It’s been a busy week so finally, here is a late reply regarding last weekends RSGB HF CW NFD SOTA activity. Great fun for me with 4 hours operation in the contest and more SOTA time outside of it. On Saturday I activated NP-009 Buckden Pike, a unique for me. 131 QSOs were made from there, QRV from 13:24 until 17:24, the longest I ever spent on a summit. Numerous passers by were asking questions and making comments like “eh by gum lad that’s one helluva set up just to get the cricket scores”. This is not conducive to concentrating and making a big contest score in NFD! A very popular summit up until around 1530z when the walkers stopped appearing. I overnighted at The White Lion Inn down the hill in Cray, suffering the heavy cost of the dreaded “single supplement” for the B&B - very good food and drink though, with a friendly landlord who is also called Phil. I’d parked at the pub Saturday lunchtime (SD942792)and after the drive from Malton had quickly downed a pint of cider and announced my presence (just in case they sold my room reservation to someone else!). This set me up nicely for the ascent. So it was straight up the hill from the pub (thank you G3CWI for the tip) and this route took me a shade over an hour to reach the trig. I was grateful for the spotting help from the early callers on 5 MHz, especially Frank G3RMD. I did not have a Vodafone mobile signal from Buckden Pike so there was no chance of phoning G4SSH to ask Roy to spot me. S2S QSOs with G4ELZ/P (DC-005), OK2BDF/P (VY-011), and GM4COX/P (SS-228)were most welcome. One notable contact was EA1/HB9AFH/P (3 QSO’s). I think Hugo must have been on his holidays, and it was a pleasure to give him a few points, having had plenty from him when chasing myself.
Sunday saw me drive over to the other side of Buckden Pike via Kettlewell to Tor Dike. I was first car there at around 9.30am, loads of space for parking. The ascent of Great Whernside NP-008 also took me around one hour from there - easier than the previous day as I knew my time was limited, so I only carried the one 12 AH battery and the FT-897. The other 7 AH was left in the car, flat as a fluke from the prevous days activity. This load is about my limit, but I wouldn’t call it a comfortable limit, and certainly not with a walk in much longer than this one. John G4YSS (GX0OOO/P) uses Great Whernside every year for VHF NFD and I can see the attraction, I hadn’t visited here before. As well as the trig point there is a large shelter to the north. I settled into a spot in between at Little Crags SE 00168 74602. I set up amongst some large lumps of limestone that made a perfect shack, with random stone seat for me and stone table for the rig and palm key. No support for the SOTA pole though unlike on Buckden which has walls and a fence, so here the pole was placed against the side of a large rock and securely guyed. I managed 1hr 45 mins of activity to make another 51 QSOs, it was slow going in the contest with 10w - search and pounce was the key to making QSOs and I ended up with a mixture of SOTA and contest contacts. I thank the Chasers for providing me with serial numbers. Again several S2S contacts were made in voice and morse with G1INK/P (NP-006), G4RQJ/P (NP-007), MM0DHY/P(CS-086) and DL/LX1NO/P(SR-039). Total DXCC Countries worked over both days was 31 using an 11m X 2 doublet, 300 ohm ribbon and LDG auto ATU. Contacts were made on 10m/15m/20m/30m/40m/60m/80m with one leg of the antenna being used on 80m CW fed against a 22m counterpoise wire laying on the ground. I varied the power throughout my SOTA activity dependent on the number and strength of callers and the reports received and reduced down to 10w for the contest to allow me in as a QRP entry.
I packed up and left the hill top at 1225z reaching the car at 1300z. This enabled me to reach Malton via Pateley Bridge by 1500z and collect XYL Judy from the Manchester train. I could have gone with her, however faced with the choice of a Neil Diamond Concert at the G-Mex or two North Pennine summits in lovely weather, which would you have chosen? A quick check of SOTAWatch on arriving home saw G1INK/P Steve on NP-015 coming to the end of his activity on 40m SSB and that was my last contact of the weekend.
Finally, thanks go to Roy G4SSH for spotting support and Frank G3RMD for spotting me and also standing by to make it easier to work a few S2S stations on the Sunday morning. One lesson for me was not to try and carry too much - the walk DOWN from Buckden Pike to the pub with a 12AH plus a 7AH lead acid battery in the sack was just too much. I won’t be carrying that much again. Leaving the 7 AH behind the next day made such a difference. No permanent damage to my back I’m glad to report.
Please look out for me popping up in GD towards the end of the month using the callsign GT0OOO/P. A mixture of CW/SSB QRO and QRp and some activity on 2m FM also with the rucksack special, but my time on air will be limited due to the walking and social activities centered around the Walking Festival there. I’ll do my best to alert my activity via the good offices of G4SSH, who I gratefully thank for allowing me the first use of callsign GT0OOO.
73 Phil G4OBK