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M0XPO activation of G/SC-004 on 15th Nov 2021

As stated by others before me, G/SC-004 is a relatively easy summit to access as the approach roads are already at +300m with only another +20m of altitude to walk in order to arrive at this summit. I chose to park at the small lay-by (nb; long enough for maybe 4 cars) on Castlemaine and located just east of the junction with B3170. I then walked back to the gate / parking spot suggested by G4OBK in previous posts. From here, the walk is across open land until the final stretch where the activation zone itself is off the track and quite boggy in places.

Whilst it’s very easy to get to the activation zone, the trig itself is well hidden in the woodland.

So, without any GPS equipment with me I gave up after 10-15mins of searching around and set up the FT-817 & 2m slim jim by a fence that borders the activation zone.

This is where the slog really began as after some 15mins of calling CQ on 145.500 there were still no takers. Progress was very slow and it took just under 2hrs to make the four QSOs required to activate the summit. Luckily for me, my fourth and last QSO was a S2S with M0OVW/P over at May Hill (G/WB-019) in S. Wales - this proved to be a great way to end the session and I headed back to the car as the light faded and the mist began rolling in.

73 de M0XPO

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Many thanks for the report, that is a summit on my list to do. If I find the trig point I’ll post a photo of it!

In my limited experience 2m FM is not an easy band and mode in southern England. This is based only on my experience in Sussex, Devon and Cornwall and I know others have done better. It is of course the opposite in some other areas, especially the Lake District.

I’ve been playing with a new 5 element 2m Yagi recently from near Plymouth and had some success on FT8 and much more enjoyably, SSB, but all the response were from France and amazingly one QSO on FT8 from Northern Spain. :slight_smile:

HF is much more reliable but posting alerts before an activation is essential, especially for 2m.

Thanks John, and on this occasion I would tend to agree with your comments about 2m FM in the G/SC region. Fyi, I’ve only recently moved to Somerset and getting into SOTA is new to me - I’m finding it’s a great way to get out and explore the county. This is my 5th summit to date and the others were certainly easier to activate. Thanks for the advice. I did have a 20m dipole with me on standby but it was rather late in the day and I didn’t want to loose any valuable daylight in putting it up.

73 de Lea M0XPO

2 Likes

Hej Lea,

on VHF it makes a big difference if you’re on the right slope. Means, if you’re on the southern slope, it might be hard to be heard of stations north of you. It gets even harder, if there’s woods on the summit and you’re using a vertical antenna.

Ahoi
Pom

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Hi Pom,
You might be very right! This was my first SOTA summit with dense woodland up there so, as you say, it may well have made it more difficult for me. Btw, I love your QRZ pix and have to congratulate you for lugging those stacked yagis around when out /P. Very inspiring !!
73 de M0XPO

Troposcatter is possible for a SOTA station. :nerd_face:
I use the “5-Ellie” stack on a regular basis (wind allowing) and they’re so much fun on a hilltop.
Hope to work you s2s on 144 MHz SSB soon!

Ahoi
Pom

PS: More pix at DP9X.

Lea,

I know the situation, when time on the summit is very limited. Set up for 2 m in a very short time or on SW in about 10…15 minutes? When working on 2 m FM from summits outside of special events it was hard for me to find some stations. So in my experience it was better to take the time for the SW set-up and get more than 4 QSO in a few minutes after. On the whole such activations took less time.
(But this is only my experience especially from DM and HB9 and my opinion.)
73, Ludwig

Hi Ludwig,

You’ve got me thinking now… a nested dipole for 20 & 2m SSB :slight_smile: I enjoy making my own antennas so it’s now my next project.

73, Lea

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Hi Lea

Build a 60m/40m/20m linked dipole. Inverted Vee configuration above your Slim Jim so then you can sit in the middle and either then run through 60/40/20 and end with 2m or vice versa. You MUST Alert and then spot if possible on the day.

Hope this helps…

73 Allan GW4VPX

Hi Lea,

On the ground, Staple Hill is a strange summit. I activated it from a position beyond (north) of where I think that you set up, so I was more out in the open. It was a long time ago and I doubt 2m SOTA activity is the same as it was back then, but I worked 10 on 2m SSB and 2 on 70cm SSB. The take off is quite reasonable.

While HF operation is great, 2m is a good band to start out in SOTA. A bit of power and a beam helps if you decide to go that way and posting an alert on SOTAwatch is certainly worthwhile. I have recently used 2m SSB and FM for HEMA activations in the SC region and had no problems getting contacts.

73, Gerald

Hi Gerald,

Thanks for your comments as I wasn’t aware of HEMA and have now taken a quick look at the site. I see Glastonbury Tor is listed and have always wondered why it wasn’t listed as a SOTA. The Tor is my local high spot so you have now given me something to possibly do tomorrow afternoon!

After that, my sights are set on activating both Selworthy and Periton (SC-005 & 006) in one outing before the winter weather really starts to settle in.

73 de Lea M0XPO

3 Likes

Nice write up Lea. The woodland looks lovely.

A very pleasant pairing, though to get value for money I did add another 4 SCs to the day. I remember them all as though they were recent activations. I particularly enjoyed Periton, including the pleasant walk up from the car park.

If you decide to do Glastonbury, expect to be questioned multiple times by members of the public. I’m working up to do it as I much prefer a quiet summit with no one around.

Hi Hamzah,

It is a beautiful spot with a number of fallen trees and there was no one around at all. My son would probably describe it as ‘creepy’ but it was incredibly quiet and tranquil up there. I also spotted about three different types of mushrooms so I need to do some research and learn which types are edible as it would be great to rustle up a cheese & mushroom omelette when back at home. Where’s your next destination?

73, Lea M0XPO

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Hi Gerald,

Sounds like you had a very productive day! I might consider adding Dunkery Beacon to make it a trio but I activated that on my 3rd SOTA outing - a write up will follow soon.

73, Lea M0XPO

1 Like