Activation of G/NP-031 & G/NP-032 17/08/11
I am working my way through the NPs and today I decided to activate Birks Fell and Cracoe Fell.
I left Scarborough at 0510 travelling via Thirsk, Ripon. Pateley Bridge & Grassington arriving in the hamlet of Litton at 0810, parking close to the Queens Arms pub. After refreshment I set off at 0835 following the bridleway signpost to Buckden. Shortly after walking past the pub and a farm with several, thankfully chained noisy dogs, I came across two gates and I took the wrong one! I followed the path and later vehicle track through boggy ground and heather. Quite some time later after checking my map and gps, I realised that I was on the wrong side of a valley! I thought that I would have to go down and cross a stream and up the other side, then I saw on the map that if I kept going up I could eventually reach the summit plateau via Moss Top. This of course added quite a bit of time. I reached a deserted barn close to Birks Tarn (SD 91924 76057) at 1020 and set up for HF and VHF. I switched on the FT-857 and tuned to 7032kHz and heard absolutely nothing, similar to my experience on G/NP-008 in May and guessed I had a dodgy connection. To get to the barn side of the wall, I had taken my rucksack off and balanced it on top of wall and of course it fell to the ground so I feared the worse! I gave Kevin G0NUP a ring and put him in the picture. I thought that the FT-857 had died so I reached for the handheld to qualify on 2 metres. Then it dawned on me, the handheld was still in the car on the passenger seat. So back to the FT-857 to try again, after some tests on 7 Mhz cw, I called CQ and I could just hear a few stations with my headphones on, so I quickly worked 4 to qualify and then checked everything again. I think the problem was something to do with the squelch being on but I checked all my connections again and continued with normal operations, later switching to 7 Mhz ssb and finally 145 Mhz fm. The other problem was that my portable keyer was sending extra dits, usually a sign that the battery is dying and of course I had no spare battery to hand! I left the summit at 1305 and walked back on my intended ascent route detouring slightly to examine the 607m trig point arriving back at the car at 1417.
A short journey to Rylstone via the picturesque crags at Kilnsey. I parked at the layby just outside the village (SD 971 583). I set off at 1505 walking through about 6 - 9 inches of slurry at the bridleway entrnnce. The walk was a steady climb on the well defined track until reaching the wall (SD 982 568) which lies due South of Rylstone Cross. On the bridleway I had a pleasant encounter with a young deer that just stayed still long enough for me to take it’s picture before it leapt off over the heather. Following the advice of Phil G4OBK, I took the right hand (Eastern side) of the wall to avoid scrambling over some very large boulders and I reached the large Cross fairly quickly. Then progress was steady over a reasonable path with some mild scrambling. I arrived at the summit obelisk at around 1600. A quick phone call to Kevin G0NUP and I was up and running at around 1617. I must apologise for the qsd, the keyer battery situation was getting worse and there were quite a few extra dits flying around! Short skip was difficult on 40m but I had good continental propagation. After a brief spell on 2m fm I left the summit at 1832 and arrived back at the car at 2005. Having had to negotiate my way through the slurry right near the end of the walk, I discreetly took off my walking trousers and boots then realised I had left my jeans at home. I was resigned to driving back in my underpants when thankfully I remembered my waterproof over trousers - a much better option! The journey home took about 2 hours driving back via the A59 to Harrogate and then the A64 past York and arriving back at Scarborough at 2220 having completed 191 miles . I would like to thank G0NUP, G4BLH, G4OBK and G4SSH/A for the spots and thanks to everyone for helping me get another 6 points. This wasn’t my finest activation with navigation errors, FT-857 tuning errors, keying errors, leaving hand helds and spare batteries in the car and leaving most of my clean clothes at home but somehow it worked after a fashion!
Wx - near perfect conditions, mild no rain and good visibility.
FT-857D 20 watts
HF 40m dipole on 12ft fibre glass pole centre and 2 walking poles supporting the ends(all mounted in peat on G/NP-031 and attached to fence poles by wall on G/NP-032)
2m SOTA dipole attached to same fibre glass pole.
2 x 7Ah sealed lead acid batteries ( 1 on each activation)
MFJ portable iambic keyer
7-cw - 11 (DL, G, GM, ON, PA)
7-ssb - 2 (G)
145-fm - 8
Total - 21
7-cw - 17 (DL, G, HA, HB9, LA, OE, ON, S5)
145-fm - 6
Total - 23