Thunderstorms, IOTA, FT8 etc

Met Office reckons it’s heavy rain/showers/thunderstorms right through from 0500 to 2200 tomorrow (Sunday). I’ve not done a SOTA activation for ages, so I’m going to grab my only opportunity tonight.

The IOTA contest will be in full swing, so that could be interesting. (My offer of EU-005 will be somewhat less interesting of course). I’m interesting to see what NA and SA DX I can get with the FT8 set-up.

The electrical activity has finished here earlier than expected, and the fast-moving forecast has a dry evening in store, though still a bit breezy, so I may set up under the cliffs for a bit of extra shelter.

First priority - charge the battery on my headtorch…

Saturday 28th July 2018 - The Cloud G/SP-015

There was some SA DX showing on WSJT-X, 20m FT8, but I didn’t get through to any of it. I called CQ myself and completed only one successful contact in the first 45 minutes on summit - SP5SMY.

Now fed up of FT8, I plugged in the microphone and went hunting for 20m SSB stations in the IOTA contest. It was not busy by normal contest standards, but there were some big signals. Unfortunately, like most big signals in contests, they are not accompanied by big receivers that pull out QRP portable stations!

I actually thought there might be a problem with my microphone, so I quickly went onto 2m FM, where, as anticipated, Dave G7RYN was in full flow over in Winsford. I quickly called in, and exchanged 59+ reports - on the 20m antenna - so no problem with the microphone!

I then tried going back to one of the loud 20m SSB stations - N1UR - and this time worked him immediately! No more luck on SSB though, so I went to CW, and added three more IOTA contesting stations there. In terms of islands, the most exotic DX was EU-029…

Back on FT8, I finally managed to get over the water, and worked WB2REM.

Sunday 29th July 2018 - The Cloud G/SP-015

Another 45 minutes of CQing on 20m FT8 resulted in one QSO - SP9AK. Interspersed with the CQs, I tried to get back to some calling stations. The YV I kept chasing did not materialise, but IZ2TXQ did.

At 1.45am, and getting fed up with the gusting cold wind, and feeling very tired, I decided to pack up and call it a day - or a night - or a morning???