There have been many tales of woe from this household, on the subject of mobile telephones. For many years, I was a devout luddite, passionately believing that mobile ‘phones were the bain of society, disturbing others’ peace and quiet, and generally encouraging antisocial behaviour in social places.
But then I asked Mrs EYP if I could have a three week pass-out to walk the Pennine Way with Jimmy. “If you get a mobile 'phone” was her response. I had to agree. Dismounting my high horse about mobile telephony was but a small price to pay for the opportunity to realise a near lifelong ambition.
As it turned out, I did not have a mobile in place for the Pennine Way campaign of 2006, but Jimmy M3EYP did, and I was still bound by my commitment to obtain one at some point.
Jimmy then lost his 'phone on Kisdon G/NP-026. This was a little inconvenient, because we were both on three contacts each, with only 2m at our disposal. We weren’t very good at HF in those days, and I hadn’t learned CW back then. In any case, we had exhausted the batteries on the 817 and were down to our handhelds with rubbish ducks.
We must have wasted nearly two hours scouring the heather-clad summit plateau of Kisdon for Jimmy’s 'phone, before we admitted defeat and descended, demoralised and defeated.
Nearly seven weeks later, we were 'phoned by a lady called Doreen from Wigan, who had found Jimmy’s 'phone. It was wet through, having spent 40 days and 40 nights in the wilderness, but she managed to dry it out, and then charge it up. She found the number marked “Home” and set about returning Jimmy’s 'phone to him. Marvellous stuff.
In the meantime, I had finally fulfilled my own promise to join the mobile 'phone revolution, and bought Jimmy a replacement while I was at it. Oh well, we now had a spare.
That spare was nearly brought back out of retirement, when Jimmy put his 'phone through a full 40 degree wash cycle. That 'phone was passed to Sean M0GIA, who knows a thing or two about mobiles. A couple of weeks later, Sean returned Jimmy’s 'phone in full working order. Amazing.
Then there was the time that Jimmy was able to repay his debt to society, when he found a mobile on the way up Shining Tor G/SP-004. We called “Home” and were met on summit by the chap who had dropped it, after his wife called his walking companion with the news.
A very long time ago (my goodness, where is all this leading, are you sitting comfortably?), Marianne found a stranded mobile 'phone, from memory, on a grass verge on a country lane near Hawes, North Yorkshire. We were there having a short family break, with no SOTA on the agenda.
We couldn’t get into this 'phone, for it needed a password or security code or something. So getting it back to its owner was something we couldn’t do.
Fast forward a few years, and the family is now friends with the family of Sean M0GIA. They were round for Sunday dinner, I think it was on a Sunday if I recall correctly, and Sean mentioned his job as a mobile 'phone engineer. Ping! I remembered the 'phone found in Hawes, which had spent the past couple of years at the bottom of one of our kitchen drawers. “I’ll take it with me” said Sean, “see what I can do”.
I could barely believe the coincidence when Sean reported his findings of SOTAwatch URLs in the 'phone, and amateur callsigns in the address book. The owner was identified as my friend and SOTA activator Stuart G0MJG.
So (at last) to my activation report of my jaunt up The Cloud G/SP-015 before work this morning. And where does Sean come into all this? Well, instead of being a serial fixer and reuniter of dissident mobile telephones, today he was the cause of its errant behaviour.
I was QRV on 20m CW by just before 7am. As usual, most of the calls came from Ukraine. 12 out of 20, or 60% of the activation, in fact. Romania and Russia were responsible for the rest bar one on 20m. That one call, and I couldn’t believe my ears, until I had heard it three times - JA8MS. My first ever JA in the logbook, and worked with 5 watts from a SOTA!
The Magic Moggy is certainly a fun, effective and incredibly exciting antenna to use. But that excitement caused yet more mobile 'phone tragedy.
After working Steve GW7AAV on 70cm FM for a 20th and final contact of the activation, I double checked everything was packed away and descended. I was walking on air and grinning like a Cheshire cat (despite the descent being wholly in Staffordshire) after my JA 599 x 599 QSO. And that considerable euphoria must have caused the mental distraction that was my downfall.
I was then at Port Vale FC all day on a conference, and glancing dreamily sideways at the pitch at quieter moments in the presentations, happily recalling each of the seven goals I have watched Macclesfield score on there this season! Later in the day, feeling in my pockets, I noticed the absence of my 'phone.
In the car, it was nowhere to be seen, not even in my rucksack or coat pockets. When I met up with the family at Wickes Garden & DIY superstore in Macclesfield later (don’t you just know summer is coming?), Marianne told me that a lady had 'phoned to say she had found my mobile. Turned out, I had left it on the silver-surfaced plate of the topograph on the summit. That being the same colour as my 'phone, I wouldn’t have stood a chance of seeing it in my pre-descent cursory glance. There’s colourblind, and there’s M1EYP colourblind. I do traffic lights by the height positions of the activated lamps, and watch football matches by the names of the shirt sponsors.
So it was all about Mr M0GIA again. But this time, he didn’t repair or identify the 'phone, he lost it! Be warned, if you ever get to use the Magic Moggy antenna, keep a lid on your excitement - and triple-check your packing-up regime!