I was in Gloucester visiting family so I took the opportunity to do three SOTAs: May Hill, Ruardean Hill and Black Mountain.
Tuesday 13 September 2011
After leaving Gloucester I headed along the A40 turning at the May Hill village junction and then taking the next left to get me to a crossroads made of the single track road and 3 footpaths. I parked opposite Bearfoot Cottage S0 701207 where there is parking for at least 3 cars. The walk was very pleasant and took around 20 minutes. At the summit area as well as the trig point there is a copse of pine trees planted to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Silver Jubilee, there are also plaques there to commemorate Queen Elizabeth’s Silver Jubilee. The views from the summit were surprisingly spectacular including looking over the River Severn Estuary to the south and to the north the Malvern Hills. After having a quick walk around the wide open space I decided to set up on the Eastern side of the copse by a smaller clump of trees utilising a dead tree stump to support the fibre glass pole. An ominous black cloud was heading my way so I quickly set everything up and after a quick call on my mobile to G4SSH I was off on 7032-cw at 0915z. I managed a quick qso with G4SSH then the rain appeared so I abandoned operations temporarily to put the FT-857 back in the rucksack and I took shelter in the small clump of trees. Then panic set in so I reached for the handheld and managed to work M0TDY, G0XAE and M0MSW on 145-fm so I had at least qualified the summit. After about a half hour or so the rain cleared and I was able to progress on 7032-cw and on 7164.5-ssb G3NYY saved me from a blank score sheet! I did try 145-fm again but this time there were no takers so I continued on 7032-cw and I made my last qso at 1045z. The walk back to the car was only 15 minutes and after refreshments I headed off to Ruardean Hill.
The drive through the edge of the Forest of Dean was fine although I did make a few wrong turnings and I arrived near the Pan Tod Beacon just off the summit of Ruardean Hill at around 1100 local time. There was a convenient gate post to attach my fishing pole and I chose one of the many large stones as my operating position. As it was a very short walk from the car I took the larger and heavier 10Ah sealed lead acid battery. A CQ on 7032-cw at 1252z brought in G4WSX followed by quite a pile up. I then worked a few on 7169-ssb and 145-fm and finished off with another pile up on 7032-cw ending at 1357z. This is probably the easiest SOTA summit to activate but still very enjoyable with some great views of the Malvern Hills. The drive back to Gloucester wasn’t great, hitting the city traffic during the rush hour!
Wednesday 14th September 2011
I left Gloucester at 0820 travelling along the A40 to Ross on Wye, A49 to Hereford then I went wrong taking the first signed road to Hay on Wye, this lead me through some very narrow lanes with high hedges and seemed to take ages. I drove through Hay and again made more mistakes but eventually I turned down Forest Road and arrived at the car park by the semi circle of stones S0 251360 at 1040. I headed off to the summit at 1100. This was a very enjoyable climb up the grass bank to the sloping track to the right to the summit plateau. I walked past the Hay Bluff trig point which was surrounded by ponies and a few other walkers. Heading southeast along Offa’s Dyke Path I found a soft boggy area at SO 251359 which easily accepted my fishing pole. At 1112z using GW4OOE/P for the first time, I had a mini pile up lead by DJ5AV. At around 1130z I met Peter G3TJE. We had a qso the previous day while I was on G/WB-021 Ruardean Hill. I had a great chat with Peter who has almost attained Mountain Goat status and after about 20 minutes he moved further up the hill to start his activation while I continued on 7168-ssb and 145-fm finishing off on 7032-cw an S2S with DL/HB9AGO/P at 1310z. Peter G3TJE then re-appeared and after packing up we walked back down to the car park together by a slightly different route to the east of Hay Bluff, further along Offa’s Dyke Path arriving back at the car park at 1510 local time. Peter showed me his LiPo batteries that he uses with his FT-817 and his landing net handle that he uses as a pole to support his antenna also the SOTA parking spots that he has downloaded onto his SATNAV, all very useful tips indeed. After a few biscuits I left at 1530 heading back home to Scarborough. The drive back was very interesting, I stopped off in Hay on Wye, a quaint town full of second hand book shops. I bought a good copy of “Wainwright In The Limestone Dales” at a reasonable price, a great book full superb photos of the Yorkshire Dales summits. I then headed towards Hereford and seemingly in the middle of nowhere, crossed a quaint toll bridge that took just one car at a time and cost 80p. Later I joined the Hereford rush hour at around 1700 eventually getting on to the M5 at Worcester and I arrived home in Scarborough at 2145 tired by contented! Thanks very much to G4SSH, 2E0WYE, G3NYY, F5AKL, G4WSX, MW0BBU, DJ5AV, and M6HBS for the spots and to everyone that worked me.
FT-857D HF/VHF 20w 2 X 7Ah and 1 x 10Ah sealed lead acid batteries
TH-79E VHF 5w
40m dipole as inverted vee supported on fishing pole at centre and a walking pole at each end.
2m SOTA dipole
G/WB-019 May Hill - 1 SOTA point
7-cw 29 DL, EA, F, G, HB9, OE, OK, ON, PA S5,
7-ssb 1 G
145-fm 3 G
G/WB-021 Ruardean Hill - 1 SOTA point
7-cw 39 CT, DL, EA, G, GI, GJ, GM, GW, I, OE, OK, ON, PA, S51, SM
7-ssb 6 G, HB9
145-fm 3 G
GW/SW-041 Black Mountain - 6 SOTA points
7-cw 17 G, DL, F, HB9, PA0
7-ssb 5 G
145-fm 7 G, GW