Conditions were very humid when walking up the Skirrid (GW/SW-016 - Ysgyryd Fawr) from the rather large new car park (£3 unless you are a NT member) on Wednesday. When we (M6BWA and M0JLA) got up onto the long ridge the top of the Black Mountains and the Sugar Loaf were covered in cloud and the view was very hazy. There was a light breeze which was very welcome but no sign of sunshine. I set up the dipole just below the summit cairn and listened round on the 2m band at just after 1000 UTC.
On 145.350 a conversation was being held in French - perhaps I would have an interesting activation! I tried unsuccessfully (not surprisingly with only 5w from the VX-7 and no beam) to join in but then started calling on 2m fm. Within 2 minutes I had qualified the hill and reached the Gloucester/Cheltenham area and Ilminster across the Severn. However, in the following 15 mins I got s2s with G/SP-014 (G7OEM/P) and G/TW-002 (G4OBK/P) also, Oldham (M0CQE), Hatfield, Herts( 2E0BKF) and Camberley, Surrey(M0KWY). A brief trip to 70cm raised contacts in Glos/Cheltenham and G6ZIM/P on the Quantocks (on a handy and rubber duck). Back on 2m contacts in Dudley and Brownhills were not so unusual but a 3rd s2s to G400E/P and M0PYG/P on G/NP-011 was particularly welcomed as M0JLA had come to join me briefly and this was the only NP hill he hadn’t chased. Thanks Nick and Geoff. 15 2m contacts in 45 mins from this 1 pointer near Abergavenny would have been noteworthy even without the 3 northern s2s and the visit to the SE. The snag, of course, was that I kept losing my frequency to stronger stations and had to keep finding a new one.
Time was limited so we had to leave and go to the much flatter Garway Hill (G/WB-013) just over the English border where my calls from 1300 UTC were answered more slowly with 10 in 55 mins (and 7 70cm). However I did reach G0GNE/P Hindhead (Surrey), M6YAS on the Northants/Warks border and 3 Welsh contacts (unusual from that location) so there was still some lift around.
These were the best conditions I’d found in more than 620 2m fm activations. Where did other people work (with higher power) … and when is the next lift going to be??