Quote: “Hope is not about everything turning out okay; it is about being okay no matter how things turn out.”
Usually the weekend can be relied upon to provide those avid SOTA chasers amongst us just what we love: loads of contacts on lots of different bands. I personally love it when I don’t know where to tune first and get a great sense of achievement when I have worked five or six stations using different bands and/or modes in as many minutes. Many are the times that I have had to check my scratch pad to find I have missed a couple out of the computer log in the panic. Today wasn’t to be one of those. It had its memorable moments but it was not as busy as most weekends have been recently. Surprising with it being a bank holiday on Monday, unless of course you looked out of the Window, or listened on HF. It had been pouring with rain all day; the lower HF bands were abysmal with the MUF at about 4mHz, when I looked and full of wall-to-wall contest stations. Mike GW0DSP and I were a bit bored so when he suggested we do a quick activation of his adopted summit (Hope Mountain - GW/NW-062)I agreed on the proviso that he did not laugh at my hat.
After a quick evening meal I donned my boots, Gortex jacket and Steve Erwin style Aussie prat hat, filled my pockets with a pad, a pencil and as many radios as I could carry and a little after 7pm BST Mike was outside my door. It was still raining and the roads seemed as slippery as an eel in a freshly greased Teflon coated frying pan, but the death wishers seemed out in force, overtaking on blind bends; no wonder undertaking is such a lucrative business. Hope is only about fifteen minutes away from Mike and I when driving with care and attention so having managed to avoid the idiot in 25 year old white Fiat that swerved passed us on two wheels and the rather nice Audi convertible which although just as badly driven managed to stick to the road due to its German engineering we where soon making our way to the activation area on the transmitter side of the summit.
Barry M3PXW had been in contact with us on route and did a sterling job of spotting, he was therefore the first in the log for both Mike and I. This was to be a flying visit and because of the horizontal ice-cold rain and equally cold wind, a handheld with rubber duck only activation. (I promise to do a proper one when the sun shines with beams and HF and 2m SSB). I had taken several rigs and antennas to see if any particular combination was more effective than the others. I started with my old recently repaired Standard C528 with its original antenna and it seemed a bit deaf so I changed it for a full ¼ wave rubber duck that was all the rage back in the FT-290 hay days. For a short while that seemed to beat the de-sensing from the transmitters when put at 45 degrees but not long. I then tried the more powerful with the larger battery Kenwood TH-G71 that has worked brilliantly on other summits but two faults emerged; the auto squelch function was to severe possibly due to the de-sensing and the interference was agonising. In the end Mike’s Yaesu FT-60 seemed to be the best of the bunch with the disadvantage of no external mike. I tend to hold the rig at arms length above my head to get the antenna as high as possible but I couldn’t do that with Mike’s radio.
In total eight stations were worked; on two metres FM both Mike and I worked M3PXW, GW1LDY, M3RNX and GW0WTT; I worked MW1MDH and 2E0NHM; Mike went to two metres SSB on the FT-817 to finally get through to 2E0HJD and then as we were packing up he worked my XYL GW7AAU who was fashionably late and said she could speak to me any time she liked.
Not the way I had imagined activating my most local summit, not the way I like to activate a summit and not the sort of weather I like to activate in but it blew the cobwebs away and gave me something to think about so that when I do it again I can hopefully do it properly. Preferably during a power cut so the transmitters up there are not a problem.
Advice on filters gratefully received.
Thanks to all stations who worked or listened for us.
Regards Steve GW7AAV & Mike GW0DSP