Following on from my recent Red Screes activation I decided to hit the other side of the pass which is Raven Crag then follow the wall up to Stony Cove Pike. With snow above around 400m this made for a great photographic opportunity so I took along my new Panasonic TZ70. Recently I had to decide between a fancy phone with a decent camera or a cheap phone with a separate camera. I chose the latter - I bought a Cubot X19 Android phone - currently listed at just under £95 on Amazon. For that you also get a clear case and a screen protector! It is basic, some of the heavier-weight apps struggle and the camera is pretty rubbish, even so it functions surprisingly well - no problems with SOTA Spotter for example!
The Panasonic TZ70 is a pocket sized camera with an impressive zoom and image stabilization. All the zoom photos taken today were handheld, and somewhat shaky at that!
Stony Cove Pike from the Kirkstone Pass Ascent
Coniston Old Man with Kirkstone Slate Mine in the foreground
To give an idea of the zoom possible, this is Red Screes ‘full wide’ (aka pretty much what you’d get with a cheap phone camera)
Red Screes from Raven Crag
… and then full zoom:
The zoom allowed me to capture some folk on other summits:
Red Screes Summit
Fairfield Summit Shelters and walkers on the horseshoe
St Sunday Crag
Anyway, back to radio! I’d taken the FT1XD and caught @MW0XRT Dave activating Cyrn-y-Brain on the way up - luckily he worked a steady stream of 2m FM callers for the last 10 minutes of my ascent allowing me to grab a S2S just after arriving.
Stony Cove Pike summit cairn with Thornthwaite Beacon on the other side of Thornthwaite Gap
I then switched to the FT-817ND, noting that his signal came up quite significantly on this rig - probably down to the longer antenna. Six calls logged on 2m FM, and me forgetting 2m SSB this time round! So I took some more photos and moved to behind a short wall to get out of the biting wind, I think it was around -3 degC on the summit with a gusting 20 knot wind.
HF Operating Position
As the SOTABeams QuadBander was clipped for 80m I started on that band and worked five stations, still using the FT-817 @ 5w. My spots were a little erratic as the phone signal was poor, but clearly my 40m spot worked as chasers had dropped on the frequency and were calling before I had stopped messing with my phone. The messing was compounded by me not wanting it to freeze - I’ve had that several times now, battery can drop from 90% to nothing in a matter of minutes, so I was careful to put the phone back into an inside pocket.
Fourteen contacts on 40m. I dropped back to 80m to work @G4WSB Bill who was booming in and sounding great from Craig y Llyn.
I wasn’t expecting much from 20m so was grateful for the four contacts I got.
FT817ND in Power Port case
After the radio I had a coffee using the Jet Boil to warm my hands up. Whilst re-clipping the antenna I had lost my footing and managed to pretty much face plant in the snow! There were a few passers by but none brave enough to come ask me what I was up to. Must look pretty odd to some folk!
Froswick, Ill Bell & Yoke
Following the stone wall back to Raven Crag
Lake Windermere snaking into the distance
Last time I was on Stony Cove Pike was the height of summer for an evening wild camp, this was a welcome contrast. Thank you to all the chasers! Mark.