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Gun 2012

I haven’t been sleeping well. Most definitely a new and unfamiliar phase of life for me. But upon realising that I was wide awake with no prospect of nodding back off at 4am on the morning of Friday 9th March 2012, I decided to go for a walk!

I packed my suit, shirt, tie and shoes into the bag with my footy kit and took a drive out to Gun G/SP-013. Although Tuesday night headtorch walks are a common feature, pre-dawn sortes are altogether rarer, so it was a strange feeling to be yomping up to Gun summit like this.

Given the solar storm and disruption caused, I wasn’t sure what the best choice of band would be. I analysed the previous day’s cluster spots and opted for 30m CW, and erected the dipole on Gun summit.

It was fairly slow going between 0548 and 0705z, with 25 QSOs being made. Without exception, all contacts were with Central/Eastern Europe. It was getting cold, so rather than persist with more CQ calls, I chose to put the slack time to better use over a “Mega Breakfast” at a greasy spoon in Burslem. And even after that I was early for work. After work I played football - and played the best I have played in a long, long time. Yet I was still up to nearly midnight preparing kit for today.

This sleep thing is a concern. Another day of serious physical exertion today, and here I am still tapping on my computer keyboard at 0230z. I didn’t even fall asleep midway through Match of the Day. Something must be wrong!

But now I am going to try and get my head down for some zeds…


Well this is rubbish isn’t it? Me, stressed, and not sleeping? Unheard of. Well, unheard of before last week anyway. But on Friday 16th March 2012, exactly one week after the previous incidence, I endured another sleepless night. In the end I gave up and got up at 2.35am. The revised plan (ie, instead of being asleep) was to venture out to Gun G/SP-013 and chase the greyline with the 20m groundplane.

And that was rubbish as well. The band was the flattest it has been in a good long time. I tried many CQ calls on 14.013MHz CW, all unanswered. Occasionally, I heard a weak signal from other station calling. Prefixes heard were FK and FG, so I remained optimistic that it would be worth waiting for the band to open up as daylight approached.

But it never really happened. At dawn I managed to answer a call and exchange with a 4Z (Israel) station, but that was it, a one QSO activation! I did hear Phil G4OBK calling me just before 6am, and I answered him, but Phil only went on to send “NIL”. Thanks for trying Phil!

Despite the rubbishness of the activation, I did rather enjoy my very early morning walk on Gun and my 3 hour lounge on its summit. I also enjoyed the Mega Breakfast at the cafe in Burslem, which was slotted in as I approached the works QTH.


In reply to M1EYP:
Funny you should be waking up early, I am having the same trouble now for a couple of weeks. 4am on the dot every day for a fortnight. When awake, there is no noise, no light creeping through the curtains, nada. Very strange. Must be the body clock saying it is Spring and I should be walking/climbing/kayaking/running/taking dog out etc, whatever, its very annoying!

Unfortunately, i could probably go all Continental and have a siesta around 2pm for a couple of hours.

Good luck with the early morning DX…

BTW How is your 20m GP put together? Elevated radials or on the floor?


In reply to M1EYP:
The revised plan (ie, instead of being asleep) was to venture

out to Gun G/SP-013 and chase the greyline with the 20m groundplane.

And that was rubbish as well. The band was the flattest it has been
in a good long time.

If it’s any consolation, I spotted myself on 40m from Gun, yesterday and after 15 minutes and 50 Watts, failed to get a single contact. Total Garbage.

I didn’t fare too much better on 20m with just 9 contacts.

73 Mike

Sorry I couldn’t hear you Tom - I tried the beam in all the usual directions but there wasn’t enough propagation to get any backscatter which is the usual mode. I was running 150 watts so the power difference meant I couldn’t hear you, glad to give you some “company” at least and to let you know there are others among us who keep funny hours. I must admit I did wonder what you were doing up there at that time!

73 Phil

After dropping Liam off at his youth group in Congleton on Tuesday 26th June 2012, I had plenty of slack time available. I normally use this to get myself a chippy tea before moving on to my UKAC contest site, but I had already eaten. However, I had no plans to utilise the spare time, I just set off up the A54 as usual.

I should have continued down the A523 towards Leek, but somehow didn’t. It was probably muscle memory that caused me to bear left and uphill at Rushton Spencer. By the time I had consciously realised my mistake, I was nearly at the parking spot for Gun G/SP-013! Could I squeeze a cheeky 2m FM handheld / rubber duck activation in? It had to be done!

As I was walking, I totted up the time impact of doing this would have. Hmm, short easy walk it might me, but the whole effect added up to over half an hour. I would be cutting it fine for the 6m UK Activity Contest. Thankfully, it didn’t take many CQ calls to get going from the summit. Ten minutes QRV brought 8 QSOs on 2m FM, and it was time to walk briskly back to the car.

I managed to drive up to Merryton Low and be QRV from the trig point point by 8.01pm, so not too bad, although the opportunity to watch a frequency for a few minutes before 1900z would have been useful. As it was, I started the evening as I spent most of the rest of it - searching and pouncing. It was yet another mediocre evening, and a 2nd place looks to be the best I could hope for.


In reply to M1EYP:
Hi Tom you did better than me I was on the Gun on the evening of June 21st I got no contacts and got soaked.J pole had broke and it was to wet to fix it.Geoff G6MZX

Thursday 19th July 2012 and my birthday present to me was an 0440z get-up and a before-work activation of Gun G/SP-013, on my favourite HF band-mode combo of 20m CW. Walking boots were needed for the short walk up to Gun’s trig point, for there had been much rain and most of the area was waterlogged.

