G4YSS Actn Reprts for NP13 The Calf, NP19 Yarlside, NP15 Gt.Knoutberry, 11-Dec-07
11-Dec-07. All times UTC. G4YSS using GX0OOO/P. Unaccompanied.
(The Calf, Yarlside & Gt.Knoutberry Hill, 3 x 4 + 9 = 21 pts)
Left Scarborough at 04:24 which is when the Cricket from Sri Lanka opened on 198 kHz (Radio 4.) Arrived at The Cross Keys (A683, Cautley) at 07:00 and set off walking in darkness (and still ‘wired up’ for cricket) at 07:12.
There was no moonlight this time but unlike last year the sky was fully clear and dawn arrived all the sooner. The stars were out, there was almost no wind and the ground and puddles were frozen. The most direct route runs beside Cautley Spout but I traditionally go to Bowerdale Head, where today two Dales ponies grazed. I tried hard but they were suspicious of both me and my offered Polo mints. From there it’s ‘left’ up Hare Shaw and onto the path which leads to the grass-topped Calf at the very top of the Howgill Fells.
G/NP-013 THE CALF, 676m, 4 pts, 08:26 to 10:07, 0 Deg.C and rising, 5mph wind, sunshine for a few minutes then low-cloud. (IO84RI, WAB SD69)
Opened with a CQ at 08:45 on 3.724 with 5W of CW and was answered by the two Dubliners; first Mike EI2CL, followed by Pete EI7CC. Settling into a routine, I worked 16 stations in CW. The pet theory of mine; if you can get onto 80m early enough, overseas stations can be worked making 40m redundant, seemed to some extent, to be proved right today. ON4ON (OQ1C) Dan and LA6CF Jim were easily logged but DL1FU Frid was ‘heard only’ on his first attempt, having not apparently received multiple RST’s. However, this was put to rights a little later with 569 / 579 reports.
The change to SSB on the same QRG brought in a further 17 stations comprising regular ‘G’s’ along with OQ1C Dan, DJ5AV Mike and HB9BYZ Peter. Another interesting caller was Mac operating the Royal Naval Station GB3RN from the HMS Collingwood training base. John (GW4BVE) and I had a brief chat about routes for his Great Shunner / Lovely Seat activations, scheduled for the 12th December. A keen young lad called Timothy, 2E0KEA bagged NP13 too.
The walk between The Calf and Yarlside takes about an hour and the direct but pathless route up the steep grass of Yarlside’s western flank is demanding for a short distance. Today, I was a little faster because of the QRP rig and batteries, whereas last year it was QRO with lots more lead and a tent flysheet, to keep off the bad WX.
G/NP-019, YARLSIDE, 639m, 4 pts, 11:01 to 12:43, 3 Deg.C, 5mph. Sunny, with a little low-cloud as I was walking off. (IO84SJ, WAB SD69)
17 chasers were worked on 3.723, using the CW mode at a power level of 5W. It was surprisingly easy but I like to send reports several times. I hope nobody minds this but I think, when using QRP in QSB, it is better to get a firm report over first time rather than to risk confusion for the chaser about whether he’s in the log or not. It may well save time in the long run. Added to G’s and the NP13 overseas stations, there were PA0XAW Age, and HB9AGH Ambrosi. This was good indeed for 80m at lunch time but for NP19 only I would later be trying 40m CW, to try to get the rest of the Europeans in.
It was necessary to ‘nudge up a bit’ to 3.727.5 for SSB and this caused trouble with data interference. Mick 2E0HJD beat Graham G4JZF (unusually) into second place then a total of 16 stations were logged, again with the FT817 and 5W. Alistair, GW0VMZ thoughtfully returned in order to announce that there would be an S2S attempt by Peter G3TJE/P on High Willhays (G/DC-001). At 12:04 Peter & I worked with 58 both ways.
After a post by Kurt HB9AFI, who was also first in the 40m log, there was a steady stream of 12 takers on 7.032 CW between 12:04 and 12:32. ‘Steady’ because there were none of the major pile-ups still found at weekends. Of these, DL4FCK was probably using home-brew equipment. His signal was rather chirpy but I wasn’t rude about it! I would just say ‘Well done for building it,’ and it’s very recognizable too. I noticed a ‘crazy CQ.’ It drifted right through my filter in about 7 seconds and out of the other side, never to be heard again. I was relieved when the channel went quiet because it meant that I was ‘on for’ summit number 3, in accordance with an advanced warning, posted by Roy G4SSH.
