On arriving at Black Hill G/SP-002 parking spot the first thing that caught my attention was the wind and heavy rain, it was blowing a hooley, driving the rain almost horizontal. I gave Rufus M6MGB, my co-activator a call to let him know what to expect. On his arrival, we decided that both HF antennas and any type of collinear for VHF were more or less a non-runners and therefore, to do the 2 and 6m activations using just handhelds, a Sota Beam and my dipole and fishing pole along with rufus’s 6m antenna.
We set off a lot later than anticipated and I found that fighting the wind was making the trek somewhat unpleasant, although Rufus who is clearly pretty fit, took all this in his stride. Anyhow, by the time we were about halfway up the summit, the pair of us resembled a couple of drowned rats.
Nevertheless, we plodded on until we reached the trig point. On arriving, Rufus attempted to put up the shelter, but was clearly struggling, as he fought the wind for about ten minutes. Meanwhile, I was messing about trying to get the dipole up, only succeeding in breaking the fishing pole. Don’t you just hate it when that happens?
By now, Rufus turned his attention to the 6m antenna in order to try his luck. After some hasty improvisation, I eventually got the 2m dipole about 12’ in the air, attached it to the handheld and called cq, as did Rufus on 6m.
Now, I’m aware that the VHF take-off isn’t too hot from Black Hill, however today, it turned out to be a utter garbage. I was calling cq and chasers were responding then simply disappearing when we qsy’d to a clear frequency. Most of the time, I could here very little although reading Steve GW7AAV comments on the Spots, people could hear me. I pulled the antenna down and checked it out… it seemed OK! …Oh, how I wished I had brought the collinear with me.
In the meantime, Rufus’s handheld decided to throw the towel in after just one contact on 6m. Maybe a dry joint on the antenna connector, as it seems to work if you wiggle it about. I managed just five contacts on 2m and Rufus, using my handheld, managed to qualify the hill with about half a dozen. Rather surprisingly, Rufus’s 6m contact was only the third SOTA contact ever from Black Hill, although I suspect there were plenty of 6m chasers hoping to work him.
Apologies to all those chasers who we missed …and it seems there were quite a few. We tried our level best, but it seems that rather frustratingly, it was just one of those days when everything conspired against us.
Big thanks to Rufus for demonstrating tremendous patience, today. Look forward to working another joint activation very shortly, when hopefully, conditions are a lot more favorable and he can get a shed load of contacts on the Magic Band.