Holme Fell, it's a British Summer!

Wow, it’s been hot here. If tik-tok is to be believed (please don’t go there if you value your time) British summers are a special kind of heat. Well, I don’t know about that, what I do know is don’t wear synthetic t-shirts on ascents!

It was later in the afternoon when I tackled Holme Fell G/LD-051. There were a number of options along the taxi route I took for Brooke and her friends from their party location near Settle but we ended up in Coniston where I left Brooke and her boyfriend play in Coniston Water (very warm apparently) whilst I took to the ascent.

There were two motorcycle accidents on the route - please take care if you ride. One was clearly a van pulling out from a layby - I don’t know how fast the bike was going. Ride within visibility always. The Settle road is a famous biking route with Kirby Lonsdale and specifically Devils Bridge being a popular destination to ‘hang out’ with other bikers - today there must have been close to 100 bikers parked up there with the same amount enroute.

I had a few radio options in the car but chose the FT-857D already in the rucksack together with the SotaBeams Band Hopper IV, 10m compact pole and 21AH LifePo4. Yes, that battery again! Somehow carrying the battery via a handle seems easier than carrying 1 or 2 x 4200 mAH LifePo4s in the rucksack. I don’t think the knees agree however.

I anticipated there would be few mad enough to tackle any hill in this heat and I was proven right being the only occupier of the summit for the two hours I was there. There was a light breeze which helped, and the odd cloud for some relief. I’d been shopping earlier for some supplies for our pending trip to Rhodes so deployed the newly bought factor 50 before the ascent.

I setup the Band Hopper IV and immediately had another wire breakage - I think it is time for a restring as this has happened several times now.

Coniston Water

Summit Cairnstone Pile

2m FM Activation

15:30 G0TDM 2m FM 52 31 John
15:35 GW4ZPL 2m FM 56 58 Colin
15:36 M7MCG 2m FM 57 59 Micah
15:37 M0IGG 2m FM 59 59 Steve
15:38 M1DHA 2m FM 57 59 ALAN
15:38 M6KWB 2m FM 52 59 Kelly
15:40 G7SXR 2m FM 53 55 Mark
15:41 G4JNN 2m FM 51 51 Paul

Using 50w with the FT-857 and the Spectrum Communications Slim-J got me a few unexpected contacts including Mark G7SXR in Leeds and G4JNN in Bradford.

HF SSB Activation

Starting with 20m to get a S2S with Martin F4JJD on F/CR-258 I then had a good run of contact on 20m. The QSB was having an effect on weaker signals and I had to request callsigns a few times. 40m was working both Inter-G and into Europe.

15:46 F4JJD/P 20m SSB 59 59 Martin SOTA F/CR-258
15:48 EA1DHB 20m SSB 57 57 Ricardo
15:48 HA7WA 20m SSB 59 59 Viktor
15:49 DL3HXX 20m SSB 59 59 Lothar
15:50 SP8KHK 20m SSB 51 51 Gminy
15:50 DJ5AV 20m SSB 59 59 Michael
15:50 DL1MP 20m SSB 59 55 Martin
15:50 EA2DT 20m SSB 53 53 Manuel
15:51 S57ILF 20m SSB 56 55 FRANCI
15:51 DJ4FF 20m SSB 56 57 Robert
15:52 OH3GZ 20m SSB 56 55 JUKKA
15:52 OE6RCD 20m SSB 55 55 ROLAND
15:53 OE5FDM 20m SSB 59 59 Daniel
15:53 EA3EVL 20m SSB 51 55 PABLO
15:54 F4IOQ 20m SSB 53 31 DIXNEUF
15:55 SQ3SHI 20m SSB 59 59 Przemek
16:02 MW0SAW 40m SSB 59 59 Steve
16:03 HA7WA 40m SSB 52 57 Viktor
16:03 EA7EVL 40m SSB 52 55 Elena
16:04 IN3ADF 40m SSB 53 55 Markus
16:05 GM8OFQ 40m SSB 59 59 Geoff
16:07 I/OE7PAI 40m SSB 57 43
16:08 IU4FLP/4 40m SSB 58 57 Andrea
16:09 LB6OJ 40m SSB 59 58 Ian
16:10 M0BKV 40m SSB 59 57 DAMIAN
16:10 F4HZN 40m SSB 58 58 Laurent
16:13 M0HEM 40m SSB 55 59 JOHN
16:13 GX4WAB 40m SSB 59 59 The
16:14 OK1FBE 40m SSB 55 57 VACLAV
16:19 MW0SAW 80m SSB 41 41 Steve
16:32 IK2ZJR 20m SSB 58 55 Tony
16:34 OH6JJ 20m SSB 59 59 Juha

