Well, I got up early this morning despite the fairly late start time on the Cloud. This was going to be a predominately HF activation and I decided to change antennas…But what? Going through the shed, I came across my 25 year old Antron 99 CB antenna, picked it up and though…nah
Anyway, I seem to remember something in the licensing conditions about “experimenting”, so I dragged it out.
The first thing that struck me, was how heavy it was. Added to this, I would need a couple of 5ft connecting poles to mount the antenna on top of. Suddenly, the antenna became even heavier and I was beginning to have second thoughts! But hey, Real Radio Hams don’t worry about such trivialities as weight, so I bungeed the lot together, along with the VHF antenna and chucked it into the car.
On arriving at the Cloud, I dragged out the antennas and rucksack from the back of the car and suddenly realised the whole lot weighed well over 40lb.
Unperturbed, I started the normally straight forward ascent, however on reaching the top of the steps, I was cursing the fact I’d been dumb enough to embark on such an undertaking, (although nothing like when it came time to put the bl**dy thing up.)
I settled down in the spot John, G1STQ used on Saturdays activation and set up the VHF antenna, spotted myself and put out a cq. Oddly enough, trade was very slow with calls from Peter, G3SMT, Bob G6ODU and Mark G0NMY and that was that. Qsy’d to FM where Paul GW0WTT/A called me followed by Dave M3XIE and a few more of the regulars. At 0956 UTC, I went qrx to set up the HF station and thats when the fun and games really began. Trying to put up an 18ft antenna attached to a 10ft pole, ain’t no joke…trust me. Anyway, I managed to guy it down with 3 guy ropes, then stand back to admire my work, only to realise, I’d forgotten to scew the coax into the bottom of the antenna.
By this time the whole situation had turned into a pantomime and I was far from a happy bunny. Anyway, after a further 5 minutes messing about, taking a few pictures of my handywork, I finally put out a cq.
I tuned the antenna to the 15m band and after 10 minutes, I thought I was transmitting into a dummy load. Once again, I cursed myself for not checking the antenna out, BEFORE dragging it up the cloud.
I qsy’d and found a very strong US5UZ, calling cq, gave him a shout and he came straight back with a 59. This of course, made me feel a bit better, so I continued calling cq, when up popped John G1STQ who had jumped in his Land Rover, to activate Gun. We had a UK S2S on 15m, possibly a first for SOTA! He told me there was a strong Japanese station calling cq further up the frequency. I Qsy’d to his frequency, let him finish his qso and got him on my first shout, JS6DMT on the island of Okinawa, much to Johns surprise. I then asked him if he would give G1STQ a call and he very kindly obliged. It took some time for the contact to be completed and the Japanese station showed remarkable patience to work John and his qrp station, when eventually he receievd a 4/1 signal report. This almost made the antenna farce worthwhile
I qsy’d once more and found VR2PW in Hong Kong and completed the contact on my second call, new one for me. Now, this most certainly made the antenna farce worthwhile.
I then went back to VHF to make a S2S with Dave M0TUB/P and found Karen 2E0XYL. Another half dozen contact were made before I qsy’d back to 15m where I worked a couple of Russian stations, followed by CO6LC in Cuba, LU7FSM in Argentina, VA3EBM in Canada, P40L in Aruba Island, A92GR in Bahrain, VA3GJM, VA2ZZ, 5B4AHY, HI8LAM in the Dominican Republic, W4WRL, YB0NFL in Indonesia, RW4PK in Tatarstan, EA8/DL8MG in Tenerife, me old mate Bob LZ/G3LRM, 7Q7HB Harry in Malawi by which time, I felt a bit peckish, and went qrt.
A very enjoyable days radio…thanks to the old Antron 99!