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G4YSS:G/NP-009 Summit Camp,6m UKAC,160m,14/15-07-22

G4YSS: G/NP-009 Summit Camp & 6m Contest, 14 to 15-07-22
Issue-2 (Pse Rprt Errors)

OVERNIGHTER on BUCKDEN PIKE for the UKAC 50 MHz Contest Ev’g & 160m
QRO on 6m-SSB and 160m. QRP on 2m-FM
G4YSS Unaccompanied

Times:
Non-radio: BST (UTC plus 1)
Radio ops: UTC (‘z’)

EQUIPMENT:
IC706-2G HF-100W; VHF- 50W; UHF-20W Transceiver with CW toggle switch in mic.
’Triple Size’ Home-Brew Sotabeam (3-ely) for 6m-Band (1.13kg - first tryout)
Link dipole for 80-60-40-(30)-20m
Loading coils with slug tuning for 1.8 to 2.0 MHz at 40m link points
6m (5-section) home-brew CFC/ Alloy mast with 1m end sticks
(Lower 3-sections used for 6m beam at 3.3m AGL)
IC-E90 6m-4m-2m-70cm 5W H/H with integral 7.2V / 1.3Ah Li-Po battery, for 2m-FM
Vertical J-Pole for 2m-FM on front tent pole
UV-3R Dual Band (&PMR) Handheld ‘top pocket rig’

Batteries - Li-Po 11.1V:
2 x 5Ah (HRB) with paralleling harness for IC706 (90% depleted)
2 x 5Ah (HRB) with paralleling harness for IC706 (0% depleted)
Total 20Ah (two of the four 5Ah batteries were new for this expedition – cost £36 ea)

Other:
Garmin Geko 301 GPS No2
Lichfield Viper-2 Ridge tent (1988) - flysheet only with pre-attached pegs & poles
Mountain Equipment Nova-II, synthetic sleeping bag 1.2kg
Blue poly groundsheet, very thin 1.5m x 2m (110gm)
Thin white poly ground mat 1.2m x 0.66m (60gm)
Petzl Zipka Headlamp

Pack weight:
85 litre rucksack with 3.5kg of antennas, poles & flysheet on outside, included,
17.9kg (39.5 pounds) inc. 0.75 ltr Ice; 0.4 ltr ENO; 0.5 ltr Shandy; 0.4 ltr Choc milk

INTRODUCTION:
I spent the winter carefully fabricating two 6m versions of the G3CWI 3-ele/ 2m Sotabeam. The one I built for my son was a success in last month’s UKAC 6m contest so this month was the time to try mine out. I needed a location and it had to be a SOTA of course, so having done its near neighbour NP8 on 3rd July for VHF-NFD, I decided on NP9 just over a 2-hour drive away from my home in Scarborough.

Neither ‘twin’ is known for its power to enhance VHF propagation and they don’t have good phone coverage either; especially NP9. The alternative was Whernside NP4 – a much better location as it overlooks the south of England but I wasn’t prepared to travel that far.

I took Finn up NP8 for VHF Field Day and though he has been on a summit campover to NP6 a year ago, he wasn’t going on this one due to iffy weather including the possibility of heat as well as rain.

Another reason was pack weight as I no longer relish a 50 pound load on my old bones. Since this was a 6m contest, I made the choice of QRO from the IC706-2G which would need the support of more Ampere-hours than I normally carry. The beam for 6m is bigger and heavier than any other I have carried in the past. Add the accommodation, food and water etc, doubled up for the two of us and things start to become difficult to say the least. If I can keep the carry down around 40 pounds I’m happy so we’ll maybe wait until next time for Finn?

WEATHER – MWIS Mountain forecast at 700m ASL for the Yorkshire Dales:
Thursday 14 th July 2022 pm:
Westerly 15 to 20mph, sunshine, no rain or low-cloud. Temp at 700m: 12C and 19C in the valleys.
Friday 15 th July 2022 pm:
Northwesterly 20 to 25mph, drizzly rain and low-cloud. Temp at 700m: 13C and 17C in the valleys.

