Patience required gentlemen!

I’ve been far too busy building a new antenna, doing activations, long non-SOTA walks and cooking duties.

Anyway, here’s the reports:

I made a spicy tuna pasta bake and served with pepperoni pizza … oops sorry, wrong subject, got distracted.

I started to think about the forthcoming 6m-10m-12m 2020 Challenge flavour at the beginning of June. Having been locked down and unable to participate in the April and May Challenge weeks, I was keen to do something in June.

Thursday 21st May 2020 - The Cloud G/SP-015 & Gun G/SP-013

The other day I decided therefore to check out the condition of my 10m groundplane. When I emptied the labelled antenna bag, it had a 6m groundplane in it. At least I did an activation on that, and found it was “good-to-go” as a quick and easy option for the Magic Band with wide coverage enabling operation on 50MHz CW, SSB & FT8/FT4 and 51MHz FM. I also have the SB6 Moxon for a more intensive session on 6.

Over to Gun with the handheld, and just a single QSO with Brian M6OXO.

Friday 22nd May 2020 - Shining Tor G/SP-004

My 12m GP hadn’t been used in a while, so that’s what I took up to Shining Tor G/SP-004 with me for the joint activation with Alan M1FHM. When I unpacked that, it was in a sorry state, and no wonder, as it was rather sloppily constructed compared to what I would do now.

It was no surprise that it suffered several collapses in stiff breeze. Interestingly though, the VSWR indication on the 817 suggested it might be usable on 10m as well. And so it proved to be.

12m FT8: 5 QSOs
10m FT8: 13 QSOs
2m FM: 2 QSOs

I made a mental note to to remake the 12m GP, better and stronger, and maybe with the resonant frequency nudged up a little higher.

Saturday 23rd May 2020 - The Cloud G/SP-015 & Gun G/SP-013

I was up early and fancied a bit of early SOTA. I succumbed to my 30m addiction and forgot about my 12m-10m agenda.

18 QSOs, all EU, on 30m FT8 on The Cloud.

1 QSO on 2m FM on Gun.

I was back home after two activations at the early hour of 0930 BST. I decided to go and do one of my “from the front door” walks, and get some photos for the section of my website I am building for them.

This was an approximately 14km route through two contrasting sections of Danes Moss and several farms on the south and west of Macclesfield. Being ten minutes walk from rural Cheshire countryside has proved to be a godsend during lockdown.

After getting back home, we had a chicken biryani and onion pakora from our corner shop. A young couple have recently taken it over and the lady occasionally offers meals cooked to order, made “Apna” - homestyle. After tea, I dedicated the evening to antenna building. I used my favourite antenna wire - the green extra-strong military spec stuff from SOTAbeams. I went for 4 radials and RG58 feeder.

I set it up in the front garden and soon worked an LA station on 10m CW with 5 watts from the 817. I then chatted with a Richard G3CWI across town on both bands SSB. So the antenna worked, and was good for use on the two bands.

Sunday 24th May 2020 - The Cloud G/SP-015 & Gun G/SP-013

Up early again, and eager to test out my newly built 10m-12m antenna. Felt too lazy to head to Shining Tor, so went to The Cloud! It was pretty windy, so I set up beneath the cliffs on the ledge. The antenna worked adequately on both bands. I may trim the driven element to be resonant on 28.5MHz with an extra length to clip on for 24.9MHz - or I might just leave it as it is; not decided yet!

12m FT8: 10 QSOs
10m FT8: 7 QSOs
10m FT4: 3 QSOs
10m CW: 2 QSOs (S2S F/AM-778)
10m SSB: 2 QSOs
10m FM: 2 QSOs
2m FM: 13 QSOs (S2S G/SP-007)

Over to Gun, and three QSOs on 2m FM, including S2S to G/WB-006 x2. Spotted a car and a dipole on the road up to a Gun. This turned out to be net control for the South Manchester ARC 80m net.

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Hmmm. A nice bit of gritstone in the middle picture. One of these days I’ll come and add my callsign to the tally of Cloud activators, and if there is a stiff following breeze my itchy fingers might take me up that arete!

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