The activation that never was

1003 local. Arrived at proposed location for Backpacker’s Contest
(IO94pa - Bishop Wilton Wold).

1038 Find suitable place to set up.

1130 Station set-up in glorious sunshine. Eat lunch while listening
round band. Very lively. EI/GM/PA/ON all S9.

1155 Spots of rain noted on windscreen (unexpected). Dash out of car
to close windows (this was not a SOTA Rules trip!).

1157 Slight static noted on RX. Strange clicking sound begins.

1158 Using dry raincoat gingerly disconnect aerial. Loud cracking
sounds followed by rasping buzz - noise gets louder quickly. Fear
lightning strike imminent.

1159 Rain now torrential and coming in through window - open with
feeder. Cannot get rid of feeder without risking contact. Raincoat
now getting wet, must breakdown soon… Very worried indeed.

1200 Improvise method of jetisoning feeding using perspex compass -
feeder flashing and crackling alarmingly. Close window and thank God
for close escape.

1205 Rain moderates. Open car door and improvise “earth”. Earth end
of feeder - no sparks- harmless now.

1208 Reconnect feeder and survey damage. MHA blown up. FT-817 front-
end blown up. Only two or three stations audible. Local NFD station
who was on endstop in all directions is now S8 when beaming at them.

1211 Make one contact to see if rig transmitting - it is.

1215 Pack up in sunshine.

1240 Drive home with lightning and thunder all round and roads

Worst contest ever.

…and then forgot that I could have done a SOTA activation with the handheld. I was still shaking so perhaps my mind was not sufficiently focused?

BTW the layby that is often used to park for activations is now closed off and is piled up with road chippings.



In reply to G3CWI:

Nightmare. Sorry to hear about the front end.

And I thought I’d had a c**p day. All I did was leave the fishing pole and the 2m yagi behind. I got 6 QSOs on the whip on 2m SSB and 2 QSOs on 5megs with the dipole 3 foot off the ground draped along a fence. Some pretty fierce whizz-bang noises coming from the rx so called it a day there.


In reply to G3CWI:

Richard, please don’t take this the wrong way!!

That was a very good read, just like a good thriller, I was wondering "What happened next"
Maybe I have a sick sense of humour? Don’t dare answer that.

I unplugged all of my antennas and grounded them, twice today, as storms approached very close, it’s that nasty feeling while doing it that gets me every time though, should I touch the feeders or not?

Glad to hear that only your equipment was harmed, that’s repairable!!

73 Mike GW0DSP

In reply to G3CWI:

Sorry to read of your trails Richard. It’s a pity that the front end of the 817 succombed as this will no doubt be more of a task to repair than the masthead unit. Pleased you are okay. Having had a near strike myself via an umbrella, I can say it’s not very pleasant!

73, Gerald