…and this is why.
As per usual, I had a sniff of a very quick 20 minute Cloud G/SP-015 activation in-between running errands. And as per usual, I didn’t prepare anything, check anything or even really think about anything. I just assumed my rucksack was good to go with everything in it, that my battery had charge, that propagation might be there on 20m, that the aerial wasn’t broken and all the other usual sloppiness.
The thing is, much more often than not, I get away with it. The evening of Tuesday 26th September 2017 was another such occasion.
I ambled up The Cloud by the light of my headtorch on a pleasantly mild late September evening, and set up my 20m groundplane antenna. In terms of value and efficiency (talking more practical concerns than scientific definition here), this is my favourite antenna. Light as a feather (the SOTA Pole will account for most of the weight of the antenna system), 5 minutes to set up, 3 minutes to pack away.
As usual, I didn’t have long to operate, so I hoped for some conditions on 20m. If not, then I would just have to make the activation “good” by making a VHF contact or two on the handheld.
Called CQ on 20m CW. First reply - a big signal from ZL1BYZ. That I was not expecting - but as I say, I hadn’t done any research so I might well have just hit the greyline for all I knew! That was the first of 10 contacts I made in 16 minutes of operating. The others were 6 x USA, 1 x Canada, plus SV and DL.
So, as quick low-effort, unprepared activations go, this was a rather good one! 5 watts and a few bits of wire cobbled together - satisfying!
Inspiration to be more vigilant with my SOTA preparations in future? None whatsoever…