On summit it was raining too, so I had to conduct the activation from inside my big bothy bag after setting up the 20m groundplane antenna. Ultimately, I did not get the intensity of pile-up I had hoped for, and certainly not the target of 42 QSOs(!), but a bit of early morning fresh air, 15 QSOs, and then a bacon, sausage and cheese double oatcake (Stoke-on-Trent delicacy!) made for a satisfying morning’s work.


Underwhelmed by my birthday activation the day before, I returned to Gun on Friday 20th July 2012. It was the last day of the school term and I was up bright and early at 0430z. Gun Hill wasn’t quite as wet as the previous day, but still demanded I change into boots for the walk up.

This time 20m was a bit livelier with WFF collectors joining the SOTA chasers on frequency. 22 QSOs later, and I was packing up and thinking about what fillings I would have on my oatcake for breakfast.


In reply to M1EYP:

thinking about what fillings I would have on my oatcake for breakfast.

Sadly, I gave them up after finally coming to terms with…

a) Just how many calories were in the bacon, cheese and mushroom variety.

b) How addictive they are :frowning:


Regular football, squash and walking is the key. I eat lots of calories. I burn lots of calories. I remain stable at my weight and fairly fit.

With the YHA meals I have ordered, and the bottles of real ale known to be on sale, I am anticipating my forthcoming trip to the LD to be a “calorie-neutral” 4 days!


In reply to 2E0YYY:

But Mike, oats are a slow release carb, so they’re not a big problem. It’s the saturated lard that’s the problem. So oatcakes and mushrooms would be fine. But not quite as tasty without bacon and cheese!


In reply to MM0FMF:

So oatcakes and mushrooms would be fine. But not quite as tasty without bacon and > cheese!

But I prefer my mushrooms sauteed in butter with a bit of garlic Andy :slight_smile:

Roger G4OWG

Are you aware of North Staffordshire oatcakes Andy, or are you mistaking them for those silly little biscuits that are known as “oatcakes” up in GM?


In reply to M1EYP:

No, I “have knowledge” of both types. Both the Scottish Oatcake, the hard biscuit and the Midlands oatcake. The boss comes from Derbyshire so she makes them from scratch. Excellent with a fry-up. Or jam. Neither of which I’m meant to eat :frowning:


In reply to MM0FMF:

Excellent with a fry-up. Or jam. Neither of which I’m meant to eat…

Marmite? I find it excellent on crumpets.

73 Marc G0AZS

In reply to G0AZS:


No, you’re not meant to eat Marmite either. It’s a treatment for steel, you apply it and it prevents rust!



The summer holidays from work had just begun. Yet as early into them as Wednesday 25th July 2012 I was repeating that familiar commute route. This is because following a successful work experience placement, Liam now has some occasional holiday voluntary work at an M.O.T. garage in Tunstall, and today was one of those days.

But could I think of anything to do between dropping him off and picking him up? You bet!

I made my way to Gun G/SP-013, and set up the groundplane 20m antenna close to the summit. I ‘accidentally-on-purpose’ let it slip that my summit was also valid for the WFF awards - several times. Result? Pile-up practice.

My four-and-a-half hour stay on summit was largely comfortable, apart from the hayfever at the beginning, and midges at the end. I could have done with some of that repellent brought up to Merryton Low (contest site) by Mike 2O0YYY the previous night! In the end, they won, and I scarpered.

I finished with 140 QSOs - 14 on 2m FM (including S2S with John G1STQ/P on The Cloud G/SP-015), a rather dismal 2 on 20m SSB, and 124 on 20m CW (including S2S with Aage LA1ENA/P on Blåtjønnfjell vest LA/TM-084).

As the contacts really started to thin out, and the midges were doing the opposite, I decided it was time to go and pick Liam up and get home. Thanks for all the calls.


In reply to M1EYP:

I could
have done with some of that repellent brought up to Merryton Low
(contest site) by Mike 2O0YYY the previous night!

Yup, there’s no end to my generosity :wink:

73 Mike

The lads and I dropped in on Gun G/SP-013 between a family Christmas present drop-off in Congleton, and another in Flash. The path was waterlogged, hardly surprising after the recent weather.

As we approached the summit, the top of a rucksack with a pole sticking out could be seen moving about above the horizon. We did not catch up with this person, but a call from Jimmy’s handheld revealed the expected identity - Richard G3CWI. He had walked in from Hen Cloud, and wandered back up to see us before finally setting off on his return walk.

Jimmy, undertaking his first activation as M0HGY, made 6 QSOs on 2m FM. I set up the 80m dipole for the first time in ages, but was soon reminded why I don’t use this band that often! The band was very busy, particularly on the SSB section where getting a decent QRG was difficult. I made 7 contacts on CW, and just 2 on SSB.

Jimmy and Liam had long since returned to the car by the time I was packing up. I stood at the trig point ready to put a call out on 2m FM. However, my VX7 would not switch on, despite the fact I had not used it since fully recharging it a few days earlier. Looks like I’ll need to replace the battery!

Back in the mood, and back in the zone, I enthusiastically alerted for an early morning Christmas Eve activation, despite the dismal weather forecast. But then I woke up nearly four hours late for it!