Many thanks for the kind comments. My main thanks go to Rob and Audrey. This is the biggest rally event of the year for me to organise, and yet it is always the easiest. That is because I always have Rob and Audrey not only to staff the stand with me, but they also bring loads of display items (and yummy food) and are always there a couple of hours before the start time to help Jimmy and I set everything up - absolutely invaluable. Plus of course it is very advantageous to be able to staff the stand with two of the most popular people in the UK SOTA fraternity.
Thanks must also go to Jimmy M3EYP, Sean M0GIA, Brian G4ZRP, Phil G4OBK and Roy G4SSH for putting in some time on the stand during the day. Norbreck is a super event - in my opinion the best radio event of the year in the UK (we get more visitors in any one hour on the SOTA stand at Norbreck than we do in a full day at any other show - even some of the so-called ‘big’ ones) - and I do like to get around and have a look. Apologies to anyone I have inadvertently omitted. Thanks of course to Richard G3CWI / SOTAbeams who yet again generously sponsored the stand, so that we were able to present at no cost to the programme.
One of Rob & Audrey’s (many) contributions is presenting a visitors book on the stand. Norbreck has been described by others as “The premier SOTA meet of the year” so the visitors book provides an appropriate record of the SOTA stalwarts and other interested parties that dropped by on the day. This isn’t complete of course, because not everyone signs the book, but here is yesterday’s roll-call:
Tom M1EYP, Sean M0GIA, Audrey, Rob G4RQJ, Jimmy M3EYP, Leigh M6LDJ, Mac M0TXR, Stuart G0MJG, Keith G0OXV, Bob 2E0RHM, Phil M0GIE, Colin M0CGH, Martin M0ZIF, Rick GW0VMW, Brian G4ZRP, John GW3GUX, Geoff G6MZX, Joan, Scott 2E0RCS, Brian M0OYG, Sue G1OHH, Doug G1KLZ, Phil G4OBK, Phil G1OPV, Dave G7SKR, Les G3MCE, Roger 2E0BMO, Ray GM4CXM, Roy G4SSH, Clifford M6LKB, Andrew M0LKB, David G6LKB, Jim G0CQK, Eric G0MRM, Ray M1REK, Andy M1LOL, Elaine G-21209, Tony 2E0LAE, Andy M1BYH, Greg 2E0RXX, John G1STQ, Barry G0RZI, Roger M0GMG, Edward (good luck with the Foundation exam on Wednesday!), Emily (good luck with reactivating your old 2E1 call!), Kevin M0XLT, Richard G1JTD, Dee, Gary G0HJQ, Peter 2E1DNB, Geoff G4WHA, Simon M1AVV, Alex G7RNX, Julian G4ILO, Andre GM3VLB, Stephany G1LAT, Barrie G1JYB, Ray G0DMV, John G0RPG, Brian G3NIJ, Eleri MW3NYR, Ian GW8OGI, Gareth 2E0BKW and Jack GM4COX.
I also managed to get all my shopping done, thanks to Henry Westlake and one or two others, but was disappointed that the morse test examiner had gone home by the time I got to the room. Oh well, such is life as an exhibitor yourself!
But - of course - it wouldn’t have been a complete SOTA day out without an activation, so after leaving Blackpool around 5pm, it was destination Billinge Hill G/SP-017 - a summit that we now traditionally “do” on the way home from Norbreck! It would be a new activator unique for Sean M0GIA as well.
Jimmy directed me off the M6 at J26 and down through Orrell and Billinge before veering right up Beacon Lane. The three of us kitted up and set off along the tarmac pathway by the high fence. We enjoyed, as ever, the joys of the litter, landfill, grafitti and barking dogs as we ascended to the trig point and set up our respective stations.
Jimmy M3EYP did 2m FM and opened with Tony 2E0LAE. However, then he struggled to work anyone. I later connected the 817 to the SOTA Beam, and high SWR was indicated. Probably a problem with the feeder; a job for me to look at today ahead of tomorrow night’s 70cm contest in any case! This was no doubt the reason why we couldn’t hear the 2m LD activations from the stand this year! When Jimmy switched to using the rubber duck with his handheld, he soon clocked up sufficient contacts.
I always intended doing 20m CW with the ‘Magic M0gia’ vertical with groundplane, and I qualified in no time with QSOs into 9A, HA, RA, SV and W. I would have carried on and worked a few more, but I was getting more interested in monitoring Sean’s progress with his 80m CW activation.
Sean had worked Frank G3RMD and Marc G0AZS by this stage, but was now struggling. I instructed my good Swedish friend SM5BOT to place a spot for Sean, and he got his 3rd and 4th contacts. And then a pile-up! Ain’t that always the way? (Hi).
A few got away (G0BAK, G0BPU and G4CPA from memory), but Sean was insisting on reading all the calls himself and wasn’t allowing me to prompt him before a contact was complete (good show).
We packed away, descended and completed the trip back to Macclesfield. Where, for Jimmy and I at least, roast beef and yorkshire pudding awaited. This was welcome, especially in the absence of either a Lymm Truck Stop breakfast - due to me oversleeping - or a flask of soup - due to me not being able to find the flask before setting off. I had three tins of carrot & coriander raring to go as well! At about 9pm, I spotted the errant flask - in the back garden. My XYL had been using it as a watering can…