Phew what a scorcher!

I had a long drive back from Ongar, Essex, the third gig in three days down that neck of the woods. I eventually got home at 0630 BST. Jimmy M0HGY had expressed a wish to activate our local three summits with me on the Bank Holiday Monday 7th May 2018. Inexplicably, after just two hours sleep, I was awake before Jimmy and getting ready for another day in my walking boots.

Monday 7th May 2018 - Shining Tor G/SP-004

It was a fairly late start after shopping for sunglasses (I’ve already lost those I had in Lanzarote) and a 20-32 battery (which I thought was the cause of erratic behaviour from my Palm Cube - but seems it isn’t). It was already the middle of the day when we parked just ahead of the Cat & Fiddle at the start of the main track, and the sun was a demon. It wasn’t quite afternoon, nor indeed the last day of June though.

Unsurprisingly, the route to and from Shining Tor, and indeed the summit itself, were pretty busy with plenty of sensible people taking advantage of the most untraditional British bank holiday weather.

Jimmy M0HGY used his new clips (found and ordered from some online plumbing supplies merchant) to attach his MFD to his SOTA Pole, and these worked really well - and importantly removed any risk of mangling the elements inside the MFD! He had a busy session on 2m FM, netting 25 QSOs.

It was the good old 20m vertical with elevated groundplane for me, which got me some QSOs, including S2S, but fairly slow going on a fairly dead band. I finished with a spot of 2m C4FM Fusion, connecting my Yaesu FT-70D to Jimmy’s MFD. Lunch was Heinz Chicken Noodle soup from the flask, which was still most enjoyable in weather more traditionally associated with cold beer and ice cream.

Next - on to Gun G/SP-013 - where else?

Monday 7th May 2018 - Gun G/SP-013

The drive from Shining Tor G/SP-004 to Gun G/SP-013 was truly awful. For most of the way, along the narrow winding country lanes through Bottom o’ the Oven, Forest Chapel, Wildboarclough and Wincle, I was stuck behind a Tucsan, which was doing 15mph on straight sections, and 6mph around bends. This, coupled with the late start plus my exhaustion through lack of sleep, gave the whole day a kind of “slow motion” feel to it. This concerned Jimmy as he was aspiring for more urgency in our MO for our upcoming SOTA trips. I assured him that today was not a normal day!

The radio set up was exactly the same - FT-817 + MFD = 2m FM for Jimmy M0HGY, though he did add SA4BLM on 20m SSB to his 18 VHF contacts. We both worked Simon G4TJC/P and Helen 2E0VMD/P on 2m FM for S2S with Winter Hill G/SP-010. An unspectacular yet sufficient stint on 20m CW did for me.

At the end of the activation, we swapped positions so that Jimmy could try a little HF, while I attempted some C4FM-Fusion.

Finally, it was off to The Cloud G/SP-015. Jimmy originally only suggested the first two - for which he hadn’t yet collected activator points in 2018! However, Facebook brought it to our attention that exactly one year ago - 7th May 2017 - we went out and did all our local three. We simply had to do that again.

Monday 7th May 2018 - The Cloud G/SP-015

I was now so tired that I could hardly move, so muscle memory alone got me to the summit I think. the summit area was fairly busy as expected, so I went to one of my favoured spots, a flat grassy area close to the cliff edge. I liked that the grass here was very short, after meeting an adder the previous day! I didn’t like the presence of a tied-up little black bag of dog dirt right where I was about to set up. Why do people do that? It just doesn’t make any sense, as well as being horribly antisocial.

Jimmy made 13 QSOs on 2m FM on this one. I made a few QSOs on 20m CW, but again very slow going. Just a handful into Europe, some into the USA and one or two into England.

I finished again by trying C4FM via Jimmy’s antenna, and adding four QSOs to my total by doing so. Jimmy also went on Fusion on added two of his own.

While Jimmy was packing up, I waited by the topograph and called on S20. Some disgruntled local amateurs replied to complain about use of Digital Voice. Earlier in the day someone was deliberately transmitting FM while I was operating on C4FM, causing the AMS on my rig to kick in and reset the mode to FM. I disabled the AMS at the time - but had completely forgotten, so I was inadvertently transmitting in Fusion on the 2m calling channel! When I realised, I quickly reinstated the AMS on my rig - and apologised! I think my mind was now frazzled.

Just before we descended, we heard Mike 2E0YYY/P on Overmoor, a HEMA summit, with a huge signal. Jimmy called in and worked him, then passed the handheld to me. Of course, in that very instant, the one-way QSB kicked in and I wasn’t heard.

Thanks to everyone we worked for contributing to a great day out in the hills.


