G4YSS Activation Report, LD3-LD22-LD7-LD10 on 80m & 160m 13-03-16.
PART-1; Main Report (For Comments and Photos, see Part-2)
HELVELLYN, SEAT SANDAL, FAIRFIELD & ST. SUNDAY CRAG.
SOTA’s: G/LD-003, G/LD-022, G/LD-007 & G/LD-010.
G4YSS using SSEG Clubcall GX0OOO/P on 80m & 160m QRO (44 points)
All times: UTC.
Mobile phone coverage on all tops inc LD7 - EE (was Orange) network.
Sunrise: 06:25 UTC, Sunset: 18:13 UTC
FT817ND HF/VHF/UHF 5W Transceiver
MX-P50M HF (80 thru’ 10) 50 Watt Linear Amplifier with 160m capability
Adjustable link dipole for 80-60-40-(30)-20 with loading coils for 160m
5m home-brew CFC mast with 1m end sticks
Two 5000 mAh/ 360gm, Turnigy Li-Po batteries. (99% and 94% depleted)
Reserves - Not Used:
Jingtong JT208, 2W, 2m-FM H/H (modified to take a 7.4V Li-Po)
Baofeng UV-3R, 2W, 2m-FM H/H
Home-brew vertical J-Pole for 2m
Garmin Geko 301 GPS
Hitachi MP3 Player
DAB112 Technika Radio (Tesco)
Thermoball hooded jacket (summits only - 395gm)
Stubai steel crampons (790gm)
Grivell Mount Blanc ice axe (490gm)
1.5 ltr water with electrolytes (ENO’s).
(Further 0.5 ltr water collected from beck on Dollywaggon - Iodine added)
Packweight: 12.4 kg (27.3 pounds) at the outset.
THE PATTERDALE ROUND:
Taking in four sizeable summits, this is the best place in England for collecting 44 SOTA activator points in one swoop. This was my ninth Patterdale Round for SOTA plus some variations so I know the route without recourse to a map or the GPS. I think this was only it’s second set of activations on 160m and 80m with high power equipment. In 2009, I used an IC706-2G and some early Li-Po’s. This time it would be the FT817 and a 50 Watt amp. Nevertheless, by the time I’d got half way up Helvellyn, I dearly wished I’d settled for HF-QRP or even simple 2m-FM kit but the trouble is that daylight 160m is difficult enough with 50 or 100 Watts let alone 5 Watts.
Although efficient with respect to points gathering, this round is still a significant undertaking being roughly 12 miles and 5,000 feet of ascent. To gain the maximum advantage, obviously it must be done in winter and for maximum daylight that means as close as possible to the cut-off on March the 15th. More often than not the two approaches to Helvellyn are snow affected at this time of year and there is often ice too. Striding Edge is a non starter; it takes an hour longer than Swirral but both have a reputation. In fact out of the two it would appear that Swirral has killed more walkers in the past 10 years than the alternative and that is always due to a slip on ice.
As an ordinary walker and not a climber, every new incident focuses the mind until real fear sets in every time the place is mentioned. Foolishly, to save weight and take more radio gear in the past, I risked it with just ordinary boots and sometimes an ice axe half a dozen times. Coming to the conclusion that my luck must surely run out this year, I took crampons and wore them for the very first time. They were a Godsend for about 200 metres but I had to carry their dead weight for the remainder of the round.
Three of the four SOTA’s on the round have rocky tops which slow down antenna work but today I was able to employ snow fields for the supports which saved some time. That was fortunate; I being very slow on this expedition; having only done 5 summits previously this winter. I fret about up-coming SOTA trips too early anyway but continual thoughts of this notorious approach to LD3 lost me two night’s decent sleep; helping to further ruin my performance. Life is better when you’re young; you don’t worry so much.
The alarm sounded at 02:45 but why did we bother with it, I’d been awake most of the night anyway. I left Scarborough at 03:01, arriving at the Patterdale Hotel Pay & Display car park (NY 3960 1593 - still £4.50) in darkness at the end of a 129 mile drive by 05:53. This was later than on some previous occasions. There was a road closure and diversion in force at the A66/ A592 Ullswater road junction, forcing me to go around via the parking place for Great Mell Fell. Sadly parking up Grisedale Lane which runs from the main road to the start of the path to the Hole-in-the-Wall allowing a flying start, was banned a few years ago.
