Friday the 13th, I really should have known better than to activate a summit. Nevertheless, I took a drive up to G/SP-004 Shining Tor, my first activation of this summit for ages. Shining Tor is a gold mine for the DX’er and along with GW/NW-076 Great Orme, it should be on every SOTA Activators bucket list.
When I arrived at the parking spot, it was very windy, and so I opted to take the shorter 9m fishing pole. On reaching the trig point, it was blowing a hooligan. I messaged Ed DD5LP to let him know what conditions were like and then I attempted to put the antenna up. To be honest I was having an utter nighmare bungeeing the fishing pole to the finger post. It blew over twice and I was within an inch of chucking the towel in. By now, I’d got to the point where I didn’t even care if the fishing pole snapped.
After about 20 minutes, I finally had the inverted Vee dipole secured. I’d alerted for both 20m and 40m, but I had no intention of pulling the antenna down again, so I opted for a 20m only activation.
As ever, Ed DD5LP was first in the log and after a chat about band and WX conditions, he kindly spotted me on SOTAwatch and the DX cluster. My third call was from Mario PY2ZZ in Brazil and then I was picked up by N1MDX, in Massachusetts, followed by Jim VE9WH.
I was made up, that the very next call from Brian @N2BTD. Brian and I go back a long way, when we made loads of contacts on the 10m band. This was not long after he got started in the hobby. Many thanks Brian!
There were loads of EU and Norh American Chasers, including a Summit to Summit with Mindy @KM1NDY, who was activating W2/GC-002. Nice to get Guru EA2IF from Pamplona in the log.
All the time this was happening the temperature was dropping and it turned very cold. I’d arranged a sked with Ernie VK3DET and knew this was going to be a challenge. Ernie must have spent 90 minutes going back and forth to his rig, trying both long and short path. Sadly, there were to be no Pacific calls logged for this activation and I didn’t hear any on the frequency all evening.
With Africa, Asia, Europe as well as North and South America logged, I came up one continent short of my last SOTA activation, but that’s radio for you. The disappointment was eased somewhat, when I worked Ron V44RR on St Kitts and Nevis, just before pulling the plug.
At just after 23:00utc, I called time out. There were 103 contacts logged for the activation all 20m ssb.
Of the 35 contacts into North America. 27 were USA and 8 Canada, the most memorable being a long chat with Colin VA3FP who is 93 years young. Just 2 contacts into South America.
IMHO, this log flatters to decieve, I thought the 20m band was hard work, with no Pacific and the best of the DX only as far as Texas…
So there you have it, the solar numbers are still in the doldrums and the solar WX experts still appear to be predicting jam tomorrow.
Thanks to all the callers. A nice, but very cold and windy activation.