I don’t usually get to do an activation in December, but I saw the mountain weather forecast for the Lake District and thought it would be a shame to miss out on such a perfect mountain day.
I don’t know if I’m unusual or whether other people feel the same, but I find myself looking at mountain ranges on my daily travels and constantly wish that I’m up upon them. However, I often feel overwhelmed at the thought of getting ready to go on a SOTA mission. It seems like a huge task to me to pick a radio, charge some batteries, pick a hill, prepare food, pack a bag, decide on clothing etc. I used to enjoy the process of getting ready for a day out on the hill, but now I find it stressful. I often don’t sleep well the night before a SOTA expedition, I know that John @G4YSS has mentioned that he sometimes doesn’t sleep well before an outing.
I did managed to find some energy to get my gear together on Friday evening, I opted to pack my MTR-5B due to it being lightweight and the lipo battery doesn’t take long at all to charge, being only 800mAh.
I left home at sometime around 7am on Saturday 18th. The drive towards Kirkby Lonsdale on the A65 rewarded me with a beautiful view of the moon, looking pretty much full and slightly tinted against a pastel lilac & peach sky. The road was quiet and it was quite a pleasant drive.
I’d gathered up some coins for the parking machine the night before, but as of quite a number of previous times, the parking machine was out of operation at Swirls car park. Can’t grumble about a bit of free parking!
I was expecting a foggy morning but the fog seemed to be in other valleys.
The walk was pleasant with just one icy patch which would have benefitted from the use of crampons. However for the sake of 10m or so, it was easier just to divert around.
It was quite quiet on the way up, although there were a number of people on their way down, I’m guessing they’d climbed to take sunrise photos.
I set up my antenna just down from the trig point as I usually do. For Helvellyn I always pack some big steel nails instead of pegs, the ground is quite hard and rocky. I pick up a largish rock to hammer the nails in.
I started on 40m and worked each band on my radio until I ran out of callers. I did 20m after 40m, then 17m, 15m and finally 30m. I had 59 QSOs but one of those was a (same band) dupe with HB9IIO/P, I’m not sure if he hadn’t realised that he’d already worked me.
I was very pleased to work my friend Fabio, IK0IXI on 17m. I met Fabio at the 2014 GQRP convention. Here’s Fabio (centre) with George Dobbs G3RJV SK (right). Colin G8TMV is seen on the left. Fabio is a very skilled CW operator.
It was a great day with some awesome views. The predicted cloud inversion didn’t really materialise.
Here’s an assortment of pictures from my day.
Full blown Carol service with accordion as lead instrument. I was operating with ‘Feliz Navidad’ being played in the background!