G/SP-014 18th April 2014 G0VOF G4ASA 2E0YYY

Hi all,

After taking the 500Hz CW filter out of my FT897 & fitting it into my FT817 during the week to chase John G4YSS activating EA8/LP-002 from a high point near where I work I decided to leave the filter in the FT817 in case I decided to activate anything myself this Easter weekend. As I am even more unfit than normal I decided it would have to be an easy summit, so G/SP-014 Longridge had been top of my list for a couple of days.

After falling asleep with the TV on last night I woke up this morning at about 2AM. I was going to go to bed but I happened to notice that Dave G4ASA & Mike 2E0YYY had alerted for G/SP-014 & S/SP-012 on Good Friday 18th April.

This settled it for me, I had plenty of time to pack my gear, a perfect weather forecast & an FT817 with a good CW filter fitted. What possible excuse could I come up with for simply staying in the shack & chasing Dave & Mike after missing them at Blackpool a couple of weeks ago. The answer was that I had no excuse at all so a rendezvous on Longridge Fell became the plan for today.

I also had some things I wanted to try out, a new lighter linked dipole I made a few weeks ago that covers 60m - 15m, & the SOTAbeams Peak tuner, a QRP End fed half wave tuner for 20m -10m that I collected at Blackpool. My existing linked dipole which was trimmed “in the field” & works perfectly on 160 /80 /40 did leave me without any of the higher bands unless I carried an ATU so the new dipole was for use when the mid to high HF bands are working. It is also considerably lighter! As a chaser I do tend to spend at lot of time on 30m & 20m at home so I didn’t think it right that I should be without those bands when activating.

The EFHW tuner was acquired about a week later & gives me the higher bands up to 10m, & I already knew that it worked, after successfully chasing John EA8/M1NNN/P during the week from my motorcycle parked at the side of a road near work in Blackburn, Lancashire.

Of course, there was something else I wanted to test, & that was my brain! I knew that my ability to use Morse had improved dramatically over the past few years, mainly through SOTA chasing & also participating regularly in RSGB 80m contests. At home I am quite comfortable chasing activators at 30wpm plus & generally have my keyer between 26-30wpm dependant on the activators speed of course. I would not have thought it possible that I would be comfortable at those speeds a couple of years ago, but as the saying goes “The more you do something, the better you get”, so all that “practice” is finally paying off. 90% of my SOTA chasing is now done on the key.

Today was a chance to see if I could cope with CW at the speeds I normally chase at, when it is me on the receiving end & I am away from the comforts of my shack!

So, after parking the bike at Jeffrey Hill I made my way to the activation zone, at a quite leisurely pace as I knew I was well ahead of both Dave & Mike’s, & indeed my own alerted time. The weather was perfect, very little wind, clear blue sky & sunshine. Whilst I was setting up the vertical for 18MHz CW (chosen to avoid activating on bands that Dave or Mike were going to use) I looked over to my right & saw two figures trudging towards the summit, recognising one as Mike 2E0YYY, the other being Dave G4ASA. We had all been at the Blackpool rally a few weeks ago but I never actually met either of them so this was our first meeting. One of the first comments when I introduced myself was “but we were depending on yout spot us”. Which did make me smile, & I assured Dave & Mike that if conditions are poor, based on past experience my mobile phone does work on Longridge Fell :slight_smile:

After a very pleasant first chat Dave & Mike headed off towards the trig point whilst I stayed further West near a stile. After much admiring of the view towards G/SP-007 Fair Snape Fell, which is my favourite view in Lancashire, especially on a day like today, I decided I had better start my activation.

I had posted an alert (after reading the RBN Gate FAQ) & knew what to expect from the RBN Gate. I commenced calling CQ SOTA on 18.085 CW & at this point I hadn’t even switched on my phone, so would have no idea if I had been picked up by the RBN or not. A quick listen on various bands before calling indicated poor conditions so all I could really do was call CQ & hope for the best. After only a couple of CQ’s at 26wpm I was answered by CT1BWW who’s call I recognised straight away :slight_smile:

599 both ways & thanks for the spot :slight_smile:

After CT1BWW the next station to call was an SP8R ?. QSB was very much present & I almost had his call when it was clear he had lost me so I called CQ again & was answered by OH9XX (599/559). Next up & this time no problem SP8RHP, who I assume was the SP8 calling me earlier. Next & a very nice surprise F6HBI/P on F/AM-467, my first S2S of this activation.

After several CQ generated no further response I decided to have a listen through the bands, first dropping to 14.062 were I immediately found S52CU/P on S5/CP-022, another S2S in the log :slight_smile:

By this time it was clear that conditions on the low bands were quite poor & I found Dave G4ASA/P struggling to be found on 5.3985MHz SSB. I called him using my 6m vertical wire ( he was only about 300m away) & let him know I would spot him, which I did.