After ‘prehydrating’ with a litre of water, I left the car park in early daylight at 06:12. It didn’t take long to realise that I seemed to be having something of an ‘off day’ which was later evidenced by a personal worst ascent time for LD3. The paved way starts at NY 3618 1555 and just after this was today’s snow line. At the Hole in the Wall ladder stile I got my first look at Helvellyn, Swirral Edge and the route ahead; there being none of the low-cloud which was forecast.
After the Hole in the Wall, there was more snow on the paths to impede progress than elsewhere, though some of it could be avoided by walking on grass. It helped that the snow was still partially frozen in places but when it came to cross Red Tarn Beck I was forced to risk a snow bridge with the possibility of falling a metre into the water below if it should collapse. It held. Just after this I caught up with three lads who had camped the night beside the frozen-over Red Tarn and were now heading up towards Swirral. After noting the amount of snow above, I sat down to put on the crampons, just where the path bypasses the ridge crest to the left. Fortunately a bit of prior practice and the removal of excess strapping at home cut the time down a little.
Now came the crux of the whole day’s walking; getting up the ever steepening Swirral Edge. I soon realised the benefits of crampons and with confidence growing, I wondered why I had never bothered to use them before. With these and the axe handle rammed into the snow, what could go wrong? In fact pausing for photographs, it was a simple matter to overcome the final ramp onto the summit beside the marker cairn.
After topping out I reached the trig point in clear but overcast conditions with only a very light breeze, at 08:32. The climb had taken 2 hours and 20 minutes, a slow time indeed but the feeling of deliverance easily balanced that out. Not just that but there is always a degree of excitement when setting foot on the summit of one of England’s best and a ten pointer to boot!
There was plenty of lying snow but some of the surface had been swept clean by the west winds; the snow being dumped over the east side to form a substantial cornice. After texting my wife about my safe arrival, I banged off a message to Roy G4SSH to tell him of the time slippage of 30 minutes, “Hoping to be QRV for 9am.” Next came the photos.
Despite the early hour, there were one or two people around which put me off setting up in the shelter. Getting the aerial up over gravel is usually difficult but a significant depth of snow made it quick and easy today. Setting up parallel with, but sufficiently far back from the overhanging cornice of the east headwall in an almost static airstream, was easy enough. Just before starting the activation, two lads came up the hill carrying mountain bikes on their shoulders.
- HELVELLYN, G/LD-003, 950m, 10 pts, 08:32 to 10:06. Wind 2 mph, 4 deg C. Overcast and dull but no low-cloud. Substantial lying snow in and around shelter. A cornice but large areas swept clean. LOC: IO84LM, WAB: NY31/ Trig point TP-3724. EE Mobile phone coverage.
1.832 CW - 6 QSO’s:
Sitting down on the map case after flattening out an area in the snow, I called Roy G4SSH right on cue and was immediately surprised by the exchange of 559 both ways. I expected much less or nothing being, as it was, two hours after sunrise. After Roy came: MK0BKV, Damian with his Cornish callsign variation and 559 both ways; G3RDQ, David in Hampshire also 559’s; G4OBK, Phil in Pickering an easy 599/ 579; G0VOF - Mark in Blackburn 589/ 579 and G3RMD, Frank in Cheltenham at 529/ 339.
All were suffering marked QSB but it was a very pleasing start. I hope it was worth it for the chasers after getting up early on a Sunday morning then having to wait 30 minutes past the alerted time because of my slow ascent. 50 Watts were used for all contacts.
1.843 SSB - 2 QSO’s:
Mark answered my CQ on here then promptly spotted the mode change. The exchange was 57 both ways but there was plenty of QSB. Just as I was thinking about a QSY to 80m, I was pleased to receive a call from Nick in Threshfield G8VNW (56 to 57/ 47 to 57 QSB). Power was again 50 Watts but there were no further responses.
