Thank you to everyone for the congratulations on getting my two Mountain Goat awards in the Lake District on the Robinson (Mountain Goat) to Dale Head (Mountain Goat VHF) ridge above Honister. Sorry I haven’t been able to reply before but I had cleverly (?) chosen to stay in a spot without mobile phone contact and dodgy internet - but the central heating was good!!
I started SOTA, under the guidance of M0JLA, on 3 December 2010 on the local Black Mountain GW/SW-041 and quickly discovered a) it was a very cold activity and b) even colder when you hung around tying to get the 4th contact. It was obviously a very useful introduction to the next (nearly) 3 years of going up hills both large and small (but we have more of the â€˜smallâ€™ than the â€˜largeâ€™ variety on the Welsh Borders).
I often wondered whether the point system shouldnâ€™t be tweaked to take into account the difficulty of making the contacts once you reached the summit. Sitting on the top of Snowdon or Skiddaw you are trying to pick out call signs from the tumult of voices desperate for 10 points while on Bryn Arw (GW/SW-026) or Watch Hill (G/LD-054) there are few radio amateurs who can pick up my 5w pleas for a response despite hoisting my overflow pipe dipole as high as it will go.
I do realise that my decision to work only on 2m VHF (or occasionally on 70cm) with a VX-7 does limit the distance that my signal can travel but the radio is a lot smaller to cram into the overflowing rucksack and a lot lighter to carry up the hill. Both of these considerations become more significant when I admit that, despite the challenge of making the contacts and gaining the points, I am still a hill walker who carries radio equipment rather than a radio operator who walks up hill. This means that we often (except when in a hurry or the weather is bad)ignore the shortest walk to the summit but go for the more interesting route or the one that involves a pleasant ridge walk even though this may mean that we spend less time activating the summit as we may have a long route down.
I would like to thank all those who have helped me on my way to the Mountain Goat â€“ those who have offered advice in person, over the airwaves or by posting route descriptions on the web. Also, of course to the many hundreds (could it be over a thousand?) chasers who I have spoken to during my 307 activations but especially to G4ZRP (Brian, Wirral) and 2E0MIX (Derek, Whitehaven) who were the vital 4th contacts on Robinson and Dale Head. The main thanks go, of course, to M0JLA Rodney who obtained his full licence and wanted to make contacts while up on the hills and then encouraged me when I thought Iâ€™d better join in rather than just hanging around while he seemed to be having fun on his radio. Since then he has helped me both with the radio and with the occasional heave up on a rockface (not sure I would have reached Grisedale Pike without his help) and turned me round when I left a misty summit in completely the wrong direction!
What next? Well I hope to post a slightly fuller account of my search for 1000 points on this monthâ€™s SOTAnews and then, when time and weather permits, will grab the radio and look for more hills to go up and more people to chat to. The next priority will be to add some more unique summits but we have done nearly all those within easy reach but we are already planning some more expeditions so please keep those ears strained for the call â€œCQ SOTA CQ SOTA this is M6BWA calling CQ SOTA CQ SOTAâ€¦…â€
73 Viki M6BWA