Having dropped off my wife at Manchester airport on Sunday 28th, it seemed rude not to fit in an activation of Kinder Scout - a new unique for me - before heading home.
I generally try to avoid being out and about on bank holliday weekends especially when the weather is good, but this was a special case. Taking note of Simon @G4TJC 's blog at G4TJC: On The Edge I decided to start walking from the point where the Pennine Way path crosses the A57 road.
This proved to be a good plan. Although there were lots of cars parked along the verge, I had no difficulty in finding a spot, and most of the people seemed to be heading north along the Pennine way - which looked more interesting for a familly stroll - whereas I would be heading south towards the trig point at “The Edge”.
The route is a 6Km slog along a mostly paved path over open moorland, but pleasant enough under blue sky, patchy cloud and a gentle breeze.
A diversion from the Pennine Way of 2 or 3 hundred metres leads to the trig point - I didn’t find a well defined path for this bit, and the trig wasn’t visible from the main path (or if it is, I didn’t see it!), so the section of map that I had printed from StreetmapUK proved its worth.
I had alerted for 145MHz FM, with the possibility of HF to follow, so I set up for 2m using FT817 and wire Jpole on 5m pole strapped to the nearby fence. 14 contacts followed, including 3 S2S and a number of pleasant short rag chews. This took about half an hour, during which the sun went in and the breeze increased such as to be almost chilly.
Of note after several contacts, one op commented that I was not quite as strong as he would expect from Kinder Scout (he gave me S7). This reminded me that when I switched on, the radio was set to 146.300MHz, ah yes, that was because its last use was with the 23Cm transverter, which meant that it was also set to 500mW output. Flicking it up to 5W took my signal up a couple of S points. If all the signal reports were reasonably accurate, there is only one of the 14 QSOs that might not have been completed easily with 0.5W.
Anyway, time to move to HF. I packed up the 2m antenna, and set up the 20 / 30 / 40m linked dipole. It was clipped to 30m, so I decided to start there, and settled back at the radio. I could hear a Portugese station, and an Italian at good strength, so the band seemed to be working.
However, whilst setting up the dipole, the wind had dropped to zero, and the sun had emerged from behind the clouds. As one, a gazillion midges (or midgets, as they are known in our familly) emerged from the turf and proceded to cover all exposed skin, seemingly attempting to remove it piecemeal. Concentrating on morse, or anything else for that matter, became quite challenging, and I decided to call it a day without any further contacts. I think this is the first time on an activation that I’ve set up an aerial and then taken it down without using it! Apologies to anyone hoping for a contact on HF.
A look back towards Snake Pass, a line of parked cars just visible. Still plenty of water around. This route would be quite boggily challenging without the paved path:
Guard sheep waiting to pounce on unsuspecting travellers:
Trig point on arrival:
I usually snap the operating position at the end of an activation, but the midgets distracted me from that - here’s a general view from the path on the way out:
A good walk, and an enjoyable day. Thanks to Simon for the suggested route, and to all those who chased me, all contacts much appreciated.
Oh, yes, a slight pre-summit brain incident - I left my sandwiches in the fridge at home, but survived well enough on a banana and two Bounty bars. I did have plenty of water with me and a flask of coffee!