Thank you to Roy G4SSH for the spot which probably meant my activation on 2m fm today counted. Until we spoke later on the mobile I didn’t know that my good friend John G4YSS had been the first to activate SB-006.
We (XYL Judy for company) left the old school at Wedder Bridge at around 1015. At about 1035 we sensed something for a second in the air then BANG!Â This was army artillery being used on the nearby Otterburn Ranges. So loud we were shook by it I can tell you. It must have been from a big gun. On our way down we heard smaller shells exploding in quick succession - nothing like that single big bang. Reached the summit around 1100 in a sleet storm which turned to blown snow and phoned Roy. Set up the FT857 and RSS to make one immediate but intermittent QSO with G8PWX. Rig, battery etc getting covered in snow - shelter no use. Tried handheld with RSS straight BNC no bother working G8PWX Alec again. Tried CQ with handheld - no takers which was down to the 5 watts rather than the 40 watts from the 857.Â Reconnected N type adaptor to BNC to try again, missed G0EHV - one way QSO only, but managed to scrape good QSOS with 3 stns to qualify - G8PNN, G2ARY and M0PJM. One more call, no takers WX worsening so quickly aborted the mission to return to car. Good job we had the 4X4 or may have got stuck getting back to Alwinton. Made it to Rothbury for tearoom lunch then road blockage due to stuck double decker bus on B road back to Morpeth. Police and gritter soon on scene and got her going to ascend hill, we and other motorists followed.
This must be the most remote piece of England and I would like to come back to finish all the SBs off another time, especially Cheviot. Another time for sure.
I think my intermittency was caused by snow/ water getting into the n/bnc adaptor causing short in feedline and high swr.
Sent from Phil’s Nexus Tablet
In reply to G4OBK:
Scanned 2 FM for you, but heard nothing, but I don’t have a good take off in the direction with a hill in the way. Maybe catch you when you do the Cheviot.
73 Jim G0CQK
Yes, I can imagine the SB summits are a tough ask in winter. We did them all in summertime - 2006 for The Cheviot (while doing Pennine Way) and 2011 for the rest (while camping). I had a sniff of winter in the area in February 2010 when Liam and I did our first annual Road Trip. I was trying to take a drive up high roads to the car park right by the Pennine Way on the Border Ridge, but bottled out as the snow got rather serious!
In reply to G4OBK:
Cheviot is a nice wee hill and one I should do again sometime. Myself and Brian G4ZRP thoroughly enjoyed it even though it did blow a real gale on the top. I worked Jim in Newcastle using an handy and rubber duck on 2m, he was a good signal ISTR.
It can be “wet in places” is probably an understatement. Best do it when it’s frozen solid or after a 1976 style drought. I have a deep respect for anyone who made it to the trig before the paving stones were lifted into place. The peat gloop was like thick custard and deeper than my walking poles in many places. Scary place without the paved path!
In reply to G4OBK:
Shillhope is not a particularly easy summit to get out from on 2m, so pleased that you managed it okay Phil. I’m looking forward to a re-visit with the other callsign which will mean QRO 70cms - could be a challenge.
Don’t let the talk of damp boggy ground up on The Cheviot put you off. Just choose a day when it is frozen, like I did in 2007. From experience, I can’t say it is any less boggy in summer, as the hoards of walkers keep the ground in a perpetual state of bogginess 24/7/365.
As for the artillery - well you get used to that. We stay at Hepple, about 5 miles west of Rothbury and it can go on through the night sometimes. Must say though, the dawn chorus up there in God’s country is much louder!
73, Gerald G4OIG
In reply to G4OIG:
The boys in green have 105mm light guns and 155m self propelled guns. As well as laser guided bombs and stuff and 120mm guns on the tanks. I would imagine they could all make quite a bang!
In reply to G4OBK:
Hi Phil, I listened out for you around 11.00 ish, cos I can normally hear Shillhope no bother. Trouble is I’ve been re-arranging my arials, and at the moment only have a quarter wave for 2m in the loft. Not good enough!! I did hear a station talking to you, but couldn’t hear you. It was snowing here (near the NE coast), so must have been pretty rough on Shillhope. I’d have been wary of going any further up Coquetdale that Rothbury!!
All the best
For Jim G0CQK:
Sorry my activity was so brief. I think you should have heard me if my transmission wouldn’t have been so intermittent and brief Jim, I blasted out 40 watts for a few minutes before we had to quickly depart. Your helpful webpages found via the links on the SOTA summits pages are a must for anyone doing the SB area - much appreciated.
Read up on your summer activations Tom on your webpage before we went up there - always useful. Tnx for rubber stamp CW QSO today when you were on Cloud. Must be half term down your way…
Good to hear from our database guru - you’re making a brilliant job of it all Andy. Who came up with the formula for SOTA Complete as it now is? Brilliant concept - it’ll get me going to places I aint’t been to before for sure. Well done on getting the database listing working for it. Shillhope Law added one to my score which is now 142! Thanks for the info about the size of those guns. It sounded so close - could the shell sent have exploded over our heads I wonder? Maybe I should complain ;-). I’ll get back to do Cheviot this year come hell or high water…
It seems the area has quite a following and I found your cottage location of Hepple on the map. Maybe if I get time the frozen day for Cheviot will come up during the WB period. Pushed at present though for free days as I am repairing antenna damage after the recent gales. I reckon Cheviot is doable from here in Pickering and back in the day with an early start.
Yes, it was pretty rough up Coquetdale that day for sure - hope I get you next time I am up there or operating from TW-001, 002 or 003.