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Flying the SOTA Flag at Blackpool Radio Rally toda

Just to say thanks to Tom M1EYP and Jimmy M3EYP for flying the flag for SOTA today at the rally. The efforts needed to give up their day and the time to prepare for it, set up the stall, fly the banner, erect antenna’s, have a live rig, laptop and connection to SOTAWatch working to demonstrate what we are about, is highly commendable.

A lot of work goes into these events and the interest from attenders at the rally was significant, as well as the stall providing us SOTA Chasers and Activators with a focal point to meet.

Rob G4RQJ and Audrey XYL (who also put most of the day in on the stall must be thanked. (I only did an hour and spent most of that time taking to the “punters”. I met and spoke with some very interesting people, some SOTAists, some possible convertees!). Brian G4ZRP was also working the stall for a significant period as he did last year. (Sorry if I missed anyone out whilst browsing and buying at the rally - I came back about £120 worse off).

73 Phil

PS Those of you who didn’t turn up missed out this year - Audrey’s cakes were larger and we had the added bonus of sausage rolls! Thank’s Audrey.

In reply to G4OBK:
Just got back from GW. Sounds like I missed a treat! I certainly envy your chats to SOTA ops. I always enjoy those.

Well done to the organisers & helpers, 73, John G4YSS.

PS: Thanks to all who worked & spotted me on recent Snowdonia SOTAs.

Hi Phil,

Good to meet you at the rally today it was a good day and thank you Rob G4RQJ and Audrey XYL and my Dad M1EYP and Brian G4ZRP and yourself and to and other SOTA participants for helping at the SOTA stand and just to let you know Jack GM4COX came to the SOTA stand before the rally finished to chat to us.

Jimmy M3EYP

In reply to M3EYP:

I echo the above comments. A thoroughly enjoyable day at Blackpool and a magnificent showcase for SOTA, thanks to the efforts of Tom, Jimmy, Brian, Rob and Audrey.

Many thanks
Roy G4SSH

Thanks for the stand guys.

Nice to meet people for the first time in person.

73 Colin M0CGH

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…

Tom M1EYP

In reply to M1EYP:
A very enjoyable day all round, It was good to meet people I have either worked on the radio or know via the reflector.

The CW on Billinge Hill didnt go as smooth as I would have liked which is an obvious indicator of more practice from summits is needed.

Jack GM4COX was describing a verical he had made and Tom tells me there was photos of it. Any chance of seeing them? Are they online somewhere? Sean M0GIA

In reply to M1EYP:

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.

Kitted up? Surely a bit OTT for Billinge Hill, Tom? Did you need your crampons and ice axe?

Tee hee!

Sorry I missed you … I was well on my way home from G/CE-005 by the time of your activation.

73,
Walt (G3NYY)

In reply to G3NYY:
The three of us kitted

up and set off along the tarmac pathway by the high fence.

did you have a short break before getting to the top,

glad everyone enjoyed themselves at norbeck castle, i was working very hard on sunday, so missed out, never mind always wales next,
Steve m0sgb

Phil,

I just want to add my comments to yours really. I went over and what a good stand this year and so nice to see all the usual suspects as well as Sean M0GIA helping out.

Nice to see you all and to be able to congratulate Jimmy in person on his appointment to G Manager.

All the best to you all and see you next year.

73’s

Brian M0OYG

“Kitted up” = placed 20m antenna in rucksack and put coat on. Does that count? I would have taken my ice axe but I left it in the shop.

Tom M1EYP

In reply to M1EYP:

Hi Tom & Jimmy,

once Jimmy told me I was his first contact I put a spot on and listened, to find him having difficulty getting anyone calling back.

I was about to call in with my M6 call when I heard he had qualified with Dorothy from Wigan. Well Done Jimmy !!

73

Tony

In reply to M0GIA:

The CW on Billinge Hill didn’t go as smooth as I would have liked…

Sounded FB at my end Sean. BTW Thanks for the new one.

73 Marc G0AZS

It sounded a lot smoother than the last time we went out together playing CW from where I was standing. Your progress is good. More activations needed to keep it going. CW improvement is about ten times faster if live SOTA activations are your practice method!

Tom M1EYP

In reply to M1EYP:
Its nice to know one my activations gave a new chaser point away! Thats probably a new one for me as well.

I felt I made more mistakes and despite regular listening I struggled with some characters … being a bit tired probably didnt help?

Anyone new to CW reading this should find this helpful as you are not going to get into trouble if/when things go wrong.

Your right Tom live on air on a summit is by far the best way to improve even after just a handful of contacts I can tell I have improved. This is my intentions for the future. Sean M0GIA