Our original plan had been to activate Beacon Batch near Cheddar, a very local summit for us but looking at the weather forecast on Friday night, which showed rain all day for the area, we decided that a contingency plan was needed. The forecast was better further to the east a so it was that our alert was changed and Jo and I headed off to Walbury Hill G/SE-001, not far from Hungerford.
Driving down the M4 the rain was light but misty but by the time we arrived at the car park (SU379615, 51.356337, -1.469869) the rain had cleared although it remained misty and dull. Leaving the car park we headed up the RUPP towards the summit. As other activators have reported, the actual summit at the trig point is on private land but there is plenty of scope to activate from the side of the RUPP, within the activation zone. We set up at the side of a gate within sight of the trig point and called CQ SOTA on 145.500. There were no takers for the first few calls but then M0SPN, Steve from Swindon replied. We exchanged signal reports and had a brief QSO following which G3PZB, Alan from Cowes came back to my call. After a few calls to align his beam he was a solid 57 with me. As I grew up in Cowes we had a good chat before I returned to 145.500 and called again. This time no takers. After about 10 minutes I decided to try SSB and managed to reach G8OFA, Martin in Salisbury.
By this time we were both getting a bit cold and wet from the mist and with only three contacts it was time to try HF. After finding 14,285 free and sending a spot I managed contacts with OE6GND, in Austria and EU1FY, Yuri and Belarus. Having now made the activation we bid a hasty retreat back to the warmth of the car. It’s worth noting that we found that there is some mobile reception (4G at times) but it is very patchy. If you find yourself on the summit and unable to spot you should get a signal sooner or later without having to wander too far.
Thank you as always to all the chasers and sorry that we didn’t have the chance to operate on more bands.