As a very poor excuse I used the worsening weather report today to press the 1 pointer DX button and activate my local summit G/LD-050, for the first time this year.
I took the FT-857, Sotabeams Band Hopper IV inverted V dipole, 10m compact mast, home made Inv-V for 17m/15m/12m & 10m and Palm Straight Key. The plan was to try 10m for DX and get my mandatory 4 CW QSOs for another Guru Memorial Key entry. Andy @G8CPZ kicked off the CW with a 70cm contact.
With the memory of reading about errant cows in my mind, I passed the bovine residents of Gummer’s How early on the path up. The couple in front with a dog took the wise choice of giving them a really wide berth.
I wasn’t sure how long I’d last today but the plan was to get the tarp up ready for the predicted sleet/drizzle. The benchmark still looks a little sad and I did think I should bring a small bag of mortar on each trip up and slowly re-build it.
I have misplaced my walking pole so I made use of two GRP hollow tubes I had lying around ready to be made into flowerpot antennas. They made a good support for the front of the tarp.
DD Superlight weight tarp taking the bite of the wind and drizzle
The activation started on 20m and proceeded briskly, although a few of the usual chasers must have been chasing other stations. Great to get a S2S with Jarek operating as SP15SOTA and finally got a S2S with Knut @LA9DSA after half a dozen attempts!
As I was using the linked dipole I wasn’t able to switch bands the same as when using the Chamelon MPAS2, so concentrated on 20m SSB and CW until I felt like I’d done it justice.
I then swapped out the Band Hopper IV for my homemade ‘high HF’ antenna and left it on the shortest 10m span. I was getting reports of bad audio at 100w so dropped the power to arond 40w which fixed the issue. It was great to get so many stations on 10m but it was a case of perseverence and respotting as well as leaveraging my POTA location. Best DX was Venezuela, followed by Dominican Republic and a good few contacts into North America. Of note was my 10m FM QSO with @KF9D Roger who caught me on SSB earlier - I think that is a new band/mode combination for me!
Finally KO4GAR confirmed that he was working me with QRPP at 1 watt. There was a little QSB on his signal but very pleased with contact given I had 5m of wire in the air!
Not bad for 2 hours on the summit - I called it a day when the cold started to creep into my bones. Had a few muggles ask what I was up to, one guy knew what SSB was and for once when asked if I was ‘doing CB’ I could reply ‘pretty much’! That particular guy was really nice to talk to, being a well heeled Lake District Fell Walker. He was rolling his eyes at folk climbing icy fell in wellies, trainers or wearing very little clothing. Helvellyn being the worst for these kind of folk, and as anyone who has activated it knows, there really is no hiding on Helvellyn from the elements!
Thanks for everyone being out there today, I felt like I made the most of the day given the weather conditions. Everything is now on a radiator drying out!
Mandatory Lake District Sheep Photo
View from ‘mid-station’