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Return of the Cloud

I did mean to resume my early morning exercise and CW practice regime at the start of term. The alarm has been set at 6am for every work day since then (much to Marianne’s irritation) but as of last Friday, I had failed to feel sufficiently conscious at that unearthly hour.

Today however, I was awake and mulling things over at 5.30am. I got up just before the alarm would have gone off, had a bite to eat and set off for The Cloud.

Given my early start, I was disappointed in my eventual QRV time of 0617z. This was due to a slow and undisclipined effort in completing the tasks required between bed and car. Room for improvement here.

The going was slow on 7.032MHz CW, with just two SMs, an F and an OE worked in 25 mnutes of calling. At one point I had to vacate 7.032MHz as two conversing French stations came up and took over. I tried calling on 7.030MHz but didn’t get a reply. I thought about sending a spot for the QRG change, but figured that action would rob 3 of my remaining 5 available minutes. Hence decided it would be better to continue to call, even with no reply.

Again, my pack-up and descent was slower than I know it should be, and driving away from Cloudside at 8.02am was a bit on the late side. At least the roadworks were finished (for now) and the Pittshill by-pass open, so getting to work was a bit quicker than last year.

Made morning briefing on time, then disappeared into a cupboard to throw the suit/collar/tie/shoes on, and got on with the day job. I’ll do it again tomorrow! 80m though, I’ll stick to my formula of switching between 40m and 80m whenever one of them doesn’t yield a big bag of QSOs. Therefore there might be some SSB tomorrow.

Tom M1EYP

Oh dear not so good this morning. Started well, got out of the house promptly, and was QRV on 3.554MHz CW by 0610z. (3.557MHz seems to be suffering some heavy noise these past few days). The 80m dipole went up really well and SWR was good.

Ten minutes of calling brought just G3CWI. After sending a self-spot, I then called for a while on 3.660MHz SSB, but no response at all there. Back to 3.554MHz CW, and I worked G0TDM. Back on 3.660MHz SSB for another go, and still nothing.

So much for switching to 80m because I only got four on 40m yesterday. I managed to halve that today!

A quick call on 2m FM brought me a third QSO in 2E0VBQ, but that was it from a cold but dry Cloud. Now, what to do tomorrow?

Tom M1EYP

In reply to M1EYP:
Make a linked dipole and do both? :wink:
Sorry Tom had a lie in this morning, not working until 13:00 today.
Off (working at home) rest of week so will try to be up.

Roger G4OWG

In reply to M1EYP:

Oh dear not so good this morning.
Ten minutes of calling brought just G3CWI.

I really had planned to get up and do a bit of 80 CW this morning but my body clock is still “out of wack”. When I did drag myself up, the family breakfast circus took precedence.

Next time… 73 Marc G0AZS

OK Marc and Roger, hopefully work you tomorrow morning then. Perhaps my alert did not go on early enough yesterday either, so I’ll give a little more notice today.

I don’t have a linked dipole Roger, but I do like to put both 80 and 40 up when I have time. I space out the dipole legs and use one back guy (so five pegging points) and it works out well. However, no way could I manage to get that system up and down before work in a morning!

80 it is tomorrow then.

Tom M1EYP

In reply to M1EYP:
Hi Tom, we’re normally up and about then. ( 06:15 ish BST ) I’ll have a listen on 3.666 SSB or there abouts and see if we can hear you in Suffolk…

Cheers

James
G7MLO

Nice one James. I usually favour 3.660MHz myself, but will be somewhere in the 3.650MHz to 3.670MHz area as soon as the CW dries up … which will be about 0701 BST if this morning is anything to go by! More likely around 0725 BST I would guess.

Tom M1EYP

In reply to M1EYP:
Good Stuff! I’m normally ‘out the door’ by 07:20 so it may be ‘my’ Tom M3XFG you hear before he heads off to School.
With a bit of luck see you on 80 tomorrow!

Cheers

James

In that case James, I will endeavour to start with SSB, and go to CW later. 3.660 was clear this morning (too clear!), so probably there, but a few kcs up or down if any of the QRM around there recently appears again.

There’s a horrible din on 3.557MHz a lot these days, and certainly rendered that QRG unusable this morning. Hence 3.554MHz becomes my 80m CW SOTA QRG of choice. For now…

Cheers, Tom M1EYP

In reply to M1EYP:
OK Tom, look forward to finding you on 80 in the morning. Thanks for offering the SSB first, I don’t think the bands are ready for my awful CW!!

Cheers!

James
…>>

In reply to M1EYP:
Tom, Thanks for the contact this morning. There were several Scandinavian stations on the band, I hope you got to work some of them.
Cheers

James

Thanks fo calling James. And yes, I got LA and SM in my log today, quite unusual for a dawn 80m SOTA, although they are regulars on 40m.

Things were very slow going again to begin with, just two contacts in the first fifteen minutes on 3.662/3.665MHz SSB, and both G0TDM and G3CWI reporting weak QSB-affected signals from me. I hung on a little bit to work James G7MLO and Roger G4OWG who I knew were going to be looking for me, but with those two in the log and no-one else calling, I QSYd to 3.555MHz CW.

Things were better on 80m CW, although it was still steady going. It tends to be just G stations at this time, so it was nice to get LA, SM and HB - and nonetheless nice to get the G stations as well!

No sign of the Man in the Yellow Jacket, or the chap that walks up from Timbersbrook side with about twenty dogs in recent days.