Only one taker on 80m - I’ve not used it much as I haven’t been using the Sotabeams Band Hopper lately and it is the only antenna that will sensibly do 80m. I did try 60m, no takers.

HF CW Activation

Not many takers on 20m CW given that I was putting out a 100w CW signal, but great to get across the pond with Matt @W4GO and deep into Europe with Kosmas @SV2SOQ - apologies to him, I’m still loitering on misheard letters instead of re-listening to the repeats, but we got there in the end! I was using the palm straight key, hopefully it didn’t sound too eratic. Great to finish with another S2S with Emanuele @IZ0ETE who was on I/UM-101.

16:43 SV2SOQ 20m CW 599 559 Kosmas
16:44 W4GO 20m CW 559 339 Matthew
16:49 SP6GNK 20m CW 519 599 Piotr
16:52 IZ0ETE/P 20m CW 559 599 Emanuele SOTA I/UM-101

A lovely day in the Lake District but almost too hot for activations!

Sotabeams Band Hopper & Spectrum Comms Slim-J

FT-857D sitting on top of the Ultramax 21AH LifePo4

There is a large boulder on the ascent/descent to Holme Fell from Yew Tree Tarn, I’ve probably taken a photo before but here is a photo with me infront, just to give some scale!

Large Boulder on the Ascent/Descent

Yes it really is quite big!

Thanks to all the chasers, it was late in the day for SOTA but a worthwhile trip.
Time to get that Band Hopper 4 restrung with fresh antenna wire.

Regards, Mark. M0NOM

All Photos Here.


Thanks Mark for you great report and photos. At my qth we usually get 30c to 45c in mid summer. In other parts of vk it gets even higher. Just nice. :grinning:

Geoff, vk3sq

Hi Geoff

Firstly, thanks for being such an emphatic liker of my posts!

The hottest I’ve experienced was a few days on holiday in Spain when we first arrived one year - it was 42 degC. There was no air conditioning in the apartment either.

I think the issue today was humidity and inappropriate clothing more than anything else. The shorts were fine, but the t-shirt a totally unsuitable material for walking in!

Regards, Mark.

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That’s a steep little climb in this heat Mark! Glad to see you chose the lightweight option.
Mid-20s is nice. Anything more is a waste for me. I prefer the cold


Nice report but I’m curious about this:

I always wear synthetic clothing while walking (apart from some wool in the socks) and it’s very comfortable in all weathers. Cotton would be hideous.

73 Richard

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Yes. I’ve been wearing Iso-Cool tops from Mountain Warehouse for years. There’s the ultralight ones for warmer weather and heavier ones for cooler weather. The lightweight ones are £9.99 each or you can buy the same think from the tier one brands for about £35 each.

Inappropriate clothing is maybe more applicable then. A cheap top from Primark, probably made mostly of plastic, it felt about as comfortable as walking in a bin liner :sweat:.

Cheers, Mark.

My walking clothes are also made from plastic, being mostly polyester. The T-shirts are cheap Peter Storm that I have had for years. I guess it’s the way they are spun and woven that affects how comfortable they are. Anything is better than a cotton T-shirt though!

Amazed that you guys keep your clothes on in the hills in this weather. A thin coating of factor 50 is all that is required.