Away by 12:43, it was straight down Ben End to the footbridge and back to Cross Keys for 13:13. At 13:21, after substitution of the IC706 2G in place of the FT817ND I was off again via Garsdale to the so called ‘Coal Road’ for Gt.Knoutberry and the last one of the day. The QRO would be needed for ‘putting on’ Top Band before night fell.
Walking again by 13:54, which was an hour earlier than last year, I reached for the GPS to activate the route. No route; I had omitted to load that particular one amongst 10 other NP’s. The only solution was to make another route on the way up. I would surely need it to get down this rough, boggy, pathless incline safely in the dark.
G/NP-015: GREAT KNOUTBERRY HILL, 672m, 4 pts, 14:22 to 16:32, 0 Deg.C, 3mph wind, mainly clear. (IO84KP, WAB SD78)
This summit has a ‘seat’ similar to the one on Lovely Seat but I ignored it and set the antenna up above the wire fence which runs along the wall, as per last year and John’s (GW4BVE) recommendation.
Being well ahead of schedule and knowing that by now Roy G4SSH would be on his way to LBA to catch a plane for Cornwall, I could either phone someone else or try a very early CQ. I didn’t need Phil’s (G4OBK) number that I’d written on my hand because Mike G4BLH, who must have been scanning the noisy band, had rapidly located my 30W CW signal on 3.727.5 MHz. I logged 19 in CW at a (steady) rate of 2 minutes per QSO. A further 12 followed in SSB.
I considered that 40m could be left out, hoping that the European ops would find me on 80m, just prior to dark and that the ‘locals’ would hear me on there too; there being no time for 2m FM. Omitting 40m did prove a reasonable move at this time of day because in addition to the two EI’s, nine European ‘40m regulars’ were able to make contact on 80.
For obvious reasons, 1.832 MHz CW was left until last. It took less than 5 minutes to insert and tune the coils at the 40m connection points on the dipole. Using 60W and starting with Mike EI2CL at 559, signals gradually became enhanced with the onset of darkness. I am quite used to struggling for even one QSO in daylight on this band and once or twice there have been none. Not so today; the use of 160m was entirely justified with no less than 15 stations making contact. These were:
Mike EI2CL, Pete EI7CC, Dave G0AOD, Mike DJ5AV, 160m stalwart Phil G4OBK with his wonderful beverage, Mike G4BLH close-by but strangely barely audible, Ambrosi HB9AGH, Juergen DJ5EY, Vaclav OK1AUP, Bernard DL4CW, OK1AQT, Roger G4OWG, Geoff G4CPA, David G4CMQ and finally Heinz, DL7RAG. A very good effort. For the last two QSO’s the power had to be dropped to 15W to ‘head-off’ a rapidly depleting battery. A test later showed this 7.5 Ah SLAB to be 92% discharged.
The 1.4 km journey down was dark but uneventful. Unlike last year, the darkness wasn’t accompanied by low-cloud. The hastily created GPS route was valuable and saved much time and anguish; getting me safely to the car at 16:53 to drive away for 17:00.
This was a carbon copy of 06 Dec 2006 but fitting some 124 QSO’s on these three NP’s into a short day, seemed easier than for the 99 of last year. This was because all three last year had been done with QRO with up to 3 bands each. Reducing the number of bands and using QRP on two and QRO on only one summit seemed to pay off in terms of time and weight saved. Again the softly featured, grassy Howgills were a joy to be on and the view looking east from Yarlside was pretty indeed. Gt.Knoutberry is rough and wet but not difficult in terms of ascent and distance from the Coal Road at SD 7796 8805. I saw no one all day on any summit. There is only a total of 220 miles to drive for these three summits and I was home by 19:30. It was a good day, with both innocuous WX and good band conditions.
Thanks to all stations worked and to G4SSH, G4JZF, EI2CL, GW0DSP, G4OBK, 2E0HJD, G4BLH, HB9AFI and GW0VMZ for spotting.
Total: 124 QSO’s, comprising:
15 on 1.8-CW
52 on 3.5-CW.
45 on 3.5-SSB.
12 on 7-CW
G/NP-013 & G/NP-019: FT817ND, 2.2 Ah SLAB, 95% utilised. 715m ascent, 9.5km.
G/NP-015: IC706-2G, 7.5 Ah SLAB, 92% utilised. Home-brew 160m adjustable loading coils. 169m ascent, 2.8km.
Totals (walking): 884m (2900ft) ascent; 12.3km (7.7 miles)
All summits: Link dipole for 80-60-40-20 (160-coils), 4 section - 5m H/B CFC mast.
Reserve rig: Jingtong 2m H/H.
73, John G4YSS (using GX0OOO/P; Scarborough Special Events Group Club Call)