Well, what an afternoon! Not really what I envisaged for the “summer” outing to celebrate the success of the radio enrichment course, but good results nonetheless.
The booked minibus dropped the eight new Foundation licensees, two staff colleages and I at Cloudside, where we met Jimmy M3EYP who was being dropped off there by his mum. The ascent went well, and the pupils seemed to enjoy this, especially getting to the summit.
They then had their packed lunches, while Jimmy and I set up the 2m station. The weather was breezy with light drizzle, but nothing too bad. The children took it in turns to sit at my radio and do the requisite four contacts each. Some of them were really good and confident - the two Charlottes (M3YUR & M6CYA) operated especially well. Some like Lewis M6LDP and Jordan M6JLH showed dogged determination to get the four contacts in deteriorating weather. Some of the others were extremely nervous and needed lots of encouragement, but they all did eventually get on the air with their shiny new callsigns.
Lots of stations made the effort to get on air and support the kids, and for that I am grateful. Humayun M6HKX, Lewis M6LDP, Jordan M6JLH, Charlotte M6CYA and Charlotte M3YUR all made the requisite four contacts and qualified the summit. Charlotte M3YUR even made a couple of S2S QSOs - with Richard G3CWI/P on Raw Head G/SP-016 and GW0IBE/P on Pen y Fan GW/SW-001.
But then the weather suddenly turned rather nasty, with much heavier rain, swirling winds and significant temperature drop. I decided that I had to wrap things up pretty quickly, so poor Andy M6AJE was left on three contacts, while Leia M6LLL and Henna M6MIR, who were still waiting their turns, were each rushed into the operating position to perform one QSO each.
All the pupils made their way downhill with my staff colleagues Deb and Ian, while Jimmy wrapped up the team activation with a couple of QSOs of his own. Jimmy then raced downhill to seek shelter in the minibus as he waited for his mum to pick him up, while I endured a total drenching on the exposed summit as I packed away, alone.
The children’s spirits soon lifted on the minibus, and the girls at the back were singing away as we pulled back into the school car park. Initial reactions of “We’re never doing this again” had morphed to “When are we doing this again Sir?” and “Can we have an amateur radio club at dinnertimes in your room next year?”.
So, overall, it was a positive experience, but I do hope for one of those lovely sunny afternoons up there with next year’s cohort! My grateful thanks to everyone that called in - I really appreciated it.