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M1BUU/P 2022 Activations

I don’t intend to write a report for each and every activation this year, just ones where I feel that there’s a story to share. Rather than create a new topic each time, I thought I would just add to this one each time, making it easy to ignore my waffle :grin:

Sharp Haw G/NP-029, 07 January 2022

Richard @G4TGJ happened to mention to me that he was planning to activate G/NP-032 today. I’m in awe of Richard’s home made radio so I thought it would be fun to try to chase him. I don’t operate from home as I have a small garden and putting an antenna up is not easy, also I live at the bottom of a valley.

I considered going up White Hill G/SP-006 which is probably my nearest 2 point summit but my wife sent me a message after her journey to work saying that the roads around Ingleton were covered in snow. I didn’t fancy risking taking the rural single track road to the forest of Bowland, so instead I thought I’d activate Sharp Haw, G/NP-029, which involves just a very short piece of single track road (Bog Lane) off the main road.

Knowing that Richard’s home brew radio operates on 40m and 20m, I opted to pack my MTR-2B 40m/20m rig. Cracoe Fell is line of sight from Sharp Haw, so I wouldn’t need much power. I would have used a QRPp rig, but I needed frequency agility in order to chase. I put my little lipo battery on charge and waited until it was full until I set off from home. I left home at about 10am. The A65 had a bit of slush on but nothing too scary. I opted to take the main road round to Bog Lane, rather than cutting up through Stirton.

I chose to wear wellies to walk up Sharp Haw from Bog Lane as I know that the route is always muddy. The wellies were a wise choice although I wish that I had put thicker socks on as my feet were soon very cold.

I reached the summit at around 1200 noon, so I had 30 minutes to get sorted if Richard was sticking to his 1230 Alert time. I gambled that Richard would start on 40m, so I set up for 40m using my linked dipole on a 7m pole on the lee side of the hill. I had a great view of Cracoe Fell from my operating position. Richard wasn’t aware that I was attempting an S2S with him. I put out a few calls without a spot or alert and I worked a few stations, but unfortunately I was suffering from what sounded like deliberate QRM. I was tuning around looking for a new frequency when I saw the spot for Richard on 7.0308 pop up on SOTAwatch. Result! I used the direct frequency entry feature and tuned my MTR to Richard’s frequency. I heard the end of G4YBU’s QSO and then tail ended. Boom! Richard responded straight away. Mission complete! I did consider packing up as time was limited (household chores to do!), but I thought it would be courteous to spot myself and work until the callers dried up. After a handful more QSO’s I packed up and took a few photos, before marching back to the car.

I was home for before 2pm which meant I could catch up on my chores before my wife got back from work!


Sharp Haw (G/NP-029) trig point with Cracoe Fell (G/NP-032) in the distance.


Richard - I tried waving at you!


My first edition MTR (s/n 131) and Cracoe Fell G/NP-032 in the distance.

73, Colin

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Thanks Colin for your interesting report with nice photos. I do like reading your reports. :grinning: :+1:

Geoff vk3sq HNY to you

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It was good to get the S2S Colin. I need to memorise all my local SOTA references because it wasn’t until I got home that I realised that you were so close. I was sheltering behind a huge boulder so I couldn’t see Sharp Haw. I left home and started the activation slightly earlier than planned so I’m glad you caught me although I am sure 20m would also have worked!

That has to be one of the most well named roads leading to a SOTA summit start point.

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I always take alert times with a pinch of salt. It all just worked perfectly yesterday, even down to the fact that my antenna pole collapsed as I’d just finished sending ‘QRT’!

Yes, Bog Lane is a very apt name! My wellies definitely were a good idea, I couldn’t have done it in walking boots without getting wet feet.

73, Colin

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White Hill, G/SP-006, 11th January 2022

The mission for this activation was to try to work Guru @EA2IF on his birthday. The theme for today was ‘57’, as today is Guru’s 57th birthday. I looked for a summit with the reference of xx/xx-057 but my nearest one is G/LD-057, which is a private summit which needs permission to access.

As I’m time limited, I opted to do White Hill G/SP-006, which is about 15 minutes drive to the parking place from home.

I gave my wellies another outing, they are absolutely necessary for White Hill, whatever time of year!

As my intention was to work Guru, I looked at the propagation predictions and it seemed as though 20m or 17m would work with highest signal strengths, although most bands seemed to offer a path to EA. I pointed my dipole antenna with the side looking at EA (East -West alignment). To further improve my signal, I opted to use my QRP Labs amplifier with my QCX 20.

I was pleased to hear good signals from EA and then it was a pleasure to work Guru EA2IF with 599 both ways.

@G4OBK, and @WX1S obviously failed to get the memo that I wasn’t beaming their way, but I worked them anyway :wink: Thanks for the contacts guys! The most surprising contact was with M0BKV, 250 miles away in Cornwall. I could just hear Damian calling me with the gain turned up fully, I probably would have struggled if I didn’t recognise the call.

53 QSOs in the log in total.

A good day!

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The power made a difference Colin. I wouldn’t have expected a QRP signal on 20m over the distance (72 miles) to be such a good 549/559 as you were. You are also sending faster these days, could be your Morse receive speed has also increased, if so well done, you are sounding like an old pro!

