Like those old days

I’m thinking 2003 -2004 -2005. When most of SOTA was on 2m FM, but the more experienced portable ops would venture onto 2m SSB, requiring greater operating skills and more thought to antennas.

If there wasn’t an RSGB VHF contest in progress, one would need equally skilled chasers to achieve the SOTA qualification. The “Midlands Mafia” of Pete M0COP, Don G0NES and Graham G4JZF were the main targets as us fledgling radio amateurs learned about directional beams and correct exchange of signal reports - and if you were lucky, Brian G8ADD.

A few years later I tried to get some momentum going on 2m CW. This had limited success. I recall one particularly good activation of Cracoe Fell G/NP-032 in which I made a stack of 2m CW contacts, but usually I would be lucky to get 2 or 3 in the logbook.

Anyway, I intend to relive those halcyon times tomorrow morning, so dust off those horizontal antennae and point them at IO83we. SSB and CW will be used, and possibly PSK31. But definitely no FM hi!



Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be!

I’ll be listening.


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Hi Tom,

You got me looking back through my old logs (I started activating in 2005) and I was amazed to see how many activations took an hour or more to scrape four or five contacts. On more than one occasion I only qualified the hill thanks to well-known stalwarts of the day, including those you mention, phoning each other to warn that I was on :smile:

Don’t think I’ll be able to make the Handbag Fun Event but for the sake of old times I’ll be listening for you tomorrow with the 290 and the 5 ele ZL special I built for portable work. And if the 2.5 watts won’t cut it, might dig out the FDK multi 750X and give it a bit more welly!

And if you really QRS might even give it a go on the key…

73 de Paul G4MD

Very slow going on 2m cw! Now going to try 144.138 psk if anyone wants to try.

Hi Tom

Horrendous static crashes here this morning, could tell you were there on sideband but not enough to warrant a call. On CW you were 229 to 339 but not enough for my rudimentary skills to tackle :frowning:

73 de Paul G4MD

Tried psk Tom… but either couldn’t hear u or you’d already moved on

No still calling around 144.1385 MHz PSK31. Keep trying!

Hmmm… that’s no copy then Tom. Getting more concerned about the rx on this thing everyday… oh dear.


In my case I’m happy with the rx, but that antenna has got to come down for servicing - perhaps water has got into the coax. Needless to say, no copy!


Climbing to the summit of The Cloud G/SP-015 was a joy. Let me show you why:

That was the view East towards Gun G/SP-013 and The Roaches as I walked up. A bright a warm sunrise over the mist filled valley. I soon reached the summit, which was one of the few islands above the sea of low cloud.

Unsurprisingly, I was not the only photographer taking in this spectacle. I was just using the camera on my phone though, while the other chap had all the proper gear, tripod and everything.

That is the summit village of Mow Cop peeping through, at the other end of the ridge from The Cloud G/SP-015. The Gritstone Trail connects the two before continuing down the canal to Kidsgrove.

This photo shows the view across to Croker Hill / Sutton Common, and the locally well-known Bosley telecommunications tower. Anyway, after the unplanned pause to take the photos and take in the views, I set up a groundplane antenna for 28MHz. Conditions were quite good with Japan and China both easily audible. All the DX stations were only interested in working the Scandinavians though, in the SAL contest.

I made just six QSOs on 10m, 2 on SSB and 4 on CW. This comprised one TA, one UR and four RA, three of which had the special UE16 prefix.

Then it was time to do as I had threatened on the SOTAwatch reflector and do something on 2m SSB. I changed the antennas over and started to call. Just eight stations were worked, with Don G0RQL being the best DX in IO70. Other squares worked were IO81, IO82, IO83, IO92 and IO93.

Things were pretty slow, so I went down to 2m CW - where of course things were very much slower! I limped to four QSOs on CW in around 25 minutes. I then tried 2m PSK31 on 144.138MHz, but there were just no takers at all. I must have called for getting on half-an-hour, but to no avail.

The summit got busier, which was no surprise on such a glorious morning. There was, as usual, lots of interest in what I was doing. At around 11am I decided to pack down and descend, with 18 contacts in the logbook. The radio was a bit disappointing but the weather and the views were worth going out for alone.

Wow Tom - some really great photos there! :smile:

Shame I couldn’t work you on PSK - should be easy from here, I can practically see you! I’ll be looking into the rx on the TR751… unfortunately that’s the radio I’m going to use for the ‘vintage electric handbag’ weekend so I’d better get a move on and sort it!

There’s been a bit of interest on 2m psk after I created a group on Facebook. I managed three contacts from Shining Tor this year using it. I’ve only ever heard one signal on 2m psk outside of my sota operations and outside of the Facebook group.


Excellent photos Tom. Sorry I wasn’t able to be QRV on 2m SSB for your activation - other things to do!

I too tried to rustle up some interest in 2m CW - I even went on the Yahoo group for the mode and gave out details of forthcoming activations, but unfortunately there was little interest. There was a period when Reg G3WPF was very active on the mode, but recent activity has been limited to Frank G3RMD and Phil G4OBK who regularly demonstrate the efficiency of the mode relative to SSB when I am up in GM. Don G0NES uses the mode from time to time.

There will be more 2m SSB / CW from me on the next outing to GM/SS. QSO numbers are unfortunately somewhat less than they used to be, particularly with the “Cheltenham Mafia” being much reduced and the “London Mafia” and a number of the Lancashire lads having lost interest in SOTA. Thankfully, Don G0RQL makes the kit earn its keep. It is just a shame that the distance down to Devon from GM is usually too far for 70cm, but I will continue to give the band air time when it is appropriate to do so.

73, Gerald G4OIG