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Pileups on Whitbarrow Scar

I had originally intended to be on a local summit for the JA SOTA event this evening, but with the 30 mph winds it would have been a losing battle I fear.

Instead I took a trip to the wonderful Whitbarrow Scar G/LD-056 this afternoon. I did go loaded:

  • FT-857
  • Sotabeams Band Hopper IV
  • Homebrew 10m/12m/15m/17m Inverted-V antenna
  • Sotabeams 10m compact mast
  • Spectrum Comms Slim-J for 2m
  • 21 AH LifePo4 Golf Caddy Battery

With clear blue skies the walk up was sheltered and very pleasant. The normal Westerly wind was replaced with a South-Easterly wind which actually worked to my advantage. My usual setup position to the South-West of the trig point was sheltered from the worst of the wind.


Old Man of Coniston to the left


Looking North


Summit Radio Junk


First Antenna - the Sotabeams Band Hopper IV (with 60m)

The antenna strained and bent but the wind was not sufficient to cause too many collapses during the activation.

20m Activation

Setup first for 20m I was surprised to get VE1PVH/P in the log as the fourth contact - a good sign of band conditions. Normally I’m pretty good at getting the location of /P stations, but this one caught me by surprise. A follow up email however proved very interesting:

Paul gave me his exact coordinates of his tent (I do like folk who take accurate positions!).
He said: My rig was a UK/RT320 Clansman manpack radio (best damn radio on the planet…hi hi) 30 watts into 300 ohm TV wire dipole as described in the ARRL manual. I don’t operate much from my QTH as it is in a hollow. You had a good clear signal and no problems to copy. The bands are definitely opening up…finally. Hope to hear u again.

I’m not brave enough any more to contemplate taking an RT320 on to a summit, having tried one on my back! Given the number of dials you have to twiddle to get to a frequency Paul is either very proficient at chasing or this was luck of the draw and I popped up on a frequency he was monitoring.

Very nice to get two Scandinavian S2S, I’d love to activate some Scandinavian summits! The 20m activation ended with two S2S, concluding with @EA2GM Javier.

TIME CALLSIGN BAND MODE RST RSR OPERATOR SIG REF
14:23 F4WBN 20m SSB 59 59 Christian
14:23 OM1AX 20m SSB 59 59 VLADO
14:23 OH3GZ 20m SSB 59 59 JUKKA
14:24 VE1PVH/P 20m SSB 57 55 Paul
14:25 SA4BLM 20m SSB 59 59 Lars
14:26 LB9HI/P 20m SSB 59 59 Mihai SOTA LA/OS-001
14:30 OE6KLF 20m SSB 59 59 Robert
14:31 EA2DT 20m SSB 58 57 Manuel
14:31 S57ILF 20m SSB 55 55 FRANCI
14:31 OE6RCD 20m SSB 59 59 ROLAND
14:32 OE7WGT 20m SSB 59 59 Karl
14:32 OE5J 20m SSB 59 59 Club
14:32 IK2YYB 20m SSB 59 59 MARIO
14:33 G8CPZ 20m SSB 59 59 AJ
14:35 EA3HYJ 20m SSB 59 59 Agustín
14:36 9A4FM 20m SSB 57 57 ZDENKO
14:36 EA3BV 20m SSB 59 59 Jon
14:36 EA1AAP 20m SSB 59 55 Fernando
14:42 DQ9JTR/P 20m SSB 55 57 SOTA SP/BZ-084
14:45 EA2GM/P 20m SSB 59 59 Javier SOTA EA1/AT-076

40m Activation

Struggling to find a clear frequency on 40m should have been an indication of things to come. 40m was working extremely well, with very strong Inter-G across the entire country. Very nice conditions indeed, I really appreciated all the contacts.