Once I had SOTAwatch running I noticed that Dave GW6DTN/P had been spotted on 18.157MHz SSB on GW/MW-001 so after tuning the EFHW I could hear him & we worked at 33 both ways. After this I went for a stroll across to Mike 2E0YYY’s location. He was set up about 150m East of me, & was using his preferred option, Antron 99 & FT857. Conditions this morning were poor, but Mike still got 2 VK’s in his log including an S2S! Not something I would consider carrying up a summit but Mike certainly gets results!

After more enjoyment of the scenery & little happening on the higher bands I decided to drop the vertical & put up my linked dipole. After Dave G4ASA/P had moved to 20m CW I decided to have a go on 30m CW, fast becoming my favourite band / mode. First on this band was another S2S, this time with EA2CW/P on EA2/BI-063. I then found a clear QRG around 10.122 MHz. There was lots of space at that time with conditions being relatively poor & a couple of CQ’s brought several familiar chaser call signs DL1FU, DJ5AV, DL3HXX & HB9TVK. After that things went quiet so after a few more unanswered calls I decided to give 7032 a try as 40m seemed to be in better shape than it was for Dave earlier.

7.032 was in use, by MW/SM0GNS/P on GW/SW-008, another S2S,& after about 25 minutes & a brief foray onto 2m FM I returned to 7.032 & found Peter GW4ISJ/P on GW/SW-004, sorry I called you Adrian!

I dropped down to 7.030 & commenced calling, this time conditions had improved significantly than they had been for Dave & I was answered by John G3RXA. Next was Barry M0IML/P on G/SE-013, I hope the Farnsworth Morse was OK for you :slight_smile:

One thing just didn’t seem right though, Dave G4ASA had mentioned that he hadn’t even got Roy G4SSH in his log as he departed the summit with Mike 2E0YYY, with both off to activate G/SP-012 Easington Fell. If you activate on CW & you haven’t got Roy in the log, conditions must be terrible. Thankfully conditions had picked up & my next call was from Roy G4SSH, a familiar call to many activators & chasers alike. It was a real pleasure to finally meet Roy face to face in Blackpool a few weeks ago. :slight_smile:

Next another familiar call from WAB I think, G3OKA who was followed by another very familiar call, although away from his usual haunt, Tom MW1EYP/P on GW/SW-019. Following Andrew G4AFI was another who I have worked many times but only had the pleasure of meeting recently at Blackpool, Phil G4OBK. Thanks for the call Phil, sorry I had to ask G4? but I had a burst of QRM.

Final call in my log for the day was PA0WLB & it was clear this was a struggle, but we did complete a QSO after several goes.

One that got away was Robert GW0PEB/P on GW/NW-067 who I could hear at about 229 on 14.062 CW. I called several times but condtions were just not in our favour.

So, overall a very enjoyable day & catching a glimpse of myself in the mirror, I am sunburnt!

Apologies for the occasional dodgy CW, I need to replace the springy metal on my home made paddle with something a little stiffer, as it currently deforms after a few minutes of use & has to be straightened out again.

For once, in a completely out of character display of doing things on time, I have already uploaded my activator log, so if you worked me today please feel free to check that I have you logged correctly.

Thanks to all chasers, activators & especially Dave G4ASA/P & Mike 2E0YYY/P for a very enjoyable Good Friday activation :slight_smile:

Sorry for any typos in this report, it only started out as quick thank you but I got carried away Hi Hi. I will correct them in due course.

A very Happy Easter to all!

Best 73,

Mark G0VOF/P

In reply to G0VOF:
Hi, Mark!

Very pleased to make S2S with you, and you to have had such a funny day. We must repeat tomorrow!.

Today was a very active one in SOTA, with 14 S2S on a total of only 65 QSOs, including some of the mentioned, as Dave & Mike. It’s amazing how many activators were on the air today!

Tomorrow (before the wind & clouds return home) I expect to activate another one, Erenozar EA2/BI-057, as it has an small forest church, open to be used as shelter.

Will we meet again? I’ve been caught by the fever brrrr… :wink:

73 de Mikel

In reply to G0VOF:
Hello Mark…
A beautiful description of today and the activation G/SP-014.
Many thanks for calling me :)) and 100% qso after 1’st with QSB.
Best regards de Rob(ert) SP8RHP.
Vy 73!.

In reply to G0VOF:
Hi Mark, it was a pleasure to have this S2S.
The fact is, i was listening to your cq on 17m with my dipole set on 20m band.
Bob (F5HTR) said to me, go on! answer, just to see; i did it, with hight SWR…probably 1/2 a watt in the antenna.
Best 73 to all, Gerald F6HBI