OK so the day didn’t start off so well - in between Troutbeck Bridge and Ambleside a deer, crossing the main road, took a glancing blow off the back of the car. I’ve had several close encounters with wildlife in the Lakes over the years, but at 7:45am it was very late for them to be close to roads. Fortunately the deer was certainly still capable of running and apart from some scratches the car escaped the worst of it.
So on to Pike of Blisco. As usual I took the route from Wrynose Pass up via Red Tarn, although I descended on a path that I haven’t seen before - it runs directly from the Southerly summit back to pick up the main path.
|WOTA ID: LDW-086||Height: 705 m (2313 ft)|
|SOTA ID: G/LD-024||Grid ref: NY271042|
|QTH Locator: IO84KK||Lat: 54.427854 Long: -3.123822|
Andy @G8CPZ had set our WhatsApp group a challenge for lightweight SOTA, and this gave me the excuse I needed to finally put the Mountain Topper centre stage and my only HF rig for this activation. I took my FT1XD with stock whip for VHF. For antenna I used Nigel’s lightweight SOTABeams QRP trap trapped end fed antenna tuned for 20m, 30m & 40m with my 6m Decathalon pole for support and a guying kit with 3 pegs, a SOTABeams guying ring, yellow guy rope and three cleats. Total weight with SOTABeams antenna bag just short of 1.6kg (handheld excluded).
The route up was uneventful, 2 walkers passed, and my recently sprained ankle whilst grumbling held fast.
Crinkle Crags on the left & Bowfell
Views as always across to the Langdales and beyond were fantastic.
6m Mast in the Distance with Windermere on the left
HF matching unit
I setup for HF 20m first and got Chris @F4WBN in the log very quickly. He was around 559 with me - not easy giving anything but a very approximate report with the Mountain Topper. Chasing is difficult with the model of Mountain Topper I have as well - I had to keep checking frequency when moving.
OK, so take a longer look at that first photo of the matching unit, notice anything wrong? Yes, that’s right, the antenna isn’t actually connected! So Chris’s contact was using the 6 inches of coax and the matching unit as an antenna. Crazy that he was able to work me, says something about the sensitivity of his setup!
Mountain Topper, 3 cell LifePo4, Palm Pico paddles and logbook
Probably unsurprising to HF CW SOTA operators that 30m brought in the most contacts. It was nice to get a S2S with David @M6GYU on Kirk Fell, he was very strong groundwave on 40m. After a 2m contact with Andy @G8CPZ on G/LD-053, and working several chasers in tandem, we also managed a 40m CW S2S later as my last contact.
My first activation of a summit with the mountain topper, I certainly appreciated the lack of weight on the way up and will consider the setup for some longer walks in the coming months.
Thanks for everyone who had the ears to hear my 3 - 5 watts!
On the descent
Almost forgot the sheep
All photos here.