On the strength of the weather forecast on Saturday I decided to go ahead with this activation yesterday. Once above 1500 feet it was miserable, mizzle almost all day with visibility never better than 100m. The radio part was great though and carried me through the day. This was my first HF activation since I went with the M1EYP/M3EYP crew to Ailsa Craig in August.
I sought information from the reflector the previous night regarding parking and route info, finding a post by G4YSS with the essential details in it (thanks’s John). I noted from his report that there were fences running over both fells, the common parking spot on the Buttertubs Pass is ideal as a lunch stop before the 2nd summit is tackled in the afternoon. I wanted to boost my top band score so the fences were vital with the antenna I intended to use. I needed to be in York by 5.30pm to collect my XYL from the railway station, so there was plenty of time. The one point Kisdon NP-026 which I want to get out of the way, will have to wait for another day.
Depart Pickering 0510z
Arrive Cattle Grid SD 868955 0700z walking by 0710z
Follow fence up to arrive Great Shunner Fell top at 0801z. An easy gradual moorland ascent, just boggy ground in places.
After visiting the stone shelter, which looked desolate in the mist and drizzle, I walked back well away from the Pennine Way to the corner fence post at SD 84980 97323 which was my activation point. G4SSH/A (Dial-a-Spot - thanks to Roy) was alerted via Vodafone and I set up the 30 foot HD pole and 130 foot inverted L. I turned on the 2m handheld to hear Geoff G6MZX/M on the Clitheroe Bypass and Geoff was chuffed to get the six points, a lucky QSO indeed.
30 foot DK9SQ pole
130 foot inverted L with two 66 foot radials and galvanised fencing as counterpoise. LDG Z100 auto ATU for 30/40/60m band, powered from Lipo battery.
Yaesu FT-857 75w HF 100w on 160m.
7 AH SLAB, Palm morse key.
I started on 160m 0830z with EI2CL Mike logged. Mike was not too strong but still heard me so that was good news indeed. It was well daylight but very murky. Then Frank G3RMD boomed in and had perfect copy on me thanks to his K9AY receiving loop. Frank is without doubt the most reliable SOTA chaser on 160m in the south and having heard him well on 160m last May on GD-001 but failing to make a QSO that time,it was a pleasure to make the easy QSO on NP-006. Tom M1EYP called in with very good signals. A move to SSB brought more so a decision was made to leave the link dipole in the car and risk again using the inverted L on Lovely Seat in the afternoon. This would not have been viable in my opinion if I was QRP with the FT-817 but with the FT-857 the QSO were coming in easily.
It’s worth listing who was worked on 160m for future reference:
On CW (1832) EI2CL-G3RMD-M0COP-M1EYP-G3HKO-G0VOF
On SSB (1843)G3RMD-G0RQL-GM7UAU-G8ADD-G3HKO. The only gotaway was G4BLH who was hearing me but unfortunely did not get my report.
I proceeded to 40m, then 60m and left out 30m as everything was wet and I was starting to shake, as was Treacle my terrier who accompanied me on the trip.
40m CW was full of WAG stations (not footballers Wives and Girlfriends but Worked all Germany Stations). 60m was in fine fettle and thank’s to Geoff G4WHA for telling me that 2E0EDX was on 2m FM, so I QRX’d on 60m to work Ian on my handheld before returning to 60m.
I packed up and left the scene at 0958z reaching the santuary of the car for coffee, a warm and a sandwich at 1046z. Some dry socks and another layer of clothing would have been nice - I wasn’t carrying any so another lesson learned. I had relied on the various weather forecasts (including MWIS) too much, that was also a lesson.
160m CW/SSB: 11
60m SSB: 16
40m CW: 21
2m FM: 2 (One S2S with 2E0EDX Ian on LD-004 Skiddaw)
4.4 miles walked with 667 feet of ascent.
To be continued with NP-030 Lovely Seat later…