Gun 2014

Amazing. Five and a half months in, Saturday 14th June 2014, and Jimmy M0HGY still hadn’t activated Gun G/SP-013, in the current calendar year! He joined Liam and I on a mixed up outing of errands, shopping, visiting, lunching, gambling and boozing.

After visiting my nanna (who will be 99 years old on Tuesday) in her care home in Congleton and fixing her TV remote control, I enjoyed the spectacle of watching her eat, unaided, a bowl of custard while sleeping soundly throughout. Magnificent stuff, and worth the trip for that alone.

A bit of snack luncheoning in Congleton followed, and an unsuccessful search for new radio controlled (Anthorn 60kHz) clock for me - mine had stopped working properly. I was, naturally, going to nip up The Cloud G/SP-015, but Jimmy revealed that he still hadn’t collected his 2014 activator point from Gun! A most shocking disclosure.

So up to Gun it was for a quite bobbins activation. I set up the SOTAbeams EFHW and kicked off on 20m CW. Four stations were quickly worked, but then things went very quiet. I tuned around the various spotted frequencies looking for S2S, but I couldn’t hear any of them. (I have this personal code that if I can’t hear them, I don’t call them or try to have a contact with them. Fairly revolutionary, but it might just catch on).

Jimmy M0HGY was activating using just his 2m FM handie, and had made 6 QSOs. The skies continued to darken menacingly. A few distant rumbles were heard. The midges were bothering. This was not enjoyable, and it might even have not been all that wise either. So a quick packaway ensued, and we drove back to Macclesfield.

To our surprise, the anticipated thunderstorm and cloudburst never materialised. Nonetheless, I was quite contented to be spending half-an-hour in the Pack Horse drinking St Austell Tribute Ale rather than batting the midges away on Gun Moor!

Many thanks to the four callers. Four and run, me? You bet!


In reply to M1EYP:
Hello Tom,
Not sure what this post is all about ~~

“…After visiting my nanna (who will be 99 years old on Tuesday) in her care home in Congleton and fixing her TV remote control, I enjoyed the spectacle of watching her eat, unaided, a bowl of custard while sleeping soundly throughout. Magnificent stuff, and worth the trip for that alone.”

Good for her reaching that age but eating food whilst asleep and magnificent?
Perhaps I have misread.


You haven’t misread. My nanna was sat at the dinner table. Slowly, she fed herself a bowl of custard with a spoon. Her eyes remained closed throughout and she appeared to be snoring. I am still puzzling over how that was possible now!


In reply to M1EYP:
Well I guess its like anything do it long enough and it can be achieved with your eyes closed.
Happy birthday to your Grand Mother Tom keep walking those hills and you may be eating custard with your eyes closed at 99 too.
Ian vk5cz …

Now I was supposed to be driving up to South Shields, near Newcastle upon Tyne for a theatre gig during Saturday 27th September 2014. What with having another gig in Blackpool on the Sunday, I was going to take Jimmy M0HGY with me as “road manager” and overnight in Gateshead in between. A summit in the G/NP or G/LD or possibly even G/TW could have been possible in the early part of Sunday, however…

All that changed when the gig got cancelled late on Friday afternoon. Instead, we were at something of a loose end. A hastily arranged trip to the ten-pin bowling alley meant that we found ourselves on the south eastern tip of Macclesfield by noon, with yet more time to kill. From this position, we were barely 25 minutes drive from Gun G/SP-013, and Jimmy’s mate Craig was up for joining us on an activation.

I did a strenuous five minute walk to the marker stone halfway between the parking spot and the summit, but well within the activation zone. Jimmy, Liam and Craig all continued on to the actual summit. Jimmy did his 2m thing there, just with a handheld, and made four contacts including S2S with David MW0YDH/P on Cadair Berwyn GW/NW-012.

I was using my new lighter weight but better designed version of the 20m GP. Or in other words, the one I made from the first of these kits, originally prepared for the YOTA event earlier in the year:

Getting on air was a problem though, as my Mini Palm Paddle was not getting any dashes or dots through to my FT-817. I knew it wasn’t the paddle levers themselves, as I had just programmed the summit reference into one of the memories of the Palm Cube. Bother, must have been the connecting lead. I randomly pushed and squeezed various parts of the cable, to try and revive it, but to no avail.

It was then I thought to try the cable that was in my bag as part of the PSK set-up. Now that has 3-pin rather than 2-pin plugs, but I figured that should work. It did indeed work, and I shuddered at the thought that I had been unnecessarily carrying two leads around when one would have done!

In any case, 20m CW did not yield much after all - just 13 QSOs. 20m SSB was much livelier with 27 contacts rattling in, pile-up style at one point (16 QSOs in 5 minutes). S2S came courtesy of Ken KB1HXO on Peaked Mountain W1/CR-006, S57MS/P on S5/KA-028 and DL/HB9BRJ/P on Botzberg DM/BW-012.

While on CW, Martin DF3MC, who I had worked earlier, returned to the frequency when it became quiet to ask if he could work Jimmy. I explained that Jimmy was not nearby at that moment, but that a QSO should be possible later. When Jimmy, with Liam and Craig did return to my position on their way back to the car, I mentioned this to Jimmy. I called a couple of times for Martin in CW, and announced a QSY to 14.345MHz SSB when he replied.

That QRG was in fact busy, but 14.340MHz was free. Jimmy M0HGY/P began calling CQ SOTA there and I placed a spot on SOTAwatch. There was no sign of Martin, but jimmy was answered by OK3KW. However, when Jimmy then called QRZ, in came Martin DF3MC with a big signal. Now Jimmy never hands the mike back until he has called QRZ and doesn’t get a response! Hence three more stations were worked, including CU3EJ which Jimmy reckoned was an all-time new DXCC for him.

So he ended with 9 QSOs, 4 on 2m FM and 5 on 20m SSB. I finished with 42, with 13 on 20m CW, 27 on 20m SSB and 2 on 2m FM. The drive back to Macclesfield was made interesting by a mobile QSO with a newly licensed chap that had done some operating from Cloud summit, but needed to know the “iota” for it other stations were asking. I dug deeper and worked out that it was the Maidenhead locator he actually needed. Anyway, I made sure he was equipped with the Maidenhead, WAB and SOTA information, and understood the difference between them. He seemed appreciative. FWIW, I did answer his original question by advising the IOTA ref. of EU-005 as well!

After dropping Craig home in Bollington, we too returned home and got on with preparing the evening meal while listening online to BBC Radio Lincolnshire’s commentary of the Lincoln City v Macclesfield Town game. My seafood pasta bake was absolutely delicious, but the 0-2 reversal was more difficult to stomach.

Anyway, there will be no plans for SOTA tomorrow (Sunday), because at least the Blackpool gig remains well and truly on:

…despite the fact that the poster shows it as having ended three weeks ago! No, we run for at least three more shows and possibly more. It will be a cold day before I have Sundays available for SOTA again!

(Please excuse the very tenuous links to SOTA of some photos as I play with the fantastic facilities on this new reflector!).


Is that you Tom in the little silver number?

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No Barry, that is Alannah. I did make a very rare appearance on a promo poster earlier in the season:

Nonetheless, your confusion is understandable.