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My first "accidental" activation

I would like to thank all 21 stations that worked me on my on first, completely un-planned activation of SP-005 Pendle Hill.

The only reason I was in the vicinity was that I had heard Rick M0RCP was on his way to activate Pendle Hill, after activating Wards Stone earlier that afternoon. Always having for many years been one who does things at a whim, & having worked Rick many times on various summits, the weather looked quite nice for a ride on my motorbike, so I chose to head for the parking spot I would choose if I was to climb Pendle.

There were several cars there when I arrived & I called Mick M0PVA on 145.500 to see if there was any update on Rick’s progress, but there was no reply (hardly surprising given the huge lump of hill in between us HI)

Rather than hang around on the road, I made my way up a farm track at a very leisurely pace while monitoring S20 & stopping occasionally to check 144.300.

I reached the farm, & Pendle loomed large before me, go on I thought, I’ll carry on to the the first gate. The first gate arrived & the muddy path up the hill beckoned. Being totally unplanned I was wearing my work boots, motorbike leather, jeans & carrying a 2 litre bottle of diet coke & 14 bags of Hula Hoops, along with the other assorted bit’s & pieces & I keep in my rucksack for work or other situations that may arise with my motorbike. Added to this was my motorcycle helmet & an FT290R in a waterproof bag that fortunately had handles. Probably a bit top heavy with non-radio gear!!!

For any that think it may have been unwise, I do know Pendle Hill very well, was better equiped than many I saw coming down the hill, & could find my way down in the dark if I had to.

Before this tale becomes a saga, I’ll move swiftly on…

Once I was 3/4 of the way up & with time moving on I had to decide whether to continue to the summit, or turn back with Health & Safety in mind. After some deliberation, a nice excuse for a breather :wink: I continued on. Throughout my ascent I had been alone in giong up the hill, though I did see many others coming down.

Once at the point where the long, gently??? sloping path from Barley reached the firt edge of the summit plain I knew I had to go on, if only for myself as it is many years since I last scaled any sizeable hill.

It was a fairly gentle stroll uphill from there but such a relief when the trig point finally came into view :slight_smile:

I took the FT290 out of it’s case & listened on S20, shortly after powering up the rig I heard Scott 2E0RCS calling his better half Janine 2E0JAD, & as I know them quite well I broke in to say hello as G0VOF/M. We were soon joined by Wayne 2E0BFN, another station local to my home QTH of Blackburn & before he moved to the other side of town we could have worked on dummy loads HI.

Having no pen or paper, logging contacts in a conventional manner was out of the question but my mobile phone has the facility to record low quality video (as most do these days) so I decided to give it a go using the recorded audio to transcribe my log when back home. I Tried to ensure that any neccessary transfer of information for QSO’s to be valid was duly passed. You may hear me giving a timecheck as I moved to S20, which I have used to calculate the times of the QSO’s which I will enter in my log.

Maybe I was being a little paranoid about the performance of my phone as an audio recorder, the recording came out much better than I could have ever have expected given the wind at the summit :slight_smile:

My only dissappointment was not meeting or working Rick M0RCP. Looking at the times logged he must have been set up ready to go whan I finally went QRT. It was going dark & by that time the top 1/4 of the hill was in cloud with very limited visibility. I was located about 20 feet horizontaly from the trig point on the Nelson / Burnley side at SD80504142.

Now I have to get what I have on my paper log into the database, which I will endeavour to do as soon as I can.

For anybody interested, I have put the recording I made to transcribe my log from available as a Windows media audio file online at : http://www.dogswebspace.com/g0vof_first_sota_summit.wma

Thank you to M3TMX for the spot, sorry I didn’t acknowledge you sooner, & of course once again, thank you very much to all stations for the QSO’s :slight_smile:

I was completely overwhelmed!

So now I know I can do it, I’ve got to have a go at multiband HF / VHF next, preferably in daylight HI.

Sorry for any spelling mistakes in this post, once got home I thought I deserved a Beer :wink:


Mark G0VOF

In reply to G0VOF:

Hi Mark,

we must have missed one another by minutes. I wonder which way you went down?
I suspect it was your bike in the layby at SD814417 (by a red and white mini if I remember correctly.) The only people who passed me as I ascended where an asian family. I set up at the trig point using literally the last usable light (saving my headtorch for later) at approx 18:25.