Route (again):
From the quarry parking place in Bishopdale at SD 9455 7996 (413m ASL) the way is initially north up the tarmac, through a gate at SD 9454 8000 then through a second gate at SD 9475 7979. A level path across pasture land connects the two.

Follow a sheep path via: SD 9479 7975, SD 9486 7977 and SD 9507 7981 (at the latter point it is a quad track). Go up to a wall corner at SD 9516 7975 and then on to SD 9521 7966. Pass through a gateless gap in the wall at SD 9534 7954 and up steep ground to SD 9539 7951. Cross Cow Close Gill beside by the wall at SD 9546 7947, loosing a few metres here.

From the Gill crossing, swing right (south) to pick up the meagre path again at SD 9547 7936 and SD 9551 7933; wall on your left. Less than 300m later this wall-path joins the main path from Cray, at SD 9565 7921. Follow this stepped and surfaced path to the top, via SD 9609 7885.

EXECUTION:
I left Scarborough at 14:25 on Thursday 14th July, for the 77 mile drive to Bishopdale via the A170, Thirsk and the A684, arriving at the start point by 16:50. The old quarry had seen some attention in the form of a gravel surface to replace the former dirt. There was a white van parked right in the centre with just enough space for me to shuffle alongside on the grass. Upon closer inspection the driver was fast asleep in his seat and in spite of the bustle of my preparations for half an hour, he still hadn’t moved a millimeter by the time I left for the summit.

The climb started at 17:16 and it was sunny but breezy all the way up. The GPS played up again, refusing to see any signals until it had gone through its lengthy locating process.

QTH:
The tent and station were set up a few metres to the east side of the N-S running wall at SD 9610 7871; about 100m S of the trig. If you get too close to the wall, pegs and masts will not penetrate due to rocks under the peat. I took my time. Tent, 160m dipole, 6m beam built up & 2m J-pole in that order. After leaving my phone on top of the wall for an hour, I realized what I suspected, that I wasn’t going to get much use out of it.

Once the dipole was resonant and covering 1.832 to 1.846, I took it down along with the top two mast sections, laying the assembly down by the wall ready for 11pm and hoping no one would come to trip over it. The beam was mounted on the remaining three lower mast sections; a barely adequate arrangement for an aerial weighing 1.13kg unless wind speed is very low, which wasn’t the case today. With the antenna at 45 degrees at times, I had to fashion two windward guys from string but had only one spare tent peg. Fortunately I’d been able to tie the dipole off to the fence above the wall which left the redundant end sticks for use as pegs for the guys. It was still moving a lot in gusts but the mast was no longer bending alarmingly.

BUCKDEN PIKE, G/NP-009, 702m, 6pts, 18:03 on Thursday 14-July-22 to 09:08 on Friday 15-July-22: 14C on arrival, dropping to about 6C overnight. Westerly wind 20 mph decreasing to 10mph overnight but ramping up again on the 15th. Mainly sunny on arrival. Hill fog from before midnight and into the morning. Rain from 05:00. No Vodafone coverage – no self spotting. LOC: IO84XE, WAB: SD97. Trig: TP-1744.

Rig Fault:
The IC706-2G was tuned to 50.199 MHz with two paralled 5Ah Li-Po’s connected, ready for action. I could hear Son Phil G0UUU/P talking to Chris G4FZN/P at Sutton Bank. Phil was where he normally does most of his contests from; at Binnington Wold just above Sherburn.

I turned my new beam east for it’s first ever contact but Phil reported signal break-up with only the odd word audible! ‘Oh no, the old trouble back again but this normally only happens on 2m.’ ‘Don’t tell me I’ve carried this powerful rig and its attendant batteries up here for nothing!’ I tried another band and transmitted, a process which can often ‘fix’ it but I sometimes have to resort to plan-B which is to give the rig a terrific ‘bat on the head.’ Fortunately this scared it into behaving.

I made the QSO with 2W and we chatted while awaiting 8pm when the contest would begin. Moreover I asked Phil to text my XYL as I had no other means of letting her know I’d arrived safely. There were further problems followed by the same violent solution but eventually the rogue rig became reliable thank goodness.

