Probably about time I submitted an activation report having become well and truly hooked on the activation thing since coming back on air after a rather lengthy break.
We left not-so-sunny Runcorn later than planned due to the other half of the team not wanting to get his backside out of bed (but that’s teenagers for you). Long Mynd and Caer Caradoc looked tempting on the way down but we stuck to the task at hand and made haste towards Abdon for the short but steep trek up the first target: WB-002 (Brown Clee).
We parked up in the layby near the access track which picks up the Shropshire way and ascended the steep, Western flank which was fortunately quite firm underfoot. Although the sky was a tad murky with a few spots of rain every now and again it didn’t look nasty enough to warrant carrying the shelter up with us. On approach to the summit we noticed a 4x4 to the south of the trig point in company with a clarke mast and 6m beam combination. It turned out to be a group from Bristol participating in the weekend’s RSGB 6m contest. After exchanging greetings we headed a few yards to the south and setup the 5ele on a conveniently sited concrete post with the operating position in a nearby hollow for shelter.
I would usually have configured the VX8 to send out an aprs beacon but as we were already behind schedule decided to press on with the activation. First up was 2M FM and despite the warnings about pager/data breakthrough didn’t realise how bad it would be, taking out even the strongest of 59+++ stations. After a brief break for some sustenance (Rice Krispies Squares) we reconfigured the beam for SSB and David (M6WOW) kindly hobbled over to the PC despite his wonky leg to put a spot on. We only stuck around very briefly on SSB before packing up and descending back to the car with haste for the next one.
We trusted the Tom-Tom to get us out of Dodge and were rewarded(??) with some extremely narrow and twisty roads on the way to the A4117 impeding our progress somewhat. We finally arrived at the Titterstone Clee summit car park, donned the bergens and negotiated the short walk to the summit.
The summit was very quiet, deserted in fact(approaching 6pm) so we decided to lash the mast and the beam to the trig point, with some difficulty as the wind had really picked up. 2M FM session was very busy and managed to work s2s with Rick M0RCP/P on LD-017. After reconfiguring the beam for SSB some decent tropo was worked including G0BPU in Ipswich and a fantastic signal from Graham G3OHC in Selby, peaking 5/9. The band soon descended into chaos as an E opening to CT land crept up. After working CT1EAT we decided that enough was enough (that last contact reminded us that we were hungry), packed up and headed for home.
It was too late to activate another summit on the way home and we stopped at Maccies in Shrewsbury for some dinner befre the final leg of the journey home. Overall: a long but enjoyable day. Not that we’d be in a hurry to activate WB-002 again, certainly not on 2M FM.
Thanks to all who called in and apologies to any stations who didn’t make it due to the QRM.
73 de Chris