3.557 CW - 6 QSO’s:
Stations worked with a power output of approx. 30 Watts were: PA0SKP Sake (599 both ways); DL1FU Frid 579 both ways; G4SSH Roy 599/ 579; HB9IAB Eric 579/ 559; G0TDM 589/ 599; John and G4WSB Bill 599/ 449.
A satisfactory result but surely considering the distances worked, scope for a few more. That said, not everybody can fit an 80m aerial into their garden but at the same time, maybe too much reliance is made on 40m. 80m can be surprisingly good and sometimes it’s when you least expect it.
With other walkers taking an interest in the station, I must apologise for the occasional disappearance but one of these at around 09:27, was caused by finger trouble. Intent on turning up the AF gain, I rotated the wrong control which took me up one memory channel from 3.557 to 3.560. I couldn’t for the life of me understand why nobody was responding to my frantic CQ’s after I’d heard several callers minutes earlier. I genuinely though that the QSB had taken them until that is, I rooted out my spectacles.
3.722 SSB - 10 QSO’s:
I think Roy acknowledged the mode change but John G0TDM spotted me too after he and I exchanged at 59 both ways. After John there were: G8VNW Nick; G6WRW Carolyn; GM4WHA Geoff; G0RQL Don in Devon; G8ADD Brian in Brum; G4SSH Roy in Scarborough; 2E0MIX old friend Derek in Whitehaven; G4FGJ Gordon and finally G4IAR Dave who does the equivalent of Barry’s job in issuing the certificates for WAB. According to my son Phil G0UUU, who is now a keen WAB activator, Dave trawls through the SOTA alerts at 8am every morning, transposing them to the WAB reflector wherever trig points are involved; which includes Helvellyn (TP-3724). Thanks Dave for your help and enthusiasm. 50 Watts this session.
The few photos I got were certainly worth having but a little sunshine or just a bit better lighting would have really set them off.
Total QSO’s for LD3 was 24.
THE WALK TO LD22:
This and the rest of the route is described in previous reports but I was now behind schedule. Today the path was mostly snow covered but where there was no snow the crampons were causing me to fall sideways. The reason for retaining them after LD3 was the unknown condition of the non-path section from the col twixt Nethermost and Dollywaggon, down towards the bottom of Seat Sandal. It was safer to remove them but now I had to bungee them to the rucksack waist strap should I need them shortly.
More time was wasted at NY 3420 1275 where I paused at the beck that runs off Dollywaggon, to supplement water supplies which I knew would be insufficient for the full round. Though it had to be carried, the additional half litre with iodine added just in case, proved invaluable later in the day. This section can be a little hard on the ankles on rocks, tussock and bog lower down and there were steeply inclined snow fields to cross higher up. There were some Herdwick sheep grazing this hillside. Their grey coats give them a certain dignity, if you can use that word when describing sheep?
I made it to the 574m col at around 11am and began a slow climb up the partially snow-covered path to Seat Sandal. I really was having a bad day with thoughts of bypassing one or more of the forthcoming summits. With leg muscles burning and with frequent stops for rest, drinks, brow mopping and one two mouthfuls of snow, it came as no surprise when I overheard one descending walker comment to his companion, “Look at him! And I thought it was only me.”
The higher than recent temperatures and lack of even a significant breeze didn’t help. I was overheating but didn’t remove my fleece. Doing so would have further loaded the rucksack and would have denied handy access to items in the pockets. On the plus side, I had built so much slack into the schedule for this section that I was now a few minutes ahead of time and could afford the snail’s pace which had become the norm. Onward and upward - if slowly.
- SEAT SANDAL, G/LD-022, 736m, 6 pts, 11:26 to 13:09. 7 deg C. <1 mph wind. Overcast with no low-cloud. Patches of wet lying snow. A grassy top with a wall and cairn. LOC: IO84LL. WAB: NY31 (No trig). EE Mobile phone coverage.
3.557 CW - 8 QSO’s:
Setting up with the mast shoved into the sizeable summit cairn kept me away from the main throughway. G4SSH had asked on Helvellyn what my next moves might be and we agreed that it would be more reliable if for the rest of the day, I started on 3.557 CW, calling Roy first for a spot. This resulted in a 599/ 559 exchange with the FT817/ amp combination set to 30 Watts (2.5 Watts of excitation).
