At 7AM this morning there wasn’t a cloud in the sky here in Blackburn, an ideal day for SOTA I thought. By the time I’d finished my GB2RS news broadcast at 10AM it was dull & overcast, but at least it wasn’t raining.
Fair Snape Fell G/SP-007 is a hill I have viewed from afar countless times, as along with Pendle Hill, it is one of the most imposing hills in this area. Having struggled previously with a 23 Kg rucksack I had made an effort to reduce the weight I have to carry on my back, & although I did not weigh my pack first, I would estimate it was about 18 Kgs, plus the weight of my motorbike helmet, which has now been up 4 summits itself HI!
I set off from Blackburn with the idea of activating Longridge fell, if Fair Snape fell was covered in cloud. As it happened, once I passed over the top of Jeffrey Hill & got my first clear view of Fair Snape fell with the lower, but very imposing hill of Parlick in front, they were both clear of cloud so Fair Snape it was to be.
After navigating my way through the maze of country lanes around Chipping I finally arrived at Fell Foot, at the base of Parlick. I chose to take the more gentle climb around the west side of Parlick, which after the rain we have had was a little muddy in places, but nothing dramatic. The wind was nowhere near as strong as it has been of late so as I passed over the ridge between Parlick & Fair Snape I had high hopes that bringing HF/VHF equipment would allow me to work several bands & make the most of this summits excellent VHF take off.
I elected to start on 60m using my FT897D & linked dipole with its apex at 6m AGL. I had not brought my walking poles so the far ends of my 80m dipole were a little low at only 1m AGL.
My original plan was to work 60m SSB, 80m SSB, 40m SSB, 6m SSB, 4m FM, 2m SSB & then finish off on 2m FM. As it happened, the weather had other ideas
To save weight I had not taken my tent, which although quite light, was still an extra couple of Kilos, that may have been enough to make the summit too much for me. With hindsight I now know I could have made it with the extra weight, which would have given me more time on the summit.
My first call on 60m brought Brian G8ADD, at 59 both ways, followed by a steady stream of regulars & also some low powered portable stations, who I probably wouldn’t be able to hear from home due to the general level of QRM from consumer electronics that plagues built up areas.
It was very nice to work a couple of regular activators who I would normally work from home, G4OIG, G4OBK & G6MZX are a few who appear in my log on a regular basis as activators. It was a great pleasure to send a couple of points the other way today
After 19 contacts on 60m I QSY’d to 3.666MHz & called CQ SOTA. This brought one contact M0PVA Mick in Clitheroe. After a few unsuccessful calls on 40m & with the weather now pretty dire, I decided to call it a day. After packing up & putting on my rucksack ready for the descent I switched on my 2m/70cm handheld, just in time to hear Peter G1FOA/P calling CQ SOTA from G/SP-017 Raw Head. As I was still at the summit I gave him a call, He was my only summit to summit of the day. After I had worked Peter, I was called by Sue G1OHH in Lancaster & after moving up a channel worked her, which I believe is the first time she has worked Fair Snape fell for SOTA
As the last two contacts were using a handheld in driving rain I could not log the QSO’s, but if Peter, or Sue can give me the time we worked in UTC I will include them in my activator log when I upload it. I know that relevant details & reports were passed both ways at the time, which should be noted in both their logs.
I set off as usual, videoing & photographing as I ascended, but with the weather at the summit being decidedly wet by the time I was ready to take photos of my station, I did not want to damage my camera so all photos & video was taken on the ascent, & of course upon reaching the summit
I was joined at one point by an interested walker & later by two fell runners who appeared as if by magic out of the cloud. We agreed, that whatever the reason for being there, it is good to get out & enjoy the hills
I will upload my log once I have final details from G1FOA/P & G1OHH, but I have already uploaded the video I made to Youtube. This will probably be of more use to anybody considering activating this summit, rather than anyone who would like to see my radio & aerials, as there are no pictures of the latter on this summit.
Overall, I was very pleased to be able to climb this hill & I have to say, it was easier than I thought it would be. With a relatively low number of activations when compared to other SP summits, it really is a treat, although not on a day like today. Maybe this hill is more suited to a crisp winter morning activation?
I Hope you enjoy the video, I certainly was pleased to have finally climbed this hill