G4YSS Activation Report for NP28 Rombalds Moor on 13-08-14
GX0OOO/P (G4YSS) on G/NP-028/1; Rombalds Moor with 2m-FM QRO.
All times BST (UTC plus 1hr). G4YSS - unaccompanied.
Kenwood TM702-T; 25 Watt 2m/ 70cm Mobile.
Home-brew vertical J-Pole for 2m.
Two-section short aluminium mast.
Li-Po: One 8.8 Ah.
Reserve rig: VGC UV-X4; 2W VHF/ UHF H/H (not used).
Since the start of SOTA, apart from a handful, I have been guilty of more or less ignoring one pointers. They don’t even appear on my maps. This is a legacy of the quest for the Mountain Goat award but I’m always open to any type SOTA or other outdoor distraction so long as it fits in with the main agenda.
In this instance I had to drive the family down to Leeds Coach station for 07:30 where they were to embark on a two day visit to Legoland, Windsor. This would give me a rare opportunity to check out my childhood haunts near Bradford. Secondly I could see what the new city centre looked like and enjoy a curry at the Karachi in Neil Street up the hill from the Museum of Photography. Last but not least and weather permitting, would be a SOTA within easy reach. As far as I know the closest is Rombalds Moor NP28; one I had activated back in 2005.
This is an easy one. The route starts from the radio masts at the top of the surfaced road which runs north from West Morton. Height gain is 22m over a distance of almost a mile. It would have been within the rules to save the walking and operate beside the road but I didn’t want to do that unless the rain arrived.
The last time I put NP28 on it was a fine day in October 2005 and I had a nonagenarian in tow; my Father. It taken some considerable time to make our way to the trig point from the road but after almost a dozen rest stops we made it. He even took the mic for a greetings message.
After a good look round Carr Lane, Shipley and Wrose Road, Bradford where I had lived as a child, I tried to find the quarries at Bolton Woods where we had found so much of our high risk recreation with para-cord gleaned from an old WW2 parachute. In fact the hundred foot holes in the ground had all been filled in and replaced by a massive housing estate.
All Alone Road was still there with some of it unchanged except what was then Newton Boilers is now derelict. The nearby 60 foot well down which we tried to climb with knotted rope is now under 10 feet of undergrowth.
Where it emerges above ground for a second time at the ‘giant steps’ near Bolton Hall Road, the stream which crosses Idle Moor underground was much as before but that ‘magic’ tussocky field upstream and just south of Wrose Road, is now head high in scrub, brambles and gorse bushes. The Willow Herb was still there as were the Willow bushes, much bigger now. Nothing stays the same. Why would it? More than 50 years had passed but at least most of it was still recognisable with the pylon wires running above. The rain came down hard as if to signal a move.
Morrisons supermarket, just down Bradford Road from Five Lane Ends stands on the site of the Engineering Company where I was an apprentice in 1966. Before International tractors the superb Jowett Javelins and Jupiters were made there. I wandered about the car park trying to work out which department I would have been standing in; milling, drilling or gear shaping? Where had the apprentice school stood? The rain eased. It was time to get the SOTA done.
With the familiarity of half a century ago all but gone, driving was with the help of the satnav. Upon reaching the top of the metalled road to Whetstone Gate at SE 1013 4532, much activity was in evidence. A line of almost fifty beaters were advancing across the purple heather in line abreast from the road as they forced terrified flocks of low flying grouse onto the gun line. It was one day past the ‘glorious twelfth.’ The defenceless birds do not realise that they are masters of camouflage and staying put is possibly their best option.
Additional new paving slabs make this walk even easier than before. Despite stopping briefly for photographs of the Thimble Stones, a mere 14 minutes were required for walking. Sunshine with the heather in full bloom on both sides made for a lovely sight.
G/NP-028 ROMBALDS MOOR (Ilkley Moor), 402m, 1 pt, 10:57 to 12:12, 20 Deg.C, 15 mph westerly wind. Intermittent sunshine. (LOC: IO93CV, WAB: SE14). Orange (EE) Mobile phone coverage from all parts of route.
Five minutes is all it took to set up the vertical J-Pole and plug it into the rig. I had brought 2m FM equipment only but with 25 Watts available. Should it rain a coat and umbrella were at the ready. There were threatening looking clouds around from time to time but it stayed dry throughout.
