G4YSS:NP28 & Bradford Nostalgia,13-08-14

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.

Home: 05:40
Leeds Bus Stn: 07:00
Wrose ‘Nostalgia’: 8am-10am
Arrived Whetstone Gate: 10:35
Walking: 10:43
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
Home: 17:30

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)

In reply to G4YSS:

Hi John

Thanks for the report including the nostalgia :slight_smile:

I really enoyed reading it as many of my activations have triggered such memories.

73 de

Allan GW4VPX

In reply to G4YSS:

Thanks for the write up. Interesting about the stones.

“…Before International tractors the superb Jowett Javelins and Jupiters were made there…”

A long time ago I had a friend Peter who lived with his father in Morwenstow in North Cornwall. The old vicarage was huge and had many out buildings. After his father died we went to visit. Peter had the task of clearing away things. He showed me two cars in a garage that were covered in bird droppings. A Bristol Beaufighter and a Jowett Javelin. The Bristol had a huge engine and I thought too much to run. The Javelin was going for 50. I looked under the bonnet and thought (in my ignorance at the time) this is a engine lash up so passed.

I am surprised you did not get more contacts on 2 but good enough for the purpose :wink:

Bye for now

In reply to G4YSS:
I enjoyed the write up, John, and no need to apologise for wandering - you took me with you!


In reply to G4YSS:

As usual, thanks for a great read, John.

Both Dave G4ASA and myself activated Rombalds Moor last year. It was from there that I made my first VK s2s, so it’ll always hold a special memory for me…

Keep up the excellent work.

73 Mike

In reply to ALL:

Allan GW4VPX
Hi Allan, Thanks for your reply. I’m glad the offering was well received. I get a bit carried away at times on what is supposed to be the SOTA reflector. Hopefully nobody will mind that the nostalgia exceeds the SOTA in this one. I’m afraid we can become a little too ‘past orientated’ as we get older and some say that you shouldn’t go back. They are wrong in this case; I would go back again, anytime. 73, John.

G6TUH Mike
Hi Mike, Thanks for reading. You looked under the bonnet of a Jowett? I don’t think I ever had that pleasure.

Jowetts are rare enough these days but a Bristol is another matter. I am pretty sure that I saw an immaculate black Jowett Javelin on La Palma Island, Canaries in April but it was a fleeting glimpse. Why it should be there I don’t know but it would fare very well in the climate and no road salt.

Up to 1953 (when they closed) we used to see Javelins going past our house which was half a mile from the factory. Probably they were on test or being delivered to garages. I was told they had a four cylinder horizontally opposed engine and torsion bar suspension. I think the Morris Minor designers must have copied the latter.

A friend of mine had a Javelin in the '60s and I’m sure he said you had to remove a front wheel to get one of the spark plugs out. They made the Jupiter sports car and Bradford van in Idle also. By the time I got there in 1966 International Harvester were building tractors.

Yes, I expected a dozen or more on 2-FM with 25W but NP28 is well screened from where most of the SOTA chasers live on the west side.
73, John.

Adrian G4AZS
Hello Adrian, I’m surprised you didn’t get bored as you have probably never been to Bradford. Perhaps like me, you can get on board someone else’s nostalgia. I suppose it refers to a long lost time which we can all relate to, as well as a place. 73, John.

Mike 2E0YYY
Hiya Mike,

Good of you to read and comment. That’s amazing; I either didn’t know or had forgotten that there had been a UK-VK SOTA S2S so very well done for getting one. Though I’ve logged a few when /M, I think I have only had one VK in SOTA and that was when Alice Springs called me while in the Canaries in April. It’s not the same as doing it from your home country though.

It seems conditions are not anywhere near right for that this summer. The higher bands seem to have gone AWOL most of the time lately. They were good in April.

Keep up the excellent work yourself! You have a way of pleasing a whole lot of chasers and frequently too. 73, John.

In reply to G4YSS:

Hello John,

“…A friend of mine had a Javelin in the '60s and I’m sure he said you had to remove a front wheel to get one of the spark plugs out.”

So much for progress :wink: A couple of years ago I owned a Nissan 350Z. I sold it after a year or so as it was hard not to resist driving quickly, it was delimited so could easily go to 160MPH. I still have a clean licence. But to change the Xenon headlight bulb you had to remove a front wheel, remove the inner arch covering and have extremely fine fingers to get into the light housing… another off topic contribution :wink:

Night night

In reply to G6TUH:

But to change the Xenon headlight bulb you had to

remove a front wheel, remove the inner arch covering and have
extremely fine fingers to get into the light housing

I have a man to do things to my car!

That’s one of the few benefits of getting old… having enough brass to pay bills without crying but just wincing a bit.



In reply to G4YSS:
Hi John,
Thanks for a really interesting report - especaily the references to the Bradford / Leeds area. I’m originally from Hull and had an Auntie and Uncle in Bradford, so remember many visits there about 45-50 years ago.

As for the comments around VK-UK S2S, I can only comment on VK-DL S2S where I have had two this year and several DL activation to VK chaser contacts, so the band conditions are there, at least via long path between 0600 and 0900 UTC on 20m. Oh by the way I’m talking 5w SSB to a dipole at 6m AGL - so no high powered station needed. I would expect the same results would be possible from the UK.

73 Ed DD5LP (also VK2JI & G8GLM) now based in Bavaria, Germany.

In reply to Mike; Andy & Ed:

Thanks for your responses. Yes Mike, though this is appalling design engineering, in many ways it doesn’t surprise me. I don’t know what that Nissan is like but I expect she’s a ‘looker.’ If so everything is sacrificed for style but this kind of thing continues to creep into mundane ‘conveyances’ as well as real cars. It’s one reason I had Land Rovers for a 12 year period! There was no style so sacrifice. Even the wiper motor was bolted there in front of you while you drove.

No no no! You are not old enough yet! You must continue to lose skin from knuckles, get blood blisters and black finger nails for quite a while!

As for me? Now with the government finally last month agreeing to ‘chip in’ I am fast coming around to your recommendations. I am sick of the sight of Fiesta back brake adjusters and suspension bushes, both front and rear. Besides I have all but run out of 45 gallon oil drum lid to weld into rotten sills. The trouble is it will really hurt my pride and ruin my record of shoe string motoring since 1969.

Well blow me; I thought you were a real DL! Well, DD as it happens but you’re a Yorkshireman. It looks from your log that you have close ties with VK too. You have done well to get so many VK contacts on SOTA. I really should have been taking advantage of conditions that will be absent for years before we know it but I seem to be continuing to specialise in 160m & 80m operation.

My XYL comes from Hull. She attended Newlands High nearly 50 years ago and lived on Holderness Road; later at Cottingham where we will visit next Thursday. Nothing nostalgic though, just an MRI scan at Castle Hill. She learned to swim at Albert Av. baths and her gran lived on Fairfax Avenue. I remember that there was an ex army shop on Spring Bank. I still have the 1943 gas mask I bought there in anticipation of nappy changing; the latter in the dim and distant by some 30 years or so. Sad isn’t it?!

73 to all three.
Good to hear from you,