G0VOF/P G/SP-014 Longridge Fell 4th May 2013

Hi all,

As I was up at 4am this morning, after finishing some work on the computer mid morning I thought I’d go back to bed for a while, as it is a long weekend :wink:

Then I noticed that Mike G4BLH had alerted to activate G/SP-014 Longridge fell using the 10GHz band. This did interest me a a little, despite being much higher in the spectrum than you would normally find me Hi! So, after a little debate with myself I decided to Join Mike & hastily (at least for me) packed a rucksack with my FT817, HF dipole & 2m J-Pole in case I decided to activate the fell myself.

I parked at the large parking area at Jeffrey Hill & managed to catch Mike, who was already active at the summit, on 145.350MHz FM before I started my ascent. There is about 80m of ascent involved over a distance of about a mile to reach the activation zone so this is a relatively easy summit for the less fit amongst us. The main issue is that after wet weather the tracks on this fell can become very muddy. That was not a problem today after the dry weather we have had & the tracks were the driest I have experienced.

After about 20 minutes or so I was soon in the activation zone & listened for Richard G1JTD/P who was almost ready to finish his activation of G/LD-011 High Street, but with Fair Snape Fell & other terrain in between I could not hear him on my VX7-R with 30cm helical. 5 minutes later I was at Mike’s operating position where I grabbed the chance to work Richard G1JTD/P using Mike’s radio & Rucksack antenna.

Mike had already been active on 10GHz SSB & had made two contacts I believe, so he offered me the chance of my first QSO on 3cm & quickly raised John G8OTI/P who was in Southport. John is most usually active as GM8OTI/P & it did seem very strange working him without the GM prefix :wink:

Mike G4BLH/P was using a Yaesu FT290R to drive his 10GHz transverter & John was a very good signal indeed when he answered Mike’s call. I took the mic & worked John 59 both ways which John was very pleased by as that now means he has the option of activating on the band. John’s transverter produced 40mW whilst Mike & me were producing a little more at 240mW into a horn feed.

I am very grateful to Mike & John for allowing me to be one of the few who have logged 10GHz SOTA QSO’s.

Mike was already feeling a little cold in the wind so after a chat he packed up & set off home whilst I moved a little nearer the trig point to set up for HF. It was my intention after my last activation in September that I would fit the narrow CW filter from my FT897 in my FT817 in order that I could give 7.032 cw a try as it does get a little crowded around that frequency. As this was a spontaneous activation I did not have time to swap the filter over so I stuck to SSB, although I did put several CW calls out on 5.3992 after working all I could on SSB. This did raise John G3WFK who replied using SSB, but we didn’t manage to complete an exchange on 60m, although we did later on 40m SSB.

Several calls on 5.3985 ssb produced no response initially & there didn’t seem to be anybody using the band. I had not alerted so nobody would be expecting me so I posted a self spot, which very quickly brought a welcome call from Don G0RQL. Conditions did seem a little poor, which probably explains why the band wasn’t busy. Three others made it into the log on 60m & after several calls on CW I announced a QSY to 7 SSB.

After opening the links in my 160/80/60/40 link dipole I had a quick listen around & found some good signals on 40m but not much free space. While tuning around I came across Rod MM0JLA/P on GM/CS-122 Newtyle Hill & after a couple of calls I broke through his pile-up. Rod kindly offered me his frequency once he had finished so after a quick listen round I waited for Rod to clear. After Rod’s last contact he called me & I took the frequency & quickly worked another S2S with Jack GM4COX/P who was on GM/CS-049 Culter Fell. Whilst typing this I realised this is the second time I have had an S2S with Culter Fell as I also worked Andy MM0FMF/P on that summit when I was on G/SP-007 Fair Snape Fell in May 2011.

Conditions on 40m were much better than on 60m & I worked a steady stream of callers including another S2S with Ricky MW6GWR/P on GW/NW-063 Ffridd Cocyn, which was very pleasing. Once there were no more callers on 40m I announced a QSY to 2m FM in about 20 minutes, then packed away my HF dipole & put my 2m J-Pole up, which was a bit of a struggle in the wind.