After Roy: MK0BKV; PA0SKP; DL1FU; G0TDM; G4WSB; G4APO and GOVOF. Mostly I was giving out RST’s in the 559 - 599 range, getting back in return 559 to 579 with a 599 from Mark G0VOF and a 229 from Frid in Germany. At midday on 80m, I thought the DL contact quite good. Sake in PA-land was noticeably good also and these two QSO’s demonstrate how efficient the band can sometimes be for determined overseas chasers in daylight.
3.724 SSB - 12 QSO’s:
Roy picked up my ‘SSB’ transmitted several times and soon there were a dozen callsigns in the log as follows: G0VOF Mark; G3RMD Frank; M0MDA Mick in Leeds; G0RQL Don; G0FEX Ken in Leicester; MW0LUK Chris - Pontypool; G0TDM John; G8VNW Nick; 2E0TTK Morgan in Knaresborough; GM4WHA Geoff; G8ADD Brian and uncharacteristically using the SSB mode, Roy G4SSH. Power was 50 Watts and reports mainly in the range 52 to 58 with a 59 for Ken and a 37 to 57 from Geoff in Annan. If anything, the QSB was becoming more pronounced as the day went on.
Eyeball G0GSJ Dave:
After working the first station - Mark G0VOF, a man came by to ask about the operation. He seemed more knowledgeable than the average walker asking; “Is this SOTA?” He introduced himself as Dave G0GSJ and sat down beside me for a brief chat and a photo taken with my camera by the YL who was accompanying him. It turns out he is from Walney Island so I should have asked if he knew Rob & Audrey. He said he would take a handheld to the hills in future.
1.832 CW - 2 QSO’s:
With the coils fitted and the maximum 50 Watts applied, just two stations were reachable on here: Mark G0VOF with 579/ 559 and surprisingly considering his antenna, Roy G4SSH with 229 both ways, though he did come up a little better than that in QSB. No more to be said apart from ‘CQ SOTA - Nil’ and ‘QSY SSB.’ Phil G4OBK was not available at the time, having nipped out of the shack to photograph the Flying Scotsman on the NYM Railway just north of his QTH near Pickering.
1.843 SSB - 1 QSO:
Only Mark G0VOF heard me in SSB. The exchange was 51 to 58 QSB for Mark who responded by averaging my report out at 559.
Ken G0FEX had mentioned on 80m that my son Phil G0UUU was out mobile in Derbyshire, putting on SK WAB squares so I had a brief look on 7.160 hoping to hear him. There was no sign of him and they sounded very busy, so I didn’t call in.
The QSO count for LD22 was 23.
THE WALK TO LD7:
The NE flank of Seat Sandal is steep and loose in places requiring a bit of care. The climb up to Fairfield from the col is also steep and gravelly but today there were minor patches of wet snow best avoided if possible. The euphoria of recent Top Band QSO’s soon evaporated. I was now firmly back in my place as a slave to gravity, sweating upward, captive inside the unwanted but necessary fleece, made worse by a brief period of bright sunshine. I must have looked a sight!
Eyeball M1BUU Colin:
I was stopping often; sometimes to exchange a few words with passers by, but who was this speaking my name and offering his hand? Back on Helvellyn I had received a text from Roy informing me of another activator intent on travelling around the summit group I was now on. Though I hadn’t recognized him, this was M1BUU. Colin was on his way down Fairfield, his second summit, having just put it on 18 MHz and 14 MHz. We had a really nice chat which included a look at the 5-Watt, 5-band kit-built MTR-5B HF rig he was carrying. I must say so compact and beautifully made, especially the orange painted, home-bent aluminium enclosure with its neat lettering. He looked cool and collected in his smart Mountain Equipment tee-shirt, versus me in an old sweaty fleece with dripping hair, or what’s left of it.