This temporary low-tech fix needs following up with a look by Martin Lynch’s repair workshop but I doubt that will happen. Past investigations by myself and ICOM UK have proved nothing. The IC706 must think it’s a 1950’s 405-line black and white television. If our old 12-inch started ‘rolling’ a good bat on the side would normally fix it! Ah, the memories.

UKAC 50MHz Contest – 29 QSO’s:
8pm arrived and I worked Phil again, this time with a proper contest exchange. In the absence of an NP9 phone signal, Phil kindly posted me on Sotawatch so I stuck with 50.199 and called CQ. Even if I’d had the phone working, I can’t spot myself because unlike VHF-NFD, I intended to put an entry in for this contest in order to help the sagging fortunes of the 807 ARO, of which I am a member. The other Phil, G4OBK must have seen either the spot or the alert and with the beam pointing towards Pickering, we exchanged 59’s.

For these initial two QSO’s, I was highly distracted by the rig problem and it’s potential to completely wreck my plans and half the reason for being there. Neither could I find my spectacles. Apologies if I sounded a bit vague but my mind was elsewhere. G4OBK was keen to work G0UUU/P but by then the latter had gone to start his own contest. Now was the time to risk more power and turn the beam south.

Powers in the contest ranged from 40W to 100W after the initial two QRP ones. The most difficult QSO was with GW0RHC in IO71 but he was an experienced op, checking everything with me and getting ‘Roger, Roger’ back each time. Keen SOTA chaser G6XBF – Walt in Leeds had difficulty until I put ‘more coal on’ but he was only using a long-wire. G7SXR, also in Leeds, asked if I was doing 2m-FM so quickly picking up the IC-E90 handie, we exchanged on 145.350 with 59/ 57. 2m-FM is Mark’s preferred SOTA chasing band and he didn’t hide his pleasure.

As far as I could ascertain, G8AOE/P was the only station in IO84 other than myself. Mick M0ICK was /P on holiday up at Ravenscar, which is one of our favourite contest locations near Scarborough. It has the satisfying and somewhat familiar LOC of IO94 Romeo-Juliet.

Mike G4BLH/M had taken the trouble to drive to a high spot near Clitheroe giving his QTH as, ‘The cattle grid between Easington Fell and Waddington Fell,’ where I notice the ASL is a useful 352m. G4FZN/P Chris was booming in from the next square east as was G0CNN/P both in 94.

S2S:
The one summit worked today was courtesy of Tom M1EYP/P on the Cloud G/SP-015. It didn’t go unnoticed that whilst I gave Tom a serial number of just 18, he came back with ‘21’ and he would go on to stretch that lead significantly by the end of the contest.

1.832 CW - 1 QSO at 22:00z:
With most bones in my body aching from the positions I was in and after two attacks of cramp, the time for 160m had arrived. That meant going back out into the dark and fog to reassemble the dipole set up earlier on the two upper mast sections to the three sections vacated by the 6m beam but I was glad of the exercise.

At bang on the alerted time of 22:00z the welcome signal of G4OBK came romping in. The exchange was 59 plus 20db/ 58 with power set to 100W and Phil kindly spotted me. Well done Phil and many thanks! As far as Top Band is concerned, you saved the day because I logged no one else after CQ’s on the two freq’s over the next 15 minutes.

1.846 SSB - Nil:
CQ’s went out alternately on the CW and SSB frequencies from 22:00 to 22:15z but no SSB QSO’s resulted. It became evident that at 20 Ah, I now had far too much battery power, most of which wouldn’t be used. However, better to have too much than too little. I could have looked at some other HF bands but without any phone signal for spotting and the late hour, my chances of logging more than another couple of QSO’s (likely of the non-SOTA variety too) were poor or non-existent. After all it was coming up to midnight local in the UK and an hour later than that in Europe. Most ‘sane’ people would have gone to bed by then.

