I plead guilty to an offence under the Trade Descriptions Act.
Title of this thread? “GI/AH SOTA”. And what did we do? Just the one in GI/MM!
The priority function of the New Year trip was to check on Marianne’s dad after a very serious operation. Thankfully, he is getting stronger day by day, but did enjoy and benefit from the company of his daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren for most of each day. So that harshly minimised the activating opportunities, as did the weather which was pretty bobbins throughout.
The good bit about spending time with Captain Jimmy (Jimmy M3EYP’s grandad - a retired sea captain) was watching his incredible proficiency at betting - five consecutive winners viewed on the ‘At The Races’ TV channel netting well over £1000, and a treble on the football on New Years Day bagging £400. The down side was enduring his new habit of chain smoking, which he seems to have picked up after the all-clear…
The nearest thing we got to a pass-out was the afternoon of Wednesday 2nd January 2008 when Marianne suggested I take the boys out for a drive. It was already nearly 2pm, so barely a couple of hours of daylight left.
So we motored from Larne into Belfast, across the city to the south side of Belfast Lough and in the Bangor direction. Our target was Cairngaver (silent ‘g’), GI/MM-017, quite close to the Northern Irish Assembly at Stormont. I had done this one before, but Jimmy needed it as a licence holder. He had been there with me before of course, so he directed me successfully to the tarmac road that winds its way up to a small car park.
A ferocious biting wind was blasting over the summit from the Irish Sea, so we left Liam in the car listening to Downtown Radio. Jimmy and I walked up to and beyond the trig point, and then across a few flat fields to try to find a good activating spot, but it was more hit-and-miss really. I initially tried 2m SSB with the SOTA Beams MFD mounted horizontally above by rucksack on my back. No joy here, so fixed the MFD on vertically and tried on 2m FM. With great difficulty and discomfort in the conditions, we eventually got four contacts each, taking a total of one hour and ten minutes. The desensing caused by the transmitter back near the trig point was severe, and left us asking for repeats of suffixes and reports. Perhaps the buffeting wind got to me, but I didn’t think to try 2m FM with the MFD horizontally polarised.
It had gone dark by the time we had returned to the car and were packing away the gear. We were back in Larne just after 6pm, and sitting down to a most welcome roast beef dinner.
No further opportunities arose, especially not with Jimmy and myself catching a stomach bug and suffering for the next couple of days, but I did buy an OS 1:25,000 hiking map for the Mourne Mountains, and worked out how to combine those hills for a series of expeditions in coming years.
73, Tom MI1EYP/P