Wet & Windy Weekend Activations

Report for weekend of 21/22 November 2009.

I had planned for this weekend for a few weeks, mainly to continue doing unique summits and also to get some more G/WB summits in the bag. Also my heel was much improved following the ligament damage from the summit that bites back! I had purchased a 7 element ZL special from the Llandudno Rally and converted it for portable use by redesigning the feed system and fitting wing nuts for quick assemble and strip-down. Finally deciding to stay over in Ludlow so as to be close to the four that I had intended on doing. The day before we were due to travel,poor Elaine had a flare up of gout,but she still wanted the weekend to go ahead,stating she would not go up the summits but stay in the hotel and chill.

G/WB-002 Brown Clee Hill AM 21st November:

Set off from Ludlow in plenty of time parking at Richards Tom Tom spot,room for 2-3 cars. Through gate and following a well defined rocky and grassy path,taking right fork in path approx 300 meters in. steady incline took me through two more gates,it was at this point I found out just how windy it was going to be on Summit. Following path upwards and left I found myself in Boggy Heather land once again,cloud base that looked more like fog had come down and visibilty was about 50 metres. Out of the fog came the welcoming sight of the new circular Trig!
Standing on the trig mound I looked around 360 degrees and could see nothing. I decided to settle round the opposite side of it from my path up and the wind was much reduced here. Set up the ZL and when I attached the Coax,I heard a faint snap of solder inside the black feeder box(No way of fixing it up here or the weekend) put paid to the experiment before it even began. setting up sotabeam and it had got colder since being up here,started off on 2m SSB calling. Then a very eerie sight as the fog lifted slightly The massive Transmitter tower came into sight as if beamed there from the enterprise!
Graham G4FUJ came back to my call 1st quickly followed by Richard G4ERP who had put a spot on. 20 mins later all quiet with last QSO being David 2E0DAI at home. Torrential rain and stronger winds forced to me pack up and get down asap No HF again!! followed same path down soaking wet and slippy in places.Returning to hotel for change of clothes and Lunch with Elaine.

G/WB-015 Callow Hill PM 21st November:

This was planned as I could see it was a short but steep walk in to summit,the weather had not improved from the morning although it had warmed up slightly. Parked again at Richards Tom Tom spot,not a lot of room. Followed the path up past the locked barrier into woodland,and a large turnaround area probably for the Forestry vehicles. I walked on and path became slightly indistinct and slippy, took my time and got to top where the tower met me. using the Etrex I found the Trig about 100 or so meters along the path just plonked in a field close to the fence.
I met a local walking his dog,who advised not to use the vertical route down,but to go back along the top path till I came to a nice forestry path down. I told him I would follow his plan as I knew I would not be able to descend the way I came up. He said he thought he was the only idiot out today in such foul weather! I said no theres two of us!! He was the caretaker of the Flounders Folly Tower and said If he had had the keys I could have sheltered inside while I done the activity( I had previously explained my reason for being up there) I found a spot on the corner of the Tower that allowed a North/South beam heading. Seven contacts later,and another fast descent to get out of weather again!

G/WB-004 Titterstone Clee Hill AM 22nd November

Set off from Hotel again in plenty of time to get up on top. The sign for the summit was on the main road so no need for map and a brilliant view of summit on the left as I rise out of small village. I had planned to go past Richards Tom Tom spot,but when I got there it stated no public vehicles past this point. I walked in from here on good path up,reaching a grassy section with a path that was not worn but visible. I could see the Trig ahead with the Radar Station alongside it. On the right there was a vast canyon,which looked like the remains of the quarry.Above this was the Transmitter Tower and what looked like an Observation Bubble.
Arrived at Trig to very Strong winds but at least it was dry! Struggling again,I found myself self spotting and then Richard G4ERP came back to my call on 2m FM Simplex. I was shouting on both SSB and FM in order to get the 4 in the log! Weather again closing in,Cracker 5-9 came in next from James 2E0JCA,then struggled with David 2E0DAI on a 5-1 both ways. Old Faithful G0TRB came in to put 4th in log and I breathed a sigh of relief! a number of QRZ calls fetched nothing in so switched to 70mhz as planned. a Number of calls later with no contacts decide to get off with at least the qualifying 4 in the log! As soon as I had packed all away and got out of Stone Cairn Shelter,The rain was battering me with the 40 mile an hour winds behind it,I think I ran down to car with my hand trying to keep the woolly hat on!!

G/WB-018 View Edge PM 22nd November:

From Breakfast at hotel we packed all in car and set off in direction of home,via this final summit of the weekend. This was to be the easiest walk to summit ever, from car to Cliff edge plateau was approx 400 meters. I checked I was in AZ at the fence I was going to use. Very strange layout of hill top with its undulating paths and barren bushes and trees.Elaine stayed in the car and chilled again( Spoilt rotten this weekend she was),while I quickly set up Sotabeam and fishing brolley on fence with the 857 in the bag hung on the post. using the post top as a very small desk I decided to stand up for this one as I was keen to get home from here. Gave a few calls on 144.300 no reply then Frank G3RMD came back to say he had missed me earlier and had just switched on.
Four calls in the log I heard a very faint G0TRB well down in the noise,I asked him to give me a long over to try and get him in stronger,but no matter what I did with beam direction I could not get him,Sorry Graham??!! Just about to pack up and I heard Bill G4WSB from Widnes call in so got 5th one in log. All quiet and wind getting stronger again I decided to call it a day and back to car for longish trip home.

Overall a very enjoyable Weekends Activities despite the weather. I don’t get as many chances to play radio these days so always a pleasure to work Portable as often as my life allows. Very Grateful to all who worked me from the four Welsh Border Summits and a big thank you to those that spotted me.

I have posted all contacts in the database and there are some photos on Flicker,although I have had to take them myself with my Photographer on holiday this weekend Hi Hi. I always try to get timed photos when I am up there myself but either no where to put camera or weather too bad to leave camera out too long. At least you can see where sheltered shacks are on them all.



In reply to 2E0LAE:


Good effort in rather poor weather!



In reply to G3CWI:

Thanks Richard,

any comments like that from yourself and other Goats are praise indeed!!

I expect you have been out in worse weather than I have and it shows the determination of us all to play radio regardless!!



In reply to 2E0LAE:

Tony, congrats on the WB summits. Hope you didn’t suffer from too much RF hash on Brown Clee, we got an absolute pasting!

What a pain your ZL went pear shaped. If it’s the one I think it is there’s a plethora of shortcomings in the construction of the antenna; one of the main problems being that slotted ribbon is supplied for the phasing line which is extremely rigid and causes unnecessary strain on the cable at the feed point once you have placed the 180 degree twist in the centre. I experienced this problem with the 12ele ZL and rectified it by glueing the ends into the feed box but it would also be an option to use the thinner, more flexible flat twin if you can get hold of it.

73, Chris M1DTJ

In reply to M1DTJ:

Hi Chris, Thanks for your comments, I think I got some QRM from the TX Tower up there but managed to get the summit qualified. As I said the weather was more of a problem than I expected.

As for the ZL 7 ele Special,the problem was purely that I had fitted a SO239 for ease of connection,but when attaching the coax,it turned the SO239 and the solder came adrift from the Tuning Capacitor within the main connection plastic box. I have now reinforced it and the same problem should not re-occur??!!

I have not had the same problem as you with the slotted Ribbon, when I checked SWR both when I had converted it to portable and today when I re-soldered and reinforced the feed connection I have a reading of 1.2:1 across the range of 2 meters. I am more than happy although since your reply I have checked and secured all cables and sealed everything so Fingers crossed for MW-013 on 5th December!!!