Nevertheless, I did try. ‘Twiddling’ the VFO clockwise, I came across two UK stations in QSO well above 1.9 MHz; both with excellent signals. One went off briefly for a cup of coffee so with my Top Band SSB log currently running on empty, I jumped in with my call. The first attempt was described as ‘noise’ and I was ‘dismissed.’ Undaunted I tried again and after two more attempts I got all of my callsign over and felt some optimism. The response was, ‘Sorry, you’re much too weak to work.’ At that I retreated.

When the other chap came back with his drink, his comment to the first was, ’ I have an S6 noise level but if there hadn’t been any noise, his (my) signal would have been S2.’ One was more sympathetic than the other it would seem but I must give my apologies here for wasting 90 seconds of this ‘paused’ QSO. My signal at their receivers wouldn’t be helped by the high VSWR of course, caused by loading coils tuned for the lower part of the band. That and a very inefficient aerial. I won’t be trying that trick again!

145.525 FM - 3 QSO’s from 22:23z to 23:59z:
Having already worked G7SXR at 19:09 on 145.350 with 5 Watts from the IC-E90 to the J-pole during the contest, three more ‘chatty’ contacts were added to the log as follows: Old acquaintance M0PVA Mick in Clitheroe (we met years ago on NP8); M7BCE Dan in Bradford (863ft ASL) who is the high Dales Shack key-holder and to finally round off the day running up to midnight, M0ALA - Andy 5 miles N of Barnsley. Dan was close to incredulous, 'Here I am working a SOTA ‘at five to midnight.’
……

FRIDAY 15 th July-2022:
Another unexploited tune-round on HF and then it was time for a sleep. The ground was less lumpy than most summits I’ve slept on but the mat was rather thin. That said, after more than four hours of contortions, it came as a relief to get into the sleeping bag and lay flat at last. I slept better than on any summit campover that I can remember. Four hours in that situation counts as good. The rain started around 5 am which set the scene for packing up and the descent in the morning. At 07:00 it was time for breakfast and a few more QSO’s on 2m.

145.525 FM - 4 QSO’s between 06:30 to 07:32z:
A look on the WAB frequency of 3.760-SSB found an ‘alien’ net running there. It was far too early for most WAB ops anyway. I had a look at 40m and 20m and was almost encouraged by the latter when I heard, …‘QTH Tampa, I’m running a Kilowatt into a 6-ele at 80 feet.’ He was up late!

A call on S20 got an immediate reply from G4JNN – Paul in Bradford, who was awaiting a SOTA contact with Pen-y-Ghent. M0WUT - Dan was doing the Three Peaks of Yorkshire today and his was the next station I worked. Our S2S occurred at 07:05z so they had got an early start. This was the quickest SOTA QSO I can ever remember having and soon after he worked me and one other, Dan went QRT with the brief message, ‘5 next’ meaning G/NP-005 Ingleborough no doubt. I wouldn’t be on Buckden Pike long enough for that but when I drove home later I monitored S20 just in case. Nothing heard. The last time I did that walk, which involves 23 miles and 5,000ft of ascent, was 02-03-04 and it took me just over 8 hours net with 45 minutes for each activation. I certainly wouldn’t have attempted it in summer back then and not in any circumstances now!

Mark G7SXR called in from Leeds again for his six chaser points, as it was a new day, followed by G6LKB. Dave mentioned that the rain had stopped in Ulverston and it was looking bright over where I was. Sure enough it did get a bit brighter which encouraged a tidy up followed by a take down of all equipment. I didn’t get away with it however. It was a unpleasant process in fog and wind-borne drizzle.

Descent:
After pouring away over 500ml of excess water, I walked off at 09:08 in wind-blown light rain, arriving at the car by 09:44 . Once again the choice was not to wear a waterproof. My taken coat, a ‘Mac-in-a-Sac,’ having seen service as a pillow during the night, got let-off and stayed in the rucksack.

The man and his white van weren’t parked in the quarry any more so he really was merely asleep when I arrived on the previous afternoon and not dead in his seat. The latter was a morbid thought that had occurred to me in the middle of the night. The drive home, using the A684/ A1/ A168/ A170 took from 10:00 until 12:05, and a further two hours to sort the wet kit out.