73 Phil

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Colin that’s Priceless!! Thanks for being there.
Happy Birthday Guru :beers:
Cheers,
fred

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Ward’s Stone, G/SP-003, 30 January 2022

Unfortunately I tested positive for covid a couple of days after my activation of White Hill G/SP-006, so I had 10 days of isolation which kept me away from SOTA activating. Thankfully the symptoms were mild although I have a headache which is refusing to go away!

I don’t just know how it happened :smile: but I ended up planning a joint activation with Matthew M5EVT for today. Ward’s Stone is not too far from where I live but I’ve always been put off by the distance of the walk and the reported bogs. Matthew sent me a list of the hills he was considering and I replied stating that I’d been fancying an activation of G/SP-003 for a while.

I was aware that Éric F5JKK needed to chase G/SP-003 for his chaser goals, so I tipped him off as soon as the plans were being made.

I agreed to meet Matthew at the Rigg Lane car park at 0830. I arrived about 10 minutes early, which gave me chance to faff about getting my gear ready and boots on - I do tend to mess about a bit! Matthew arrived shortly after.

I was grateful to Matthew for leading the way, as he had been up the summit in years gone by (but not for SOTA). We chatted about building radios and without even realising we arrived at the summit. We were a little bit behind schedule and then I made us a bit later still by suggesting that we should walk across to the second trig point. I had a sked on 2FM with my friend Chris 2E0XLG, so I called him on 145.500 and we had a brief chat on 145.450. I’d joked with Matthew that we had a competition to see who could work Éric F5JKK first. Matthew beat me by 1 minute, working Éric straight away on 30m. Eric worked me straight after on 20m. For a moment I thought I’d won! Was super pleased to have achieved the goal of getting G/SP-003 into Éric’s chaser log.

I worked down the pile of callers, eventually working 24 stations in 25 minutes. The weather started changing and I seemed to feel cold quite quickly. My fingers weren’t producing the Morse that I thought they should be and by that point we’d both achieved our aims. Matthew was having a bit of a walk about trying to get warm again. I showed Matthew my LNR Precision MTR-3B as he’d never seen one in the flesh before and I think he was a bit surprised by how small it is.

In turn I went to look at Matthew’s radio. Matthew operates an entirely home brewed radio he calls the Firecrest. The firecrest is a clever piece of kit which has quite a few bells and whistles built in. I’m quite honestly in awe of Matthew’s radio, it’s a dream of mine to build an operate a home brewed radio for SOTA. I have home brewed QRPp stuff, but nothing with a respectable power output.


Matthew says he’s done about 60 activations with his rig and hasn’t got around to making a case/front panel yet :slight_smile:

The walk back to the car felt quick, as yet again I had verbal diarrhea, it’s not often that I get chance to talk about radios! (Sorry Matthew!)

There were loads of red grouse, and I managed to get really close to one. I stopped my advanced before he got too upset!

A brilliant day on the hill for my 300th SOTA activation, all boxes ticked. Good exercise too, today’s step count is currently sitting at 27,740!

73, Colin

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Pleased to hear that you’ve conquered Ward’s Stone. Surely much less of a bog-fest than White Hill, but you only know that when youve done them both! Seems like you had a brilliant time.

When I saw the photo of the Red Grouse, I thought for a moment you’d stolen my 2007 photo taken en route to The Cheviot and mirrored the shot . :joy:

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Hi Gerald,

The bogs weren’t too bad although there were a few bits where you had to jump across. Experience in bog hopping was required, it wouldn’t have been good with kids!

I’ve read a few reports about Ward’s Stone and it seems that everyone mentions the grouse, it seems that I fell into a similar trap! Matthew suggested that I could have just picked the bird up and put him in my bag for tea - I didn’t fancy that as I’m vegetarian! :joy: I think years of smelling my parents cooking game birds in the oven have definitely reinforced my vegetarianism! The grouse was perfectly safe with me.

The activation was very enjoyable and even though we set up our stations quite close in order to see what the effects were, neither of us suffered any breakthrough. We deliberately chose unrelated bands.

73, Colin

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Tastes remarkably like Swan.

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Well in with the Queen are you? :grinning:

We were fed up eating Eagles so decided on Swan for a change.

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Hutton Roof Crags, G/LD-052, 4th February 2022

The weather forecast for this weekend doesn’t look very favourable but I saw an opportunity to get out this morning instead, before the rain was due to hit.

I was offered a 2nd hand LNR MTR-3B LCD at a price which I just couldn’t refuse. I wanted to test the rig on an activation having given the rig a brief test on the bench.

Hutton Roof Crags G/LD-052 is probably my nearest 1pt summit and it takes about 25 minutes to the car park from home. It was literally just about a very quick test today.

The radio seems to work OK but yet again, the calibration seems to be slightly off. This is the third LNR Precision rig that’s just not 100%. I will be able to sort the issues no problem as I’ve built quite a number of MTR rigs over the last ten years.

Reverse Beacon Network reporting 10.117.8MHz

Rig display indicating 10.118 MHz

I worked 17 stations before the hail started and I went QRT.

