On Tuesday 7th July 2020, the RSGB Contest Committee once again allowed competitive participation from /P stations. During lockdown, my RSGB contesting has been restricted to being from the home QTH only - although itchy feet and a yearning for the hills saw me start to abandon the shack and take part from the hills anyway, even though this meant I could only enter a checklog.
All day at work and after returning home, the rain came down. The Met Office forecast gave heavy rain in the area around The Cloud G/SP-015 (I check for The Roaches and Biddulph Grange Gardens as Bosley Cloud itself isn’t a forecast location on Met Office). right through to 0300 BST on the Wednesday morning.
Right up to 5pm, I was resigning myself to not going out. The two small pieces of hope were that there was very little wind forecast - which meant that it could be possible to survive the night in the bothy bag (which soon becomes ineffective if strong winds are constantly pushing the fabric against you and your equipment) - and looking out of the window! Nearly two decades of SOTA has significantly improved my “weather watching” skills, and I can get a fairly accurate feel of how the next few hours weather will develop using the advanced technique of looking out of the window. And this suggested to me that there would be much less rain to suffer on Cloud summit between 1800 and 2130z than this indicated:
I decided to go for it, so quickly prepared dinner for Jimmy M0HGY, Liam and myself - Marianne was at work. Sausage, egg, beans and chips - lovely!
I arrived at the summit in very light drizzle, but crucially no wind at all. This proved essential, as the ground on three sides of the topograph had a big puddle. Just one spot afforded the opportunity to place my mat on the ground, not in a muddy puddle, but still use the topograph as a back-rest / shelter.
I spent the first two hours inside the bothy bag, sheltering myself and my equipment from the drizzle, but after that, it remained dry and much more in-keeping with my looking-out-of-the-kitchen-window forecast than the online Met Office prediction. Activity was good with lots of portables similarly escaping the cabin fever, though conditions were variable. Some directions enjoyed good signals, but long deep QSB was a menace throughout, and nothing was worked outside the UK, apart from one contact into EI.
Anyway, here’s the results:
2m FM: 39
2m SSB: 96
70cm FM: 2
70cm SSB: 2
17 QRAs: IO63, 64, 73, 74, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 86, 90, 91, 92, 93, 94, 95, JO00.
6 DXCCs: EI, G, GD, GI, GM, GW.
I drove over to Gun G/SP-013 afterwards for a quick handheld activation, and made 3 QSOs on 70cm FM from the summit.