Tomorrow’s activation of G/DC-005 will see M3EYP finally match my activator uniques record. He had 136 to catch up with when he started, and nearly 250 now, so a decent effort by the lad, and indeed his no.1 target when he started in 2005. I hope many get to work him tomorrow - he will be on HF and VHF SSB. Also pleased to report that I have beaten my son to completing the G/DC region today - by about 24 hours!
In reply to M1EYP:
When’s he starting with CW Tom?
In reply to M1EYP:
A big well done to Jimmy. Unfortunately I am unlikely to work him tomorrow as I will be en route to LD for a weekend based in the Newlands Valley.
In reply to M1EYP:
I hope many get to work him tomorrow - he will be on hf and VHF ssb.
I know you probably won’t read this in time, but…
I’m planning a lunch-time trip today onto G/SE-001 so will have a look WSW for the alerted DC-001 - although the line-of-sight goes through G/SC-007, G/SC-004 and G/DC-005 so might not make you.
Hopefully Monday will be a bit better, as I’m planning on doing G/SC-007 and G/SC-008 which should be able to reach you on your alerted G/SC-009 and G/SC-011
I activated Christ Cross G/DC-005 yesterday which means I have the same number of uniques as Dad M1EYP, we are now activating Long Knoll G/SC-007 and we will activate Win Green G/SC-008 later.
In reply to M3EYP:
Congratulations on the 250 uniques, Jimmy. Well done!
Thanks for the 2m FM QSO yesterday when you were on G/SC-007.
In reply to M3EYP:
Well Done Jimmy, excellent achievement and another target for us to aim for.
Well done Jimmy - an excellent achievement. Paul and I had better get a move on otherwise you’ll be snapping at our heels!
73, Gerald G4OIG
In reply to M3EYP:
Thanks for the contact on 40m today.
It was not easy to read you because i have strong QRN…
So best 73 and have fun on the summits.
In reply to M6ADB:
Hopefully Monday will be a bit better, as I’m planning on doing
G/SC-007 and G/SC-008 which should be able to reach you on your
alerted G/SC-009 and G/SC-011
Ah… and the best laid plans… I see Tom and Jimmy did this pair yesterday - fully in accordance with “Summit and time subject to change”
I’m still planning on being on SC-007/8 later so will see if I can find them, wherever they turn up…
We won’t be activating any SOTA summits today, we will be on the beach today instead so we won’t be able to work you summit to summit. I hope you have a good activation today.
Jimmy M3EYP did indeed catch up with my activator uniques total on our DC-005 activation. Not just catch-up, but replicate my exact list of uniques activated. If I’ve done it, he’s done it. And vice versa. Considering he started amateur radio life with 136 of these to catch up with, plus the further 108 we’ve added since, it was a ‘determined’ effort.
He/we have, however, not yet attained 250 activator uniques. We don’t know the reason why this seems to have been confused into the mix, but (if I’ve done my sums correctly), we are 6 short of this landmark.
We arrived home this evening after a fabulous 10 days, mainly in South West England (G/DC and G/SC) in which I completed 22 SOTA activations, with Jimmy just one behind with 21. This included 11 new uniques for me and 16 for Jimmy.
We were pleased to meet Jeff G4ELZ for a beer, and Peter G3TJE for a joint activation followed by a beer. It was also brilliant when Frank G3RMD and Stewart G0LGS came out on the spur of the moment to meet us on Cleeve Hill today.
Other highlights included Trevone Beach, North Cornwall - definitely a place I would like to go back to sometime, having a freshly baked Cornish pasty every morning for breakfast and how, to my utter surprise, my youngest son Liam thoroughly enjoyed the holiday - I honestly didn’t expect that, nor the pace with which he ate up the initial steep ascent of Long Knoll G/SC-007 or his brisk ascent of High Willhays G/DC-001.
Many thanks to all chasers who worked either or both of us.
In reply to M1EYP:
Hi Tom and Jimmy,
many tnx for your pleasent activations (Tour de England")
It was big fun to follow you on the band and on google-earth as well.
I hope Jimmy did all the 4 contacts.
After I was driven by ambulance to the hospital on July 29th and
a short “holiday” there, I have had enough time to watch the bands for you.
I will hopefully be back soon on the summits.
Vy73 Fritz DL4FDM,HB9CSA
Thanks Fritz. It was great that you worked us on many of the summits, and especially when you came on SSB as well when Jimmy was struggling. I am sorry to hear you have not been well, and wish you a speedy recovery.
