After my first ever post, some had commented that SOTA can be very addictive! This was proving to be the case as, three days after my second activation at G/SC-002, I’m heading over to Exmoor and Somerset’s highest summit G/SC-001 Dunkery Beacon at +519m. The weather had been very varied over the proceeding few days but Sunday 24/10/21 seemed to be my best bet and seeing as the rest of the family were away I seized the opportunity to bag my 3rd ever activation. I had never been to Exmoor before so I didn’t know what to expect at all. It was raining for most of the journey and with a final 15mins drive left to go, the road ahead wasn’t looking very promising at all but there was no turning back now!
I approached Dunkery Beacon from the southeast and was mindful of my short time window. So, as M0PLA had done before me, I opted to park at the first car park encountered which is the lower of the two car parks nearby (see his map below).
This meant a shorter walk but a greater climb. The rain had just stopped so I felt as if my luck was in as I started the 110m ascent. Half way up, the weather was still looking very suspect behind me and I was relying heavily on the WX forecast of a 1hr break in the rain.
This was the view behind me……
but ahead of me, the summit was just coming into view.
As I reached the summit, it was still misty but I began to feel a bit more at ease as the clouds broke and the sun began to peek through.
There were a few people already about and anticipating more, I set up a short distance from the trig where a pile of stones made a convenient seat and table.
The views to the N – NE were stunning and despite some sun, it was still drizzling and was very cold due to the constant wind. I didn’t want to risk using the FT817 / Slim Jim set up in this WX so used the UV-5R / Nagoya whip instead. I usually only use the UV-5R to monitor the calling channel during final ascents and so far, there had been no activity.
It was 1pm and my first few calls got me nowhere and I put it down to everyone being sat at their dinner tables having their Sunday roasts. Eventually, I was answered by G1BED/M in Somerset so not very far at all. Three others then followed and they were all in S. Wales so once again, crossing the Bristol Channel seemed to be the order of the day.
Fourteen minutes later I had made the necessary four QSOs and hadn’t needed to rely yet on the flask of tea and chocolate to keep me going.
By now, the wind was picking up and the skies were beginning to darken once again so it didn’t take me long to decide to stop there and head back to the car. On the way, it began to rain again so the WX forecast had been fairly accurate on this occasion and the whole activation being done in just over an hour.
So, even though it was a 50 mile drive each way… I made a mental note to return to this summit as it would have been great to spend more time up there in better conditions and with an HF set up.
73 de Lea M0XPO