Here are the pros and cons of this evening’s activation of G/LD-022:
In a last minute decision, as in turn left-or-right at Ambleside, I decided to tackle Seat Sandal this evening. I had everything in the car boot that I needed. I was feeling really smug with myself as I set off for the hike, I’d ditched the 857 instead for the 817/Amp combo, and swapped the heavy dipole for the SOTABEAMS Band Hopper. The rucksack felt super-light when I set off . Cue frantic rucksack tapping about 1/3 the way up Seat Sandal for the missing mast. OK, this is going to be interesting…
I took the short, sharp route to the top of Seat Sandal from Dunmail Raise, which pretty much runs up the face and is all about the ascent. On the SOTA LD Weekend Paul @W6PNG and I came down this way, and it is decidedly iffy on the descent. The only soul I saw the whole time I was out was a runner who came past on the ascent. Best of luck!
Conditions were breezy, lenticular clouds in the sky and nice views in the evening sun.
Salute of the Battery on Helm Crag
An indication of the gradient
Looking North up Thirlmere Reservoir with Skiddaw G/LD-004 in the distance
Looking towards Dollywaggon Pike with Raise Beck in the foreground
Looking along the ridge to Helvellyn G/LD-003
Mandatory Lake District Sheep Photo
View to the West - spot the dome of Great Gable G/LD-005 on the right
I knew there was a wall at the top which could be put to good use to form an end of the dipole. As it happens there were two walls on either side of a natural hillock which immediately looked like a good option for the lengthy 80m dipole.
Antenna Centre - the first time a peg has been used here!
Looking along the dipole length from the Westerly end, with Fairfield G/LD-007 in the background
Westerly end, pegged on the other side of wall
Easterly end of the antenna, with winder jammed in the wall
With the underslung Palm Pico paddles on the FT-817, and this poor excuse for an antenna, I began wondering if this was an opportunity to do a CW-only activation. When my calls on 20m SSB 14.315 went unanswered I knew this was to be the one.
Self-spotting for 20m CW I was answered quickly by regular chaser F4WBN ‘knocking the doors off’. Then my friend Andy @G8CPZ was also strong groundwave from near Arnside. After this it went quiet so eventually I decided to S&P and found 9A2AJ and IK5ZWU calling CQ and managed to work them. So that was a 20m CW activation complete. Andy reported that 40m was pretty noisy, so I decided to reclip for 80m and give that a go.
Andy G8CPZ was on 80m to greet me, then I could hear a station just above the noise which took a good 10 minutes to get in the log. So thank you very much to @SP9AMH Mariusz for persevering with the combination of my fixated copying of his callsign (I did get it right on the final send), and difficult listening as the CW filter was being given a hard time with S8-S9 noise on the FT-817. Maruisz was followed by @G8XYJ Matt, @M0LEP Rick, @DK2DL Werner and finally Roger @MW0IDX. I am very grateful for all the stations that took the time to work me. By this time the wind had picked up and light was fading. I was wearing two layers, two jackets, a puffer, woolly hat and gloves! Goodness me when I looked at my watch at the start of the descent it was 10pm local!
My CW Activation Log
There was a fully serviceable FT-1XD in the car, together with an RH-770D telescopic whip, both of which would have allowed me to do 2m. I assumed the Slim-J was in the rucksack, but then how would that have been supported? Apologies if anyone was looking for a 2m contact. I did toy with the idea of trying the HF dipole, but thought better of it given the time.
I chose the easier Northerly route that drops down to the West of Grizedale Tarn and then follows Raise Beck down to Dunmail. I was able to complete the descent without resorting to head torch. Amazing that it stays so light this time of the year.
Helvellyn G/LD-003 as the sun sets with Skiddaw G/LD-004 in the distance
Looking towards St Sunday Crag G/LD-010 at 10pm, camera starting to be challenged by lack of light
Westerly view on the descent
Moon setting over Dead Pike
Descent next to Raise Beck
Another SOTA adventure complete…
All the Photos