I’ve only been a member here for a short while and most of my posts seem to do a very good job of drawing attention to how little I know.
This thread continues that tradition…
On the afternoon of 12th June 2021 I drove in my campervan to the disused Davidstow airfield on the north eastern corner of Bodmin Moor in Cornwall, UK, where camping overnight is tolerated if not perhaps officially allowed.
Just before leaving home I read that the airfield was next to one of the few locations in the UK for the rare Bog Orchid. A quick glance at my orchid book told me it flowered from May to July so soon after arrival I fitted the macro lens to my camera and went for a gloopy plod around the marsh beside Crowdy reservoir. Orchids were evident by their absence and on return to the 'van I did a bit more research and discovered they may well flower in May but that is in southern Europe and late July or August is more likely here in the UK. It is the most insignificant of flowers but I will return for it and hopefully a bit more SOTA activity on the nearby Brown Willy G/DC-002. The name is probably a corruption of the Cornish Bronn Ewhella meaning “Highest Hill”. An alternative theory says it means “Hill of the Swallows” which seems unlikely unless Swallows were ground nesting birds in days of yore.
After an evening trying to tune a home-made 10m 1/4 wave ground plane antenna, more of which perhaps in another thread if I can get it to work, I retired to bed and was up reasonable early to drive to Rough Tor car park and start the hour long walk to the summit of Brown Willy.
I had learned that on the morning of 13th June there was an RSGB 2m Backpackers event so at 0900 UTC I listened in on 2m SSB and was pleasantly surprised to actually hear people talking. Sadly almost no one else could hear me other than 2E0VCC who was about 10 miles away!
My 2m Yagi is a bit of a mess, the SWR is nearly 2 and it needs to be suspended from the point of balance I think as I can’t get it high enough when it is sticking out as a boom.
So I turned back to HF, which had always been my intention for today and immediately noticed my RF power was turned down to zero, although it can’t be quite zero as 2E0VCC heard me. After cranking it back up to 100% I listened on a few bands and was amazed by the amount of traffic - most of it contests I think. Looking first for an SSB contact I saw a few people spotting on SOTAWatch but I couldn’t hear them. There were two in Scotland on 20m I tried and all I could hear was “CQ Contest” from a few kw transmitters I suspect.
So I could find no valid excuse not to try CW. I only started learning it last November but I’ve been practising fairly hard recently and I really felt, as SSB was in chaos, that I had to give it a go.
This video says it all. Experienced CW operators had best look away. At the end I had 5 CW QSOs including one S2S. I stopped at that point as my brain had overheated and was dribbling out of my ears but all I can say is I am now hooked on CW. It is a brilliant mode.
Many, many thanks for the very patient operators who held my hand through these contacts.
And now the horror video!