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Fun Evening

Keep your fingers crossed, Tom, the UKSMG Spots map shows a Europe-wide opening in progress, the second one this week!

Brian

Europe-wide except the UK!

:frowning:

73,
Walt

Ah OK, I see you meant specifically 6m FM, rather than FM generally. I did do a bit of 6m FM in the 10m/6m Challenge, but generally speaking it’s very quiet on there! I certainly wouldn’t be using it on the Tuesday night contests as it would be “suboptimal” to say the least!

Anyway, no lifts, Es or otherwise experienced last night. In fact conditions were pretty dismal. And it was cold. Zero degrees all night on the summit - I thought it was May Day weekend coming up?

53 QSOs made, mainly SSB with a couple on CW. Strangely for a Tuesday night, not a single other person on The Cloud G/SP-015 all evening.

Maybe something to do with the weather Tom? :cloud_with_rain: It’s been miserable this side of the country.
I agree about 6 and 10 FM being quiet! Pity I think they have potential, particularly for mobile use

Actually, Walt, at the time I posted that the map showed a few contacts in England and one in Ireland, but without my beam I heard nothing of note.

After a day of snow showers with the occasional peal of thunder, plus a bitter NNW breeze, I would not have gone out, you are hardier than me!

Brian

Tuesday 9th July 2019 - The Cloud G/SP-015

It was the 70cm activity evening. I’m still compromised on this band having not yet fathomed why my 6-el bean isn’t working. So I’m “getting by” on 70cm with the SOTAbeams MFD. Not optimum on this band, but usable, and with the advantage of the design that allows rapid change of polarisation.

It was a good turn out for Fun Evening, with at least four SOTA activations involved. As well as myself, there was 2E0MDJ/P on Cleeve Hill G/CE-001, GW0KLQ/P on Rhialgwm GW/NW-046 and G7WKX/P on Shining Tor G/SP-004.

In total I made 76 QSOs - 5 on 2m FM, 26 on 70cm FM and 45 on 70cm SSB. Then home for my tea, which I’d missed earlier!

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Tonight it’s 6m - FT8 1800-1855z then CW/SSB 1900-2130z. Wonder if there will be several participating SOTA activations again?

Thursday 11th July 2019 - The Cloud G/SP-015 & Gun G/SP-013

I really didn’t like the look of the weather forecast as I contemplated heading out for the 6m contest evening. My summit was just inside the western edge of a Met Office weather warning for thunderstorms with a “risk to life”. I nearly didn’t go.

By taking the decision to venture out though, I had to make certain I was constantly monitoring the weather and signs of electrical activity very vigilantly. As I drove south from Macclesfield, there was a very heavy downpour - a proper “cloudburst” job. I was very pleased that this coincided entirely with when I was inside the car!

After that there were a few promising gaps of blue sky opening up, abeit with heavy grey skies still dominating, particularly to the East. I ascended in light drizzle and damp mist, and set up the SOTAbeams SB6 Moxon antenna. The weather conditions remained calm and stable during the first hour when I was operating FT8 in the MGM event. The band was open and two Italian and one Polish station were worked on 6m FT8, as well as seven G stations.

A bit more persistent light rain returned as the main 6m UKAC commenced, and I retreated inside the bothy bag. There were still some E’s kicking around, and I worked Italy and Spain in amongst my 52 contacts.

The heavy bank of grey to the East gradually got closer and closer, but never actually got to me. Periodically I was checking the lightning maps website on my smartphone and keeping an eye on where things were at. Occasionally I would hear a static crash through my FT-817, and there was a short period (seconds) of the noise associated with static rain. Reassuringly though, the lightning maps were showing a rapidly reducing amount of electrical activity, and that there was moved from the Sheffield area, down towards Derby and away to the East.

I completed the activation with 62 QSOs:

6m FT8: 10
6m CW: 6
6m SSB: 46

DXCCs: 8 - EA, G, GD, GI, GM, GW, I, SP

QRAs: 17 - IN53, IO64, 70, 71, 74, 75, 80, 82, 83, 85, 91, 92, 93, 94, JN52, 54, KO02

Frustratingly, I heard, but never worked, IO81, IO84, JO01 and JO03.

It was raining heavily during the last minutes of the contest, and I wasn’t looking forward to packing up the antenna. But it seems luck was on my side. While I was still in the bothy bag packing up the radio kit, the rain suddenly stopped, so it was completely dry for breaking down the antenna and descending.

As I reached my car, my Fitbit watch advised me that my day’s teaching work in Newcastle-under-Lyme, plus my Cloud activation, and totalled 7000 steps - so still 3K short of my daily target. Only one thing for it then - a quick nip across to Gun G/SP-013!

I was expecting this to be very soggy given the downpour earlier, but the path was all dry. At the summit, I couldn’t raise anything at all on S20, despite prolonged CQ calling. Ultimately, I broke into the only QSO audible on the band - George 2E0GLW in Leigh with John M6JUR in St Helens. That gave me a pleasant couple of contacts, and I walked back down to the car.

I was still short of my step target with my Fitbit watch showing 9,000 for the day, The day had half-an-hour remaining, so I simply marched up and down the road close to the parking spot until my wrist vibrated!

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