The title of this report is a bit of a stretch as Days 1 to 6 of this strung-out expedition were in June and July this year. I had intended to complete all the summits in the G/SC region this summer but events intervened and it wasn’t until this week I managed to get myself together enough to finish them off. The main spur was reaching the slightly significant, at least for me, grand old age of 72 on Monday and with the weather forecast looking good for late November on Tuesday I packed my rucksack and set off on the two and half hour drive to the first summit.
Win Green, G/SC-008 is a drive-on summit and as I was short of time I chose to activate from the car park which is within the activation zone. This does feel a bit like cheating but the actual summit was only a few hundred metres away. I probably should add I was not operating from the car!
To save time I chose to use 2m FM after tying the mast, carrying a Slim Jim antenna, to one of the short posts behind the car. Six QSOs were soon in the log, the best DX into the Forest of Dean at about 80 km. The last QSO was with Barry on the Isle of Wight who has the appropriate call sign of M0IOW. He said he often had QSOs with operators activating the two SOTA summits on the island.
I was on Win Green for barely half an hour before starting the 40 minute drive to the next and last summit in the region for me, G/SC-007 Long Knoll. There are two approaches to this summit, from the east or the west. I chose the east because I knew there was a small parking place. I think there is space to park in the western end but it would have been the side of the road and I was worried about getting stuck in soft ground. As it turned out the eastern parking was also very soft but the car was pointing slight downhill and I subsequently drove away without too much skidding.
A 30 minute walk along the ridge was pleasant with good views all around including in the far distance Win Green with its very distinctive crown of trees. There were a lot of pheasants including two pure white ones which I have not seen before. Are they bred for shooting at night?
I set up beside the Trig Point using a BandSpringer antenna supported on my 5.5m (originally 6m!) mast. Radio was the same IC-705 I had used on Win Green but now with the AH-705 ATU.
This was probably also the last time my Helinox One Chair will be used on an activation after a rush of blood to the head made me order a Chair Zero which was 30% off on Black Friday. This should arrive soon. The Chair One will probably go on E-Bay unless someone wants to make me an offer.
Having previously discovered if I start on SSB with the intention of switching to CW later I always end up staying on SSB so this time I opened on 40m CW and soon had 7 QSOs in the log. My keying was poor although I think it improved a bit during the activation although I had to turn down the “speed” to 14 wpm.
A change to 40m SSB brought in a lot of replies but it was extremely hard to make out what people were saying and I was handing out 35 reports like sweets. A look on QRZ showed the forecast for 40m during the day was “poor”. I normally don’t take a lot of notice of these forecasts but today it was accurate. Not even my rubber duck was helping. I now carry this after reading on here that you can activate any summit in England with one.
After 40m I jumped straight to 10m, first on SSB but without success. The band was busy and finding a spare frequency was difficult although in hindsight I should have looked much higher up the band. All the activity seemed to be around 28.300 to 28.600 and I should have looked at something around 29.000. However, after placing a spot for 10m CW my first CQ was almost immediately answered by Roger KF9D/P a little west of Chicago. He was followed by Ven LZ3WY/2 in Bulgaria. I listened again to this section of the activation this morning as I wasn’t sure if another /P station had called me. What I heard was OH2DA very clearly calling me, how I missed it I am not sure but I suspect the cold was beginning to get to me. There was no wind on the summit but the air temperature was only around 5 degrees C. And I did hear the /P call but it was someone sending my call sign and due to QRM I was only hearing the end of it.
G/SC-007 is of course a “Bond” summit and I had mentioned in my alert that although chasers were not required to wear a dinner jacket I would be wearing a bow tie.
It is a bit hard to see and it isn’t even a proper tie-it-yourself one but it is the thought which counts. I will have to look at getting something a bit brighter for the next 007 summit. This isn’t a new thing, Ray KD8EQA told me this has become a tradition on W0C/SP-096
After logging 18 QSOs I returned to the car where after eating the last sandwich left over from lunch and finishing with a slice of my Birthday cake I managed to drive off without incident. I now know why parking at the eastern spot is not recommended. There is a blind brow of a hill over which traffic emerges suddenly and fast. My technique was to wind the window down and listen very carefully and once there was silence with no vehicles coming in either direction I set off smartly. I don’t recommend doing this and if I ever return to this summit it will be from the west.
As always very many thanks to all chasers, it was an enjoyable day despite being an almost 250 mile round-trip.