Wow, what a great evening it turned out to be!
I left work at 1645 UTC, but got stuck in tea time traffic. I parked up by the transmitter towers at about 1730 UTC. I got my stuff out of the car boot in a flash and walked as fast as I could to the trig point.
I had a bit of a fight with the SOTA pole, but eventually I persuaded it to stay vertical in the strong breeze. I was on air on 145 FM at around 1800 UTC. I worked 9 stations and then changed to horizontal polarisation to use SSB. On SSB I worked 5 stations, with the best DX being Don G0RQL, 374 km! (I thought we had said in earlier posts that this summit was dead to RF!) The last contact on 2m was Frank, G3RMD at 1914 UTC in Cheltenham. By now it was well and truly time to switch over to 432MHz, to see if I could work anybody in the contest.
I spent some time tuning around 432.100 to 432.400 trying to find Tom, M1EYP on The Cloud, but I had no luck finding him. The strongest station I heard was M0GHZ, whom I worked and he turned out to be my best DX in the contest at 275km. 7 other contacts followed, with my last contact being GM4PPT whom I worked with great difficulty. GM4PPT was calling on 432.220 in CW, when I first tuned the signal in and I thought this is a bit odd, so I started taking down the morse and realised it was a station calling cq contest. I quickly unpacked my key, plugged it in and switched the rig over to CW mode, only to find the station had gone! I sent ? a couple of times but there was no response. I could then hear the ‘Donald Duck’ effect of a station nearby in frequency on SSB, so I changed back to SSB and tuned down in effect the CW offset and managed to work GM4PPT, he was obviously alternating between CW and SSB. It really was a good practical demonstration of how good CW is for working in difficult conditions. I could read his CW perfectly, but we struggled to exchange locator squares using SSB.It was now 2030 utc, so I decided to pack up and go home.
I got home at about 1030pm local time, after a very enjoyable evening indeed. I went to the summit with the thought that I might not work anybody and came away having worked my best ever DX on 2m and 70cms!
Equipment used - FT817 on full power, 7Ah SLAB & SOTA beam SB270 mounted at about 4m on SOTA pole.
73 - Colin