Mission Tidy - Update - 19/2/2015
I haven’t been to the main PC at all over the last couple of days. This is because the PSU for the monitor failed. A trip to the local Currys / PC World proved frustratingly fruitless: “Oh we don’t sell anything like that, you could try searching for it on our Partmaster website and ordering it to be delivered with 7 to 10 days blah blah blah”. That wouldn’t do - I’ve got the 80m CC CW contest tonight - and I need a screen!
So it was necessary to cancel a hoped-for day on the Ponderosa Pair today, and instead drive up to Stockport to pick up a new PSU from Maplins. No worries though, as it rained heavily all day until mid-afternoon, so it would have been a miserable day on the hills anyway. At least the technical issues in the shack meant that I found myself sorting through piles of stuff looking for other stuff, and transferred a couple of tons of recycling from the shack to the grey wheelie bin. The shack is still a disgrace - it’s going to be a big job to make it presentable.
Onto the main priorities of “Mission Tidy” - successful testing of intended radio kit for El Teide EA8/TF-001, and losing some weight. Well, into my third day as a temporarily reformed teetotaller, Kinder Scout G/SP-001 was the target for Wednesday 18th February 2015. I fancied trying a completely new route for me, which would be the eighth access I would have used.
The starting point was the lay-by at SK091824 on the Sheffield road out of Chapel-en-le-Frith. I passed through the Pennine Bridleway gate at the end of the lay-by, but immediately away from that track, to follow a concessionary footpath parallel to the road. This took me to the start of the Chapel Gate track (marked as a by-way) at SK093825. I followed this wide track gentle uphill. The entire width of the track was filled with deep snow, and so I had to make my way atop the steep bank on its right-hand side. After the gate at the top, things were much easier - initially at least.
I followed the track as it turned left (north), signpost as “Edale via Barber Booth”, but left it quickly as it curved right. I now followed a faint trodden path in a NNW direction, marked as a dotted line on the OS 1:25000 map. From this point, the line of the path was usually easy to see on the groun, but usually needed to be avoided, as it was in (or had formed) a trench, that was mostly full of water, or snow, or both. Some particularly boggy bits needed to be negotiated carefully, and then care taken to pick up the line of the path again.
This seemed like a long and rather lonely walk in featureless, rather desolate terrain, and in limited visibility. The only thing on the horizon was the brick structure marking the top of an air shaft for the Cowburn railway tunnel passing beneath. When the land in front of me began to gently rise again, I hoped I was approaching the summit of Brown Knoll, 569m. Therefore I was more than satisfied when the trig point came into view. I had to cross a tricky bit of bog to get to it, but I did for the photo. And as I realised that I was within 25m of TP1707, I thought about activating it for the WAB Trig Points award.
Well I didn’t have an SSB rig with me, so I couldn’t do the honours with the net on 7.160MHz. Instead, I took the selfish approach of getting a QSO on 2m FM with the HT, so I could tick the trig as activated myself! Arthur G0OHY answered the call; no-one else did, and I got on my way. I took a compass bearing, which confirmed that the way I was instinctively heading was correct and ambled downhill.
Very quickly, I picked up a good path made out of old mill floor flagstones, typical of many of the maintained paths on this part of the Pennines. So it was now very speedy progress down to the Pennine Way at SK080861. Now it was just the familiar Pennine Way path to ascend the final 100m (vertically) to Kinder Low (TP4216). I found a nicely sheltered spot immediately beneath the trig point and began to set up the end fed antenna.
Having made sure the HB1B was fully charged the night before, I was looking forward to using it again. However, the HB1B was not getting on very well with the Palm Cube external keyer. I couldn’t find a way of solving this, despite spending an hour trying to do so! Still, it was a good rest (and I did manage to solve it after getting home). The flask of spicy chorizo soup get me going, but when that ran out, I started to feel the cold. I decided to qualify the summit of 2m FM with the VX7R, which I did with 5 QSOs culminating in a S2S with M0OAT/P on Great Coum G/NP-011.
The return walk was uneventful, aside from veering too far to the left after Brown Knoll. It turns out that there are two parallel “paths” about 100m apart - and I was on the wrong one. When I noticed that the land to the left was dropping away more steeply than it should, I corrected my mistake by angling right and making for the highest point on the horizon. Within a couple of minutes, I was back on the right line, and soon after on the better defined tracks and by-way back to my car.
So, in terms of radio preparation for EA8, I wasn’t there yet. In terms of my physical condition, I was still avoiding the beer and had put another long walk in. I then backed this up by visiting the leisure centre with Liam for a gentle half mile swim. I’ll try to successfully deploy the EA8 kit before the end of the week, then I can start testing the proposed set-up for Jimmy M0HGY!