On with the reports then…
Day 1 - Sunday 25th July 2010 - Macclesfield to Colliford (Bodmin Moor)
The main job of the day was to drive down into Cornwall and find a suitable campsite. Any idea of then grabbing the first activation of the tour disappeared when I got a booking to play a gig with the Adam Palma Band on the Saturday evening. No early night meant no early start on Sunday.
I set off south with Jimmy M3EYP, Liam and Craig - Jimmy’s mate from 6th form. The motorways were running well, and we were soon at Michael Wood services on the M5 for a KFC luncheon. I nearly didn’t bother as the place was dirty, and not a single set of tables and chairs in the large dining area was clean and free of rubbish. Still we were hungry, so we cleaned an area ourselves and got some grub inside us.
Into Cornwall, and we had decided that the Bodmin area would be optimal for the first campsite. We got in at the first one we tried, which was Colliford Lake. This was handy, because it was just off the A30, and was an excellent site with clean showers and toilets, and a very good on-site pub and restaurant.
Interesting stations heard on the car radio en route included 106.2 Sunshine (Hereford), 107.3 Exeter FM, 106.8 Phonic FM (Exeter), 105.5 Palm FM (Torbay) and 105.1 & 107.0 Atlantic FM (Cornwall).
After pitching the tent, we headed into Bodmin in search of food and drink. Long time avid readers of these reports may recall my dissatisfaction with unfriendliness and arrogrance of both Cornish locals and visiting tourists when we were last here in 2005.
Imagine therefore my dismay when upon my entry to the Hole In The Wall pub in Bodmin - with Jimmy, Liam and Craig - that a group of male and female 20-somethings, suddenly increased their volume, lowered their tone and scraped the gutter with their language as they chatted loudly and enthusiastically about most unsavoury topics. We still hadn’t been served, so I took the decision to make a sharp exit! One of the punters ran out after us, shouting “Have a lovely holiday” in a sarcastic goading fashion.
Thankfully, that was to turn out to be the one and only encounter with “Anti-Emmet Culture” in Cornwall, and we were soon experiencing much better hospitality and experience with other customers in an Indian restaurant at the top of town.
Back at the tent, we had finally dispensed with the roll mats we had used for many years, and upgraded to easy-inflating airbeds. Much, much more comfortable, and there will be no going back! It was the first of many late nights, and good nights’ sleeps - and the end of the first of only two of the eleven days that did not feature a SOTA activation.
Day 2 - Monday 26th July 2010 - Cornish summits SW of Bodmin
Hensbarrow Beacon G/DC-004
We were originally going to drive right down to Watch Croft G/DC-007 and work back towards Bodmin. But soon after joining the A30, I noticed a sign for Roche, and this triggered positive memories of freshly baked steak pasties. I diverted into the village and grabbed four of these beasties for our breakfasts.
“We’re really close to DC-004 here” informed Jimmy. With that comment, I reversed the plan for the day, and followed Jimmy’s directions to the top road between the landfill site and the aggregates business. I parked in the wide opening to the PROW to the trig point and commenced that very short level walk to the mound on which the trig point sits.
I checked with the G Association Manager that the official summit had not yet been moved to somewhere up the bank of landfill that now towers above the “summit” - and set up my 40m dipole by the corner of the fence. Jimmy set up the 2m SOTA Beam up by the trig point even though I tried to assure him he was flogging a dead horse. In a disturbingly masochistic manner, Jimmy had vowed to attempt to qualify every activation on 2m FM! At least he did accept he may have to use 40m SSB as back-up should that fail.
There was a brief prospect of him achieving the impossible as he got to 2 QSOs on 2m FM from Hensbarrow Beacon! But he did need to then resort to 40m SSB on my equipment after I had completed my run of 11 contacts on 40m SSB. Jimmy made 5 contacts on HF to add to his earlier 2 on VHF.
So that was one of the 2005 problem summits out of the way without difficulty, and it was now onto another one - Carnmenellis G/DC-006.
Day 2 - Monday 26th July 2010 (part 2)
The day was really brightening up, and Jimmy directed me from Hensbarrow Beacon G/DC-004 to this notorious summit. The last time we were here, we had the police called out to us to investigate a local resident’s sighting of “two people climbing on the transmitter mast”.
We parked down on the road, in a lay-by at SW688363. There was a sense of nervous anticipation as we walked up the road in case there were any dragons around the corner. The track we wanted was marked “Polgear Beacon”, and we continued along here. Soon, Jimmy and Craig had veered right, to make a beeline for the summit, picking the tricky way up through rocks and gorse. I decided to continue with Liam on the wide track to take a wider angle and more graded approach.
