G4YSS: 'LAKES WEEK' 2015 - Part 2; Helvellyn on 04-June-15

G4YSS: ‘LAKES WEEK’ 2015 - Part 2; Helvellyn on 04-June-15

This report for Helvellyn LD3 on 4th June-15 has been posted separately due to a total character limit of 32,000. Part-1 of the report can be found at - G4YSS:'LAKES WEEK' 2015. LD21-LD8-LD9-(LD3) 1st-4th June-15

HELVELLYN LD3 only on this report. VHF-QRP & HF-QRO
(For ROBINSON; BLENCATHRA; GRASMOOR G/LD’s: 21-8-9. SEE Separate Report via link above)

Total for 4-days:
8,573 feet of ascent, 16.8 miles walked, 32 SOTA points, 4 activating days (see table)
G4YSS using GX0OOO/P; solo except for LD21 and the LD8 ascent. (See separate report also)
All times BST (UTC plus 1 hr) unless otherwise stated


IC-E90 4-Band, 5W-VHFM Handheld (LD21 & LD8)
FT817ND HF/VHF/UHF-5W Transceiver (LD9 & LD3)
Reserve Handheld: Vero VGC UV-X4; 2W (2m-70cm & Group PMR if required)

FT817ND HF/VHF/UHF 5W Transceiver without internal batteries (LD9 & LD3).
SAINSONIC MX-P50M, 50 Watt HF Linear Amplifier (LD9 & LD3).
Unitone ‘D shape’ ear-cup headphones.

Antennas - VHF:
Half-wave vertical J-Pole for 2m-FM

Antennas - HF:
Link dipole No2: 80-40-20-15-10m
Four section, 5m CFC mast with 1m end sticks

One 6Ah Li-Po (plus 1 x 2.2 Ah Li-Po in reserve - not used)

QRO Packweight: 9.7 kg (21.4 pounds) including 0.5 litres of water (LD9 & LD3)

(See separate report for general introduction)

THURSDAY 04-Jun-15: HELVELLYN G/LD-003 - HF QRO/ VHF QRP (Final Day)

The group were walking from Watendlath up to the east of Derwentwater today so I chose Helvellyn and another solo sortie.

The route was new to me then but I had done LD3 from Thirlmere in 2013 so I knew what to expect. The drive down from Keswick to the end of Thirlmere and the Wythburn C of E Church car park took under 20 minutes.

This is a council Pay and Display car park which attracted a cost of £7 GBP for 8 hours. I set off walking in sunshine, with a 9.7 km pack at 10:02 and today’s ascent took 1hr-10 minutes to the trig; much faster than in 2013.

Route from Wythburn Church:
The path leaves the car park (NY 3244 1362) via a gate and passes initially through trees to cross a track junction at NY 3269 1363. The trees, some of which are now being felled, are left behind at around NY 3282 1353 and the path becomes paved a little higher up. After that it’s gravely. The route, which climbs through Comb Crags onto Birk Side and then onto the western flank of Nethermost Pike, is quite steep but easy to follow via: NY 3292 1363; NY 3318 1364; NY 3322 1342; NY 3335 1337; NY 3369 1353; NY 3391 1389; joining the Dollywaggon - Helvellyn path at NY 3429 1446.

From there the Helvellyn shelter can be seen; provided it isn’t misty. If you carry a DAB radio, it cuts-in as you rise through 500m ASL at around NY 3329 1352 but today I was using an MP3 Player. A few feet of altitude are lost, just before the top junction.

I set up on the eastern edge and about 20m north of the trig point. I knew I would get a steady stream of passers-by there but when sitting just over the lip, I was at least out of the wind. This is steep ground so to avoid accidents, not least loosing my camera or other equipment down the 700 foot drop, I proceeded slowly and with great care. Unlike the stony side of the summit, the eastern lip has grass on cohesive gritty soil which is ideal for the mast and end supports. I would not be putting on 160m today so to be less obtrusive, the 80m link dipole was deployed as a shorter 40-20-15 & 10m band antenna. I carefully tied the coax to the mast base in case the rig should want to take a nose dive over the side. All this and at least four curious visitors so far, two of whom wanted me to act as their photographer, delayed the start by over 20 minutes. Roy G4SSH must have been wondering if I had fallen down the east face but by 11:07z I was at last ready.

HELVELLYN, LD-003, 950m, 10 pts, 11:12 to 15:45. 9 deg C. 15mph wind with a mix of sunshine and overcast. No low-cloud. One large patch of lying snow on east face. IO84LM – NY31. FT817ND and MX-P50M amplifier. 6Ah Li-Po battery. Orange phone coverage.

