I was on The Cloud on the evening of Tuesday 1st February 2011. The new manager of the summit was not. In fact he seems only to have activated it once since bestowing the honour upon himself. Never mind, the recently demoted assistant manager was there to continue the 2011 RSGB UK Activity Contest campaign as part of the regular Top 5 Macclesfield team.
I was a little earlier in getting there this time, allowing a few extra minutes to put up the unfamiliar antenna. As a result, I was parking before the start of Jamie Cullem’s Radio 2 programme, so no pre-activation jazz for me.
On summit I was set up and ready to go a good twenty minutes ahead of the 2000 start time, so a chance to sit back and relax over a cup of coffee from the flask. The first hour of the contest was relatively slow going with 28 QSOs, but this was compensated by a healthy number of multiplier squares in the log. The SB5 was certainly enabling me to get the DX stations like GM, GI, JO01 etc earlier in the contest.
After 2100z, I managed to get a better rhythm going with a run on 144.329MHz SSB, and this included incoming calls from IO86 and IO70, so pleasing. How Don G0RQL heard me while I was beaming to Scotland I’ll never know, but a quick turn of the beam and we had strong clear signals in both directions.
As ever it was nice to be giving out SP-015 to known SOTA chasers, and being requested for it by others. The final tally was 5 DXCCs: G, GW, GI, GD, GM, 69 QSOs and 16 multipliers: IO64, IO70, IO74, IO75, IO80, IO81, IO82, IO83, IO86, IO91, IO92, IO93, IO94, JO01, JO02 and JO03. I did not hear IO84 or IO85, but did hear JO00, which was a ‘miss’. It would be nice to tally twenty multipliers in one of these events, but 16 was a big improvement on the 11 in my winning January entry. Whether or not I will be as successful this time, I do not know. The band was jam packed with lots of splatter from strong local stations, so there is the chance of a broken contact, and I suspect there will prove to be a greater number of competitive entries in the AL (10 watt) section this month.
Despite putting freshly charged cells into my headtorch before leaving home, it had given me a couple of flash warnings and was dimming by pack-up time. Perhaps I am not supposed to be using rechargables with my Petzl headlight, or maybe my cells are getting tired! In any case, I simply donned the spare from my pocket (Jimmy’s Petzl) in order to pack away and descend.
Guy Barker’s late night jazz programme on BBC Radio 2 accompanied me from Cloudside to the Harrington Arms in Gawsworth, which was astonishingly full for 11.30pm on a Tuesday night! Already here were Greg 2E0RXX and Simon M0TGT who had been contesting up near Wildboarclough, and Simon’s daughter Lucy who had been out with them. A Spearings beef pie with English mustard, a bag of hot chilli and lemon flavour Burts chips, a pint of Robinsons Dizzy Blonde and a natter with my fellow contesters rounded off another enjoyable evening.
I had told them I would be chasing the greyline with the 20m MM the next morning, but remembered when I got home that it was at Sean M0GIA’s for a repair! So I entered my logs at home rather than going straight to bed.
Many thanks to all the SOTA chasers that called in and worked me.