I decided to do an impromptu activation of Wendover Woods this evening. It was a beautiful sunny evening so I thought it might be a treat.
As I drove up the hill to the Woods I wondered how I was going to get on having posted no alert, no self spot facility and no doubt a hoard of contesters to contend with (not that I mind contesters).
I made my way to the usual parking lay-by with the intention of setting up in the “scenic overlook” inside the AZ. However when I got there, it was obvious that a few other people were also intent on enjoying the evening sun accross the Vale of Aylesbury so it was a bit too busy to set up there.
So plan B was to walk to the trig point and operate from there. However, when I got there, it was surrounded by cows and I didn’t fancy wrestling with a cow tangled in feeder etc.
Plan C was to retreat over the stile and set-up on the pathway just into the Woods. This went without a hitch and everything was soon ready to go.
First stop was 5.3895 MHz and after a couple of calls, Brian G4ZRP replied with a good 58 each way. However he soon faded right down and after finishing the QSO, more calls were made but to no avail. I started to think the lack of alert and spotting facility was going to be a problem.
I moved to 7.032 CW but really couldn’t find a nice, clear slot in amongst all the contesters so after a couple of fruitless calls, I moved up to 10.118 CW and tried again. However, despite the lack of contest stations, it also seemed really busy so I thought about what to do next after another couple of fruitless calls.
So I moved down to 80M and finally made a QSO with GB2QE on SSB. I then moved down to 3.559 and started calling on CW. At last… an interesting run of stations followed (not usual chasers) including one in Belgium and others in the UK, one of whom was only using 50mw on his homebrew rig… a good 559 for Jimmy G3HBN in Dover with his QRPP!
By this time the sun had gone down and it was turning chilly in the Woods. I nipped back to 5.3895 MHz and made a call and made QSO’s with Paul G0HNW (who was 59+30-60) and Mike G0BPU to finish off the evening.
After that, I packed up quickly as it was about 1935 local and the gates on the forest road are locked at 2000 local. A swift walk back to the car and that was that. An very nice evening activation with absolutely no assistance from alerts, spots etc.
Icom 706 II G - power about 30-40 watts
LDG AT7000 tuner
88ft top Norcal doublet
Thanks to all stations worked:
G4ZRP, GB2QE, ON7NDR, G3HQS, G4ZXN, G3HBN, G0HNW and G0BPU
73 Marc GØAZS