G4YSS Actn G/NP-004 - Whernside,18-06-10

G4YSS Activation of G/NP-004 on 18-June-10.

WHERNSIDE on 30m CW, 40m CW, 160m CW, 80m CW/SSB, 4m FM.
G4YSS using SSEG Club-call GX0OOO/P.
Accompanied by Hazel.
All times BST (= UTC + 1 hr).

IC706-2G, adjustable dipole, 5m mast, 160m coils.
One 8.8 Ah Li-Po for LF.
IC E90 4-Band FM, 5W H/H with 4m-band HB half-wave vertical end-fed and 7.4V, 1.3 Ah Lithium detachable battery.
QRO pack: 11.5kg (25 pounds).

This was to be my Daughter-in-Law’s seventh mountain (& SOTA). Our last effort was Ben Nevis and it had taken Hazel a long time to recover. In view of that and the fact that it is now summer a single NP seemed to suggest itself and Whernside was it. This six-pointer is worth climbing. We set off from Scarborough half an hour early at 07:00 because my XYL volunteered to take Jack to the child-minders. Our 98 mile journey took 2 hours and 50 minutes. Sharing the driving helps a lot.

The path up Whernside which starts in the West at SD 7219 8184 is not difficult. Though it is steep in places it is only around 2km to the top requiring a height gain of approx. 280m. Whernside also sports quite a good VHF takeoff and the homely, grassy top and substantial wall adds to the comfort. The path is easy to follow and goes via SD 7244 8173, dog-legging right at SD 7310 8163 and resuming its steady climb at SD 7316 8150. A short scarp slope is encountered at SD 7354 8143 but though a bit shaley, it’s not too steep. Though of little interest or relevance, there is a pond off the path at SD 7334 8160.

My best time up is 29 minutes but that was in 2004 when I was fit, doing loads of multiple summits and carrying simple VHF in very cold WX. Today we planned to take a full hour over the ascent and in reality it took 59 minutes from 10:06.

G/NP-004 WHERNSIDE, 736m (2415ft). 11:05 to 13:47, 12 Deg C, Wind NE abt 15 mph. Overcast / hazy sun but no low cloud. WAB: SD78. IO84TF.

We settled for a sheltered place by the wall about 70m north from the trig point, where some sand and cement bags had been dumped. I was set up and ready to go some 30 minutes early so after clearing away some loose lengths of barbed wire, I called Roy G4SSH and Kevin G0NUP on the Orange mobile phone but as bad luck would have it neither were at home.

30m CW – 2 QSO’s:
I had hoped that 10.118 might have been monitored by a SOTA chaser or two but I did not recognize the call signs of the two stations (both DL’s) I did manage to contact. The band seemed to be working OK but further CQ’s were not answered. I used about 20W on this band but eventually realized that I would have to use 40m after all.

40m CW - 25 QSO:
Because of the lack of progress on 30m, 7.032 became an unscheduled stop but chasers were quickly found. Apparently 40m was having a day off from its former grumpiness. What’s more, it seemed to be covering both Europe and G reasonably well. A small pile-up soon developed but there was plenty of QSB in evidence and powers ranged from 20 up to 90W (indicated). Countries: I, OE, PA, F, OK, HA, G, DL, HB9, & LA. There was a rather pleasing S2S with Kjell LA1KHA/P on LA/TM-049 – 559 both ways. This QRG is where Roy G4SSH/A (Fowie) turned up and made a successful QSO.

160m CW - 4 QSOs:
This band was brought forward when I found out G4OBK was available. (If I’d delayed he might have had to go out!) Despite him later reporting deep QSB, I worked Phil using 50W as was the case with EI7CC Pete before him. G3RMD called several times but even with the power full-up, I could not penetrate his noise field. Not so with G4BLH and G4RQJ however. The former using a real lash up of an antenna (he later told me.) Why worry; it did the job.

80m CW - 2 QSO’s:
This was disappointing. I consider 80m my mainstay but I guess summer condx. and the sunspot cycle are making mischief. I only worked two stations but at least both were Top Band ‘failures’ – EI2CL Mike and Frank G3RMD. I used full power for these in the hope others would hear me and call. They didn’t – 80m was not in good shape.

80m SSB - 8 QSO’s:
In 15 minutes I worked a pleasing eight QSO’s starting with Geoff G6MZX, who ‘found’ me. My 40 or so Watts were reported between 45 and 59 for nearer ones so I don’t know what happened to the 80m CW crowd. Maybe I’d worked them all on 40 CW.

4m FM - 6 QSO’s:
Six QSO’s is a good result for me on 4m. G4CPA (using a G5RV!) G4BLH, G6LKB, M3ULV and finally after his battery died the first time; G6MZX. All reports were 59 and power was 3.5W from the IC-E90 to a half-wave home-brew vertical on 70.425. G4BLH requested some photos of the 4m activation and these have been duly supplied for use on Mike’s 4m column on the Summitbase website.

There was no time left for 2m FM. A token effort for dedicated chasers is not usually good enough because one can become quite embroiled on there with non-chasers which is a shame. If there’s time, it’s OK but we were already shaving it very close to be back on time to pick my Grandson up at 17:30. Maybe if Hazel gets her M6 licence, she can cover 2m FM for me, crosstalk from HF permitting.

The descent took 36 minutes. The car was gained by 14:23 and we were duly underway by 14:25 to reach Cayton 5 minutes early by 17:25.

The total distance driven was 198 miles and we used the A684 both ways. This road was quiet today which is just as well. It’s a bendy road which limits overtaking opportunites for more than one vehicle. Getting to the summits from Scarborough is not easy whichever way you go.

Thanks to ALL STATIONS WORKED and to the valued spotters: F5PLC, G4OBK, G3RMD, G6MZX & G4BLH.

Total: 47 QSO’s, comprising:
2 on 10-CW.
25 on 7-CW.
4 on 1.8-CW
2 on 3.5-CW.
8 on 3.5-SSB.
6 on 70-FM

Battery utilisation: 83% discharged (15 minutes at 4.8 Amps remaining) 11V nom, 8.8 Ah Li-Po.

In Conclusion:
This was a very pleasant and easy going sortie which Hazel said she had enjoyed once the pain of ascent was over. The activation went quite well with a summit time of two and three quarter hours allowing six modes / bands.) 47 QSO’s is few for such a stay and try as I may I rarely seem to improve my technique. Band conditions and our early arrival must take part of the blame.

CW seems to be my best mode with regard to QSO rate and it might be even better if I could read it properly. Sadly that seems like a fact that will remain. Help from Hazel with the logging during the speech modes was much appreciated and I can read it back later much easier than my own writing. She also assisted with the fitting of the 160m coils and other sundry tasks.

As always, a few strange comments came our way. In fact on this popular summit perhaps as many as 8 or 9 groups asked questions about the operation. ‘Is this for the fell racing?’ ‘It looks very artistic!’ A more informed, ‘That sounds great, it’s years since I heard CW’ and finally as I unclipped a 160m band loading coil, ‘Is that a microphone for recording birdsong?’

73, John G4YSS.
(using GX0OOO/P; Scarborough Special Events Group Club Call)

In reply to G4YSS:

Another excellent report John.

I called Roy G4SSH and Kevin G0NUP on the Orange mobile phone but as bad luck
would have it neither were at home.

You need to sign up to the SMSBOT John: it’s always ready to spot you! :wink: