Gun 2011

The first activation, and of course the first point of 2011, took place for me at the relatively late stage of January 2nd, 2011. Jimmy M3EYP and I headed out at 11am on the Sunday morning, inspired to activate on two fronts - the Macclesfield club’s New Year SOTA outing, and the VHF Fun Day.

Joining us for the club multi-op activation were Greg 2E0RXX and Simon M0TGT. Knowing that those two, and Jimmy were all going to be on 2m, I decided to keep my nose out of the VHF Fun Day and concentrate on building my New Year score in the G3WGV UK CW Table.

After meeting at the parking spot and ambling up the hill, Jimmy set up for 2m FM (vertical) while Greg and Simon set for 2m SSB (horizontal). I erected the halfwave dipole for 30m. Greg and Simon seemed to be doing good business on 2m SSB with several S2S QSOs, and the same appeared to be true for Jimmy. On 30m CW, I limped to 23 QSOs and 14 DXCCs on 500mW as I hadn’t prepared properly and had a virtually flat SLAB!

What had been prepared properly was the flask of Baxter’s Haggis Broth soup, which Jimmy and I shared while Simon and Greg ate their packed sandwiches. It was very cold, and the warming broth was very welcome. We were joined on summit by social visitors Ray M1REK and Richard G3CWI who walked up to exchange New Year pleasantries. (This was also the case on 30m where every QSO was appended by two-way 'HNY’s). Richard had just completed his first activation of 2011, over on The Cloud G/SP-015. I must visit that hill sometime…

After packing away, we drove down the hill to Rushton Spencer, where the five of us (M0TGT, 2E0RXX, G3CWI, M3EYP, M1EYP) reconvened at the Rushton Inn for a pint or two of Flowers IPA. Another enjoyable winters outing.


In reply to M1EYP:

I listened on 30m for you Tom but could not pull your signal out of the noise, not surprising really for 30m over the terrain between us. I did manage QSO’s with Greg & Simon on 2m SSB & heard Jimmy working another summit on that mode but sadly didn’t manage to work him myself.

Interestingly I found signals were better both ways on 2m ssb when I worked Simon than when I had worked Greg earlier. When I worked Greg I was beaming directly towards Gun, which is not a good path from here, whereas when I worked Simon I had left the beam pointing towards G/WB-012 after having worked Geoff 2E0BTR/P shortly before.

As Simons signals were markedly higher I can only assume the various metalwork on Winter Hill was playing a part in reflecting our signals. I have noticed this on 70cms but only recently noticed a similar effect, although less pronounced, on 2 metres.

Best 73 to all & Happy New Year!

Mark G0VOF

Richard G3CWI suggested an outing to Gun G/SP-013. Because he did this, I asssumed he had properly checked the weather forecast, so I didn’t bother. Jimmy and Liam were both enthusiastic to go out again, so it was a fullish car down through Rushton Spencer on Sunday 4th December 2011.

Jimmy and I both chose to try to “get away with it” in trainers for the short walk, but this was soon looking a poor decision on very damp ground. Liam had been more sensible and changed into his wellies at the car.

As we reached the summit, we could see that Richard had taken up his preferred spot by the edge of the wood. Jimmy and I continued over the summit to try to find ourselves a couple of relatively sheltered spots each. The wind was quite strong and cold, and carrying some very light drizzle. After setting up the MM10, I joined Liam inside the new big 4-6 man bothy bag.

I was glad to be in my shelter. It sounded like the rain was coming down quite hard, although being inside a bothy bag does tend to exaggerate the perceived severity of the outside weather!

On 10m, I worked 7 stations on my self spotted frequency of 28.046MHz CW. DXCCs were UR, RA, G, VE and HB. While serving some hot lentil and bacon soup between Liam and myself, Jimmy arrived outside the shelter. He had decided to call it a day after one contact on 2m FM as it was getting colder and wetter. I passed him a portion of soup, and then the car keys outside the shelter.

I wanted my activation to include all the three main modes on 10m, but calling CQ on self-spotted frequencies on 28MHz SSB was getting me nowhere. Eventually, I answered a CQ call from UA6LUQ to get one in the log.

Richard arrived outside the shelter having packed his stuff away. He had made 7 contacts on his 30m CW PP3 rig and reported success with his one-hit cheesy scrambled egg and coffee project. I told him that Jimmy was already on his way to the car with the keys, so he could go and sit in there.

Now I decided to try to get something on 29MHz FM. Again, my own CQ calls on self-spotted freqeuncies failed to generate any action, and answering the calls of others was proving difficult, even though I was receiving some fully quietening 59+ signals from across Europe and North America. I finally managed a difficult exchange with Eugene RW6MD.

I emerged from the bothy bag to pack away, and encountered unpleasant heavy sleet, which quickly morphed into wet snow. In no time at all, I was soaked to the skin and rueing my decision to walk in normal trainers and without waterproof overtrousers. While I was packing up, Liam made a run for it back to the car.

As I walked past the trig point, I called on S20 to generate a couple of 2m FM QSOs with Jimmy and Richard, both in my car a quarter of a mile away. Jimmy and I took the back-to-front step of removing our wet trainers and replacing with dry walking boots! And then it was a quick downhill drive to the Rushton Inn, for pints of Bosley Cloud in front of a real fire.

The combination of the fire and quick-dry fabrics eliminated much of the damp, as Jimmy and I took turns to take on Richard’s phone at chess. And the Storm Brewing Company of Macclesfield’s Bosley Cloud ale is still the king of beers.

On reflection, there is a lot of potential for a lot of fun on the 10m band, but I still haven’t quite cracked how to play it yet. I will just have to put more practice into it - what a shame!


Up earlyish on Friday 30th December 2011, so I decided to drive out to Gun to play 30m before the rain came. I prepared coffee in my new small flask that was a Christmas present from my XYL Marianne and drove into town and then southwards on the A523 towards Leek.

As Micky 2E0YYY reported, the route from the usual parking spot to the summit was waterlogged. I should have put boots on really, but tried heather hopping in my trainers along the sides of the path (stream). My feet did not remain dry!

At the summit, there was a light easterly breeze, so I selected the west-facing face of the triangulation column as my backrest, and set up the kit accordingly. Business was brisk on 10.117MHz CW after an initial S2S with Zoli HA3HK/P on Hálás-tetö HA/KD-042. I noted that my SLAB was running low on juice, so I switched my 817 power down to 500mW, on which it remained for the majority of the activation.

After things went quiet, I tried on 10m CW, where my 30m dipole gives a nice low SWR. As usual, the 10m SSB and FM QRGs were busy, as were the FM and AM CB channels and utility frequencies in the 27MHz area, but the CW portion was quiet. Just three contacts were made. Around this time, the rain started to fall, so I got the bothy bag out of my rucksack to keep warm and dry.

I returned to 30m, this time on 10.118MHz CW, and enjoyed another busy run that included S2S with Aage LA1ENA/P on Ramsås LA/TM-032. I concluded the activation with a total of 59 QSOs, which was very pleasing in less than two hours, and on low power as well. I emerged from the bothy bag shelter to be somewhat startled by a very wet and cold summit area around me, and a very wet exterior to the bothy bag itself. It had worked very effectively!

By the time I had walked back down to the car, my trainers were black with dirt and wet through. Serves me right for being too lazy to change into my boots! Thanks to everyone who called me, spotted me on the DX Cluster, and gave me HNY wishes.


In reply to M1EYP:

As Micky 2E0YYY reported, the route from the usual parking spot to the
summit was waterlogged. I should have put boots on really, but tried
heather hopping in my trainers along the sides of the path (stream).
My feet did not remain dry!

It was a sticky mess when I walked it on Xmas day, Tom and we’ve had a lot of rain since. I would even venture to suggest that flippers would probably be more appropriate than boots :wink:

73 Mike