Every Easter Ryedale Walking Group organise a walking break for our members. As Chairman I assist with this holiday. The organiser this year centred the break on Moffat and we stayed at the Buccleuch Arms in the town. I managed to activate on HF on 3 occasions during this short break without becoming completely anti-social with the other members of the group. As Chairman that would have been bad form!
The “Challenging” walk scheduled for Saturday crossed Hart Fell SS-037 (808m and 4 points).
I left Moffat at 0810z about 10 minutes ahead of the group, intent on making progress on the 7 mile walk to the top. My route took me past Moffat Well and over Blaeback, The Snout, Greygill Head, Blue Cairn, Swatte Fell, Falcon Crag, the coll of Hass o’the Red Roads and thence onto Hart Fell. Almost 3 hours of walking was enjoyed with one banana and water break included. Apart from two stiffish climbs this was a gradual ascent and a pleasant walk with fantastic views down into Black Hope from Falcon Crag and across to White Coomb. (From where Iain MM3WJZ/P would soon be active).
SS-037 Hart Fell 808m ASL. Easter Saturday (4 points).
Summit had been previously activated 10 times on 60m, 40m and 2m.
G4OBK’s 70th activation
FT-817 5w from LIPO battery (Link dipole for 80/60/40/30m)
VX-150 handheld (4w to 1/4 whip)
QRV on 2m 1114z (prior to setting up on HF)
The “Dial a Spot service” was in use. Good Vodafone signals from Hart Fell (Thank’s to Roy G4SSH)
I switched on the VX-150 on arrival and was surprised to hear on S20:
“CQ CQ SOTA de MM0DHY/P on SS-277 near Cupar CQ”
Lucky for me that Adrian was using a beam which must have been doing all the work over the 67 mile path. We exchanged reports and I got on with setting up the fishing pole and link dipole whilst entertaining some walkers who were eating their lunch in the shelter. A useful fence runs across the fell so it was easy to mount the pole with bungees. I knew my friend Iain MM3WJZ/P was expected to be active anytime on 2m from SS-030 White Coomb, which was less than 4 miles to my east. I gave Iain a quick call and YES he had just arrived on top and another S2S QSO was complete. I wouldn’t normally carry a 2m handheld as well as an HF rig but this paid off today.
So on to HF and “Dial a Spot” informed me that HF was in poor order.
I opened on 80m CW at 1143z putting G4SSH and G4ELZ in my log. Then a blank - how dissapointing. These were the first 80m QSOs from Hart Fell on SOTA. I then received a call from the leader of the walking group chasing me - they had stopped for lunch at 11.30z and were making their way over Falcon Crag. Great - that bought me enough time to see what I could achieve on 40m CW.
60m SSB next - and another bonus making 3 out of 5 QSOs as S2S. I was lucky to catch Andy MM0FMF/P on NS-063 Ben Stack. 57/58 reports were exchanged which was pretty good for 2 way QRP. I then called CQ 60m and got zilch…60m can be a temperamental band at times like these.
Time was running out as I expected the group to come into view shortly and I moved quickly to 7032 KHz which was busy with other SOTA traffic. It is always difficult to make oneself heard using QRP when there are one or more stations active around 7032 KHz. I settled on using Roy’s “Dial a Spot” service again and got going on 7033 KHz. 13 more QSOs were completed before I had to pack up, going QRT at 1220z. My walking group arrived at 1225z.
2m x 2 (both S2S)
80m x 2
60m x 1 (one S2S)
40m x 13
9 DXCC Worked: G/GM/F/DL/LY/ON/9A/PA/SM
18 QSOs completed with no time left to activate on 30m.
The walk was completed with the group via Arthur’s Seat, Newton Fell, Hartfell Spa to Russell’s Brae where we were collected by minibus.
Distance walked 10.8 miles
Ascent 2634 feet.
(TO BE CONTINUED with report on SS-123 Green Hill near Wanlockhead)
73 Phil G4OBK