Every year I try to make it to the Buckden Pike memorial on, or near, Remembrance Sunday. A Wellington bomber had crashed at the site during a snowstorm in 1942. The full story can be found here, although the site hasn’t been updated for a while - http://www.buckdenpike.co.uk/
My alarm went off at 5am and not long after I was in the car heading towards Skipton. The temperature at my QTH had been 4C, but when I left Skipton McDonald’s, where I’d stopped for breakfast, the large electronic sign on the Ford dealership was showing just 1C.
The drive to Buckden was uneventful, I’d found a Kings of Leon CD in a cupboard yesterday so I was suitably entertained. It was still dark when I parked up just beyond the White Lion pub, so after booting up, I donned my brightest headtorch. The last time I had done this walk, I had slipped in the ford and got a good soaking - I’d forgotten my torch and was using my phone to provide illumnation! Luckily, neither my phone or my expensive jacket were damaged. This time I had no problem
I arrived at the summit at about 0815am and took some photos before erecting the dipole antenna. I was using an FT817 at 5 watts to a SOTAbeams BH4 with G4YSS loading coils to allow 160m operation. Its tough for QRP on 160m and signal reports reflected this but within 25 minutes, I had worked 4 stations on CW. A switch to 80m CW brought another 8 QSO’s. After using RockMites and KD1JV MTRs, I find the FT817 hard to get on with and I haven’t done much CW for a few months, so I was a bit rusty! I couldn’t get a spot to go out from RRT, so I gave up with 80m SSB before netting a QSO. It was packing up time anyway. Thanks to the chasers for putting up with the wobbly CW and weak signal / QSB, I enjoyed being on the radio again.
I reached the memorial at about 1040am after a brief walk from the trig point where I’d done my activation. Not long afterwards a guy arrived with a Dalmation called Roxy, the spotted friend really fancied my sandwich! A total of 9 persons , myself included, had soon assembled to observe a 2 minutes silence at 11am. The gathering was informal and I did not know any of the other people there. A more formal event happens on the Saturday before Remembrance Sunday when Skipton ATC hold a wreath laying ceremony.
The WX had been fine but not as good as the forecast had said, being quite cloudy. At least the wind was virtually absent and it didn’t rain.
I’m the guy in the red jacket and red hat, I have no idea who the other guys are!