The Winter Bonus Formalities

There is a minimum standard for “must-do” SOTA days out that should be completed before 15th March each year. If you live in Macclesfield and your callsign is M1EYP.

If the following outings are not completed, and fully qualified for points & seasonal bonus by that date, I feel I have not started the year adequately:

  1. Shining Tor G/SP-004, Gun G/SP-013 & The Cloud G/SP-015
  2. Black Hill G/SP-002
  3. Kinder Scout G/SP-001
  4. Cyrn-y-Brain GW/NW-043 & Moel y Gamelin GW/NW-043
  5. Brown Clee Hill G/WB-002, Titterstone Clee Hill G/WB-004, LongMynd-Pole Bank G/WB-005, Stiperstones G/WB-003 & Corndon Hill GW/MW-013
  6. Moel Gyw GW/NW-053, Foel Fenlli GW/NW-051, Moel Famau GW/NW-044, Penycloddiau GW/NW-054 & Mynydd y Cwm GW/NW-076

Monday 21st January 2019 - Black Hill G/SP-002

The morning began with rallies of “telephone tennis” with a couple of supply teaching agencies about work for the day. As it was eventually established that there was none, I started making plans to visit Black Hill, and Richard G3CWI fancied an outing too. The the phone rang again and the discussed supply teaching assignment was now back on again. But I was now in SOTA mode, so I explained I now had other plans.

I picked Richard up and we drove up through Tameside. Just before Mossley, we stopped at a FB grocery shop where we were able to order breakfast viennas, stuffed with sausages, bacon, egg and mushrooms, and teas. Lovely.

We parked at the usual spot opposite the new Pennine Way flagged path, which we followed right to the trig point - “Soldier’s Lump”. The path was icy in places, so caution was required. It was much better later on the descent.

Richard worked on 2m FM with the MFD, while I went on 20m FT8 with the GP. Richard had qualified before I’d even managed to make a single contact! In a turgid half-hour, I’d made just one QSO on 20m FT8 - with a 9A station. I stopped calling CQ and started answering those of other stations. My success increased (though there was really only one direction it could go), and I made three more in the next ten minutes. So, at least, I’d qualified the activation on FT8.

I thought about going onto CW, but it was too cold and the hands were really starting to feel it. In fact Richard couldn’t stand it any longer and started his descent ahead of me. I worked Pete 2E0LKC and Anne 2E0LMD on 2m FM with the handheld before setting off. I never caught up with Richard, meeting him back at the car.

In the true tradition of joint activations of Black Hill G/SP-002, our journey home took us via Stalybridge station, and the famous buffet bar. A pint of superb hand-pull stout was enjoyed along with a fabulous pork and chorizo pie, served with black peas and gravy. It was absolutely superb.

All being well, more “Winter Bonus Formalities” activation reports will follow shortly below…


Thursday 24th January 2019 - Shining Tor G/SP-004, Gun G/SP-013 & The Cloud G/SP-015

No winter bonus today, nor even any normal points, with all for 2019 having been already collected. But the phone didn’t ring for any supply teaching work this morning, and I needed to do me 10,000 steps to meet my Fitbit target. I recalled that my three local SOTAs added up to that.

Well I completed the round, starting and fishing in Macclesfield, in less than four hours. I started with a Spearing’s meat & potato pie, known locally as a “Macclesfield breakfast”, then drove up the Cat & Fiddle road for Shining Tor.

It was a winter wonderland on the Tor - snow cover all over, but consolidated and easy to walk on - perfect. The temperature felt like it was comfortably above freezing, so the white stuff probably won’t be around for long.

I just used handheld and rubber duck from the summit, but nonetheless gathered a rapid nine contacts.

Over on Gun, I was well below the snowline, and the scene was much different to earlier. The temperature seemed even higher too, and the gloves were left in the car.

Four QSOs were made, no other takers, so back down and over to The Cloud.

I took the headtorch j.I.c. but in the end it wasn’t necessary. Again, I got four quick contacts, then no other interest, using the FT70D handheld.

Back in Macc to meet J & L for a Burns Night themed tea in Wetherspoons. My Fitbit watch indicated just over 9000 steps - obviously setting out an 80m dipole makes the difference. I’ll have to go for a “constitutional” later.

Thanks to Pete 2E0LKC, Anne 2E0LMD and Greg M0NZO who worked me on all three summits.


You weren’t kidding about the snow up on Shining Tor!

Good to catch you on all three. Literally.

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