Ascent & Distance: 297m (974ft) ascent / 4.8km (3.0 miles) up/down.
Battery utilization: Two of the four 11.1V, 5 Ah Li-Po’s were 95% depleted
Activator Points: 6

Times:
Car to Trig: 47 min
Trig to Car: 36 min
Walking Time: 1 hr-23 min
Summit Time: 15 hrs-5 min

QSOs:
6m SSB Contest: 29
160m CW: 1
160m SSB: 0
2m FM: 8
TOTAL: 38

Chronology:
14-07-22:
14:25: Left Scarborough
16:50: Arrived Bishopdale
17:16 Walked for G/NP-009
18:03: Arrived G/NP-009 Buckden Pike

15-07-22:
09:08: Left G/NP-009
09:44: Arrived Bishopdale
10:00: Drove for home
12:05: Arrived Scarborough
Total distance driven: 159 miles

OBSERVATIONS:
This was my 22nd summit camp for SOTA purposes, five of which have been over New Year. I’m older now but it still gives me a slight child-like buzz to be out on top of a mountain at night with the added bonus of good Top band conditions. As for the latter I wish I’d given more warning than one day as I don’t think many saw the alerts. Phil G4OBK, perhaps the keenest, most consistent Top Band SOTA chaser and the op with the most 160m points, saved the day with the only QSO in my log.

The 6m Yagi:
I spent cold winter evenings in my garage building two 6m beams. They are just scaled-up versions of the famous and highly effective 3-ele Sotabeam but at three times the size the engineering has to be different. This time I had to buy most of the materials rather than doing a ‘shed rummage.’ The hardest thing was accuracy and repeatability when the only power tool available was a Black & Decker electric drill on a vertical stand. With a lathe it would have been easy but the only way to progress was to first make jigs then produce more centre sections than were needed in order to select the best and scrap the rest.

If I’d realized just how many man-hours were needed to produce these apparently simple Yagi’s, I wouldn’t have started but it was worth the effort in the end. Son Phil is very happy with his and it beats his HB9CV with the results obtained. Mine had its first airing on this expedition and whilst it worked well performance wise, it was on the verge of too heavy for the mast in the gusty wind it was deployed in.

The 6m Contest:
As an amateur who has long and consistently detested contests I find myself having been involved in several but a distinction must be made here. The contests which have left me seething over the years have been the HF ones. ‘Work all week then you can’t find a vacant frequency at the weekend.’ I see VHF contests as a completely different thing because they boost activity massively. Without the UKAC, Backpackers, VHF-NFD contests etc we may have lost some of our spectrum to hungry commercial interests by now, so I say keep them coming. Excluding simple FM, VHF is somehow a more ‘noble sport’ and it can easily require more effort and knowledge, something the long-gone ‘B’ licence encouraged. Those amateurs were a completely different breed.

So what of this contest? To properly test my new beam I was hoping for flat band conditions. I didn’t want 6m to turn into an HF band and muddy the waters on that particular evening and I got my way. Having said that, when compared to my son Phil, Tom M1EYP and most others, I don’t think I did it justice. Why not? I didn’t take it too seriously. Unlike in my youth, I was not exhaustive in my approach, in the main failing to be proactive. I don’t have the experience or the powers of memory to know what squares are exactly where and who, if anybody is likely to be in them.

Discomfort, which gets more severe every time I camp out, resulted in laziness in changing the beam heading effectively enough to ‘nail’ wanted squares. I never even heard GM for instance and I should have tried for the GI who often appears on 70.135 and maybe another regular called Conrad near Arnhem. Basically, I lack the ‘killer instinct.’ Altogether a poor effort resulting in a rather small contest map and points tally but I don’t worry about those things. It was another memorable experience which, whilst hard to carry through, was very fulfilling. I am privileged to still be able to do these things and I‘m grateful for that.