7.033 CW - 15 QSO’s:
As usual G4SSH was first in the log with a 599/ 449 exchange. QSB was evidently deep but I hoped that my 30 Watts would counter some of it. I worked ten ‘G’ Stations and callsign areas DL; HB9 and PA. There was one ‘possible’ S2S’ in the form of DL6AP/P (559/ 559 with QSB) but I missed some of the ref. he gave. What I did get was ‘ND-017’ but I can make nothing of it.

At the end I was called by a strong station but couldn’t decipher the last part of the callsign. It was 6 dots run together and despite requests for repeats the same 6 dots were delivered always at a much faster speed than the prefix of G4L. In the end I entered it as G4LHI Peter so I hope I am right.

7.132 SSB - 17 QSO’s:
For once I got my chosen SSB slot of 7.132 with an immediate response from Don G0RQL and 59 both ways. After this came fourteen ‘G’ chasers and two from Europe - EB2CZF and EA2CKX. Incoming reports were mainly in the range 56 to 59 with two 44’s and a 42 from Spain. The session took 23 minutes and 30 Watts was the power.

14.052.6 CW - 8 QSO’s:
For openers an S2S was provided by Roman DL3TU/P on DL/BW-064. He was probably using 5 Watts and was coming in at about 55 with QSB. I got 57 from him. A second FB S2S came with Martin DF3MC/P on DL/AM-009. Other chasers worked were from: OK; DL; RV9 and S52 with John G0TDM calling along a line of sight straight down Ullswater from Penrith; 59 plus both ways.

14.265 SSB - 15 QSO’s:
With text messages to and from G4SSH, the SSB session was soon up and running. An economical 30 Watts worked chasers and non chasers in: OE; DL; SP9; OH3 & 1; KA1R; CU3; SV9; CT and S57.

7.160 SSB (WAB NET) - 11 QSO’s:
It was Geoff G7BGA who ran me down the WAB net today and I worked nine fixed, one mobile and one portable station mostly with good signals. Many were interested in the nearby trig point which Brian G0BFJ told me was designated TP3724 for WAB purposes. For what it’s worth, I noted the number on its OS brass plate. It was S5948.

21.052 CW - 5 QSO’s:
Stopping short of a trip right up to 10 metres, I thought that certain chasers might benefit from a session on 15. In fact the band didn’t seem to be properly open. Had Roy G4SSH not spotted the two frequencies for me, I rather think I would have ended up with nothing on here. As it was N4EX; DM3AZ; OH3GZ; SV1RHL and EA5AER were rapidly logged making me more than happy. Again the power was set to 30 Watts by driving the amp with 2.5 Watts from the FT817ND. Incoming reports were 599 & 589 with a 549 from the USA and 559 from Greece.

21.432 SSB - 4 QSO’s:
The SSB section of the band seemed more lively so I went right up to 21.432 to escape any possible QRM. After all, it didn’t matter about not being found because Roy was spotting the many and varied working frequencies. I logged SV9RGI (57/ 57); RA6YJ (57/ 59); S56IHX (57/ 55) and K7ZO (55/ 33).

145.400 FM - 6 QSO’s:
With 5 Watts from the FT817ND to the J-Pole, I worked: G0TDM John; G0HRT Rob in Southport; G4WHA/M Geoff near Penrith; G1UKS Dennis in Morecambe; G0AUG Arthur near Great Mell Fell and finally G4PPT/M Dick on the A66. By the fifth QSO the 6Ah was almost empty and the final station was worked with 1 Watt. The session lasted 15 minutes to 15:25 BST.

Descent of LD3:
After such a fulfilling and enjoyable afternoon on one of England’s best, it was hard to leave the now deserted summit. The descent took 49 minutes to 16:34 which when added to the ascent time made just under 2 hours. I would say therefore, that the Thirlmere church route is the best one for Helvellyn unless of course you wish to add LD22; LD7 and LD10. The main reason is the well graded path which is never so steep that you have to keep stopping. This was in contrast to the day before on Grasmoor where the load carried and altitude gained were both similar but the distance was much less. Because of this, the gradient exceeded an optimal value making the time taken significantly longer.

Tonight we were booked in at the Pheasant Inn at 18:30 but the drive back to Keswick takes less than 20 minutes; another good reason to put on LD3 today.

QSO’s - LD3:
40m CW: 15
40m SSB: 28 (inc 11 on WAB net)
20m CW: 8
20m SSB:15
15m CW: 5
15m SSB: 4
2m FM: 6

(See separate report for Observations)

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


Above: Passing LD3’s summit shelter complete with guard dog, 4th June.

Above: LD3’s East face with last of snow. Swirral Edge below, 4th June.

Above: LD3. An ‘edgy’ setup on a 700 foot drop but RAF rescue close at hand, 4th June.

Above: LD3, Red Tarn & Striding Edge, 4th June.