TIME CALLSIGN BAND MODE RST RSR OPERATOR SIG REF
14:58 2E0AGB 40m SSB 59 59 Allen
14:58 EA2DT 40m SSB 55 55 Manuel
14:59 G6NHW 40m SSB 59 59 PETE
14:59 G3YZY 40m SSB 59 59 Howard
14:59 MW0OFA 40m SSB 59 59 Frank
15:00 GM4ZMK 40m SSB 59 59 Richard
15:01 IZ3NVR 40m SSB 59 55 Stefano
15:02 MM0IVR 40m SSB 59 59 Ronan
15:02 MW0XAD 40m SSB 59 59 Simon
15:03 G4OOE 40m SSB 59 59 A.R.N.
15:03 GW5JHE 40m SSB 59 59 Leigh
15:03 PD0DO 40m SSB 59 59 Drikus
15:06 M6KCI 40m SSB 59 59 DAVID
15:06 G6NYG 40m SSB 59 59 Roy
15:07 MM0GTX/P 40m SSB 59 55 Brian
15:08 G0HFL 40m SSB 59 59 Nick
15:08 G4KLE 40m SSB 59 58 Mervyn
15:09 G4OBK 40m SSB 59 58 Philip
15:10 2E0MIX 40m SSB 59 59 Derek
15:10 G0TDM 40m SSB 59 59 John
15:11 G1PIR 40m SSB 59 59 Dave
15:11 DJ5AV 40m SSB 59 56 Michael
15:12 2E1DFI 40m SSB 59 58 Raymond
15:12 M0SGB 40m SSB 59 59 Steven
15:12 M0YHF 40m SSB 59 59 Rikki
15:13 DB3LBG 40m SSB 59 57 Bjoern
15:14 ON3GEO 40m SSB 59 59 Geo
15:14 G8ADD 40m SSB 59 59 Brian
15:15 DJ2FL 40m SSB 59 59 Frank
15:15 G0ROJ 40m SSB 59 59
15:15 F4VPL 40m SSB 59 59 David
15:16 M0BNR 40m SSB 59 59 Neil
15:17 DJ1SD 40m SSB 59 59 Joachim
15:17 LY1SR 40m SSB 59 59 Romualdas
15:18 M0IUS 40m SSB 59 59 Edward
15:18 LA1APA 40m SSB 58 59 Are
15:19 2W0FLW 40m SSB 59 59 Derek
15:19 M0JZH/M 40m SSB 58 58 John
15:20 G0SPF 40m SSB 59 59 TERRY
15:21 2E0SWK/M 40m SSB 58 58 Mark
15:22 M0IAX/P 40m SSB 59 59 Mark
15:23 SQ9MDF 40m SSB 57 44 Leszek
15:23 M0NTC 40m SSB 59 59 Gez
15:24 GW7HJN 40m SSB 59 59 Stuart
15:24 ON3LX 40m SSB 59 59 Jean-Pierre
15:25 LA1APA 40m SSB 59 59 Are
15:25 M0PBR 40m SSB 59 59 P
15:26 M7UCA 40m SSB 58 59 Peter
15:26 G0PMJ 40m SSB 59 59 Dave

I jumped briefly back to 20m to try and catch a couple more S2S. I was lucky enough to hear Joseph W3JPH for a nice Park to Park contact. Knut and Bojan @S56LXN were great to get in the log.

TIME CALLSIGN BAND MODE RST RSR OPERATOR SIG REF
15:32 W3JPH 20m SSB 55 55 Joseph POTA K-8863
15:36 EA1FIC 20m SSB 59 59 Roberto
15:41 CT7AZT 20m SSB 59 59 Martyn
15:49 LA9DSA/P 20m SSB 58 58 Knut SOTA LA/HM-218
15:52 S56LXN/P 20m SSB 58 56 Bojan SOTA S5/CP-017

2m Contact

The 10m mast strained at the addition of the 2m antenna and the usual snagging of antenna wire ensued whilst trying to get it all back up in the air. Great to get a S2S with Roger and Gareth. I was running the FT-857 at 10w to conserve battery with the incredibly draining FM mode.

TIME CALLSIGN BAND MODE RST RSR OPERATOR SIG REF
16:01 G7CDA 2m FM 59 59 Douggie
16:02 GB2OTA/P 2m FM 59 59 Roger SOTA GW/NW-076
16:02 M7MCG 2m FM 59 53 Micah
16:03 G8CPZ 2m FM 59 59 AJ
16:04 G1OHH 2m FM 59 59 Susan
16:05 G0RDH 2m FM 59 59 Brian
16:06 G4TJC/M 2m FM 51 55 Simon
16:07 M7ASK 2m FM 59 59 John
16:09 2W0GNZ/P 2m FM 57 55 GARETH SOTA GW/NW-006

17m Activation

Things got very interesting having dropped to the 17m band. Lots of contacts, and a well timed spot on the POTA forum seemed to have the desired effect of bringing in additional transatlantic contacts. I was really glad I’d brought my homebrew clipped dipole for 17m and less, however the dipole legs were comically short as packed. Fortunately, in anticipation I would need some guying line I had packed an additional 6m which was put to very good use to reduce the angle of the antenna to less than 45 degrees. Power was reduced to 50w.

