Within the SOTA programme, there are good summits, there are great summits, then there are the truly great summits. I’ve been asked on numerous occasions why I activate Shining Tor so often. The simple answer, G/SP-004 is a truly great summit. This summit has a take-off on both VHF and HF that must be amongst the best in the UK.
ve activated G/SP-004 using all sorts of rigs and different types of antennas such as bits of wire, dipoles, beams, CB antennas, fishing poles, the list is endless. After well over 50 activations, still this summit never ceases to amaze me. Today, it was the turn of the kite antenna with the emphasis on Top Band. On my last visit to Shining Tor with a kite, the HF bands were rubbish and I really struggled, however, today was a different story, there was a nice breeze (bitterly cold, -3c, I might add) and no hang gliders to worry about. Pegging out the kite antenna or any antenna for that matter is a doddle on Shining Tor. Unfortunately, Id misjudged the amount of wire I had brought with me and the kite looked to be near 140ft in the air than the 200ft, I had planned on. Ah well.
Before starting on HF, I spent 50 minutes working through the 2m pile-up. As luck would have it, found Mark G0VOF the Top-Band king and listened to his advice.
Time for HF.
After tuning up on 1.845, I noticed the band was very noisy and therefore, wasn`t too hopeful about making any contacts. A self spot followed by a CQ, and a couple of minutes later, Mark G0VOF came booming in. Bob G6ODU was next although not so strong, followed by G6WRW Carolyn who was a good signal. Frank G3RMD in Cheltenham made contact number 4 followed by M6RGF and finally Tom M1EYP. Six contacts was way better than I was expecting for that time of the day.
Did I leave the kite antenna up or did I turn to the fishing pole?
Stay with the kite!
A quick tune onto the 40m Band produced 36 contacts with a lot of inter G. It was now after 1200z, time to QSY to 20m, as this is when the Stateside chasers start looking toward EU. My first port of call was 14.285 where SV1KYQ/P was up on SV/AT-006 and working a pile-up. Sadly he was too weak for me to work, however, I heard Bill W4ZV working him. Bill was a huge signal and worked SV1KYQ/P easily. When Bill finished his contact, I quickly asked him if he would QSY up 5 KCs if he wanted another summit. Bill went straight up there and we completed the contact. Bill very kindly spotted me and Barry N1EU and Rich N4EX were hot on his heels followed by W6UB in TN. A total of 37 calls on 20m including VA, KB and a S2S with Inky in GM land.
A further tune up on the 12 and 15m bands was to prove disappointing with only 2 contacts on 15m and just one on 12m. There was nothing else for it but to try the 17m band. Once again the kite antenna turned on the magic, with 16 contacts into the log including the best DX of the day KI6EAB in Santa Cruz CA.
A fine days radio with total of 163 contacts logged including 12 S2S, a good start for the new award.
To sum up, the kite antenna is a lot lighter than many of the more unorthodox HF antennas I`ve worked with and certainly no slouch at sniffing out DX. I’m convinced the kite has a lot more to offer and intend to conduct some further experiments in the near future.
A big thanks to all the chasers today, especially Stateside, for making such a wonderful effort so early in the morning.