Sunday 22nd 1210 local Arrived on St Boniface Down after several false road approaches. Set up off the main paths, very close to the trig point managing to avoid the generous gifts left by the many dog walkers. Worked most of the usual suspects on 5 MHz SSB, then switched to PSK.
Problem number one, the waterfall is almost unreadable due to ambient light levels. Temporary solution, put head under spare fleece and look like a mad Victorian photographer, very hot now but call CQ, no response. Spot Alistair in the waterfall 599, here we go, call him, no response. Sneak a glance at the FT817 outside the hood; it’s not going over to transmit! At this point my hardware background kicks in and we spend a long time fiddling with various connectors, all to no avail. Eventually the penny drops. There are two versions of the software loaded on the computer, one for home station use and another with all the macros etc for SOTA and the SOTA one is not keying the PTT.
Problem two, I can’t reconfigure things on the hill ‘cos I can’t see the display and it’s too hot under the fleece. Answer: use the home version raising problem three, my typing, the reason I use lots of macros. (Can one of the software experts write a program to allow PSK to be driven with a Morse key instead of the keyboard?) Call CQ using the home base version but by now everyone has lost interest except G3IZD, fellow club member back home in Barrow. A QSO results during which I manage to send the home base QTH macro by mistake! No further takers
No takers on 2 SSB and just three on FM so pack up and decamp for the next one.
Sunday 22nd 1610 local Arrive on Brightstone Down after a nice short woodland walk in. Twenty seven contacts on 5Mhz SSB and a switch to 7Mhz SSB with BVE finding us a frequency (Tnx John) Five contacts here followed by two on 2SSB and two on 2FM completed the days haul at 1805 local
Back at base, regrouped and reconfigured the working software with short Isle of Wight macros. Carried the radio gear with us in the car and decided to repeat the summits, PSK only time permitting.
Thursday 26th 1730 local Back on Brightstone Down, five PSK stations worked on 40M, one GM and four in mainland Europe. Time taken about one hour
Friday 27th St Boniface Down Same spot, five PSK stations worked on 40M, 4 DL and one PA. Time taken again, about one hour.
Old laptops are difficult to see in bright sunlight. Waterfall needs to be re configured
White background seems preferable. Use font size 12 at least and a bold typeface.
Make sure that the program you intend to use will run in a real situation.
Allow plenty of time for random contacts
Old laptops are heavy!
Learn to touch type.
We will be repeating this mode in the future from small summits, perhaps as additional activations to previous qualifications. Thanks to those who tried to participate and sorry if you missed us on our learning curve.
Rob and Audrey