After checking the SWR, which was better towards the lower part of the FM section of the band I went back to 145.500 just in time to hear Jimmy MW0HGY/P calling CQ SOTA from GW/NW-070 Great Orme. After working Jimmy I called on S20 myself & was answered by a good friend, Frank G4XHZ, a very good CW operator who helped me a lot when I was first learning the mode back in the early 1990’s. After another 7 contacts the frequency went quiet so I took the opportunity to close down, after all, this was only a spontaneous activation.

Several stations mentioned that this was their first chase of G/SP-014 Longridge Fell so I was very pleased to fill a gap in your SOTA logs. Many thanks to all who worked me, especially S2S, & of course to Mike G4BLH whose alert prompted my activation today.

I ended the day with 38 QSO’s & for once my activator log has already been entered. I do have some video which I will edit & post on my Youtube channel.

Thanks & best 73,

Mark G0VOF

In reply to G0VOF:
Hi Mark,
Nice thing to do on the spur of the moment and even better to get some operating way up there. No, it’s not somewhere I would normally expect you to be. It sounds interesting however. The 160/80/60/40 link dipole did well too.
73, John.

PS: Roy G4SSH should be back on the air tmrw (Sunday). That’s if he’s slept off his jet-lag in time!

In reply to G4YSS:

Hi John,

3cm is a very short wavelength for me, & having looked at Mike’s transverter pretty closely I doubt I could make something so small that would work properly. Pretty impressive stuff, although contacts up there are few & far between given the extremely narrow aperture at those frequencies.

I wasn’t even sure when I left the house if I was going to activate myself today or not, but I took enough kit to do it, just in case. I didn’t even post an alert as I was leaving the house with the kit on my back as nothing was certain at that point.

5MHz is usually pretty reliable at raising someone even without an alert, but today the band must have been so poor people just weren’t using it. 40m was much better, & that is probably where everybody was, or maybe on the higher bands that seemed to be open nicely today.

However, just after 0500z I worked what I think is my first US station on 60m, despite being active on the band for several years. I generally don’t tend to be listening when the band is open for transatlantic contacts. I have to admit though, I did spend many a happy evening just listening way back when amateurs had no access to that part of the spectrum & thought how wonderful it would be if we had. :slight_smile:

It was very nice to work Ricky MW6GWR/P who is fast becoming the UK’s most regular Top Band activator. Although he has had a small number of 160m QSO’s on each of his activations, as both of us know, in the daytime Top Band can be extremely difficult with 100 Watts, let alone 10 Watts. I really do wish him well on 160m :slight_smile:

I had a very enjoyable day today, although after 20 hours since I got up this morning I am probably beginning to feel a little like you do after a day out in NP or LD :wink:

Thanks & very best 73,

Mark G0VOF

In reply to G0VOF:

Pretty impressive stuff, although contacts
up there are few & far between given the extremely narrow aperture at
those frequencies.

Hi Mark

Contacts on 3cm are not as few and far between as you might imagine. My best 3cm SOTA activation was over 20 contacts and qualifying summits is not that hard provided you are out on an activity day. Even with a 200mW system like Mike’s, contacts of up to 200km are commonplace.

My system runs 1 Watt and I have worked into France and Germany on it! Strangely 1 Watt of 3cm is usually more effective than 5W of SSB on 2m.

Chris GW4DGU is marketing a set of modules that allow a relatively easy way to get going on 3cm. He is making up two demonstrators for me that will be used to explore their capabilities for SOTA.


73 Richard G3CWI

In reply to G0VOF:

Good to work you again Mark on a different band!

Many thanks to Mike G4BLH for the sked which enabled this in the first place. It was good to work John MW1FGQ from Southport at the same time.

Later on, heading to Gatehouse of Fleet, I also worked Brian GM8BJF/P near Gatehouse from the Hartside Cafe above Penrith, so I’m fairly confident now of some S2S 3cm contacts in the near future.

3cm S2S skeds very welcome! - I’m in the Gatehouse area frequently over the summer and able to get up the nice little hills in W Scotland in that area, even though the 3cm kit is not exactly a /P setup yet.