Equipment Failures:
Whilst not exactly a failure as such, because I could connect an external power source but my IC-E90 battery pack is beginning to degrade, resulting in a ‘disappearance’ mid QSO.

The (1999) IC706-2G can’t be trusted and it should be investigated. ICOM UK had it on soak for three months several years ago and they didn’t find any fault. Now it’s worse and affecting not just the 2m band but 50 MHz as well; so is it worth trying again? The trouble is it’s modified with home-brew composite outer casings to save weight. Before you ask, yes they are shielded internally. I put in 40 hours painstakingly building them too as they are not a straightforward shape.

My Garmin GEKO 301 GPS (unit-2) played up a second time. Last time on the LD holiday in June. At least I now know why. Looking at my downloaded track log the device thinks the date is 30th November 2002 and it can’t be persuaded otherwise. No wonder its almanac data is no earthly use to it and it has to locate every time it’s switched on instead of just acquiring.

I will phone Garmin but hold out little hope of a fix as these are what are called ‘Legacy’ meaning they’re out of date (in this case literally) and can’t be supported with new software. At least unit-1 works OK. I haven’t tried unit-3 which is still in its packaging. I use these because they are small, light and simple. If I’m forced to replace them, I don’t need mapping but I do need small and an improvement in performance under canopy.

Phone signal:
This continues to be an issue on certain summits such as NP9 and NP31. I have Vodafone but my son tells me that EE may be better, they having been tasked with full coverage of the country for some reason, which could be 5G? For emergencies I had to put my trust fully in radio alone. Had my son not been in the same contest and checking on me, it would have been a case of 2m-FM possibly via a repeater such as GB3HG, if anything had gone badly wrong. I saw no other person all the time I was there which adds to the sense of isolation.

THANKS!
Thanks to ALL STATIONS WORKED especially considering the times. Thanks to the two Phil’s - G0UUU/P and G4OBK for spotting. To Phil G0UUU/P for messaging home. Also to the RSGB for creating the VHF contests and those who run them.

73 John G4YSS

Photos: 3-2-6-8-12-14-18-20-29-30-33-38-44-50-55-62-64-66-71-75-80-82-91 Contest Log & Map


Above: Old quarry parking place. White van man fast asleep?


Above: Back to the 1988 - 85ltr rucksack following the failure of my new one. Only 40 pounds and not too far to carry it.


Above: A look back at the parking place in Bishopdale


Above: The initial approach is across sheep fields


Above: Cow Close Gill


Above: It gets steep here


Above: Cow Close Gill crossing point. Bone dry.


Above: Wall repairs


Above: Helicopter crossing over Buckden Pike NP9


Above: Steep steps after joining the path from Cray


Above: The author at TP-1744/ G/NP-009 Buckden Pike. The first mountain I ever climbed - about 1962.


Above: NP9 summit sign


Above: First priority- shelter. Second job the 80m dipole loaded for 160m


Above: Thirdly - assembling the 6m oversized Sotabeam for the first time ‘in anger.’


Above: The 6m beam mounted at just 3.3m AGL looks faintly ridiculous but the best I could do in the wind


Above: It’s that beam again


Above: Working GW0RHC in the 6m contest on the errant IC706-2G at 20:41z. At 329km, this was the furthest I got.


Above: Out before 11pm to swap 6m beam for 160m dipole


Above: G4OBK was my only contact on Top Band. I need an advertising agent HI.


Above: 7am


Above: Packing up. It says ‘unaccompanied’ in this report but that’s not counting the slug under my groundsheet


Above: Ready for the off


Above: Almost back to the car. Paving slabs galore

6m UKAC 14-07-22 Map
Log extract and ‘underwhelming’ 6m UKAC Contest map for 14-07-22. I’ll try to do better next time but things won’t look too bad after normalization

8 Likes

Hi John, thanks for another great activation report with photos :+1:

Geoff vk3sq

2 Likes

My pleasure Geoff.
Best to just look at the photos than wade through all that lot! I hope no one ever tries to read all of one of my reports. Just take what they’re interested in. My son doesn’t read the bits about climbing up. Says it makes him out of breath! HI. He just reads the radio bits.
CU SN,
73, John

2 Likes

Hi John,

I went out in the car just outside Annan and i could hear you weakly. I was only using a mobile vertical but running 50 watts from an 857. You were at best 33. I tried a few times to call you but not surprising you did not hear me! I guess you were beaming south.

