G4YSS Act'n G/NP-005 Inglebro,19-08-10

G4YSS Activation of G/NP-005 Ingleborough on 19-08-10

INGLEBOROUGH on HF (inc. 160m) & 4m FM.
G4YSS using SSEG Club-call GX0OOO/P. All times UTC on 19-08-10.

IC706-2G, adjustable dipole, 5m mast, 160m coils.
One 8.8 Ah Li-Po battery.
IC E90 4-Band FM, 5W H/H with 2m set-top helical extended for 4m and 7.4V, 1.3 Ah Li-Ion detachable battery.
QRO pack: 11kg (24 pounds).

Normally Ingleborough gets done along with Pen-y-Ghent and Fountain’s Fell (NP’s 10 & 17) and I usually chose early February for this. However, nothing is normal this year. Here was another example of working in a summit as best we could and after having done the other two Yorkshire Three Peaks, Daughter-in-Law Hazel was interested in the third and last.

To facilitate this Suzzanne, my Grandson’s child minder was persuaded to do a longer stint once again. Even so 07:15 is the earliest she can start work and that delays the G4YSS ‘traditional’ start time by some 3 or 4 hours. Combined with a need to get back in good time, this forces a one summit day, exacerbated by the fact that one is ‘condemned’ to travel through two rush hours. All this and the fact that Hazel has joint problems, puts NP5 at the very limit of travel for a multi-band activation.

Ingleborough is quite a long walk-in from any start point but in recent years for convenience I have favoured the Southern approach. The trouble with this is that it does not show the true character of the mountain but follows a well graded grassy path. Apart from a rocky section near the top after it joins the path from Clapham via Trow Gill, this little used route is pleasant but truly benign. Given the choice, I would always sacrifice excitement in favour of operational expediency but with hindsight I realise that I should have tried to show off the real Ingleborough with its steep ascents and limestone pavements, to today’s companion.

Left Scarborough at 07:18, driving via York, Harrogate, Skipton and arriving at Newby Cote Farm Cross-Roads (SD 7319 7053, 216m ASL). This is on the ‘C’ road that emanates from Clapham and we parked on the grass verge at 09:52. Here a wooden sign reads ‘Ingleborough 2.5 miles.’ We booted up ASAP & set off walking at 10:02. I am accustomed to sneaking past sleeping farm-dogs in the dark but today the farmer‘s wife greeted us with a cheery ‘Good Morning.’

After a ladder stile early on, this is a fairly painless way to ascend the required 500m or so but this amount of ascent coupled with the 2.5 mile distance is a fair undertaking on a path who‘s character changes little as it rises. Little Ingleborough’s shelter is at SD 7429 7352. The marker cairn for the path off the summit plateau (important in cloud) is at SD 7438 7453 but there’s another ‘trick’ bit to remember for the return. Just after the Little Ingleborough shelter one must bear right off the Clapham ‘track’ and head down an ill defined grassy path to some low ruins at SD 7425 7342 . Missing this has caused me minor inconvenience due to corrective contouring on at least two occasions in the past.

Hazel was in some pain from an early stage but thankfully she is not a person who easily gives up though her success on Ben Nevis in May took its toll for a month following. After a 2-hour climb we made for the trig point for photos before backing off to the ‘lip’ overlooking Ribblehead Viaduct to be out of the wind and away from too many people. NP5 is a popular one and outside of an early winter morning, it’s probably not a good idea to decorate the summit shelter with HF aerials. Our time limit for leaving was 14:30 BST so we had over two hours.

INGLEBOROUGH HILL, G/NP-005, 724m, 6 pts. 12:02 to 14:40. 12 Deg.C. 25 mph wind dropping to 15 mph. Overcast with short bursts of sunshine. No low-cloud or rain. (LOC: IO84TD – WAB: SD77)

40m CW - 36 QSO’s:
After an attempt to make contact with Roy (G4SSH/A in Fowie), HB9IAB answered my CQ call on 7.032. After a short time a pile up developed. After 10 minutes I thought I heard a /P. It was F/HB9AFI/P sending fast but evidently on a summit in France. Thanks to Kurt for a nice S2S from F/AB-364. Power output on 40 was generally set to 20W but more was needed for one or two stations. At first the rate was 1 per minute but that always tails off after a while. It seems that there have been quite a few new recruits to SOTA lately; I kept hearing ‘new’ callsigns and not so many of the regulars. There was a good mix of countries worked, namely: HB9, OE, DL, F, G, PA, SM, HA, OK, I, 9A, EI and a weak Z35F. 40m appears to have made a recovery from earlier in the summer when it was poor. I did work Roy half way through the session but the intervening path can’t have been that good; my 100W evoking a 229 report.