I’m still glowing! Activated G/NP-016. Managed a lift to 853841, which only gave me 100m of ascent left - plus quite a bit for the claggy bits that still had not dried out. Completed several contacts on 80,40 and one on 2 before departing for the lift back in Hawes - about 7km away. Much easier to make contacts with a battery rather than a charger… Difficult to believe that 4 weeks ago we had lying snow!!

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Nice pics but at less than 29C not really a scorcher. The RH no doubt had an effect. Tougher than usual climb and warm for May in the UK.


No wild fires and temp less than 40 C. Not a scorcher.

In the U S A some places think 40 C is balmy.

Anyway you had a good walk Tom and that’s what matters.

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It’s all relative Ron. What is a scorcher for me might not be a scorcher for you. I’ve always lived near Manchester, and believe me, yesterday was a scorcher. I think I heard on the news that it was the hottest May Day bank holiday on record too, so I feel entirely justified in saying so! :wink:

And it was hotter than Lanzarote!

Anyway, I’ve edited in the report to accompany the photos now.

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Been split difference between south and north Cornwall as i found out heading out to St Anges head. Left south Cornwall in blazing blue skies and 23.C to arrive at St Anges head at 10.C over cast and foggy to do a WAB portable. Other wise here in south Cornwall been perfect bank hol weather :slight_smile:


We can only dream of such temps up here Ron where my home is further North than Moscow !!!

A year or two back I was in Avignon in December. It was around 14C most afternoons, 8-10C in the morning. I popped over to my sister’s QTH near Nimes for a week. Her and her husband had fleeces and Down jackets on because it was Winter and cold. I was in a T-shirt because it was only a little cooler than most Summer days up here. I have pictures of me catching the rays and her shivering at the same time.

That’s why us Poms moan when we come to VK that it’s a bit warm and stuffy :slight_smile:

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Hi Andy,

Funnily enough a large proportion of Poms arrive in Perth for a short stay before moving to the Eastern States, but never do move.

1 rainy day per month, average day-time max around 30 degrees for 4 months from end of November. Like summer in Madrid but lasts a bit longer and can get hotter.

Remember it’s just weather change, not climate change. One of our recent prime ministers declared climate change to be “crap” and we all know prime ministers and president’s don’t tell lies or make pronouncements based of ignorance or dogma.

May you have sunshine on your back and a cool breeze in your face on the next climb.


3 weeks out from winter here in VK6 and 29C forecast for Friday. I smiled when I looked at an Irish news site a week or so ago when talking about heatwave conditions with 20C forecast.

Enjoy it while you can as I’m sure the bad weather will return soon.


John VK6NU

Oh it is back! Just before I had to go pick up a friend in his wheelchair to go a meeting, soaked 4 times in 1½ hours.

The Read boys were out again on Sunday 13th May 2018. All three of us this time. Just like the old days. Many years ago, Sundays would often see the three of us out hillwalking together. Jimmy was 10. Liam was 5. Now they are 25 and 20 respectively, and still occasionally come out walking with their dad - which is very cool indeed.

The brief for the outing was “A nice walk in the sunshine, but not too long”. So I selected the circular route on Gun G/SP-013, as I had followed only days earlier. As we reached the parking spot, we noted the presence of a black Dacia Duster with an amateur radio aerial attached! I parked my own black Dacia Duster (with amateur radio aerial attached) and switched on the mobile rig to see who it was.

It turned out to be Paul M0PWC, and Jimmy and I both worked him for the chaser point. Also QRV on 2m FM, with a huge signal, was Mike 2E0YYY, operating from Raw Head. This used to be in the SOTA scheme as G/SP-016 before a more accurate survey brought about its demotion, and was indeed a summit visited by the three of us, when the boys were 10 and 5 respectively (and indeed on several further occasions).

Jimmy M0HGY tried several times to call in to Mike but without success. Shortly afterwards, Paul M0PWC appeared beside the car having completed his activation and descended. I tried to call Mike’s HEMA activation myself using my 50w mobile rig, but was not heard, so I invited Paul to try on the same kit. Paul got through straight away, and then Jimmy did too. I remained unsuccessful though despite several further attempts.

It was high time we actually did some walking! We kitted up and had a proper chat with Paul. The route, unintuitively, starts by walking downhill, back down the road just driven up. Not for long though, before entering a field to follow a short PROW along a fence. There are always cows grazing fairly close by in this field, but they never seem bothered by passing walkers. At the end of this section we heard, and worked G4TCU/P who was on Caer Caradoc G/WB-006.

After climbing over a broken stile, we turned right to walk up the very quiet road, until turning right to follow another public footpath, this time all the way to the trig point on Gun summit. This is a very pleasant little walk, albeit rather short - though not as short as the traditional route up Gun of course! Jimmy set up the MFD for 2m, while I deployed the 20m GP.

