Interesting morning up on Skiddaw, ascending from the Latrigg car park. The first part of the ascent was harder than I’d anticipated, and I was grateful that I’d left my wife in Keswick. If she’d been there, the activation would have had to have been called off. Instead, I could continue up at my own pace, narrowly treading the line marking the border of cardiac arrest. I pulse-width-modulated my way up the track, alternating periods of high activity with rest (I can’t walk slowly), to average out at a steady rate.
I got to the top after 2 hours or so, and just before I arrived, the cloud rolled in and the wind moved from strong to bloody strong and gusting stronger. I set up on 20m, and again struggled with tuning up the antenna, but once the radio slipped and knocked the feedline just right, it tuned up well enough for me to get a signal out, and I worked 6 QSOs including 2 new EU entities for me. The view, too, was awesome once the cloud cleared.
I tried to QSY to 40m when 20m went quiet, but the wind was continuing to try to rip the antenna down towards Keswick at a rapid rate, stopped only by me holding onto it and the temperature and wind chill was driving me insane, so when I realised I was going to be struggling to get a 40m counterpoise strung out and still remain behind the shelter on the top, plus the fact my wife had been alone with a credit card for 2 and a half hours, I decided to head down while I was still solvent.
The descent treaded the line finely between “rapid” and “uncontrolled”, and I was in the car, picked my wife up without too much damage to my credit rating, and headed off to Edinburgh, where we’ll spend the next three days.
I’m regretting not packing another feedline to enable me to properly troubleshoot where the problem is in the signal chain, but I will continue trying to activate. Any advice on where I can find a 3m or so PL-259 cable in Edinburgh, and a simple (preferably drive-up) summit to attempt to activate in Scotland will be appreciated. Anyone joining me on the top of the summit with a good malt and two large glasses will be immortalised in ballad and their virtues extolled throughout the Antipodes.