This was very much a spur of the moment activation, and also a new one for me.
The instructions on the SB website were spot on, and the route very easy to follow - decent forest tracks then waymarkers to the summit - there are however signs of recent forestry activity, so the trees don’t match the map!!. I followed the ‘Kielder Stane’ walk, from about 2 miles west of Kielder village.
I decided to use 2m only, which can be quite difficult in the North East on a week day - it’s usually very quiet.
Stuck the rubber duck on the FT-817, and had a quick listen on FM, just in time to hear a portable station shout “QRZ”… went back to him, but no joy, so hurried to assemble my 4 ele beam. By the time it was sorted he’d gone - I bet it was the activator on Helvellyn… 10 points lost!!
Got 5 contacts on FM in half an hour, and Derek (G1ZJQ) posted a spot for when I switched to SSB at 13.00 UTC. May thanks…
Initially SSB was great, with my first contact Mike (GW0DSP) in North Wales, and quite a few stations calling in. However, this is when I had problems!!
The WX had been OK…cloudy with sunny intervals, but at 13.00 the cloud gathered, and it started to drizzle. I’m a fair weather activator, so wasn’t prepared for rain…big mistake!!
I was finding it more and more difficult to make contacts, so decided to call it a day…that’s when I discovered that the feed and matching capacitors of the driven element were soaked. Then to make matters worse, my feed cable fell out of the BNC socket!! So connections must have been pretty dodgey.
So sorry to all those who were trying to get through on SSB - I knew things were bad when I heard a station calling CQ with a 5/9 signal, but he couldn’t hear me.
NB I should point out that I was well prepared for rain, but the radio equipment wasn’t… should Yaesu offer a gortex FT-817 as an option??