I’ve not posted any reports to the reflector since the summer of 2022. One of the main reasons for this being that my workload has picked up slightly since then and that I’ve only been able to do nine activations at six local summits in G/SC. Beacon Batch G/SC-003 is my nearest and I’m often up there trying to gain s2s points. I also like to be up there, weather permitting, when entering the RSGB’s 144 UKAC (10w) & Backpackers (5w) contests. From up there, the extra altitude has allowed me to also work PE, DK, OZ, GU & EA in addition to the usual countries I can reach from my home QTH, those being GW, GI, EI, GM, GD & F.
With the weather forecasts predicting temps dropping to around -3 degrees over the upcoming week I took the opportunity on Weds 29th Nov to head out to three G/SC SOTA summits after doing the school run.
First on the list was Dunkery Beacon G/SC-001, a summit not visited since Mar ’22, and one which I needed to activate before the 1st Dec so that I could return over the Xmas break and get the winter bonus too! On previous occasions it had always been quite windy up there so I was prepared with extra thermal layers and extra guys for the 10m telescopic pole. The drive took 95mins and gave me an opportunity to try out a 12v heated travel mug that my son had gifted me for my birthday. Luckily there was no ice on the roads but it was certainly foggy in places.
Once up there, it was surprisingly very still with no wind so the EFHW for 20m went up the 10m pole very easily. For speed, I opted to leave the 64:1 transformer only a few inches off the ground and checked it with the NanoVNA and was surprised to see it didn’t need any adjustment. All in all, I was set up with the FT-857 in about 10mins.
20m had been rubbish during the day over the last few days so my fingers were crossed for better CDX. My mobile signal was also poor and it took a while for me to spot myself but once done I was glad for the mini-pileup and rattled off 18 SSB QSOs in 15mins including two s2s’s with IK2LEY/P on I/LO-203 and HB9DIZ on HB/BE-170. The day ahead was looking good as I began to put all the gear away.
Next was Selworthy Beacon G/SC-005. The drive would take me about 20mins across the undulating purple patches of dense low vegetation set against a moody grey sky that made up Exmoor that morning. I like Selworthy as the 360 degree view is dominated by the Bristol Channel to the north. I tried to set up the pole but the ground cover was thin and I struggled to drive the pegs deep into the ground. After lots of poking around, the EFHW was up again and checked with the NanoVNA and didn’t need any adjustment.
Another mini-pileup ensued and I managed 21 QSOs in 19mins with a s2s with S59RA/P in S5/CP-023. When I called QRZ and didn’t get any replies, I hastily took it all down as I wanted to get to my next summit and have enough light for another activation before the sunset.
Last on the list was Periton Hill G/SC-006 and off I set. After a 20min drive which also took me through Minehead, on approaching my destination the final stretches of road were not closed off due to the ongoing logging but the top car park was. The walk up to the activation zone was very slushy in places as the trucks had churned up the ground.
Unlike the earlier walks, this walk through dense woodland was very boring with its limited views out. After setting the pole wedged up against a fallen tree I ran a check with the NanoVNA.
20m was still going fine and I rattled off 11 QSOs in 11mins including an s2s with M7TSU over on Beacon Batch G/SC-003. The woodland seemed to make the daylight fade quicker so I tried to thaw out my fingers and take down the antenna – the last sections of the 10m pole always seem reluctant to collapse when it’s this cold.
Back at the car, I got the heated travel mug on the go and made a brew to go with the Snickers Duo. On the drive home I began to wonder when I could return to Dunkery Beacon for the winter bonus.
A special thanks goes to G4TCI for his triple chase and SA4BLM, EA2DT, EA3HP & LA9DSA for their double chases.
73, Lea M0XPO