The one thing you can guarantee about Shining Tor, it’s always full of surprises, with today being no exception. On the ascent, I passed through the mud bath that is the second gate and immediately fell base over apex, bang into the centre of it! I was just like a beached whale Not only were my pants and jacket covered in mud, my rucksack was covered too. For the rest of the day, my feet and clothes were soaked in mud. Mercifully, neither G1STQ or M0TUB, were there to witness it, as I would never, ever, ever, ever, have heard the last of it
On arriving at the trig, I launched the 1.6 Metre Sled kite and spent a whole heap of time getting the driven element just were I wanted it. Typically, on the one day I needed a bit of wind, it much was calmer than usual.
How much wire did I have in the air? I don’t have a clue, at a guess I would say around 120 feet.
My first impression of the kite antenna was it seemed noisier than the fishing pole antenna. A quick listen on 40 Metres before spotting myself, confirmed what I feared, the band was not in great shape The spot produced a number of chasers the first being ON4CAP Andre, who was a surprisingly good signal. He was followed by Victor GI4ONL and then Ricky MW6GWR, being the loudest I’ve ever heard him. Twelve more contacts followed before I moved to 80 Metres. My only two contacts on this band were with M3NHA Tony and his XYL Sarah M6NHA.
A move to the 20 Metre band found it in what I can only describe as utter garbage condition, a fact confirmed by my failure to find a single Stateside chaser. The normal 60 or 70 contacts was reduced to a mere 20. This included a very tricky S2S with Erik LA5XTA/P on LA/ST-008.
Total number of contacts for the day including VHF was 123.
My first impression of the kite antenna… Well, with the current HF band conditions, I don’t thing this was an ideal test, so I would say the jury is still out.
I’m looking forward to giving it another try, perhaps when the HF bands are in better shape and it’s not raining
Finally, a few tips for anyone who has no experience with kite antennas and is tempted to have a go. Large kites are extremely powerful and if you’re not careful, kite lines will bite you and bite you very hard. Take some heavy duty gloves of the gardening variety type. I managed to catch the kite line around the brand new bungee I was using to anchor the kite and it was instantly sliced into two pieces. If you fancy having a go, kites are very light to carry and great fun. A final word of warning, do not be tempted to use a kite antenna without a static arrestor in line, or you could find yourself with a very expensive repair bill from the rig doctor.