Errors Galore! G/NPs-031 & 032 Activation 17 A

Errors Galore!
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

Activity Summary


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

Nick G4OOE

In reply to G4OOE:
Hi Nick,

Saw your report after Roy told me it was on.

You seemed to deal well with the problems as they arose and managed the activations OK. Modern rigs are too complicated with too much potential for finger trouble or buttons being accidentally knocked. In a summit situation it can be difficult to get back on track particularly if you’re being stressed by the weather.

‘Wrong side of the valley.’ I did this too coming off Grisedale Pike and having to contour on steep ground to avoid reascent. That wasn’t the first time either but not as much since 1998 because of GPS. Your route to Birks was interesting but you managed to end up at the ruined Laithe which I must have passed in about 1995 but didn’t notice. Geoff G4CPA uses it for activations.

I have never done Cracoe - only Thorpe so was happy to read about the route details. It’s a bit annoying when hills are resurveyed and the target moves. Coincidentally you chose two hills in one day, both of which have ‘moved.’ We used to go to the trig on Horse Head but now we go to a pile of stones on Birks which is about 4km distant. I remember thinking when SOTA started; how ridiculous - they’ve (the Marilyn list) got the wrong summit. No map that I have ever seen - even the nineteenth century ones have Horse Head as the highest point so how this could possibly happen remains a mystery to me. It certainly went against the grain to activate from a place that you knew really didn’t qualify but it was designated SOTA NP21 so that’s all that matters in the end.

Looks like you redefined SOTA to Slurry-on-the-Air.

Great to see your rise from beginner to now experienced and to witness the enthusiasm that I once had before the A66 knocked it out of me. Keep up the activating; nice that you are enjoying it so much.

73, John.

In reply to G4YSS:

Thanks for the encouragement, I have been very fortunate in having three good mentors, Juerg HB9BAB, Phil G4OBK and your good self John G4YSS!