Hegdon Hill G/WB-023

Such a strange hill this one! The trig point on the actual summit is in a private field so not accessible, although I have been at that point with permission in the past. The road across the hill is only a couple of metres lower than the summit, so a reasonably wide AZ is easily accessible. There are two public footpaths/bridleways leading off from the road, but none seem to offer any kind of obvious and comfortable point to set up and activate. Probably the best I’ve found so far is just into the PROW from SO584539 and set up on the grass just to the left of the track immediately inside the gate. There are narrow grass verges along the lane, but I’d be reluctant to set up there as a mast collapse could end up on the road - not sensible.

I only wish I had done that on Saturday - ie played safe and did a quick HF activation. I was on my way to a gig, and had already done a straightforward 2m handheld activation on Worcestershire Beacon G/WB-009 en route. On arrival on Hegdon Hill, I had time to do a quick 20m CW activation, which would have been a “banker”. Instead I tried to get away with another 2m FM handheld activation.

I managed three QSOs - Gillian M0OVW, Richard M1HAX/P on Bredon Hill G/CE-003 and Rick M5RJC. But could I get the 4th? No chance. Ultimately, I had to abandon and get to soundcheck on time.

The gig was done and dusted by 11.30pm BST, so I couldn’t resist setting G/WB-023 as a waypoint in the satnav route back home. Surely there would be lots of people on their radios late on a Saturday night? Sadly not. Again, I could/should have put up the 20m GP - after all, I only needed one QSO to qualify! But I was tired and had a long drive ahead, and simply couldn’t be bothered.

So it goes down as a failure. Not had many of these (single figures out of 3500+ activations) when there’s activator points on offer - but here’s another one! Hegdon Hill is known for being difficult to qualify on 2m, and that’s without trying to wing it on a handheld + rubber duck. Oh well…


It was VHF field day on saturday. If you had 2m Ssb ( i assume you had the 817) there were quite a few around. The rubber duck on the 817 would probably have worked.

I know it was Field Day because

  • it was blowing a hoolie
  • I had to re-rig my tent 3 times as the wind shifted
  • the rain was horizontal
  • there was lots of rain
  • nobody was on the air
  • my laptop SSD didn’t like cold and died

Yes, typical field day. By the time Tom was on the air we were on the Rum and home made pancakes…

We had several contacts say it was so windy they couldn’t rotate their beams in the wind :slight_smile:


True enough Ian. Thing was I was being lazy and trying to avoid setting anything up! If setting up, I’d have gone for an HF GP antenna which is faster to deploy than a 2m beam. (I’ve no idea where the rubber duck for my 817 is - haven’t seen it for years!) Plus I was even trying to avoid digging out the 817. Anyway, all that was a poor decision. On arrival on Hegdon Hill, I had plenty of time to set up for 20m or 15m - and I regret not doing so. Although my chosen MO did net me a S2S so not all bad.

It was still pretty breezy across Cloud G/SP-015 the following day for the Backpackers (which overlapped the last 3 hours of NFD).

I made 85 QSOs, but I notice that when BP overlaps with NFD, I am increasingly resorting to 2m FM to fill time and logs. There would have been a time when one would remain exclusively on SSB.

A couple of NFD stations worked did give me serial numbers in the 500s though. For me, ON, F and EI were worked as well as G, GW, GI and GM.

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Activity was down on last time I was out. From the usual perch in IO74WV I think we only did 125 on 2m that was Saturday 1400Z to 2100Z and Sunday 0700Z to 1400Z. Best DX was was only 900km I think. What was strange was 70cm was deathly quiet apart from an ON station who was audible most of the time and damn loud when beaming at us. ODX on 6m was 5B4 and we worked S5 on 4m using meteor scatter on with JTxx.

Understand the desire for quick setup. When myself and Paul were bagging completes (for me) and uniques (for him) I reach inability to setup again after the 3 station setup/take downs. If you’ve been doing other stuff, even setting up once is painful :wink:


Sorry we were not around to give you the fourth (and/or) fifth Tom. Neither at home nor up a hill but away for the weekend.
It is one of the closest to home but we like a walk and have not done it for two years now. 15 activations in my log - nearly half in 2018 when I was using it for 5GHz UKAC. I had qualified it in January so did not care that the rest were below 4 QSOs.
See you on Saturday all being well. Good luck on LMBR.


