I was in two minds as to whether to do this activation but the opportunity was just too good to be true. I had a meeting a few miles down the road that would allow me an hour or two before having to head home. I couldn’t wait to get my second activator point, albeit on my eighth activation!
So I left my meeting and headed up towards Win Green, thanks to Richard G3CWI’s TomTom POI file. I stopped briefly at Compton Abbas airfield to pick up a snack from the café. For those of you that might be flyers, this must be an amazing field to land at. The landing strip runs along the top of a chalk ridge. Probably the closest you can get to landing on an aircraft carrier without being at sea!
Anyway I continued up to the parking spot where there were a few cars but not many people around. I was still wearing my suit and tie so I looked around for a phone box in which to emulate Superman’s changing routine. Of course there was nothing around so I made do with an equally quick change in the back of the car and emerged looking more like a SOTA activator.
It was about 9C with full cloud cover and a gentle but somewhat raw breeze blowing. So I donned two fleeces under my padded jacket and assumed this would keep me warm.
I then gathered the gear and strolled the few hundred meters along the ridge from the parking spot to the trig point. I really didn’t want to mess about with guys for the pole so I worked out a method of fixing my 10m SotaPole to the trig pillar with some bungees. Once this was accomplished I put up the 88 foot “Norcal” doublet and plugged everything in and settled down on the grass.
I started on 5 MHz and, not knowing how conditions would be, made a call hoping for a response. I wasn’t disappointed with Steve GW7AAV coming straight back with solid signals each way. After that I had a couple of visitors at the trig point who were interested in what I was doing so I took a break from the radio and we chatted for a while. One of them was convinced I would be lucky to work into Wiltshire for a nice long distance contact. I explained that I was hoping for even further…. And they left suitably impressed.
I fired up again and there followed a good run of 10 more stations with good signals from everyone. When QSO’s dried up I announced my intention move to 40m CW and then hopefully SSB. So I tuned up quickly on 7.0315 and got going with an excellent run of stations including some of the usual suspects. Once again, good signals from all with nothing less than 559 from all callers.
Just as I was getting cold and looking at the watch thinking I would have to get going, it crossed my mind that I hadn’t had a call from Mike GW0DSP who normally doesn’t miss a trick. Well just a couple of QSO’s later I heard GW0DSP/M being sent at me. I quickly sent the call and ? to check the call was really /M and Mike confirmed he was truly /M and using his microphone keys to send CW!
So there you have it, the mark of a true Super Sloth who will even work activators for a just one point when mobile and without a key! Thanks Mike…
After two more QSO’s, things dried up and I announced a QSY to 7.118 SSB. However, the BC QRM was dreadful and I called a few times on 7.114 instead which was a little clearer. No-one came back and I went back to 7.118 to announce I would try 7.097. I called again but no luck.
I then announced on 5.3895 that I would try 3.666 SSB and then nipped down to 80m. I called a number of times but each time I finished the call, there was a carrier popping up on the frequency. It stopped after a few moments and I thought it was a tuner upper but every time I called it came back again thus rendering me deaf to anything and I can only assume it was an attempt to jam the frequency.
I gave up on 80m, went back to 5.3895 and announced I was closing down. Nothing more happening there so I went QRT and spent a few minutes dismantling everything… which was just as well as an interested chap arrived at the trig point with 3 very inquisitive dogs who would have wrapped themselves up in the doublet had I not managed to wind it up quickly. After a brief chat about what I had been up to and who I had worked he said goodbye and I wandered back to the car at set off home. Thankful to be back in the warm!
So thanks to all chasers for working me with QSO’s as follows:
60m SSB – 11 QSO’s
40m CW – 21 QSO’s
11 DXCC entities worked… but no F or GM
…and thanks to Steve GW7AAV and Alastair GW0VMZ for the spots.
A couple of things I thought about on the way home… sorry for the CW getting a bit ropey, the cold was getting to me even with all those layers… and secondly, sorry for not sending the call enough on CW. I realised that I was sending the SOTA reference quite often, but probably not the call… I’ll do better next time.
Anyway a great afternoon activation on the way home from a business meeting and I‘ll have to look out for more opportunities to the same on more of my travels.
Thanks again to all… 73 Marc G0AZS