After a failed activation of Pole Bank in a howling gale in January, I finally got around to my second attempt at SOTA. This time I had a Slim-Jim on a fibreglass roach pole and a Baofeng UV6R.
I have had a long running chesty cough and have not been out for a long time, so the climb was a fat boys struggle. The weather was sunny-with-showers and pleasant enough apart from a pretty strong breeze. I gave myself enough time and was at the summit in good enough time to walk around the fort and admire the view. I am from that area, an yet I realised the last time I had been up there was some decades back!
I found a spot against a rock where I could sit out of the wind and bungee my pole to a spike of rock. It was all going so well. Then I called CQ and…nothing. I waited and tried again…and the faintest hint of a crackling station came through. I fiddled with settings for a while and then decided that my slim-jim must be suspect. I had my little SWR meter in my bag, which I thought would show me if I had a broken connection. It replied 1:1.3…so not that.
I screwed on my 1/4wave whip and stood up in the wind and tried again, nothing. I walked onto the SW slope, nothing.
I switched into memory mode and called the GB3LH repeater (about 7 miles north) on 70cm and got an instant reply from a very helpful G6UYG. He spent the next 15 minutes trying to help me get a simplex contact on 2m and 70cm, all the time it was barely audible, yet the repeater was clear as a bell.
I wanted to come on and say thanks to everyone because I heard a number of stations try and call, but nothing readable.
I came to the conclusion that my Baofeng just has a poor receiver. I have had 2m simplex contacts on it, but mostly with a tape-measure yagi, which I guess adds some selectivity as well as gain. I was pretty disappointed, but mostly I feel bad for the chasers who were trying to call. I will be out again but with a different rig…maybe my FT290 once I have had chance to prove it.