I was pleased to see that the WX forecast for today was predicting much calmer weather than of late. Sunny skies and cold temperatures were predicted - perfect!
Because of the good WX, I could elect to use my favourite antenna, a home brew ultra light dipole using a 4m pole for support. I cant quite quantify why, but of all my radios, my favourite rig is my second 2 band KD1JV Mountain Topper, despite it being heavy at 170g (steel case, grrrr!). Today, I chose to use the Mountain Topper, which was welcome relief after fighting the FT817 keyer yesterday whilst I had a dabble on 10m.
It took some effort to get out of bed but I was at the top of my first summit, Great Whernside G/NP-008, before 9am. I’d even stopped off for breakfast at McDonalds on way (porridge and a coffee).
The fence across the summit had amazing rime formations
I was warm inside the bothy bag and this time I took a pair of headphones to try and I could hear the MTR’s audio much better. I’d built myself a little AF amp but it was not needed at all.
<img src="/uploads/db9433/original/2X/5/5e551341eea85db2430a302d7a5ef0ad3ddcc011.jpg" width="690"height=“388”>
About 30 QSO’s were had in a short time, signals were generally excellent. I really enjoyed the operating session, I was happy with the rig, the signals were good and the pile up was lively. I got a little bit frazzled by the wall of noise at one point and thoughts of ‘should I have tried split’ ran through my head, but in the end I just got on with it and I managed OK.
Dodd Fell Hill
At the last Craven Radio Amateur Group (CRAG) meet, we were talking about Dodd Fell Hill. I have never done G/NP-016 before but I’m trying to maximise my points score because I targeting Mountain Goat for 2016. I took the road from where I had parked for Great Whernside down to Kettlewell and had a brief break in the public car park to study the map and eat lunch. I decided that I had enough time to try to do Dodd Fell Hill. I headed towards Buckden and split off at the turning for Hubberholme. The Hubberholme road is amazing, it’s like Postman Pat country! Drystone walls enclosing a single track road with green fields all around.
I used the tips in the summits pages to park near the Pennine Way path at the end of the gated road. Visibilty was excellent, so it was easy to spot the little cairn marking the diversion from the Pennine Way to the summit of Dodd Fell Hill. The notes said that the ground is very wet, but today the ground was more or less frozen. The views from Dodd Fell were breathtaking. I especially enjoyed the view of Ingleborough G/NP=005 (on my to do list, saving it!)
I again used my lightweight dipole on 4m pole and KD1JV MTR powered by a 2S lipo with about 2.5w output (I’d used the same battery for G/NP-008).
Again, signals were good and the pile up was another wall of noise. I’m truly amazed that such a tiny setup can work so well. Icing on the cake was working Phil, VE1WT in Nova Scotia - I mean how does that even work? A tiny QRP rig, running less than 3watts, prowered by a tiny battery into an inverted vee, made from thin equipment wire, fed with a length of RG-174 at about 3.75m above ground, working across a few thousand miles - it’s mad!!
One of those golden winter SOTA days when the radio works and the WX works! Using the over ear headphones was a huge improvement, I think I’ll have to invest in a second pair.
73, thanks to all chasers.