A bit of a change tomorrow morning - I will be on 2m with the SOTA Beam. Hopefully running FM, SSB and CW, but no guarantee that I’ll fit all three in, in the limited time window.

Thanks to all callers for today.

73, Tom M1EYP

In reply to M1EYP:
Thanks for the QSO Tom.

Strangely, I listened for you on SSB but could not hear a thing (even though Richard G3CWI just about broke my meter when he called you) but on CW you were a very solid 579, no problems.

Don’t think I’ll try for the 2m operation from here. :slight_smile:

73 Marc G0AZS

2m CW should make the trip Marc. Fancy a try?

Tom

In reply to M1EYP:
Hi Tom.
I was very pleased to work you, because my conditions on 80 meters are as poor as they could be: Receiving SSB I always have bad white noise, on narrow for cw this is much less. My only antenna from home is a 2 x 10 mtr dipole with open feeder, fine on 40 and 30, but my own signal on 80 uses to be weak. So thanks very much for the qso.
I will look for you every morning the next days except tomorrow due to QRL.
73
Mike, ex DJ8EP

In reply to M1EYP:
Never worked Cloud on 2m from home Tom, but I worked you on 2m CW from Gun.
Will listen but Kinder and Black Hill are in the way. Beam NNE.

Roger G4OWG

In reply to M1EYP:

2m CW should make the trip Marc. Fancy a try?

Hi Tom… well maybe it will… but only if you can beam vertically. I haven’t got my horizontal 2m antenna up at the moment.

I’ll listen anyway but note I’m probably SSE of you.

73 Marc G0AZS

Funny you should mention that Marc, I was thinking of keeping the beam vertical for everything anyway. With the limited time window I have, I didn’t want to be getting up and down swapping the polarisation, and I know that some of the 2m CW people (G4BLH springs to mind) only have a vertical aerial (or did - I may be out of date).

So yeah, kicking off on 2m FM, then 2m CW, then 2m SSB - all vertically polarised. And I’ll point it just to the right of SP-013 on 2m CW, and who knows, the signal might just waft in your direction!

Hmm, bedtime looms if it’s another early get-up…

Tom M1EYP

Well, what a very satisfying activation that was. Very enjoyable indeed. It was cool, calm and bright on the summit, and very very beautiful. Setting up the SB3 on the pole, I feasted my eyes on the spectacular view - the valleys striking through the Staffordshire Moorlands half-filled with low mist, and illuminated by a low red sun slowly rising above The Roaches to the East. Wonderful.

I completed the last phase of the set up - connecting the feeder, paddle and mike to the 817 - and checked the time. 7.07am, so just seven minutes later than my ambitious “target-driven” alert time. It’s amazing how much quicker an HF dipole antenna is to put up than a beam when you are in regular practice - and the beam doesn’t exactly take that long!

I kicked off on 2m FM, looking for a possible S2S into the NP. However, the OM had warned me he could be running late, so I wasn’t too surprised not to catch him. Andre G1KDU in Nuneaton, and John M0JVC/P in Southport did answer on 2m FM.

Moving to 2m SSB, but still with the antenna vertically polarised, I answered a 144.300MHz CQ call from Peter G6AJK in North Shropshire. After a little chat, I tried my own CQ calls, but nothing doing there.

My initial call on 144.060MHz CW was unanswered, so I sent a self-spot for this. In doing so, I noticed that Dave G0AOD had spotted me on 2m FM, so I made a mental note to return to FM later to try and catch him. No need. He was the first to reply on 2m CW, although I did hear a weak signal underneath him too. I hoped that the weak station might be Marc G0AZS.

So after a pleasant short CW QSO with Dave, I called CQ again, and yes, the weak station was indeed Marc G0AZS down in Aylesbury. Result! I was then called by Roger G4OWG up in West Yorkshire, and three 2m CW QSOs were in the log.

A brief return to 2m FM, mainly to check again for the possible NP activation, brought Alan M3WDU in Southport and Phil G0CPJ in Freckleton (between Preston and Lytham St Annes). Phil was amazed at my signal when I told him it was 5 watts, as opposed to the 35 watts he was using, and doubly amazed when I told him I was on the Cheshire-Staffordshire border. I wasn’t; I know what can be done with a beam and a hill. I only wish I’d thought to mention to him that I’d just worked Aylesbury with the same power!

So, 8 contacts in the activation - 4 x 2m FM, 1 x 2m SSB and 3 x 2m CW. I descended a happy man, and got to work on time. The staff were all buzzing about what a lovely morning it was, but turning green when I mentioned that I had already been enjoying a full hour of it from atop Bosley Cloud!

Many thanks to all stations worked, and especially to Dave G0AOD, Marc G0AZS and Roger G4OWG for the spots.

73, Tom M1EYP

In reply to M1EYP:
Hi Tom

Thanks for the QSO (my second ever 2m CW chase). I was equally pleased to hear your signals come out of the noise for long enough to make a good QSO. The path from you to me is not so good as you can see from this link:

http://www.megalithia.com/elect/terrain.php?Make=-1&ngr=SP881122&bht=8&ngr1=SJ904637&daod=&dname=The+Cloud&dht=5&go=go

I guess the signals must have been well and truly “wafted” by planes, balloons, large birds and anything else in the atmosphere.

Ahh… the power of CW… :slight_smile: (I was using about 20 watts to a vertical with about 2-3 dBd gain)

73 Marc G0AZS