As those of you who were good enough to work us know, Mine and Bob M1BBVs activation of Kinder Scout last sunday was a success. Finally, after our previous weather foiled attempt.
This time we had my son Sam with us. Now, Sam is fitter than either me or Bob, but is also shaping up to be a stereotypical teenager! He kept pace with us all the way up Jacobs Ladder from Upper Booth, albeit at a distance of 20ft behind.
One reaching the activation zone, we decided that the summit itself, and much of the area up to it from the rocks, was too ‘touristy’ being as it was covered with a large number of student type couples, several groups of stick thin beardy students, and the usual compliment of old ramblers. So we headed over to Noe Stool. Bob and Sam decided that the best place to set up was on top of this! We climbed up whilst talking to a group of student walkers, who were somewhat amused and bemused by what we were doing!
As per the last attempt, the plan was that Bob would activate on HF using the PRC-320, starting on 60m, and working up the bands. This is with the 2.4m whip antenna, so we expected to start badly. I would activate on 2m FM followed by 70cm FM. Once complete, we would then walk the perimeter of the plateau.
Well, the first thing that went wrong, was that I couldnt remember if my nice little laminated ‘preferred frequency’ cards included the 2kHz offset on 60m! I took a punt that they didnt, thinking that if they did I would have said so on the card! I tried then to spot our frequency, but dont know if it worked, I think maybe one came through!
But then our first success! We were fully expecting to get nowhere on 5MHz with a short whip, but I was amazed to hear Bob start batting off QSOs. This little burst didnt last long but we had three in the bag!
Its then that the second thing went wrong. I started up on 2m FM and was surprised to be getting nowhere! It took me quite a while before I realised I had a battery fault on the Alinco DJ-F1 and it was restarting on key up. My own fault, as I had neglected to carry out my usual discharge/charge routine. But luckily I had a spare! A dual band ‘nanfone’
The third thing went wrong then. After a pause of about ten minutes whilst we QSY’d to 40m, and searched about for a clear spot, then fathomed out the offset on the rig, and then found we were back on the frequency we first thought of, I left Bob happily dealing with his first 40m SOTA pile-up, whilst I fired up the Nanfone on 2m…
…and got nowhere! I could hear other people working and even calling CQ at 59! But I didnt seem to be getting out.
Rather annoyed that I wasnt going to get my points, I climbed off the rock out of the breeze. Bob soon then passed the radio down whilst he attempted to make a brew. I knew that wasnt going too well by the level of colourful language coming from above me, and also the steady stream of cold tea running off the rock and onto me.
Having abandoned my VHF attempt, I took over on HF from Bob, moving to 20m, and operating under Bobs call to boost his numbers for his first ever SOTA activation.
After the activation, we started walking around the plateau. But, it seemed we had over estimated Sams stamina, and he was beginning to flag. An attempt to reduce the distance by reaching Mad Womans Stones via the Trig point across country failed as my bad toe flared up as we did so, putting me into an agonising go slow mode (it isnt gout, its a nerve problem, but if youve ever had gout then you’ll understand the pain!). Once we reached the Trig, an assesment of the speed we were making, and the time we had left, meant we decided to come back the way we came and go down to Edale via Grinsbrook Clough. I spent so long talking to a lad from New Zealand about maps, that by the time I started the scramble down, Bob and Sam were already out of sight!
On reaching the car again, I was rather amused to watch mine and Sams boots actually steaming when we took them off! We then managed to drive off with my GPS and compass on the roof of the car, luckily we were shouted at by some other walkers!
Once home, I tested the Nanfone on my Marconi 2955 and found the deviation was very low. Seems I had it in ‘narrow’ mode, and its possibly far too narrow when theres also wind noise etc. A test on ‘wide’ mode, and it sounds much better. I didnt even know it had these modes! But hey, what do I want for nowt? I was given it free as an assesment radio.
I hope I entered the log correctly (I have Bobs log ins for the site) as Bobs writing is somewhat hieroglyphic at times. I would be interested to hear from anyone who worked us and tried to listen for me on 2m, and to find out what if anything anyone heard?