Sorry to have missed you and well done on the activation.


Rick M0RCP

In reply to M0RCP:

I’ll leave my earlier reply intact, but on double checking the spots & your own timings it seems unlikely our paths would have crossed, I was on my bike motoring along the A59 when you became active.

Sorry for any confusion, the start time of my recording as posted earlier is 17:28z, with my last contact with M3CWC logged at 17:50z.

My earlier reply as originally posted:

Hi Rick, the red mini had gone, there was only one car left at the side of the road, slightly uphill from my bike, which I am so glad to say was still there un-molested :slight_smile:

If you ascended from the Barley side via the same farm track, I took the more leisurely, but longer, path to the summit. I am assuming that you took the more direct & much steeper path to the summit.

I made my way down via the exact same route to avoid confusing myself given the fading light & the top 1/4 of the hill being in cloud. I would be so embarrassed if I had to be rescued from a hill I know so well, but it was a good reminder of how quickly conditions can change, the summit was clear but windy 25 minutes earlier when I started at 17:28z.

I did get a little breakthrough on 145.500, as I left the summit, which I assumed was from my phone, it could well have been your SSB transmissions on 144.300.

I remarked to Mike GW0DSP that the sumit was like a scene from Wuthering Heights as I prepared to leave, we must have been mere seconds apart. I hope you managed to get the necessary QSO’s to qualify the summit as I was a completely accidental activator, but I now have new found respect for the regular activators of much more difficult summits than Pendle Hill.

I wouldn’t have been anywhere near if it hadn’t been mentioned that you were on your way there :slight_smile:

Thanks Rick, for the inspiration to go for a ride & take a radio or two with me :slight_smile:

73 Mark G0VOF

In reply to M0RCP:

I have spotted some minor errors in my earlier post, which I apologise for, but I am absolutely certain conditions must have been very dark and in thick cloud when you made the summit Rick.

It was a very great pleasure to work you summit to summit on Sunday 22nd March when I was on SP-012 Easington Fell. I am not new to finding high ground to play radio from, but I am very new to SOTA activating, although I have still to enter any of the many chaser contacts I have had into the database.

If I hadn’t set out to say hello to you, I would not have thought myself capable of climbing a sizeable hill, so all credit to you for for getting me out of my comfy warm shack & out onto the hills again for some healthy exercise:)

I have now set myself a serious target of activating all 17 Southern Pennine summits, hopefully this year. I think Pendle Hill was a bit of a baptism by fire as a first summit, but it is the local hill I am most familiar with.

I have always been enthusiastic about portable radio communications, just a box of electronics & a bit of wire & you can make contact with virtually anywhere, conditions permitting. SOTA activators meet my definition of truly portable very easily & I do like the challenge it presents.

A couple of days after climbing Pendle Hill I played around a bit with the few seconds of video I had on my phone as I set up to record my completely un-intentional activation. I slowed it down a lot & added some nice photos I found on the Internet & used the sound recording as the audio track. I did try to make the closing credits look like a TV programme, & the closing music if anyone is interested, is one of my own songs.


Thanks all,

73 Mark


In reply to G0VOF:
Hi Mark,

This was an enjoyable read about a very unusual approach to SOTAing. None of the pressure of planning and alerting followed by the need to do what you said you would. All done in motorcycling gear too!

Your method of logging is similar to methods tried out by G0CQK and others using dedicated audio devices but to record it unplanned on your phone may be a first. The quality was superb and a great insight into your impromptu activation. I heard a few ops who I know and work on SOTA myself. Phil G4OBK got his signal over the Pennines to you very well and I heard Mick in Clitheroe & Mike (DSP) Dave in Ulverston (LKB) Geoff G6MZX, Mike (BLH) and others!

It’s nice to know a hill like the back of your hand but as it started to get dark there was little time to eat all those Hula Hoops!

Thanks Mark. Congratulations on your first SOTA and a good report. Good luck for the second!

73, John G4YSS.