Thank goodness that pesky 10m/6m SOTA Challenge has ended. At last I could jettison the FT-817 and the 16Ah LifePO4 battery pack, and return to lightweight CW-only activating using my YouKits HB1B. Except for all my Tuesday night VHF SSB activity, but that doesn’t count anyway because it’s on Tuesday nights and some of the people I work are not “dedicated chasers”.
Anyway, the first time back to more pleasurable activating with a mega-lightweight pack was Saturday 27th February 2016. The Cloud G/SP-015 was the summit, and the QSOs made were:
40m CW: 8 QSOs
30m CW: 3 QSOs
I couldn’t hang around too long, as I had a gig that night with “The Retrobeats” up in Hyde.
To Saturday 5th March, and I was up quite early, probably due to the previous day’s Friday football being cancelled. After a hearty breakfast at “Nosh & Breks” on Hurdsfield Road, I drove up the Buxton Road for a look at Shining Tor G/SP-004. The usual parking spot was under deep snow and I didn’t dare risk it. Instead, I drove further up the road and parked opposite the (still closed) Cat & Fiddle pub.
Even walking the short section back down the road to the normal track to start the walk, was hard work with deep snow right up to the roadside. Once on the track, I was plodding through 12 inch deep snow already. It had either snowed again overnight, or it had drifted and smoothed over.
Once I turned the corner above the Peak View Tearooms, the going got really tough, and I was either bulldozing my way through waist-high drifts, or clambering onto the heathery banks beside the path to try and make the going marginally easier. Either way, it was slow and tiring progress and I considered abandoning on several occasions.
This continued until the final approach for the summit, with the lying snow getting deeper and deeper. Still, it seemed I was the first on these routes in the day, so although the going was tough, it was amazingly beautiful. Well, I was the first human anyway. There was periodic evidence of grouse footprints, but that was all.
I decided to set up on the final ascent towards the summit, about 10-15m vertically below. This afforded me complete shelter, and a cracking view over the Goyt Valley, Cat & Fiddle and Axe Edge. I set up the end-fed & Micro Z tuner, feeding the HB1B. Last week I couldn’t get a single contact on 20m with this set-up, but this time it was totally different, and it was 40m that was hard to get going.
20m CW: 17 QSOs (including S2S with OK2PDT/P on OK/VY-039)
30m CW: 15 QSOs
40m CW: 7 QSOs
I was quite satisfied with 39 QSOs, and as ever, really enjoyed using the HB1B, which is a lovely rig to use. Plenty of people walked up and past me during my activation, most taking an interest in what I was doing. I was pleased because their footsteps would make my descent much much easier! Indeed the return walk to the Cat was probably about a third of the outward walk, in terms of time taken and energy expended.
Lovely morning out playing radio.