Jimmy made 15 QSOs - 12 on 2m FM and 3 on 2m C4FM. I made 18 QSOs - 14 on 20m CW, 1 on 2m C4FM and 3 on 2m FM. Time was marching on, so we packed away and descended, our thoughts turning to food and drink.

Marianne, Jimmy and Liam had eaten at the Royal Oak, Rushton Spencer the week before and gave good reports, so we called in there. I was on the Becks Blue again while Jimmy traumatised me, sat opposite drinking good ale! We both had the scampi & chips “80s style” basket meals, which were really good, and decent value at £6.95. Liam had the chilli, and a couple of bottles of fruit juice.

I surprised Jimmy by turning left onto the Macclesfield - Leek road, ie towards Leek. A split-second decision prompted me to sneak in a quick ascent and activation of The Cloud G/SP-015 on the way home. For this one, we just walked up with handhelds, leaving the coats, rucksacks - and Liam - in the car!

Jimmy made five QSOs, all 2m FM. I made just three, 2 on 2m FM and 1 on 2m C4FM. We called in on my mum on the way home, and I weighed myself on her scales. 19st 9lb, so another 2lb lost in the last 4 days, and now 11lb since I started the diet 2.5 weeks ago. A long way to go yet to get to the weight I was when Jimmy and Liam were 10 and 5, but things are moving in the right direction.

Many thanks to all stations that called us on the activations.


Monday 14th May 2018 - The Cloud G/SP-015

Forgive me, for I ate a flapjack.

Yes. Ridiculous. Stupid. I know. There I am doing really well on my diet, but there it was by the till at the college canteen this morning - and I gave in to it.

At least I entered the calorie damage honestly into the MyFitnessPal app on my smartphone. I still had some calories left on the day, but not really enough. I needed some exercise.

Well I was going to do The Cloud on the way home (Crewe to Macclesfield) from work anyway, but I thought I’d better do a bit extra. And I was so glad I did, because it was a really super walk.

As I was approaching on the usual roads, I had the idea to do a longer walk from the Weathercock Lane car park at Timbersbrook. This is a bit further away than Red Lane/Cloudside, and starts a fair bit lower too. The route was kind of a figure of 8, but with a small loop at each end, and the same section reversed in the middle (if that makes any sense).

From the car park, I walked through the very picturesque picnic area, and up some steps onto Weathercock Lane. Here I turned left and followed the lane gradually uphill for about 180 yards. I then turned right at the Gritstone Trail marker post and climbed steeply up big steps, carved into the mud and held by wooden supports.

This brought me onto an access track for the farm on this side of the hill, which I followed for a while, before turning left into the woods. A wider and more obvious path goes straight up the hill from here, and this would be my descent route. Instead, I veered left onto a narrower and less obvious path - even though this is the official Gritstone Trail route.

This was now a really superb section of footpath meandering around the edge of the woods and contouring around the north end of Bosley Cloud. The ground either side of the path was steep, but the path itself was very well made, and a good flat and firm surface at all times. It was very graded and hardly felt like an ascent, even though height was being gained. The trees were mainly on the right hand side of the path, and thinning out as I got higher, but to the left (north) were commanding panoramic views.

All too soon I was at the familiar summit, and conducted the token SOTA activation. I didn’t manage to raise anything on C4FM - simplex, or WIRES-X - so the activation comprised just five 2m analogue FM QSOs. These were most pleasant and welcome all the same.

For the descent, I took the wide track directly down to the woods, then retraced my steps along the lane. This time though, I didn’t fancy going down the very big steps and potentially slippery muddy banks, so I remained on the walled track until the road. This probably added around a quarter of a mile to the descent - but that was a quarter of a mile of extra steps in the Google Fit app! A win-win!

A smashing walk, especially in the hot sunny afternoon.


Tuesday 15th May 2018 - The Cloud G/SP-015

It was back to the usual Red Lane-Cloudside start point for this ascent, though I did walk all the way up the access track and around the back of the farmhouse for a little variation. The land belonging to this property backs right onto the NT land, and within 10m vertically of the activation zone. In it, is an isolated small stone building, that doesn’t look like it is used for anything. Always gets me thinking of renovation potential when I see it!

Anyway, it was just a simple easy activation, with only handheld and logbook/pencil carried. No takers on 2m C4FM, but three contacts with regular chasers on 2m FM.

Flapjack = oats = healthy :+1:

BTW The butter and golden syrup are irrelevant.

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You don’t have to give up the alcohol either, just ensure calories in <= calories out. The problem is beer has many more calories than spirits and if you drink in a pub, it wont just be the beer but the pies, pasties, pickles and other junk that is deemed essential when drinking.