80m CW - 2 QSO’s:
I was hoping for a few more QSO’s on here and to work the ‘Scarborough lads.’ It was not to be but a massive incoming signal was the response to my first ‘QRL?‘ on 3.532. This was Phil G4OBK who kindly posted the QSY. As a response to Phil’s spot, I waited for the usual bunch of stalwarts led by GW0AAV but nothing happened. However, the VSWR was much higher than normal which made me suspect the outer sections of the link dipole. In the end I did at least bring in Pete EI2CL but it was a bit of a struggle for him even with full power. After that - nothing.

80m SSB - Nil:
CQ‘s on 3.724 with 100W for 7 minutes produced nothing. Again there was intermittently a high VSWR on the feeder and only one or two stations using the band.

160m CW - 1 QSO:
Phil G4OBK was the only op to hear me on 1.832. This time the SWR was ‘dancing’ in synch with the wind, which made the incoming signal jump up and down in strength. This could easily be heard in the phones and possibly there were similar effects at G4OBK, though sometimes power can break down contact resistances. The problem then relented, enabling 100W CQ’s to go out unaffected but nothing further was incoming. Summer combined with midday conditions make for a solid D-Layer.

It went unnoticed to me at the time but Hazel heard a comment from a passer-by reference our operation. A boy aged 9 or 10 deviated towards the station and was some 15m away when his father advised him to back off. The boy’s remark, ‘Will I get Electrocuted then Dad?’

4m FM - 2 QSO’s:
After packing up the HF gear we made our way back to the summit proper to give 4m its best chance. There was no time to put up the half-wave vertical so I climbed onto the empty shelter with the IC-E90 handie and extended rubber duck. Immediately a CQ was heard. 2W0XTL/P - Matt was on the Great Orme. A GW/NW-070 to NP5 S2S resulted with 59 both ways! Matt’s ribbon cable Jim was doing most of the work but power was just 5W at both ends.

Mike G4BLH, a reliable and enthusiastic 4m exponent, called in for the final QSO of the day. I forgot to thank him for putting some Whernside photos on his 4m column, though I haven’t seen them yet.

We stopped to ask the ages of some children who were climbing with two separate families. These were both girls; one aged three and a half and the other a month shy of 3. They had both made it up from Chapel-le-Dale without carrying. My Grandson Jack will have to watch out. He is fast approaching ‘SOTA age’ but I don’t think he’s mentally or physically ready just yet.

As for me, I wasn’t at all sorry that another two SOTAs were not awaiting me today.

Descent and drive:
The descent seemed quite long but the critical right fork off the main path just after Little Ingleborough was not missed today. Hazel twisted both ankles on the rutted path and this affected other joints but the car was regained after 83 minutes at 16:03. The 101-mile drive home through Harrogate and past York at rush hour was tedious to say the least. It took 2hrs-44 min (to 18:54) and can be done in little more than 2-hours in the early hours.

Thanks also to ALL STATIONS WORKED and to the spotters: F5SQA, G3VQO (40m), G4OBK (80-160m) & G4BLH (4m).

Total: 41 comprising:
36 on 7-CW.
2 on 3.5-CW.
0 on 3.5-SSB.
1 on 1.8-CW
2 on 70.475 / 70.425-FM

Battery utilisation:
52% discharged (tested) 11V nom, 8.8 Ah Li-Po.

510m (1,673ft) ascent, 10 km (6.2 miles). 120U, 83D.

Summit time: 2 hours - 38 minutes.
Walking time: 3 hours - 23 minutes.
Driving time: 2 hours - 34 minutes out / 2 hours - 44 minutes back. Total: 5 hours - 18 minutes.
Total (Home to Home): 11 hours – 36 minutes.

Two S2S, 6 activator points.

80m was disappointing but strong D-Layer ionisation can be expected. By contrast 40m did a fine job in giving both continental and some G’s a chance. Thanks to the relatively close proximity of G4OBK and Phil’s antenna setup, 160m was a one QSO success. In the conditions / time of day / season, getting no further was understandable. 4m is just a nice band to be on and the S2S was a bonus. Hazel enjoyed the day until she turned her ankles. She has now done all of the 3-Peaks, albeit singly and her total is now 8 summits. I am happy with a few points now and then.

