Out of 58 activations of NW-051 all of them except one have been on the bands between 70cm and 6m, usually in contests, so I thought I would try hf for a change!
My one and only previous hf activation was on 5MHz back in 2007 using one of my military radios and its 2.4m whip antenna so I decided to have an attempt with a more efficient antenna.
I built a link dipole for 10m, 17m, 20m, 40m, 60m and 80m a few months ago but only got around to trimming the lenghths to resonance a few days ago and this afternoon was the first chance to try it out on a summit.
I was out all morning so it was a last minute decision to go and I didn’t post the alert until 1200hrs.
I alerted for 5.3985MHz, optimistically for 7.090MHz and 3.666MHz.
I was set up with the FT-857 a few minutes after the alerted time of 1400hrs but 5.3985MHz was very noisy with a data transmission chunnering away at about S7, but I put out a call anyway.
Paul G0HNW responded to my call with his usual strong signal but was struggling a bit with copying me due to the QRM on the channel so I went down to 5.3715MHz and worked Alan G4PCB near Exeter.
After that there were no more responses to my cq calls - a very depressing start!
I decided to move on to 40m which was its usual noisy, busy self and called cq wherever I could squeeze in around 7.090, but again no response.
Tuning around the band I heard Raf, ON5RZ/P on ON-021 and eventually cracked his pile-up for a S2S.
It was now the turn of 80m and hopefully, a better response!
A cq call on 3.666MHz fortunately brought in Mike, GW0DSP who was able to spot me - many thanks Mike. This of course made all the difference and there followed a nice steady run of 21 calls from mostly regular chasers.
Thanks also to Luc, ON6DSL for spotting me again 25 minutes into the run.
I finally reached the last caller Rob, G4RQJ at 1525 but I wanted to carry on playing a little longer!
Don, G0RQL was still on frequency so I asked him to QSY to 5MHz to give it a go there. Don as usual was a cracking signal and there followed a run of 10 callers thanks to a spot by Mike, G4BLH.
So after a very disappointing start to the afternoon a very enjoyable conclusion and many thanks to all stations who gave me a call.
I now know that the antenna is working OK and will probably try one of the military radios on the next activation.