Could be useful got next years 2m CW Marconi, but no good for Backpackers as I think G(W)8ZRE uses it for that.
So, to the activation reports then. Saturday 7th November 2009, and with the household chores completed by lunchtime, it was then the (slightly) more pleasurable ‘chore’ of preparing soup for the flask. What flavours did I have three tins of for my one litre flask? Answer - none. Only two tins were in the cupboard - one Baxter’s Lobster Bisque and one Spinnaker’s Bouillabaisse. Solution - chuck the two in together for a ‘unique’ seafood soup (and delicious it was too).
Lunch prepared and packed in the rucksack, it was off in the car to Gun G/SP-013, high in the Staffordshire Moorlands. It had been raining all morning, so I booted up, knowing that the path to the summit would be very wet. After a slow ascent, restricted by hopping between the dry - no, I mean ‘less wet’ patches of ground, I chose my operating position just past the trig point in the direction of the farmhouse.
First up went my £11 Sainsbury’s tent that I deploy for contest sessions of three hours or more, and then the SOTA Beam, mounted horizontally at a height of 4m AGL / 389m ASL. Everything went to plan, and the station was ready at 1350z with ten minutes to spare. Cue the first serving of Lobster Bouillabaisse Bisque, and a few 'QRL’s on a chosen frequency.
I began with a run of six contacts on 144.045MHz CW, after which it was slow going! 5, 15 or even 25 minutes would separate QSOs, but by the end of my three-hour window, I was on serial number 015. Poor in terms of the contest - but not at all bad for a 2m CW SOTA activation!
On the plus side, I had worked into France and the Netherlands on 5 watts, as well as S2S with Walt G3NYY/P on Ruardean Hill G/WB-021. At 5pm, it was dark, and raining hard. It was also bitingly cold. Packing everything away was an unpleasant chore that made that morning’s housework seem like a picnic. At least the descent to the car was fairly rapid, as I had decided I didn’t care where I was putting my feet!
The 25 minute drive back to Macclesfield took me not to my home QTH initially, but to the Bull pub at Broken Cross. Richard G3CWI/P met here for a pint and debrief. I was jealous of his 43 contacts including many into DL, and questioned my own insistence on combining VHF contest entries with SOTA activating!
Richard suggested that an early start on Sunday morning, taking advantage of beating the sunrise, would be advantageous. So I made sure I got a nice early night - at 1am (well I had to watch the World Heavyweight fight, BBC1 Match of the Day, ITV FA Cup highlights and check my emails…).