Quite happy with my purchase, once I’ve gone through the rig tidying up the loose ends, it will be a nice addition to the stable…

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Pen Y Ghent, G/NP-010, Friday 11 January 2022

The weather forecast for Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th was not very agreeable for SOTA, so for the second week in a row I brought my activation forward to the Friday instead.

I’d seen that Richard G4TGJ had alerted for Rombalds Moor G/NP-028, so I timed my activation to align with Richard’s to see if i could get an S2S. Richard shared that he was trying 2m FM and maybe we could have a chat. I put my FT60 on charge overnight.

I dropped my son off at school and then headed straight towards Stainforth and then up the single track road to parking place by the cattle grid and honesty box. Thankfully I was right on time.

I set up my HF antenna first and got my MTR-2B plugged in and ready to go. Then I retrieved my FT60 handheld from my pack and turned it on. The FT60 must boot up on the last used frequency, which happened to be 145.450. To my surprise, I immediately heard G4TGJ/P on G/NP-028 coming back through the speaker! I called and got an S2S with Richard straight away. Unfortunately signals were not the best and Richard reported wind noise on my transmissions - I’d had to stand tall to improve the signal strength, nevertheless we managed a solid S2S, the chat will wait for another time.

I fired up the Mountain Topper exactly on my alerted time and I had 24 QSOs before it started snowing. The pile up had dried up, so rather than call again, I decided to pack up, I was feeling the cold by then too.

So, my mission was a success, I worked Richard on my most activated summit of Rombalds Moor G/NP-028 and also gained the activation and bonus points for Pen Y Ghent G/NP-010.

73, Colin

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High Willhays, G/DC-001, Tuesday 22 February 2022

I wanted to do High Willhays during our last visit to Devon around New Year but unfortunately the timetable didnt work out, with an invite to a family meal on the 3rd of January, near Carlisle, 365 miles up the road.

This time around I had a choice of either yesterday or today to activate G/DC-001. Yesterday the weather was dry but high winds of 13 m/s were forecast. I had only packed my flimsy 4m pole and lightweight 30m/20m dipole. I decided to defer my activation to today instead, which was actually ‘plan A’ in any case. Instead of the activation I went to Torquay to have a sandwich by the sea follwed by a delicious praline ice cream. :slight_smile:


Torquay 21 February 2022


Torquay 21 February 2022

The WX forecast for today was for rain and 8 m/s wind. Whilst not ideal, I decided that I could work with the WX conditions, it was worth a try anyway.

The A38 was closed due to an accident so my phone diverted me via Moretonhampstead instead. The road was narrow in places but it was actually enjoyable to take a slightly different route to normal. My journey didnt seem to take any longer than usual.

Parking up beyond the Army camp at Okehampton, I found the weather to be pretty awful, but I said to myself that I only had to manage 4 QSOs and then I would have achieved my aim. It was all about grabbing the winter bonus points today.

I was thankful that I’d done the walk a few times before as visibility was poor and more so due to being a wearer of glasses. I took a bit of mental relief by noting that the wind direction would allow me to shelter behind the big lump of rock at the summit.

I haven’t used my lightweight dipole for a few years, it requires good radio conditions as the pole is only 4m long. I activated quite a lot with the set up several years ago. I didn’t want to fill the car with loads of gear, so I put my minimalist set up in my bag. I figured that the solar numbers are now heading in a direction that can support my tiny station.

I set up the small dipole in the leeward side of the summit, although the wind was still strong. I was just hoping that the antenna would stay up for at least four QSOs! I turned the KD1JV Mountain Top’er on and left it on the default 10.118MHz 30m start up frequency. The lack of any band noise was a bit worrying but I fired out some canned CQs and not long after my earbuds were nearly bouncing out of my ears! I was very relieved to gain my fourth QSO, meaning that enduring the horrid weather had paid off. I’d already decided not to do 20m. I worked down the pile, eventually hearing silence after working 14 stations, including another nice S2S with Bruno HB9CBR.

I didn’t need a second invitation to start to pack up!

4+3 points in the bag.

73, Colin

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I thought it was Boba Fett at first till I studied the pictures carefully :slight_smile:

And someone has stolen the snow and grey sky!

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Well done for surving the weather. I’m looking for a better forecast before I do it some time in the coming weeks. :slight_smile:

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We had a car full of stuff, so unfortunately no radio kit made it down to Cornwall. Instead on Tuesday I enjoyed a lazy walk with family along part of the Camel Trail near Bodmin in the warm sunshine. As i write this it is snowing. All good fun this British weather. Pleased to see that you managed to get to High Willhays and well done on the activation. :grinning:

73, Gerald

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Hi Gerald,

We had a car full of stuff too! The purpose of our trip was to visit The Royal Mint near Cardiff. After travelling all that way, it seemed daft not to continue on down the road a little bit more to my wife’s father’s in Devon. Thankfully an MTR-2B, 800mAh battery and a pico paddle, plus dipole can fit into a very small space.

Back home now, thinking about doing an activation in the Yorkshire Dales tomorrow (Friday).

73, Colin

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