Gt.WHERNSIDE, G/NP-008 / IO94AD. VHF-NFD / SOTA, 08-July-07, 06:45 to 16:07.
By G4YSS / G0UUU (using SSEG club callsigns)
Set off from Scarborough at 02:41 BST with Phil, G0UUU.
Arrived at the top of Park Rash at 04:49. Walking by 05:15, very slowly and in low-cloud, with a total of about 34kg. Set up the station between 06:45 and 07:30, 210m NE of the trig point. Equipment was the same as last year with an IC706 2G, an 18 ely. on 70cm, 3 ely. on 2m and a dipole for 6m. We also had the HF dipole, 5m mast and a spare rig in the form of an FT817ND.
Powers (typically) were 20W on 70cm, 20 to 30W on 2m, 100 W on 6m and 10W on 40m). Battery utilization was 70% of the 20 Ah (at the 1hr rate) aircraft battery and the IC706’s ‘mystery illness’ showed up on 2m once again. The rig, though grounded ‘takes-off’ and the physical position of the microphone, in relation it becomes highly critical. This resulted in a bad-back for Phil! Despite no rain being forecast, the tent was a valuable asset, fending-off a heavy afternoon downpour. We do NFD for fun and to give out points and the summit; having no desire to submit a contest entry.
We ended up with 54 QSO’s in the contest log, plus a further 9 on 2m FM and 31 on 40m CW (for SOTA) which made up this year’s total of 94, using the SSEG clubcalls GX7OOO/P, GX0OOO/P. Phil did most of the contest operating with the ‘VHF’ GX7 call while I took on 2m FM and 40m CW for SOTA. Phil is a much more proficient CW op than I but didn’t want the potential embarrassment of sending it on a miniature toggle switch. Conditions seemed to be quite flat and a little slow at first on VHF, with 2m carrying by far the bulk of traffic. 70cm & 6m were very disappointing when compared with previous years. We remembered to turn the antennas north regularly. Sometimes a ‘home’ frequency was occupied but mostly the targets were hunted on an ‘away’ basis.
As far as I know, we worked three and a half summit-to-summits. These were Tom M1EYP/P on SP15 (Cloud) using 40m CW, G8HXE/P contesting on SP13, Charlie GW0PZO/P doing the same on NW42 with 2m SSB and Mick 2E0HJD/P on Little Dunn Fell, using 2m FM. Notable was Tom, who from a ‘zero’ start 6 months ago, is now firmly in possession of arguably the most important weapon in the successful SOTA chaser’s armoury nowadays, namely a CW skill. Mick bravely set out for NP1, only falling short in the face of severe joint pain. Charlie was prevailed upon twice, to give away his summit to both SSEG ops.
It was good to hear Don G0RQL calling us on 144.260 SSB from Devon, for the SOTA. With our modest equipment, we were more than happy with the 52 report we received from him.
It was rather a poor showing for VHF-NFD countries worked this year:
70cm: UK only (18 ely.)
2m: UK plus PA, ON & EI (3 ely.)
4m: No TX facility but one or two SSB stations heard. (Half wave dipole).
6m: 9A & T90. (Half wave dipole).
Some SOTA stations managed to find us on 2m SSB and we were initially spotted by G4OWG. Thanks Roger.
After vacating the summit at 16:07, the car was reached by 17:00. We drove away at 17:16, arriving in Scarborough by 19:33. Thanks to all callers and for your patience. Also, we are grateful to the spotters: Roger G4OWG; Graham G4JZF; Mike G4BLH; Mike GW0DSP & Roy G4SSH (/A in Fowie).
This was SSEG’s fifth successive VHF field day on NP8, Scarborough’s closest 2k; only 160 miles round trip. Ascent 211m and 3.5 miles walked.
Phil would never claim to be a ‘hillmaster’ but he performed acceptably well with the walking and thoroughly enjoyed the operating. The tussocky surface, though little problem at first, became a real pain later. The only solution we could think of was to borrow the heavy roller complete with ground staff, from Headingley Cricket Ground.
I hope we can repeat this again next year.
73, John G4YSS & Phil G0UUU,
using GX0OOO/P & GX7OOO/P respectively).