Firstly, apologies to anyone who may have wanted to work me on 160m/80m/60m today, things didn’t exactly go according to plan! See below…
After a tip-off last night that John G4YSS would be activating G/NP-001 Cross Fell using GX0OOO/P & that he would be using Top Band I decided, quite late on, that I would also activate a summit with the goal of having another S2S on 160m with John.
The weather forecast was good & as I had recently only been activating lowly 1 point local hills I thought I would re-visit one of my favourite hillss G/SP-007 Fair Snape Fell, which I hadn’t activated for a few years.
After only getting to bed very late having been testing gear & charging batteries etc. I didn’t want to get out of bed this morning, but after forcing myself to, I realised I would be running a bit late so decided to activate first, then do my necessary shopping afterwards.
So with my gear packed I set off on my motorbike towards the village of Chipping. As I went over the crest of Jeffrey Hill with the fine vista of Parlick & Fair Snape Fell in front of me, the view was stunning, & also a little imposing & I wondered what I had let myself in for. I don’t get much exercise so the thought of having to climb Parlick & Fair Snape did fill me with a little dread!
The view toward Parlick from the parking area at Fell Foot
With the weight of my 160/80/60/40 linked dipole & 12m of RG58, my pack was a little heavier than I have been used to & ascending around the western side of Parlick was just as hard as I remember (I’ve never been fit enough to go straight up!)
After a while the terrain gets easier & Fair Snape Fell itself comes into view:
Fair Snape Fell from the Western face of Parlick
After a small drop, you then begin ascending again past “Nick’s Chair” and on towards the cairn & shelter at Paddy’s Pole. It was quite obvious that some real hard work has gone on since my last visit, with the shelter re-built & looking splendid in the sunshine. One item of interest here is that one of the stones has a German word carved into it:
Carved stone in the shelter at Paddy’s Pole.
With my new Android phone, Google translate eventually arrived at a translation of “Beauty”, which given the full meaning of Fair Snape Fell being “Fell of the beautiful pasture” I thought rather appropriate
I also took the opportunity to try out the “Panorama” mode on my phone to capture the following image by the trig point at Paddy’s Pole:
Panorama at Paddy’sPole
Whilst monitoring 145MHz FM I heard Geoff G4WHA/P calling CQ SOTA from G/LD-004 Skiddaw so my first QSO was an S2S. After this I walked further North East to find a spot to erect my 160/80/60/40 linked dipole where it would not be in the way of any walkers.
I already knew I was running late & as I had no reliable phone signal at the spot I’d chosen I phoned Roy G4SSH to let him know that at least I was on the summit although not QRV yet. By this time John G4YSS had already been on 160m & was at that time on 60m.
Here is when my troubles began! After snapping my 9m carbon fibre pole not once, but twice, whilst putting up the dipole I then found that I was not hearing very much at all on any band & the VSWR was sky high!. I dropped the antenna & tried all the connections but it was to no avail.
After putting the antenna back up I scanned the bands to see if I could find John & eventually found him calling around 1832KHz CW. I immediately called him but my keyer was still set at 28WPM so after a few buitton pushes I dropped to 20WPM & called again with 5 Watts into a very high VSWR. Incredibly John heard me & we exchanged 599 /559 reports before John asked to switch to SSB. After a move to 1843KHz we exchanged 59 /41 & it was obvious to me something was very wrong with my antenna. I thanked John for the S2S & set about investigating what was wrong with my antenna. In the end I decided it was a fault with the coax that I couldn’t repair on site so decided to drop the dipole & put up an end fed half wave instead, tuned using one of the SOTABeams 40m-17m EFHW tuners.
That of course meant no 80m or 60m SSB so my apologies for anyone who may have been waiting to work me.
A couple of calls on 7032-cw & I was answered by Les G3VQO, Chris F6EAZ & a portable station that was being hit heavily by QSB. Eventually I heard Terje LA8BCA/P calling me from LA/OL360 & after a couple of tries we made the S2S. Terje was followed by Christphe ON6ZQ but after that calls seemed to dry up. At that point I decided to try 14062-cw before packing up, & my call was answered by Vic SM7ZDI before again there were no more takers.
As I still had my shopping to do (postponed from the morning) I decided to pack up & head home.
I stopped at the trig point for a “selfie”
Then made my way back towards Parlick:
Parlick from Paddy’s Pole
I would normally return via the same route I ascended by but today I thought I would return via the Eastern side of Parlick to see if that was any easier. In some ways it was easier as there is less of a descent & re-ascent at the saddle between Fair Snape & Parlick although futher on the route levels out & you tend to be walking further without losing any height.
The view back towards Fair Snape Fell from the track around the Eastern side of Parlick
Eventually I came to the point at which the path straight up & down Parlick crossed the track I was on & decided I would take the direct route down. It was harder on the knees than the route I would normally take & I did end up on my backside at one point, so I may well stick to the western route in future
Anyway, despite the various problems it was a great day out in glorious weather so a big thank you to all stations that worked me, especially S2S & very special thanks to John G4YSS (GX0OOO/P) for the Summit to Summit QSO’s on Top Band
Thanks & best 73,