This has probably been done a million times over but I’m planning on getting up a SOTA summit this Wednesday 21st June 2023 to mark the summer soltice. For me it is always a very bitter-sweet day - wonderful to have so much daylight in a day but knowing that we are then on the slow downward trend back to short winter days!
I’ve had some magical evening activations in the Lake District, with some equally splendid sunset photos, hopefully this will be another.
The forecast for Wednesday evening is much better than earlier in the day. I’m up for activating Kitt Hill G/DC-003. I won’t reach the LD on 2m but I have a semi-portable QRO rig now and could do 50W on 6m or 10m on CW, SSB or for a laugh FM simplex. Otherwise usual HF bands and digital of course. FT4 worked well from Kitt Hill in the morning when we had that FT4 “party” so an evening activation would be worth trying.
Same here in south Cumbria. If it stays dry [Hah! Until yesterday’s heavy downpour we were praying for rain], I’ll alert for a local summit, probably Hutton Roof Crags G/LD-052 for a few hours before dusk.
I usually activate in the morning so I miss the North American chasers. So, I’ll take my Chameleon MPAS Lite vertical and see if I can get some N/A action on 20m or 17m as well as EU with my 10W of CW.
Dont bank on it, I managed to work Devon with 5w from the summit of Dale Head G/LD-020 back in 2005 on 2m FM . I had a 3 ele beam and the other station had more wattage and 2 x 10ele beams but on SSB it should be fairly doable with 5w both ways. You wont know unless you give it a try
You might be lucky and very surprised as I was last Tuesday early morning activating a “Wainwright” (Wainwrights on the Air scheme). With just my 5W 2m FM HT and a Diamond RH770 half-wave telescopic whip on a small summit (193m ASL) in the Lake District I expected to work the usual local and regional chasers but - thanks to tropospheric ducting - I was called by not one but two stations (M0GQJ and 2E1KJB) in the Isle-of-Wight 250 miles away. Both were 5/8 signals to me.
This is just to confirm I will be on Kit Hill G/DC-003 this evening from about 18:30 UTC onwards. I’m going to try on 6, 10, 15, 17 & 20m SSB but if I see someone on a summit using CW I will try for a S2S. I will bring an antenna covering 30m & 40m but not planning to use it at the moment. (TBC)
Kit Hill is also a POTA site, G-0597, and I will post a spot there with the hope of reaching NA. I will of course also post SOTA spots. Power will be about 50W.
The K index has been up and down but now seems to have settled down.
Probably go QRT around 20:00 or earlier if the battery goes flat.
Wow! The weather was even better last night than it was on Friday! I’d done my solstice activation last Friday as it looked as though the weather would be horrid this week, but gosh was the weather forecast wrong!
I’d done my day’s work delivering organic produce to 50 addresses around Lancaster but the weather was just so nice, I couldn’t resist joining in with the solstice fun. I wanted to take the FT-817 but I didn’t have time to charge the big 3S lipo. My MTR-5B lipo is tiny and usually takes about 20 minutes to charge with my fixed rate charger. I dashed home after work and threw my stuff hurriedly in my rucksack, packing everything I needed, except my paper notepad for logging. I knew I’d forgotten my log book when half way to the start of the walk but I didn’t have time to return home - I would have to improvise! Thankfully I found an instruction book in the car glove box for a fan oven we no longer have. Plenty of blank pages, so problem solved!
I managed 19 QSOs, including S2S with Mark M0NOM on G/LD-056 and Andy G8CPZ on G/LD-052. It was Andy’s fault that I was forced to do Ingleborough yet again as he bagged Hutton Roof Crags before I could! Hutton Roof Crags is my nearest 1 pointer. A shame to miss John M0WIV but I didn’t have any SSB gear this time.
Sorry Colin, I chose it as it’s my second nearest SOTA summit to drive to [18 minutes] and it’s safe to walk down in the dark. I got no points as I activated it earlier this year.
I found it hard going too, just 8 QSOs in 45 minutes on 40, 30, 20 and 15m - a much lower QSO rate than with my usual morning / lunchtime activations - and two of those were fellow local activators Mark M0NOM on G/LD-056 and Colin M1BUU on G/NP-005, both very strong groundwave signals. The North American activators – the main reason I did this rare [for me] evening activation - were all too faint to work.
I’ve worked N/A many times before with the same setup (KX2 10W CW to Cha MPAS Lite vertical) so I put it down to band condx. However, Mark WhatApp’d later to say conditions [on 20m] had improved but I had already decided I wanted to pack up and walk down before sunset.