I used to have card above my desk which said “Eat a live toad every morning, Then nothing worse can happen for the rest of the day”. Yesterday I was sorry that I’ve given up the practice. GM/SS-277, aka mount hill, at a mere 221 metres is just a tiny pimple. Home to the Hopetoun monument, a 29 metre stone tower it is, normally, literally, a walk in the park. That is, apart from on a day when the local airport (down at a sheltered sea level) is reporting a sustained 60km/h windspeed with 93km/h gusts. Really, it wasn’t, mostly, that bad. There was a wee bit of a blizzard on the way up but that passed and when we got there it was actually quite pleasant (well, as pleasant as a temperature on departure from the car of 4C can be). We got setup in the doorway of the tower which magically
a) was in the lee of the wind and
b) facing directly into the sun (when it was there)
and it all seemed to be going very well.
The radio is a newly arrived ft817 so I had to come out and play! (and the walk up was such a delight after having done it with a ts2000). It became quickly clear that there was no way that a mast actually standing in the clear, would be. Standing, that is. But we did manage to get the mast wedged against the tower and tied to its door handle. Not ideal but standing in a roughly upright fashion albeit with the aerial against the stone. It’s a rough 1/4 wave wire on 7mhz plus ATU and a couple of groundplane counterpoises.
I got operational a little after 11:00 with the first qso at 11:23 and continued till 12:30. 7MHZ ssb seemed ok with 25 worked . I didn’t seem to be getting out as well as I was receiving, although 5 watts to an aerial against a large lump of stone was probably going to be a challenge. 14mhz ssb yielded 24 QSOs with what seemed to be a conduit to the azores,
which was nice to think of sunny islands because then the wind picked up
and the snow started with a vengence so we gave up and fled.
A good time was had and thanks for the qsos! I nearly lost the log when the pad was torn from my hand by a gust! At one point mid CQ we just had to stop and hunker down from the wind! I found the whole process of running a station and keeping a log in those conditions a real challenge, hard to stay on top of what was happening and keep saying the right thing on the radio. Have mercy on activators when they seem to have lost all operating skills…
Arriving back at the car, it reported the temperature was down to 2C, bailing out was a good move.