2007 was the year I started activating SOTA summits. The bug for activating took a while to take hold. My first activations where quite hit and miss affairs with next to no planning apart from climb hill, call CQ and see who could hear me. For example my very first summit was Ben More (GM/SS-001) which I did on the 9th June 2007 with the FT-817 (which I still use and which has extensively travelled) and its rubber duck antenna!
In the August of that year I had the opportunity to visit the Isle of Man for the first time so I decided to plan. For a change. The 5 qualifying summits are not major walks but I researched possible parking spots and walking routes for what for me was a proper multi-summit SOTA expedition.
Unfortunately the visit coincided with a Foot and Mouth outbreak in southern England and all the footpaths on the island where there was the possibility of coming into contact with livestock were closed. This made all the summits out of bounds except for Snaefell (GD/GD-001) which could only be accessed via the mountain railway. This put me in a dilemma; if we go on the railway could I claim the activation? I am not a “purist” and have been on many drive-on summits since but at the time I nearly didn’t activate the summit because I had not climbed to the top proper, what would people think?
The summit of Snaefell was fenced off with instructions to stay within the boundary and vicinity of the summits station with one area inside the activation zone. I reasoned that because it was the only way I could reach the top of Snaefell was by railway and I had recently climbed a Munro they cancelled each other out so I could activate. I see no point in getting to the summit to walk a few metres out the activation zone to walk back in, sometimes it is just not possible. Something else I have come to realise is it would be near impossible to reach MG with just “easy” summits!
The activation was a minor success as I see it, qualifying with 10 contacts on 2m FM over 35 minutes with a home built 3el Yagi. The weather was not kind on that day with no visibility and a wind which caused the rain, which was steadily falling, to make everything quite damp.
So what is this rambling for? Very soon we will be re-visiting the island and hopefully I will get all the summits activated. Bands and modes will depend on the weather and propagation but as my stays on the summit tend to be around the hour mark there should be opportunity to chase me, vhf and HF will probably be used, watch for alerts.
Any requests for a particular band or mode for a sked? I will try my best to provide a contact. Any summits that anyone needs for completes?
No summits required here Carolyn, but I will keep an ear out for you. I still have to speak to my bank manager about shelling out for the cost of the ferry. Having 5 easy potential “Completes” so close to home does give me the urge just to go and do them. However, I will probably fit the summits into a week on the island with the XYL to give the visit greater VFM. There are half a dozen HuMPs to have a go at as well, but The Calf of Man would need a bit of preparation beforehand and may be limited by the bird breeding season.
The North Barrule ridge makes a very pleasant walk on a nice day. The views are nearly as good as those from Snaefell (except where Snaefell blocks the distant view) I made several h2s contacts, chasing into N Wales & N England; all 2m using the HH & dipole as the 817 decided to have a rest while we were in GD. That was the only Hump we did and it was such a nice day that we walked past the car and on up Snaefell to do a second activation there. (There is a set of guys somewhere there; we went back but never found them.)
We had a very enjoyable few days and explored quite a lot of the attractions though many were closed as we went in October.
Thanks for the offer of particular bands/modes Carolyn but I have chased all GD and am not fussy about which band/mode I work. I hope you both enjoy a good break over there and will try to chase depending on where we are at the time; heading for Eskdale in late April.
The main aim is to do the 5 SOTA summits, 4 will be completes for me I chased them ages ago. I’ve never been into HuMPs, I chase when I hear them being activated, they would be a distraction from geocaching and visiting Trig-points and I would probably spent too much time on them activating. Same goes for Wainwights, walked over loads. LD has always been out of a day-out-run range.
60m is a band I will use this trip as its going to come back into its own now we are on the downward side of the sun-spot cycle. While I’m planning 60m the big dipoles will be coming out of storage (already been refurbished) to cover 80 and 40m also. The only other band I will probably also play on is 17m.
2m SSB is also on the list of bands as well as possibly 23cm FM/SSB.
Just before the prices increased last year I nearly purchased a KX3 but my head over-ruled my heart and brought a new FT-817 and a new FT-857 (to augment my 10 year old machines before they are discontinued) for less than a fully loaded KX3.
This now means that both Helen and I can run independent HF stations.
Hopefully we will be on the hills at a convenient time to chase your Completes.
I look forward to working you on the IOM. I have a good sea path for 145mhz & I’m always on the lookout for contacts on 18mhz with Sota. Only problem I have is that I work shifts 24/7 52 wks of the year so could miss you but will do my best to chase. Thanks for all your efforts…
Hello Carolyn. Thanks for the report of your 2007 visit and activation in the Isle of Man. I hope that you will have better conditions on this next visit.
I would very much like a contact with a summit there. So far I have two confirmed contacts, with activations from GD/GD-001, both during 2016. A different summit would be great. My radio is FT60E, Hand Held, 2Mtr. and 70cm. FM only. I wonder if you may be intending to operate FM during your activations?
Best Wishes, de Paul M0CQE.
Hi Carolyn. Thanks for the reply. Things are looking good for your activations, with a lot of interest generated already. For me, any info or alert will be useful, as I will have to get to local high ground to have a chance for contact with any Summit other than GD/GD-001. This takes me about 30 mins. I did this several times last year for contact with other areas. Most failed as the Activations had ended before I got to high ground. However I will be trying again this year.
Thanks again. Paul M0CQE.