At first confused about how he knew me, it came to pass that ‘this Colin’ was one and the same Colin who had successfully built and used a pair of my 160m loading coils a few years ago. I wrongly assumed he had given up SOTA but explaining he had merely reverted to his ‘B’ licence callsign because it was ‘better on CW,’ all now became clear. It’s embarrassing when something like this happens but in my defense I am getting to the age where it is becoming the norm; poor old chap! We parted after 10 or 15 minutes, which provided a welcome rest for me, with Colin on his way to LD22. Basically we were swapping summits and our operations to some extent complimented each other. Colin was putting on the higher HF bands whereas I confined myself to the lower ones.
The climb was completed in a few minutes and I headed for a large snow field, it being the easy option for the erection of a 40m long dipole with its mast and two end sticks. The job once took me 30 minutes in the past on this bare, rocky summit due to snagged wires, a stiff breeze and falling down mast. Pacing out the space required was essential today and one end stick ended up quite close to some serious cornices at a gully overlooking a place called Flinty Grave; an uninspiring name in the circumstances.
The Fell Runner:
During the earlier LD22 activation, Frank G3RMD had told me about a party of three fell runners; some members of his family and their friend, who were training for the Bob Graham Challenge; a 42 summit epic to be run in 24 hours!! A slim girl ran past me while I was putting up the aerial and we had a brief word. I think this was the remainder of ‘Frank’s’ party, the others, who had incidentally already completed the challenge in the past, having dropped out due to injury. Apparently they had already run over Skiddaw and Blencathra in the morning. Remarkable stamina some people have but how they manage to do it over such steep, rough and today snowy ground, is a mystery to me. Presently the young lady passed by again, this time travelling in a roughly southerly direction.
- FAIRFIELD, G/LD-007, 837m, 8 pts, 14:18 to 15:28. 6 deg C. <1 mph wind. Overcast with no low-cloud. Large areas of lying snow with cornicing but mostly a bare rocky top. LOC: IO84ML. WAB: NY31 (No trig). EE Mobile phone coverage
3.557 CW - 9 QSO’s:
In anticipation of the failure of the first 5 Ah battery, which had already done two summits, I checked that the power was set down to 30 Watts. Mark G0VOF called, with Roy G4SSH coming in second. They were both peaking at 589 but QSB was worse than ever. As I watched the S-meter, which on an FT817 digitally announces the S number, Roy was varying between S1 and S8 which is over a 20dB difference!
Phil G4OBK, newly returned from the railway sightseeing sortie, called in with his big signal and it was as if the QSB didn’t exist. Replying to an enquiry as to whether the Flying Scotsman photos were safely in the can, it seemed that he’d suffered from the digital camera syndrome of being so slow versus a moving target, that framing becomes difficult.
After Phil we fought the QSB to log: G4APO in Rotherham; G3RMD; G4WSB; GOTDM; G0NES Don at Hollywood, Birmingham and finally DL1FU again proving it can be done from Europe, albeit only with a 229 RST. Frid was 559 to me. The battle with QSB would likely have been lost, had I been using 5 Watts at this stage but signal strengths both ways were good enough to overcome it. I did however increase power to 50 Watts at the end for Don & Frid.
An analysis shows that Frid has worked me 161 times (all CW, from 2007) and 60 of those QSO’s have been on 80m, so why more continental stations don’t try 80 is unclear?
3.724 SSB - 7 QSO’s:
Once again Roy picked up the QSY announcement and posted ‘Quick QSO’s please.’ Concerns about getting finished before dark were gradually increasing.
With the power at 50 Watts, the first CQ was answered by G8MIA Andy in Staffs (59/ 55). Next in the log was Ken G0FEX WAB op and newsletter editor in Leicester, who recently added SOTA chasing, (and evidently activating too) to his repertoire.
Around this time battery-1 failed and was replaced by an identical 5Ah Turnigy Li-Po. After Ken came Mick M0MDA in Leeds; G0RQL; G0VOF; G0TDM and finally G8VNW, Nick in Threshfield (Wharfe Valley). All reports exchanged were in the range 57 to 59 apart from 55’s from Andy & Mick, who were suffering most at the hands of QSB.
