I recently swapped to part time working to enable me to look after my 2yr son for part of the week. As my wife works school term time only, today I had a bit of free time. The Easter holidays started yesterday afternoon for me and tomorrow we start our journey towards the Isle of Mull for our 2015 family holiday.z
All my usual radio gear is packed up ready to go on holiday, so when the chance for a sneaky SOTA activation presented itself this afternoon, I had to dig deep to find some radio gear! My home brew SSB rig was staring at me, so I packed that, along with a home brew microphone and home brew 20m dipole which still needs finishing off to be honest! For CW, I found my SW-20+ in the ‘radio cupboard’ along with a Czech straight key purchased at Blackpool rally some time ago from Mike G0CVZ.
I chose to activate Rombalds Moor as it’s my nearest summit. The weather was great, hardly any wind and glorious sunshine with fantastic visibility. I easily qualified the summit on home brew SSB, it was such a buzz, it’s the first time I’ve run the home brew rig with home brew antenna!
I then powered up the SW-20+, something I’ve not done for quite some time! I wasn’t sure if the KU6J spotter would spot me as I hadn’t entered an alert, so I fired up SOTAwatch on my phone. I saw a spot for John signing as CT9/M1NNN/P from CT3/MI-001 on 20m CW - I hadn’t expected John to be active on 20m. I’ve been looking at the alerts for possible chasing whilst on holiday and had noted John’s trip, along with M1EYP’s later in the week. I just knew I had to try to work John!
As luck would have it, John’s signal steadily grew in strength whilst I was listening and my VFO seemed to be reasonably stable enough to allow listening for quite a while. I called John a few times and I was thrilled to eventually make it for an S2S, both parties receiving 559 reports. I was very pleased with my 1 watt chase!
I then called CQ and worked a few stations, including a nice S2S with F6HBI/P on F/AM-473.
After the activation, I felt really good, a great start to my holiday! What more can an activator ask for - perfect weather, summit to summit contacts, all home brew QSO’s.
I’m hoping to make it on to a SOTA summit on Mull, but I don’t know for sure yet. I’ve packed my 20m/30m MTR and dipole, and also my FT817 for chasing from the holiday cottage (anyone for WAB?).
Thanks for the contacts today!
73, Colin M1BUU