Its getting like the recurrent jokes on the old Brian Rix farces, every time I go out something goes wrong!
Saturday was a no show day, no let up in the rain and an occasional burst of hail got mixed in when we drove up to the parking place, so just down again for a low level walk and a (very expensive) pint in the local homebrew pub (I don’t expect bargains, but £3:40 a pint is steeper than Y Garn!)
Yesterday started wet, but just before we set off for a wander around the local slate quarries (a real mark of desperation!) a brightening of the sky towards Caernarfon suggested that another try was in order, so back to Waun Fawr and up the track to be elated by a beautiful band of blue sky heading our way. Pauline opted to stay with the dog, the car and a good book, being a pessimist with bad knees, so I set off for the summit at my usual supercharged snails pace. The summit was well wrapped in cloud so the well-built shelter suddenly loomed out of the mist, and guess what? The entrance faced right into a cold north wind! Disappointed, I set up on the south side out of the wind, balancing the gear on various protruding rocks and anchoring the pole in a collapsed shelter just to the west. Nowadays I don’t have the gazelle touch for bounding around on wet greasy boulders so it all took longer than I expected, but eventually I turned on the rig, set it to 5 megs, selected AM (for a lower powered carrier) and keyed the mike. Huge swr and the tuner had no effect. After faffing about for several minutes I realised that the problem was inside the tuner, so I opened it up with the Phillips screwdriver on my Swiss army knife (where would I be without it - probably toothless from biting off crown caps!), and there the problem was, the lead to the output socket had come adrift. Muttering my usual virulent mantra about useless b****y lead-free solder I used the knife to remove some more insulation and managed to wrap the bare wire a few turns around the pin on the socket. Instant success! I opened the batting with a couple of S2S contacts with the Scottish contingent, GM4COX/P and GM7PKT/P, enjoying the chance to pay back Barry and Robin a few points for all the many they have given me, then I looked for a clear channel…golly it was busy, some channels three deep and where had those LAs come from? (Yes, I know, Norway!) I found myself ending up marooned on the unfashionable end of the band, 5.2585 MHz! After a few fruitless CQs I was found by an alert Richard G3ZGP, and then the pile-up began. Suddenly there was one of those Hallelujia! moments that account for the life-long hold that hill walking has had on me; the cloud swept away as if a celestial stage manager had opened the curtains, and I found myself looking down on the coastal plain and Anglesea, with Caernarfon Castle picked out brilliantly by a shaft of sunlight. Awesome! I tell you, I nearly stopped talking! This lasted about ten minutes then the view started to come and go as a succession of smaller clouds swept over the summit, and this coincided with a sudden change on the radio: as each cloud swept across strong static blanketted the band, it seemed that the clouds were now carrying a static charge and the last contact was very difficult to complete. After a couple of QRZs got no reply that I could hear through the frying bacon, I decided to call it quits after only 14 contacts, packed up, and warmed myself up by hurrying off down the hill back to the XYL, the dog, the car, and a thermos of tea that I had unaccountably failed to pick up before starting up the hill. Good job my neck bolts are cross-threaded!
My next definate outing will be at the end of the year, the Mercians have booked a hut for their New Year Meet in the Coppermines Valley near Coniston, conveniently handy for the OMC, G/LD-013…I wonder what will go wrong this time?