Excellent report as usual.

73’s Geoff

GM4WHA

1 Like

Excellent report and pictures John, but why couldn’t I hear you on ssb ?

I heard a strong cw exchange at 2200 on 1.832 which must have been you and Phil G4OBK.
I saw the spot that Phil put up, my noise level at that time was S9.
I then shut down the PC, WiFi, and anything else I did not need, the noise level dropped to S7.
But nil on 1.846 ssb. I alternated between the two frequencies for about 15 mins but nothing on either frequency.

I then had to pull the big switch as I had to be up early on Friday morning to prepare the Upper Wharfedale Community Bus, which ironically is kept at Buckden YDNP Car Park.

Nothing has changed at my end since we worked on top band on 3/7/22 from NP-008 Great Whernside.

I have no idea why I could not hear you.

73
Nick
G8VNW

1 Like

What a crying shame Geoff!! I’m very disappointed with myself after reading that. Beams can make things a lot harder for chasers.

My first reaction was, ‘I’ll give Geoff my phone number’ but that wouldn’t have worked from NP9. The only thing I can think of would have been to pull the vertical to 45 degrees with a thin string to obtain a bit of horizontal but an improvement from 33 would have been a tall order indeed. All I can say is thanks for trying; no consolation though.

I must try to be a better op but the right action at the right time is still a long shot. If I was to give enough warning - something I’m bad at on the grounds it might tempt providence, the best thing would be an email to set up a rough sked time/ freq. I was amazed when I found out but it seems skeds are allowed! If I had turned north we could have done it, I’m almost certain. I worked G4BLH/M easily enough and he had a mobile whip as far as I remember.

It’s a lament I’ve heard many times especially in contests. ‘Why don’t they turn north now and again?’ It mostly happens only in the last half hour.

Sorry Geoff and hope you didn’t waste too much time.
73, John

1 Like

Hello Nick,
I thought you might have tried and we should have made it. Those two ops I called further up the band said I had a miniscule signal. Don’t know where they were located and didn’t get the chance to find out. They did get my callsign in the end so it must have been working then. I can’t explain it as NP9 could beat NP8 for firing down the Wharfe valley.

The only thing I can think of besides really unlucky timings would be noise combined with skip zone but that’s very unlikely at 10km range. I remember once working Scarborough from the Lakes at dusk but failing at 00:30 due to long skip.

Really weird but thanks for trying Nick. Appreciated and sorry we didn’t log one another. A mystery it will remain I should think! You never know though. It could have been my rogue rig working on CW but not as well on SSB?

Community bus. Sounds intriguing.

Work you another time I hope,
Thanks for your reply,
73, John

1 Like

Hi John,

Absolutey no problem. Your priority was working people with proper beams etc. I went out on the off chance. I was still pleased that i was able to hear you at times. I sometimes operate from the same position when chasing sota as it is a reasonable location. I have worked into Wales from there.

Hopefully i will do better next time there is a 6m contest or even a 4m one.

I did listen on 160m when i saw the spot but not surprising i heard nothing.

73’s Geoff

GM4WHA

2 Likes

Hi John

It’s called a community bus because it is run by local people on a not-for-profit basis, subsidised by North Yorks CC.

There are a mix of volunteer and paid staff, I am one of the three paid drivers, and operate the bus on Fridays and Saturdays, with upto 5 return trips between Buckden and Grassington.

I reckon it must be one of the most scenic bus routes in England, with views of 6 sota summits.

I never tire of the route, I just wish the roads were a bit wider!

More details here :
https://www.vetch.co.uk/uw_bus/about.htm

DSC_0411_crop3

4 Likes

How annoying, I couldn’t find any!