Two things. Firstly, no-one needs to see that! Secondly, my wife has had skin cancer so I am uber sensitive and don’t trust suntan lotion not to wash off in waves with exercise. The ‘gunky’ stuff is probably fine however.

Each to their own. Maybe save it for the national naked hiking day :dizzy_face: :face_with_spiral_eyes: :exploding_head: :face_holding_back_tears: :scream: :broken_heart:

Regards, Mark.


I used the cheap horrible gunky white stuff for years. It has worked well. I recently found that suncreme does have a shelf life of under 3 years and the stuff I was using was bought in 2010. Before you joke about sun and Scotland it was a huge bottle that refilled a small 50ml tube I took with me. Given that famous line from Rambo “he got himself killed in 'nam and didn’t even know” I decided to bin it and buy a new bottle. Not worth taking the risk of using a product that isn’t working for a few pounds. Bought the same gunky white stuff again.

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During several of my business trips to Adelaide it was that temperature. It was my first experience of having sweaty legs merely strolling in the park in long trousers.

I wear a linen top for hillwalking when it gets this hot. I reckon readers from countries where it gets really hot and often are laughing at us cissy Brits making a fuss because we’re having a bit of a heatwave at the moment.

We don’t want to frighten the sheep now, do we.

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There is usually a distinct difference between 28C in England and 28C in say Tenerife such that 28C in England is a lot less pleasant. Similarly people who live where it is 10+C hotter than the UK are very susceptible to feeling cold. I’ve been at my sister’s QTH near Nimes in Decmber and it has been a balmy 15C and I have been in a T-shirt and shorts thinking it’s only a degree or 2 cooler than a Scottish Highland summer day and she has had a Down jacket with hat and gloves on as it is “so cold” :slight_smile:

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The humidity makes all the difference. I recall changing jobs in the early 80’s and moving from Munich to Boston, USA. It was the same temperature at both airports, very warm but comfortable in Munich but as soon as I stepped out of the air-conditioned building at Logan airport, my shirt was a pool of sweat.

Killer views. I was pleased and slightly amazed to hear you as well as I did – the QRO gear explains it. Daytime in the summer is not great for the NA-EU path and I haven’t been able to copy many of the EU/UK activations lately even on CW. On my end, 100 W to a SpiderBeam pointed at EU.

When I built my homebrew take on the BandHopper, I opted for a bit stouter wire – 22 AWG with thick teflon insulation – than the original and don’t regret it a bit.



Great to get you in the log Matt, and nice to know you were using KWs.
I have a home built equivalent that uses stouter wire, but it has a long run of RG58 which adds significantly to the weight, so I may place that with the RG174. However, it’s just with the shear amount of use that the thin wire has problems, I do get my money’s worth!


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I bought 2x 25m lengths of PTFE covered stranded wire at the FN rally for €8, overall 1.2mm OD and about 0.5mm for the conductors (looks like 13 strands). Looking at prices online that was a stunning bargain and I should have bought much more.

Never snapped a conductor yet, only had the joints to connectors fail.

You may want to consider trying something a bit more flash. There’ll be more (quite a big bit more) loss with RG-174 especially if it’s a longer run at higher HF frequencies. You can try using Messi&Paoloni Airborne 5 coax. It is much lighter than RG-58 but is only 5mm OD and has significantly lower loss. It’s not as ultimately “floppy” as RG-58 but is very flexible. Probably £1.50/m plus the crimp on connectors but you’d end up with something ever so much better than RG-58 with a big weight saving. A guestimate is you can make a 10m length with connectors for about £20. Just a thought.

My plan was to buy a 10m run of RG174 from SotaBEAMS with connectors already installed. I have crimp tools for RG-58 but would rather pay the money for reliability than install connectors on RG-174.

I’ll take a look however thanks. A 10m run with PL-256 one end and BNC the other from SOTABeams is £18.50.


Try it when your eyes are another 10 years older! :eyes: :dark_sunglasses: :eye: