA chasers worked - they were participating in the contest as well, but did want the SOTA reference.

It was a very nice March evening. A clear night sky saw Orion watching my every move as it leant over me, the temperature was mild and hardly a breath of wind. The downside to this was that the midges were bothering. One doesn’t expect that particular inconvenience at 10.30pm on a March night on The Cloud!

The final reckoning of 57 QSOs into 12 multiplier squares saw me comfortably leading the AL section after entering the data - although only three AL entrants had submitted their logs by then! I managed to pack away and descend very quickly for once, and was in the Harrington Arms just after 11pm. A delicious pint of Ginger Tom Ale, a Spearings beef pie and mustard, and a pack of Hearty Beef Winter Warmer Burts crisps was the enjoyable conclusion to the evening.

Tom M1EYP

Eek - a whole fortnight without walking up The Cloud G/SP-015. Still, the 2m UK Activity Contest on Tuesday 5th April 2011 was sure to bring the radio silence to an end.

It was refreshing to complete the entire ascent, set-up and initial activity in daylight. The thick grey cloud was worrying though. Even though the weather forecast had promised it would remain dry, I could feel a certain dampness in the air. Other contesters having pre-1900z natters on 2m SSB concurred that they expected it to rain. The forecasters got it right though.

Activity was good in the contest, but QRM and QSB was a problem throughout the night. I reached my target of 14 multipliers relatively early on the night, but was unable to add to it, missing the action from IO70, IO73, IO75 and IO84. A fifteenth square was worked - my best DX of the night, F8BRK, 460km into IN99, but alas not a multiplier!

I missed the S2S with MW6OXO/P on Esgeiriau Gwynion GW/NW-031, but I see now that the spot has disappeared, so maybe he didn’t operate for the contest from the summit. It would have been a long and tricky descent in darkness and damp fog on not the easiest of terrain, so no surprise if he did cancel the SOTA element to his contest evening.

The wind across the summit was stiff enough at 8pm, but it steadily increased through the night. By 9.15pm, I noticed that the load of the 5 element beam in the wind was stressing the pole somewhat, so I lowered it to just 2m AGL for the remainder of the contest. I still managed to work my remaining target squares after that, which were IO64 and JO03. Final tally was 67 QSOs, significantly down on the 100 made in March, but cushioned by the 14 multipliers. At the time of writing, I am leading the AL section, but with reduced confidence that I will end up making it four out of four in the 2m series.

I was pleased to discover that the Harrington Arms still ad the Robinsons Ginger Tom ale on, as it really is an excellent pint. Spearings meat pie, English mustard, blah blah blah, you know the rest.

Tom M1EYP

In reply to M1EYP:

Hi Tom,

It was nice to work you twice on Tuesday, once before the contest & once during it. Shortly before the contest started after working you I heard Bob G6ODU working Brian MW6OXO/P but couldn’t hear Brian at all. I have just uploaded my log & I see that Brian had 14 QSO’s in the contest, with a 9 element yagi & 1 Watt so well done to him entering the contest from such a sizeable summit!

I entered this months 144MHz contest properly using my SB5 rather than just giving points away with my vertical. I ended the night with 42 QSO’s & an incredible (for me at least) 14 multipliers.

I didn’t manage to work outside the UK but did hear G4PBP working OZ on CW. Sadly I could not hear the OZ station.

Good fun, I’m glad I was away from work early enough to take part :slight_smile:

Best 73,

Mark G0VOF

In reply to G0VOF:

I think he was operating from the car park not the summit Mark.

Andy
MM0FMF

In reply to MM0FMF:

That would explain why I couldn’t hear him :wink:

73,

Mark G0VOF

Aargh! G4HGI has submitted his log in the AL (10 watt) section this month instead of his usual AR (100w). And he’s beaten me :frowning:

Got to find a way of winning 4 of the remaining 8 months. I have a few ideas…

Tom M1EYP