EE are building the new Emergency Services Network. This runs on top of their 4G network so they have been installing many more masts in rural locations and so these are also available for their normal customers. (I’m not sure if some of these masts are for ESN only but they may at least be available for 999 calls).

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Wow, what a job! There must have been scores of people applying for interviews for that job, mainly engineers like me probably as it pay’s so bad HI. Be sure to hang on to it and I see it’s a Sprinter. Decent vehicle. Not only do you live in a top ten place in Yorkshire, you’ve got the best job too!

It’s not often I have a semi real time exchange on here but it’s so darned hot today I’m sitting in the garden with the dog looking at my broad beans wilting.

73, John

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Oh dear Richard.
That’s bad! I’ll try to put a few subtle ones in next time to keep you on you happy.

Thanks for that info on EE. My son suggested a new phone with two SIMS. Something will have to happen soon whatever. I keep getting messages, ‘16GB of 16GB used - free up space.’

Coverage on NP8 and NP9 plus NP31 has been a problem for a long time. NP8 was OK on 3rd July for me though. If you can’t spot you can kiss goodbye to quite a few QSO’s.

John

One of the many reasons I prefer CW as it will generate auto spots via RBNHole. I usually manage to get plenty of 2m FM QSOs too without self-spotting. You’ve listed many of my regular chasers who always seem to instantly respond to my CQ even when it’s some time after my alerted time (as I usually do HF first).

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So why don’t you delete something then?

Yes, moving to EE was a brilliant move for me although a contract is more expensive than my previous provider. I’m slumming it down PAYG right now. The important thing to note is that to benefit from this big rollout of coverage in rural parts is your phone has to support the right frequencies. Phones support a multitude of frequencies which have common names. You need a modern 4G (or 5G) capable phone that can use Band 20. (nominally 800MHz). You will not see the real benefit in the countryside without Band 20 support.

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And it will need VoLTE support.

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Yes thanks both. Been deleting for a while but now we’re into ‘wanted.’ All that can be is transfered to the memory card. Some stuff you’re not allowed to transfer. Operating systems get bigger with updates which obsolete the phone eventually. Fully intended I suspect. John

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As I read your description of the ascent route John, a series of images flashed through my mind… and lo and behold, there they were in photographic form at the end of your report. :grinning: It’s many years since I walked that route with Paul G4MD, but I can recall it accurately, including where it joins the route up from Cray.

It sounds very much like my home station TS-430S which has a dry joint somewhere, but can I find it? I switch it on, lift the rig up with my thumb under the bottom of the front panel and it bursts into life, thereafter to remain alive until I switch it off. I used to thrash it like you do the 706 (shades of Basil Fawlty?), but I found a more subtle approach works just as well. Like your rig, mine is unlikely to see the inside of a repair shop. Quirky, but I love it!

Many thanks for another superb report. I must get back into a bit of contesting sometime, nothing serious of course. After being licensed since 1969 the shine has gone off that kind of activity.

73, Gerald

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Hello Gerald,

At risk of bumping this report up to the top again I owe you a reply. I don’t always get around to these replies to replies and then it becomes too late.

One or two of these NP ascent routes are similar and I sometimes have to think which feature is on which route. Sounds like you remember NP9 well. I didn’t discover that route until late on but I’m certain its the most efficient. If I’ve ever gone up all the way from Cray it would be about 1968 but I really can’t remember that far back and didn’t keep proper records.

I cap checked the battery on the IC-E90 which came out at 91% but I am dreading looking at the IC706-2G. It’s a chore too far. Yes, it could be a dry joint and sometimes these things have to get worse before you can catch them at it when they’re surrounded by test gear. It’s been shutting down on 2m for 20 years at least but now the disease is spreading.

I quite like VHF and this is a good means to use it and guarantee contacts. My son and I were out on the Wolds /P in the 4m one yesterday evening. Not a SOTA though. Anything to keep our bands is a good thing. As I remember someone was trying to get their commercial hands on 144 a few years ago. Disgraceful and unthinkable!

73, John

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Stick it on eBay and treat yourself to a shiny new radio.

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