I saw your spot in the afternoon but was off my summit and couldn’t hear you on the HT as I was walking.
I can get Hegdon Hill from home on 2m, but I think you’d need an elevated antenna like a flowerpot dipole.

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And yet we still do it every year :slight_smile:

Although I do remember my first backpackers (2004 ish) I submitted my log with the comment “too much sunscreen made logging hard as it clogged up the pen and paper”. How times change.

P.S I did consider going down the 4 Yorkshiremen sketch route and expanding on your list, but that would just be silly (if fun) and a full on NFD station has more to go wrong than a backpackers.


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Hegdon Hill G/WB-023 is one that isn’t quite line-of-sight from my QTH, and I’ve not managed to work it yet. May Hill G/WB-019 is just to the right and Seager Hill G/WB-022 just to the left. Here’s the curved-earth profile from HeyWhatsThat:

That bump at just beyond 25kms is the eastern end of the ridge that has Seager Hill as its high point, and the bumps around 15kms are hills to the west of May Hill, so maybe there’s just too much high ground in that direction for VHF to wriggle through.

That said, Saturday was also a mite busy, and what little radio time I had was spent trying to break my contest funk by trying to work some field day stations on 6 metres, with even less success than you had on the summit.

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The least muscle bound of us managed to shear a non stainless bolt in a mast clamp. Gibbon.

The over-current trip was really close to the 70cms station draw on speech peaks, shout in excitement and it would trip and the radio reboot.

One of the crew has mislaid his phone, probably on site. He was faffing with the SIM when a huge shower was passing through on station take down. Now he doesn’t have the phone but it’s on and ringing. He’s off to the site to try and find it.

We were all Icom this year, 1x 7300, 2x 9700. No K3 and Kuhne transverter. The white noise on the K3+Kuhne is nicer to listen to ('coz there was a lot of no-stations time) than the 9700. I also gave my Elecraft station a test (K2 fully loaded except the 100W PA) and Elecraft XV144 transverter. The transverter is of unknown state… rumoured it had been “Led Zepplin’d” i.e. “In Through The Out-door” or someone had TX’d into the RX. It could hear everything the 9700 could but things were a few S points quieter. Probably needs aligning carefully before anything else gets done to it.

I have just been checking paper log with computer log and I see we worked you Tom on Sunday. Thanks for the points.

VHF NFD always seems to clash with the Portsoy Traditional Boat Festival
No wind in the boatshed but I did have company :innocent:


Don’t tell me… she’s someone famous from Love Island Series 931. Or was she in Strictly… ?


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No, she was in this I think:

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Were you MM0CPS/P?

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No, we have a “proper” ham callsign… GM3HAM

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I picked up a gig with the tribute band “Ultimate Blondie” at Warners Holme Lacy Hotel near Hereford. So there was my opportunity to try again for the 2023 activator point from Hegdon Hill.

One call on the 2m FM HT stood in the land a few feet from the car drew zero response. This time I avoided flogging the dead horse and walked into the nearby PROW to set up the 20m GP on the other side of the hedge.

Started on CW but suddenly my Palm Paddle stopped working. I was using it with the standard cable without the Palm Cube, but no amount of fiddling could get those dits and dahs back.

So SSB it had to be. Four QSOs - three from EA and one from G - then there were no further callers. That suited me because I had to get to soundcheck.


Thanks for the picture, Tom, that is on my list to do. It tells me to take my bungees and fix the pole on that post on the left.

BTW, off topic, what bass do you use now? I’ve developed a liking for the bass as a melodic instrument, it can sound like a cello.

Personally, I avoid attaching masts to existing things - fenceposts, hedges etc. I’ve recently seen reports of landowners being disgruntled about that. With a GP antenna, the radials are the guys anyway. With a dipole you only need to add one back guy to enable the thing to stand up without a support. For VHF stuff I carry a small guying kit.

I’m using the same basses I’ve used for over 30 years - a 1988 Fender Jazz and a 1987 Yamaha fretless. Amplification is Italian Mark Bass gear, and I have a very compact effects pedal board - the Valeton Dapper strip.

I sound nothing like a cello.

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FB Tom, that’s a nice venue to play. We stayed there in July 2008. The summit we activated when we were there was G/WB-024 Aconbury Hill, which was reached from the hotel on foot.

73 Phil

Only in a strictly “bush-league” setup that is. :wink:

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