TIME CALLSIGN BAND MODE RST RSR OPERATOR SIG REF
16:34 II7ICT 17m SSB 59 59 COASTAL
16:44 EA3EVL 17m SSB 59 59 PABLO
16:45 K3EFS 17m SSB 59 54 Edward
16:46 N2BTD 17m SSB 59 55 BRIAN
16:50 OE6ISP 17m SSB 58 58 Ing.
16:52 HA7WA 17m SSB 59 57 Viktor
16:53 YO6CFB 17m SSB 59 56 “Lacy”
16:54 SP8QC 17m SSB 59 59 Andrzej
16:55 KA8H 17m SSB 59 52 William
16:57 EA3HAB 17m SSB 59 59 ROBERT
16:58 I3JKI 17m SSB 59 59 Roberto
16:59 EA1Z 17m SSB 59 59 ENRIQUE
16:59 OM5DP 17m SSB 59 59 MARTIN
16:59 LY1SR 17m SSB 59 59 Romualdas
17:00 YO2MLZ 17m SSB 59 57 Florian
17:01 VA3JIN 17m SSB 58 52 Robert
17:01 OH1MM 17m SSB 57 57 Pasi
17:02 EA1FHY 17m SSB 59 59 Jose
17:02 EC8ADS 17m SSB 59 57 Alfredo
17:02 EB5GC 17m SSB 59 59 Antonio
17:02 IK1GPG 17m SSB 59 59 Massimo
17:03 VE1ASQ 17m SSB 59 57 michael
17:03 K9ICP 17m SSB 59 55 Bruce
17:04 KG4WXY 17m SSB 58 44 Marcel
17:04 HA8DD 17m SSB 59 59 BERENYI
17:05 K4WSD 17m SSB 58 44 Allen
17:05 KN4SWS 17m SSB 57 55 John
17:06 KK7BTT 17m SSB 57 54 Antonio
17:06 OH6JUM 17m SSB 59 59 Jarkko
17:07 YU7XW 17m SSB 59 59 Milan
17:07 9A1CC 17m SSB 58 59 Marin
17:08 YU7RC 17m SSB 59 59 Radovan
17:09 N4BUN 17m SSB 44 44 DAVID
17:11 UA9CVQ 17m SSB 59 59 Korolyov
17:11 KD1CT 17m SSB 59 59 ROBERT
17:12 HA7XC 17m SSB 59 59 Gellén
17:12 EA4ABB 17m SSB 59 59 Francisco
17:13 EA4FGB 17m SSB 59 59 FRANCISCO
17:15 WA4WPG 17m SSB 44 33 Mark
17:16 OH3GZ 17m SSB 58 59 JUKKA
17:17 NC4XL 17m SSB 59 59 DAVID
17:18 SQ8NGV 17m SSB 59 59 Krzysztof
17:19 SP8HJM 17m SSB 59 59 Stanisław
17:19 F1UMO 17m SSB 59 59 Lenoir
17:20 KE8TEN 17m SSB 44 33 Andrews
17:22 N4ASA 17m SSB 58 57 DAVID
17:22 SP4ELN 17m SSB 59 59 Ryszard
17:23 IU0NHY 17m SSB 59 59 Leonardo

10m Activation

Finally to 10m. I had checked dxheat before I set off and there was clearly an opening on 10m today. I spent a long time trying to break the pileup to ZS1OPB as I have yet to get a South African station in the log, but contented myself with an Argentinian contact, and US Virgin Islands, very nice! I did scan the FM portion of the band but nothing was heard other than SSB.

TIME CALLSIGN BAND MODE RST RSR OPERATOR SIG REF
17:37 NP2AR 10m SSB 59 59 DAVID
17:41 TO3Z 10m SSB 59 59 Gildas
17:48 LU9FSN 10m SSB 58 59 Nicolas

At the end of all this the sun was setting and the wind had changed to a more Southerly and biting direction. I realised how cold I’d got and decided it was time to bug out. At this point I realised what a struggle staying on the summit late into the evening would have been, even though there would have been a chance of JA S2S on 17m - at a stretch.

Thanks to all the chasers!

12 Likes

On a nice day I think this is one of the best summits in LD.

2 Likes

Genuinely of all the summits in the Lake District, and lets face it there are some spectacular views to be had, this one never fails to be enjoyable. The flora and fauna are exquisite, it is just a really nice place to reset the brain, radio or not.

Given that the hoards have descended on this the second weekend with decent weather this year it is also wonderful to drive the 5 minutes out of Bowness it takes (when going South) to escape the masses. I saw maybe 6 folk in three hours on the hill.

Cheers, Mark.

1 Like

Thanks Mark for your report and photos. Well done. :+1:

Geoff vk3sq

1 Like

Fantastic summit, beautiful scenery. Thanks for the QSO Mark. Cheers 73
Paul
VE1PVH

1 Like

Impressive pileup indeed and lovely pictures. I’m lucky to get 5 QSOs on SSB.

1 Like

Nice report Mark and thanks for QSO. You did extremely well in the pile-ups lol

Best 73

2 Likes

I agree but I’m not sure we should be letting the whole world in on our little secret [not withstanding I and others have praised this little summit elsewhere on the reflector]. It’s in full view 7km away through my bedroom window and we don’t want a queue of SOTA activators waiting their turn to activate it.

2 Likes

I see no problem as long as it is SOTA activators - just don’t tell the grockles about it!

The title of the thread made me chuckle. Whitbarrow Scar is the limestone cliff on the west side of the hill, I had a mental image of Mark set up on a little ledge and fending off the jackdaws and climbers!

1 Like

Well, I was joking of course. I walk Whitbarrow Scar in all seasons and you could never call it busy. I activated it one lovely sunny Saturday afternoon / early evening thinking it would surely be busy and didn’t see a living soul - grockle or otherwise - the whole time.

1 Like

Hi Mark,

134 QSO in 2 1/2 hour on the bands, its incredibly and more like in contest. And you carried a lot of stuff to the summit, hard work. Congratulations to the success.

73, Ludwig

2 Likes

I don’t think it will ever be overrun - parking is a bit limited from what I remember.

I did consider activating it during the LD SOTA weekend last year but it was a long walk from our campsite at Meathrop Fell. Mark activated instead and had another big pile-up I seem to remember by playing the POTA wild card. :slight_smile:

1 Like