Seat Sandal Shenanigans

Here are the pros and cons of this evening’s activation of G/LD-022:

Pro Con
Warm Clothing No mast
CW Skills Low Antenna

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 :face_with_raised_eyebrow:. 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.

20m CW Activation

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.

80m CW Activation

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

Clickable Contact Map

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


Beautiful pictures and colours in the evening light – a very successful activation I would say, despite the antenna/mast troubles! :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes::+1:


Well done CW activation, Mark!
Thanks for the report with cracking pictures.



For all the low-strung antenna, your signal was a solid S9+ down here. Thanks for the activation.


Nice report Mark, thanks :+1:

In my experience, a SlimJim works surprisingly well when one’s mast has been forcibly taken down and the SlimJim has been wrapped around a nearby wall (or my head), by an impatient wife… :rofl:

73, Simon


Hi Mark, thanks for your fine report about this activation. Great photos too… well done.

73 de Geoff vk3sq

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Thanks Mark… Looking at those photo’s I wonder if there would be any milage in the MT or someone artistic producing a SOTA calendar for the shop to top up the funds. I’m sure (with permission of course) some of your photo’s would be there…

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Sounds like a great idea Paul. I wouldn’t have a problem with photos being used. Thanks for the compliment too :wink:
Regards, Mark. M0NOM

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Thanks for the contact Mark, nice report.

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That’s a great idea, and I would be at the front of the queue for a copy. The trouble is that it would certainly be very popular and that might make it the straw that broke the camel’s back! With the continuous growth of SOTA Barry is already fully committed as the volunteer running the SOTA shop and a calendar might be a product too far!


I think we could coordinate this to use one of the on-demand services without too much effort. I wouldn’t want to get into the business of printing 500 calendars upfront for example - especially for a calendar!

If we go down that route then it is a case of coordinating the creation of the calendar rather than the process of production.

I’m not in the MT so I am only speculating, although I would be happy to help.



Definitely making me miss that part of the world with those amazing evening pics! Glad it worked out for you despite leaving some stuff behind!


A few years ago, N7UN, recipient of the first Sota Sherpa Award and MT summit reviewer extraordinaire, paid for a calendar featuring NaSota activators. He did all the work and Staples Office Supplies printed and spiral-bound it. I think there were two dozen, and they instantly sold out. I suggest that someone other than the MT, which will demur, underwrite the new calendar and talk to an office supply company about various possibilities. I’ll buy one right after G8ADD. Don’t offer pictures yet, until we see who steps forward as underwriter (not me). Each photo needs to have an activator visible and identified.

Here’s the cover of the N7UN calendar, as well as Mr. January, icily trying 2 metres, and Mr. March, earning the first microwave award, using 23 cm.




Mark, your struggle with the SP9AMH contact makes me wonder if you are using an outboard DSP feeding the headphones. I paid 95 USD for a used bhi model NEIM1031 “hear it” in line module, and the result was startling. That means I have DSP in both the IF and AF. The way I now hear the East Coast US & Europe should be against the law. Don’t get the compact version. It’s useless, and there’s no bypass when you shut it off. I sent mine back.

Recently, I built a DF4ZS speech clipper into the 817 microphone case. Plenty of punch, according to my chasers. Very worthwhile add-on, but nothing like the bhi DSP filter (although the CB mounted jacks, the pots, and one of the knobs are quite fragile).



Hi El

That’s very useful information thank you. I don’t have a DSP on my FT-817ND, so the only filtering is the passband that the 300 Hz CW filter creates - there is no IF or audio filtering to speak of. Normally I have quite low noise on 20/30/40/60m, but 80m tends to be naturally noisy at certain times of the day and good propagation is determined by S9/S9+ signals breaking through that noise.

Regards, Mark.

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Thanks for the great report and photos. Interesting to see that you still managed to make contacts despite such a low antenna. 73 - Matthew M0JSB


Sorry Dave @G0EVV it took so long but I finally did my first CW activation, following your comment that has stuck in my brain since 2018 on Great Gable. Hoping to do cw tomorrow from Hevellyn. Cheers, Mark