This was fine until the hairpin bend by the rocks, after which it was a purgatorial and stressful experience through deep thick gorse. After a slight eternity, Liam and I were just below Jimmy and Craig who were up on the trig point with the beam set up. Would Jimmy get his QSOs without the intervention of HF this time?
No. He managed 3 on 2m FM before heading over to beg use of HF, where he got a further 3 on 40m SSB. In between, my activation comprised a modest 8 QSOs on 40m CW. Liam and I followed Jimmy and Craig’s route down in order to avoid a repeat of our gorse nightmare. We made it safely to the car, no police or dragons in sight.
We continued our southwestwards drive for our third summit Watch Croft G/DC-007.
Day 2 - Monday 26th July 2010 (part 3)
Watch Croft G/DC-007
Jimmy directed me to the parking spot, just off road at SW414347, opposite the track along which we would walk. Remembering the ankle snapping gorse on the final approach to the summit, we tried veering right on an earlier path. However, Jimmy lost confidence in this approach and directed us back to the main track. So it was the same approach as we used in 2005, but it was a walk in the park compared to Carnmenellis G/DC-006 earlier!
Disappointingly, thick wet mist was down on summit, so for the second time in two visits, we were denied a sea view. Guy pegging proved difficult amongst the rocks and gorse strewn across the summit, but eventually the 40m dipole and 2m SOTA Beam were up and ready. Again, Jimmy got 2m FM into his logbook, but needed to revert to 40m SSB to qualify, with two contacts on each. Ten QSOs on 40m CW did the job for me.
It had been a positive start to the holiday. Three summits activated that had all proved to be difficult and time-consuming five years ago. Amazing what difference can be made with better operating skills, greater experience - and SOTAwatch! We celebrated with fish and chips by the quayside in St Ives before tackling the long drive back to the campsite on Bodmin Moor.
Day 3 - Tuesday 27th July 2010 - Bodmin Moor’s summit and an evening contest
Brown Willy G/DC-002
Although the weather didn’t look too promising, the forecast for Wednesday was great - and I had promised Liam a beach day on the first good day. Leaving a significant walk like Brown Willy until (at least) the Thursday could pile pressure on the rest of our South West SOTA ambitions, so I argued the case for tackling Bodmin Moor’s highest point on this rather damp Tuesday.
Jimmy argued the case for a longer but main road route down the A30 to Bodmin and then A39 to Camelford. It was here that we breakfasted on yummy warm freshly baked steak pasties, before heading down Roughtor Road to the large car park at SX137819.
Here we sat in the car listening to BBC Radio Cornwall and Atlantic FM for a while watching and hoping for the rain to ease. As it petered to a fine drizzle, we decided to go for it, kitted up and dropped down the descending path to the stone bridge. We pressed straight on ahead and up the long and gradual grassy path that bisects Showery Tor and Little Rough Tor, reaching about 375m ASL.
The route then dropped diagonally down the other side of Rough Tor, to a gate marked ‘Brown Willy Path’. This was the steepest part of the route, but it didn’t last for too long, and we summitted soon after in deteriorating weather - heavier rain and strong wind.
There wasn’t a great deal of room on the summit, but fortunately the only place with a bit of space to erect antennas coincided with the best available shelter, down below the trig on its North West side. Liam fired up his Nintendo DS, Jimmy the VX-110 and SOTA Beam, and me the FT-817 and 40m dipole.
Ironically, for the poor weather activation, where a quick turnaround would have been welcome, I was treated to a bigger pile-up on 40m CW, rattling through 21 QSOs in 21 minutes. Jimmy still hadn’t completed his objective and was stranded on 3 2m FM contacts, so he took over the 817 and bagged a couple on 40m SSB.
After dropping down off Brown Willy, we decided to try to follow Richard G4ERP’s route around the south of Rough Tor. Unfortunately, Jimmy’s liking for a direct line got the better of him. I wanted to avoid gaining any height and take a wide loop around, but Jimmy insisted on climbing over the shoulder of Rough Tor.
This proved to be one of those extremely rare occasions when I was right and he was wrong, for we were soon cut off from where we needed to be by a boulder field. Some slow and careful mild scrambling was required to take us back onto safer moorland terrain, and over to the car park. But all four of us made it safely, and we were soon cranking up the car heater and removing all wet garments we could without infringing on decency laws.
It was down to Bodmin for an early evening meal in a shopping mall cafe then straight back to the campsite for a shower and change, ahead of the intended 6m contest night on Kit Hill G/DC-003.
There is a disagreement between me and my Dad M1EYP about the ascent route up Brown Willy G/DC-002, I’m sure the ascent route we took bisects Little Rough Tor and Rough, not Little Rough Tor and Showery Tor.