The first job was to phone Roy G4SSH to see if he could hear me over the 100km intervening distance; a path which is not unduly obstructed. He couldn’t at the time but later confirmed the presence my signal ‘but with no intelligibility.’ However his SOTAWATCH spot got the ball rolling for me so thanks to Roy. Possibly if I’d brought my 3-ely Yagi and the IC706 with its 50 Watts, we might have made a QSO.
Stations worked with 25 Watts were: M1EHM John in Acomb York; M0MDA Mick in Leeds; G8RFW Graham in Coal Aston near Dronfield; M1CNL/P Peter at the Jasmine Park Caravan Site in Snainton; G6XBF Walt in Leeds; M3CVI Paul in Halifax; M1FIV Avon in Towlaw (9 miles west of Durham); M1AZZ Tom ‘up on the cliff’ at Hornsea and finally M0AAM Bob in Queensbury which is a high spot south of Bradford.
All were readable without problems and more than one commented on the audio from the old, secondhand rig being good. Graham in Coal Aston was the weakest but still easily readable at 51 both ways. He was using an indoor aerial positioned inside his garage and driven by an FT290 so I thought this quite a good contact.
Snainton is a village on the outskirts of Scarborough Borough. It’s a few miles closer than Roy. The exchange was 55 both ways and Peter M1CNL was using a Slim Jim and FT817.
The activation covered a leisurely 40 minutes. For once I was not concerned with time, only with the possible return of the morning’s showery weather, so we could have a bit of a chat. The only ‘QRM’ was from more than a few twelve-bore shotguns a few hundred metres away.
The return (I wouldn’t call it a descent) took 15 minutes against a stiff breeze. It included a quick stop to examine two large engraved flat rocks at around the half-way point. On these was engraved a poem under the word ‘Puddle.’
Here are the words:
Rain junk, Sky litter. Some May mornings, Atlantic storm horses clatter this way, shedding their iron shoes in potholes and ruts. Shoes that melt into steel-grey puddles then settle and set into cloudless mirrors by noon. The shy deer of the daytime moon comes to sip from the rim. But the sun likes the look of itself, stares all afternoon its hard eye lifting the sheen from the glass, turning the glaze to rust. Then we don’t see things for dust.
It is signed: ‘SA 2012.’ These are substantial flat stones measuring possibly five feet by almost three. How they got there was a mystery to me but subsequent research on the internet shed some light on them. Saltaire Daily Photo: The Puddle Stones
The road was reached at 12:27 followed by a short walk to an impressive looking cross a few hundred metres along the Ilkley track. A look at the map revealed it as Cowper’s Cross.
What could be finer than a Bradford curry for lunch? A Keema Madras at the Karachi for GBP 5.30 including a starter, three japatis and a jug of water. No eating utensils of course. At least nothing changes here apart from the price. In 1970 it cost five bob! You can park outside for up to two hours so after getting the cooks to pose for a photo, I started my exploration of the refurbished city centre.
After years of delay they made a good job of it with a large shallow tiled lake and fountains. Kirkgate Market is a lot posher than the original. When I arrived on the scene in 1949 every building in Bradford was black. It wasn’t until they grit blasted the town hall that I realised that my city was made from normal sandstone.
I found that I could remember many of the street names before reaching them. Market St., Broadway, Sunbridge Rd., Ivegate, Godwin St. and they looked fine in the sunshine. The buses have gone back almost to their original pale blue colour. There was a long period where they turned green.
On the way home I took in what I knew as Bradford Tech and the University where you could see groups like Free, Fairport Convention, Cockney Rebel and The Move for six shillings on a Saturday night! Lumb Lane was just the same as was Queens Road and Kings Road leading up past my old infant school of Swain House to Five Lane Ends and Greengates where I worked eight hours each Saturday in 1966 stacking supermarket shelves for just one pound.
What a great day that was and one activator point gained too. Apologies for wandering from the main subject of SOTA.
Leeds Bus Stn: 07:00
Wrose ‘Nostalgia’: 8am-10am
Arrived Whetstone Gate: 10:35
Summit: 10:57 to 12:12
Back to car: 12:27
Drive after walk to Cross: 12:45
Karachi & Bradford: 13:25 to 15:15
Thanks to ALL STATIONS WORKED and to the spotters: G4SSH Roy and M0MDA Mick. Thanks to Bradford City for getting your centre sorted out.
73, John G4YSS
(Using GX0OOO/P; Scarborough Special Events Group Club Call)