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

Hello John,

Thanks for the detailed report, which brought back a few memories!

My first activation was of Ingleborough while on holiday last month, and was the first time I’d ever called CQ or worked a pile-up. I was accompanied by my daughter Lizzy (who carried the food and emergency equipment) and for her interest we walked up Fell Lane from Ingleton and returned via Trow Gill to Clapham where we were collected by my wife in the car.

As a relatively new operator I’m very grateful to the SOTA community for all their encouragement and advice, and look forward to climbing and activating some less familiar hills before too long…

73, John M6JDR

Hi John

Thank’s for the interesting report. Glad I was home, I only noticed the alert by chance about 10 minutes before you became active!

73 Phil

In reply to G4YSS:
Hi John,
Sorry I missed you, had to go out. Would have liked to try 160. Next time! Thanks for great report.
73, Frank

In reply to G4YSS:
Nice to work you on Thursday John!!

Ladder feed slimjims are the way ahead!

73 Matt 2E(W)0 XTL

In reply to G4YSS:

Hi John

You did well to make the trip to my six foot indoor vertical antenna down in Cornwall. A 229 contact is always more satisfying to the chaser than 599 anyway.

The main problem was the “summer” weather in Cornwall which was driving rain and thick fog, causing high a noise level on 40m and a three hour return flight delay due to fog-bound airports.

Now back in Sunny Scarborough

In reply to G4YSS:

Sorry to have missed you, John, as the only chance for me as a phone operator without 70 megs was 80 metres: I was there, the propagation wasn’t!


Brian G8ADD

In reply to G4YSS:

Thank you for the CW QSOs on 40m and 80m and the interesting report on your G/NP-005 Ingleborough activation.

For me it was another example of “being in the right place at the right time”! Unlike 20m and 30m, the hash-meter was hovering at S6 across 40m and 80m at this QTH. It was sitting at S7 on 160m! The neighbourhood QRN generators were working hard. Nevertheless, having managed to hear a few bits of your transmissions, there was hope of success; the combination of your persistence, QRO, luck and filters provided the desired result.

73 de Mike, EI2CL

In reply to ALL:

To John M6JDR:

Congrats on your entry to amateur radio and your conquest of Ingleborough. I hope you get as much joy out of SOTA as I have done over the years, though it can be challenging (to say the least) at times.

To Phil G4OBK:
Glad you did make it as I wasn’t going to get anyone else on 160 that day unless Reg had been around perhaps. Thanks for the QSO and spots.

To Frank G3RMD:
I don’t think you missed much Frank. I have serious doubts as to whether we would have made a QSO on any band – perhaps 40m. CU next time.

To Matt 2E0XTL:
Sorry I was confused – we haven’t worked before and I said we had. I was mixing XLT with XTL. Nice one on 4m. I had a half-wave with me but could not afford even the 10 minites it would have taken to deploy it and pack it up again; hence the quick solution. 4m is a final afterthought and I have usually been on the summit for a number of hours when I get to it.

To Roy G4SSH:
Great to get you in the log but expected it to be much easier for you. Turned the power right up though. Your indoor ant is a little miracle actually. Your successes have more to do with experience though. Hope Chris better; BCNU Tues.

To Brian G8ADD:
You are right; it’s not as easy to reach the ‘locals’ as I remember it not too long ago. I can accept 8 QSO’s on 80 but now we’re down to two CW, then none on SSB! It’s hardly worth appearing. Having said that, I have just come up from my garage where I fixed an intermittent break in the ‘LO’ half of the 80m section of my link dipole. Though I did get through to Dublin on CW, it probably caused loss of signal on 80 and later on 160. It has turned out to be a good ploy to leave the meter on my rig selected to VSWR. I can see quickly any ant probs and this was what detected it this time. Occasional repair of a minimalist antenna system is something I have to accept – versus weight. Sorry! Better luck next time.

To Mike EI2CL:
Thank you also Mike. If you chasers failed to turn up activating would be pure misery. I have the same level of noise here, which is one of the reasons I’m an activator. I was hoping to get you on Top Band but under conditions existing, it was too far. I wouldn’t like to try and get QSO’s on 80 with 5W just now. It’s nearly impossible with 100. 40 was good though. Makes me start to think about 60 again for SSB but I shouldn’t ‘cos it’s exclusive. I did keep the licence up though, just in case.

Thanks for reading the report and thanks for all the comments.

73, John.