In my case I’ve reduced my other carbohydrates to make space for the drink. Simples!

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I know from past experience that going alcohol free is a majorly significant component of losing weight. Beer does have lots of calories, so people say drink gin. All well and good, but alcohol itself attacks the enzymes that help weight loss. At the end of the day, I’m sticking to my system which has seen me lose 11lb in 3 weeks. Four months of that will do me a lot more good than harm!

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We usually do the Cloud from the Timbersbrook car park, because we usually want a reasonable walk, and there are several ways through the trees. We normally use the big steps with slippery muddy banks, but have resorted to the track when the mud is really bad!

Yeah, the big steps/muddy banks were doable going up, but I didn’t fancy them for the descent, so that’s why I took the track all the way to the road coming back.

Wednesday 16th May 2018 - The Cloud G/SP-015

A very nice day with the sun out, but not really a scorcher. There was a bit of chilliness in the breeze and it was touch-and-go whether to add a jacket to the fleece. Ultimately (mainly due to laziness and apathy) I left the coat in the car. It was OK, I survived.

I’d been putting off reintroducing datamodes to my SOTA activating until the weather got better. Even for a portable datamodes enthusiast like me, there’s no enjoyment in trying to run PSK or JT65 in bobbins weather. However, we were now deep into a fine spell of weather, so I really needed to get the digi stuff going again.

Last time I tried, nothing would work. My phone and radio weren’t talking to each other. I suspected the DIN lead between them, as one of the connectors didn’t seem to have much plug showing through the plastic housing, and as such it was difficult to get it to locate - and stay connected, either in the rear FT-817 data socket, or the Wolphi-link interface.

Today I brought out my Windows 10 Acer tablet, and ZLP MiniProSC interface. This is the kit I’ve invested in to try and use WSJT-X while out SOTA portable. Eventually, the goal is FT8 SOTA activations, but for now I was just going to try some JT65 to start learning the software. Problem was I forgot the USB to micro USB adaptor that I would need to connect the interface to my tablet.

So starting to set-up and learn WSJT-X would have to wait. However, I could at least use the nice new DIN cable from the new set up with my old Wolphi-link interface, and see if that could encourage my phone and 817 to get back to communicating with each other.

And, indeed, it worked. I made three QSOs on 20m PSK31 before I had to pack down and go to a maths tutoring appointment.

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Wednesday 16th May 2018 - Gun G/SP-013

Following the tutoring session, I made my way directly to Rushton Spencer, and up to Gun. A group of friends from Macclesfield and Congleton have set up the “Telstar Technical Radio Group”, and they were having a social night of portable operating and antenna testing on Gun.

As I arrived at the parking spot, Greg M0TXX, Andy M1BYH and Chris 2E0VWT were already on summit and setting up aerials. I walked up to meet them and quickly set up my 20m homemade groundplane, all while Greg and Chris were trying - and struggling to get any sort of satisfactory match on a commercial multiband antenna on a tripod.

Greg had earlier expressed a wish to look at portable digimodes and digital voice, so I first worked on 20m JT65, and later demonstrated my Yaesu FT70D. I wasn’t able to solicit a QSO on 2m, either be it analogue FM or Fusion, but we did witness a net on analogue FM all swutch over to C4FM, and suddenly rocket in terms of signal strength and audio quality!

The earlier JT65 session was pleasing, with stations worked in Russia, the USA and Malta. BTW, a scorcher it was not. Very chilly at 6 degrees. The other chaps kind of assumed it would be and were without coats! They made an attempt to work via AO92 as it passed, but this was unsuccessful. They did get some clear copy of stations working through the bird though.

Afterwards, we convened at the Harrington Arms, Bosley - apple juice for me!

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Thursday 17th May 2018 - The Cloud G/SP-015

Time for a little handheld activation early in my drove south for a Motown gig in Bridgnorth, Shropshire. I managed to walk about 10 yards before the increasingly friendly farmer stopped me and chatted for about ten minutes!

I went for the walk up the concrete track to the top farmhouse, then the route around the back of it and through the woods to the summit. This path too has recently received a lot of attention from the NT / Cheshire Countryside Rangers, and like the other three main paths, is a delight to walk on. It will be interesting to see how they hold up in the next period of prolonged wet weather, but attention has clearly been given to effective drainage.

Just one C4FM contact from the summit - thanks to Gary M0XGS. A handful of QSOs were added on 2m FM (analogue), then it was time to go to work.

I would have liked to grab a points-scoring summit on the trip, but I’d already done the “Shropshire 5” and The Wrekin this year. I didn’t have enough time for Caer Caradoc, and Heath Mynd, Long Mountain etc were too far West to justify.

Good job I like The Cloud :wink: