I made a snap decision yesterday (30th Dec) to try and push my S2S points for the year past 1000. I needed 23 and looking at the alerts posted, the 30th looked much busier than 31st (however, looking at the alerts today, a lot of folk have now posted for 31st…such is life). Anyway, the weather yesterday wasn’t too bad,11C no rain but quite windy. Given the wind I gambled on staying low on Hill of Fare, my closest hill, which I had already activated in 2021, which meant I would have to rely on the points from the other summits. Having thought of this cunning plan while giving our dogs their morning walk, I checked with the XYL that it would be OK (30th is also our wedding annivesary), got the green light, chucked things in my rucksack and headed out around 1000.
I parked in the Back of Hill of Fare parking area (see my previous activation report from 10th June) and headed up the track, studiously ignoring the estate notice warning the public to stay out of the woods due to unsafe trees left by Storm Arwen. A large number of recent footprints showed I wasn’t the only one to do that and there were no leaning trees near the track. Got to the top at 1115.
Hill of Fare is covered in calf-knee deep springy heather, which is not ideal for pegging guys, but after a bit of faffing around I got my 10m mast up,despite the wind, then unwound the Hyendfed. Unfortunately I found that where I had set up was criss-crossed by calf-deep water-filled channels and my operating position was on a small hummock “island” - I didn’t want to lose any more time by changing things, so put my waterproof trousers on,hunkered down and made the best of it.
Tuning around and looking at the spots I was delighted to make my first S2S of the day for 1 point with Stefan HB9HCS/P on 20m SSB, who told me that he was planning a return to Lanzarote soon and that I should be able to try for a few “Completes” with him. Excellent. I next listened for DG5GSA on 40m but couldn’t hear him. I could just about hear a whisper from F6HBI/P on 40m but then he disappeared in QSB. Back on 20m I picked up EA2DCA/P for 4 points and then HB9CYV/P on 40m for another point - I see Christian has an enormous S2S total btw. DL1CR/P was next in the log on 40m for another point.
I then ventured onto CW for a 20m contact with Bruno, HB9CBR/P, for 2 points. His CW is better and faster than mine and I probably missed a few things he sent, but we exchanged names as well as reports, so I was happy with that. Got DG5GSA in the log on 20m SSB for a super 10 points - thanks Stefan. After finishing with Stefan, someone asked me to QSY up 5, which I did and found it was Jack OH3GZ. Then EA2DT called me - Manuel I think is the only station to have chased me on every single activation I have done since starting the SOTA adventure.
Having now given out some chaser points and my frequency staying quiet, I put out a spot and had a nice 10 minute run with a lot of the usual suspects in the log including Guru EA2IF who gave me 59+, which considering my Hyendfed was not very high and also yo-yoing up and down in the wind was nice. During this run EA3/HB9EAJ/P gave me another 2 points and DG5GSA called me again, then I had 3 S2S calls in a row, the first of which was YO6PIB/P for 4 points which took me past 1000. Woohoo, job done . HB9BIN/P and CT2HOV/P were the others for 1 and 6 points respectively. As that run petered out I saw a spot for OK3QE/P 5 KHz below me and Eva gave me another 6.
I thought I should try a spot on 40m but struggled to find a clear freq - the band was very busy. Eventually found one and G0VWP was first in the log - Terry was my top chaser during my recent holiday in Lanzarote. 15 in the log for that run, mostly UK and all very strong.
With the wind getting up,I picked up 2 more S2S on 20m SSB - HB9HOR on the same hill as CYV so null points and finally EA4FUA for another 6. I considered putting up my 15m loop as the band was open to the US but thought better of it as the wind was now really waving things about. Packed up and was back at the car in 30m and home by 3.30pm.
No photos I’m afraid - Hill of Fare is not itself very photogenic and the views were nothing special on the day, with a lot of cloud.
Looking forward to some interesting band conditions in 2022 as the SFI hopefully continues to improve. I have a number of antenna projects in the pipeline as well which should keep me busy.
A Happy New Year to all.