1.832 CW - 3 QSO’s:
Here began another significant response to 50 Watts on 160 in the form of G0VOF Mark 599/ 579 and G4OBK Phil - 599. I later learned that I was S4 to S7 on Phil’s Beverage with almost nothing heard on his TX antenna. Finally against all odds, Roy G4SSH made his third Top Band appearance with 559 both ways; surprisingly strong signals for three in the afternoon!
1.843 SSB - 3 QSO’s:
Phil and Mark, G4OBK and G0VOF made re-appearances in SSB. More in hope than expectation, I called G8VNW. Nick surprised me by coming back immediately with a 37 report. He was 55 to me but more importantly, his QSO completed my qualification of four different ops on Top Band.
The QSO total for LD7 was 22.
THE WALK TO LD10:
As well as worrying about the time, I wasn’t looking forward to what Coffa Pike might have to offer in the way of snow. Colin M1BUU had come up it earlier and declared it more or less safe but going down is always harder and it has caused me trouble in the past. One time it was solid ice and without crampons I was forced to backtrack down the path towards Seat Sandal, then contour northeast along Fairfield’s steep flank to reach Deepdale Hause. That was an epic in itself as the snow was deep.
With ice axe in hand and the knowledge that crampons were available if required, the summit transfer was started. At first, too far to the left to properly hit the Coffa path, that error was soon corrected. I was then confronted with a large sloping snow patch most of which was avoidable but there were two tricky bits lower down when inclined snow had to be crossed. Steadying by the ice axe shaft and taking my time were key to safety and fortunately there were no slips.
The final ascent of the round was soon behind me and passing the summit, I set up in yet another snow field near the path at NY 3695 1350. About 13 vertical metres below the maximum height, this was easier than using the rocky top. I think that’s acceptable on HF but I always try to put on VHF from the highest point no matter how rough or windy it may be. In the past, the same has applied to daytime and/ or QRP Top Band where line of sight can play a major part.
The depth wasn’t sufficient here to support the mast so I was forced to pile snow around it and stamp it down. I don’t guy. A young couple appeared at the summit and these were the last people I saw before getting back to Patterdale later.
- ST.SUNDAY CRAG, G/LD-010, 841m, 8 pts, 16:22 to 17:53. 6 deg C. Overcast with periods of hazy sunshine. No low cloud, almost no wind. Large patches of lying snow surrounding exposed rock at the summit. LOC: IO84MM. WAB: NY31 (No trig). EE Mobile phone coverage.
3.557 CW - 8 QSO’s:
I first worked Roy G4SSH (599/ 559) and he spotted me. With 30 Watts output there followed: G4WSB Bill; PA0SKP Sake; G0VOF Mark; G0TDM John; GI4ONL Vic (recent of EA8/ GI4ONL); GM0AXY Ken and SM7DIE Tor in Rodeby, Sweden. All reports were 599 apart from 559’s incoming from Roy and Tor. The band was really peaking up.
3.724 SSB - 16 QSO’s:
This time with the power at 50 Watts and another spot from Roy, into the log went: G4OBK; G0TDM; G6MZX Geoff in Craven (not heard for quite a while); M0MDA; G0NES; G4WSB Bill; G6TUH Mike in East Sussex (thanks for the QSL card Mike); G0RQL; GW2HFR Jonathan near Wrexham; 2E0SCS Stephen (Bill’s son in Chippenham); G3RMD - Frank (filled me in on the Bob Graham Challenge); G0VOF an animated Mark; G1BLJ Steve - Wolverhampton; M1MAJ & M3ZCB (Martyn & Caroline in Cambridge) and finally another rare appearance in SSB for Roy G4SSH, mainly to ask about any further plans.
Mark G0VOF, recent from a “Motorhead CD and a few beers” seemed oddly changed compared to how he sounded from the last summit but perhaps it was just me getting tired? Martyn and Caroline were quite weak and I logged the latter as 2E0ZCB at first. Thanks to Frank and Mark the log error was duly amended and I overheard that information being relayed to Caroline while I stood up to fit the Top Band coils for the final time. A good QSO in the end Caroline!
