Andy G8CPZ was the driver today, which made me his RIO. I thought RIO was a slang term from Top Gun, but apparently it means ‘Radar Intercept Officer’. Luckily, apart from guiding Andy back to my house avoiding radar contacts of the tourist variety my job was just to sit and enjoy the view. I didn’t see any ejection handles in the Passat so figured I’d be safe.
Place Fell from Patterdale
Our joint activation saw us arriving at Patterdale in time for our foot based departure at 9am local. Andy managed to tag on the end of a short stretch of free parking.
Parking at Patterdale
Bridge across Goldrill Beck
On the ascent
WX was hot and windy. Andy was donning a new hat, luckily with a neck strap, as the wind would have taken that away on several occasions on the ascent! My hat - which was bought 17 years ago on Australian honeymoon - stayed in the bag, no strap it would have been gone in an instant. Given my wife’s love for that hat, I didn’t want to make her day!
View towards Ullswater on the ascent
Ullswater Steamers awaiting passengers
Let’s get the obligatory sheep photo out of the way early this time!
View towards Angletarn Pikes with Red Screes in the distance
Andy was checking his activation zone app and with M0AYB/P Phil on G/LD-019 High Raise working a few stations we made it into the zone for our first S2S of the day.
Wondering where all the 2m chasers were when we started our activation a couple of minutes later we soon realised that @G7KSE Alex was stealing the show on Helvellyn G/LD-003 and working a fine pileup, so we had to wait our turn to get a piece of the action, but a healthy 13 2m contacts in the log including Dave @G3TQQ and Nick @G4OOE clearly ‘making progress’ on their way to G/NP-015 Great Knoutberry Hill - and good to get the QSOs logged as somehow we missed them on their activation.
Wind was to prove challenging as both Andy’s Chameleon MilWhip and my 10m SOTABeams dipole support were straining at times. Andy had an RH-7700 telescopic whip on his handheld which meant he sometimes had to stand in the wind for 2m - I had the luxury of a SlimJ to keep forced into the wind on the top of the 10m pole so I could duck out of it. There seemed to be about 2 S-Points difference between the two antennas, but only a couple of stations that Andy couldn’t reach with the whip.
Andy sheltering from the wind on 2m
This is not the plane you’re looking for
Turning our thoughts to HF Andy soon found that between wind noise and my very shouty SOTA style he was struggling with the CW, so ended up retiring to a safe distance from my booming voice and the howling wind. I worked up from 80m and he worked down the bands, we did end up on 60m together briefly. He could hear my SSB voice breaking through on his KX2 and I could hear his CW at times, but nothing overwhelming.
Andy’s Chameleon doing a good job in the high winds
CW concentration face!
Glenridding House Hotel
After 13 80m SSB contacts I braved CW on 80m and it turned out to be a very pleasant experience with 3 in the log and no pileup problems. There was then a rumbling coming from Kirkstone Pass so I grabbed the Panasonic TZ-70 and headed for a vantage point, to see three F-15 Eagles pass by running along Ullswater. Better late than never, eh?
Back to the radio - after a couple of SSB 60m QSOs I moved up the band to get G8TMV/P S2S from G/CE-005. He seemed to be doing well with plenty of contacts on 60m.
My dipole - in a brief lull of the wind
Rig n Amp
40m suffered from deep QSB but despite this I had a healthy 14 contacts finishing with a S2S with SP6F/P on SP/BS-005. I then clipped for 20m and again deep QSB challenged some contacts with a shorter run of eight this time finishing with a nice S2S with I/OE7RDI/P on I/LO-299.
After packing up I heard G7KSE/P again - and he’d managed to get from Helvellyn to St Sunday Crag in the time we’d managed to square off our bottoms on the hillside! So a S2S with G7KSE/P on G/LD-010. I joked that he should stand up and wave, and seeing as how he was the only person on the summit then joking apart this is probably him:
Is this you Alex?
The activation was wrapped up very nicely with a 2m S2S with Ken GM0AXY/P and Christine GM4YMM/P on GM/SS-214 Eildon Mid Hill.
Our descent was wind assisted but as we turned North again on the path for a while there was no wind which made us realise how hot it was.
Tourists enjoying Ullswater
Thanks to all the chasers and the S2S’s. It was a great day out. Place Fell remains firmly as one of my favourites in the Lakes. 60 contacts in total with 8 S2S.