Reports were almost all 59 apart from a 55/ 48 exchange with Martyn & Caroline; 57/ 55 with G1BLJ; ‘49 to 39 QSB’ from Mike G6TUH; 59/ 59 with Mick M0MDA and 55 both ways with Roy. The band was certainly delivering but when it dried up I took the hint to QSY rather than put out more CQ’s. Time was getting short.
1.832 CW - 5 QSO’s:
During this session my third from the four summits was qualified on Top Band as follows. G4OBK Phil (599’s); MK0BKV Damien 599/ 579; G4SSH Roy once again with 55’s! G0VOF Mark (589/ 579) and G3RMD Frank with 559’s. Power was 50 Watts.
1.843 SSB - 2 QSO’s:
The last session was rushed, it being just half an hour to local sunset. At 17:35 G4OBK - Phil (59/ 58) and at 17:38 G0VOF - Mark (58/ 57). Power remained at 50 Watts.
I discussed further possibilities with Phil but he was of the opinion that I should leave it at four summits today. I trust Phil’s judgement, beside the fact it was precisely what I wanted to hear. It reconciled the two halves of my mind; one saying ‘Go home’ and the other, ‘Go and do Little Mell Fell.’ Even then I left it in abeyance, telling Roy I would text him if there was to be anything further.
Mark told me he’d had his best day in the shack in three months but that comes as little surprise when you consider he is SOTA’s official Top Band reporter and it’s probably the first time he collected 32 points on 160 in a day, though a handful of chasers may have exceeded that in the past.
The QSO total for LD10 was 31.
The station was torn down and packed up in about 10 minutes. All that was now required was to get back to Patterdale in one piece. The steep sections down to about 600m ASL and the bit you forget about - Thornhow End are the hardest on the legs but I didn’t stop, preferring constant pain to impending darkness. Managing to get about half way down before needing the headlight was a bonus but the rest of it went OK. Before loosing signal I banged off texts to my XYL and to Roy informing them. “No more today.”
I was back down by 19:04 in full darkness, having kept to Grisedale Lane rather than cutting across the footpaths to the Patterdale Hotel. The descent had taken 71 minutes and my old car, left there almost 13 hours earlier, was the sweetest sight in a long time.
The journey back to Scarborough spanned 19:12 to 22:01. From the last summit, LD10, I had asked John G0TDM if he’d be monitoring 2m-FM just in case I decided to activate a fifth summit, which would have been Little Mell Fell close to his home QTH. On the way past Penrith, I called John on 145.500 to let him know there would after all be no further activations from me that day. We had a brief chat until distance and topography got the better of us but it passed the time giving me a flying start on the long, boring drive home. Thanks for the QSO John.
ASCENT & DISTANCES:
1,510m (4,953ft) of ascent / 19.1 km (12 miles).
Up at: 02:45.
Left Scarborough: 03:01
Arrived Patterdale (129 miles): 05:53
Walk for LD3: 06:12
LD-3 Helvellyn: 08:32 to 10:06
LD-22 Seat Sandal: 11:26 to 13:09
LD-7 Fairfield: 14:18 to 15:28
LD-10 St Sunday: 16:22 to 17:53
Returned Patterdale: 19:04
Drive 137 miles to Scarborough: 19:12 to 22:01
Patterdale to LD3: 2hrs-20 min (Ice & snow)
LD3 to LD22: 1hr-20 min (snow)
LD22 to LD7: 1hr-9 min (inc. 13 min with Colin on the LD7 path)
LD7 to LD10: 54 min (a little snow)
LD10 to Patterdale: 71 min
Total time spent walking: 6hr-54 min gross (6hr-24 min net - see Comments)
Average walking speed: 1.7 mph gross (1.9 mph net)
Summit Durations (minutes): 94+103+70+91= 358
Total time spent at summits: 5hr-58 min
Walking plus Summit time: 12hr-52 min
Gross time (home to home): 19 hrs
Distance driven: 266 miles
QSO’s per SOTA:
QSO Breakdown for the day:
31 on 80m CW
45 on 80m SSB
16 on 160m CW
8 on 160m SSB
SOTA Activator points: 44
END OF PART-1. SEE PART-2 ‘Comments and Photos’ Below: