Yesterday I spent the day activating Wills Neck on Quantock Hills. I easily found the car park (well after a couple of wrong turns) and was ready to start my walk at about 10am. On the drive down there had been some misty rain showers, some of which were quite heavy but on arrival the sun came out.
It’s a very pleasant thirty minute walk from the car park through heathland to the summit and trig point. It was quite busy and windy so I decided to move slightly away from the Trig, but within the AZ to give a little shelter. I opened on 2m FM and immediately found Peter, G0HET in Bridport. After a pleasant QSO I called again on 145.500 but nothing at all. I gave 2m SSB a try and nothing there either.
On to HF and 20m was full of contest stations. I called and called but with no response until suddenly I was answered by YO2LGH with a 57 report. That was to be my only HF contact with no responses at all on 40m despite trying for some near enough an hour. As someone who is relatively new to Amateur radio it is easy to think, “I must be doing something wrong” at times like that so it was a relief to read on the reflector that other operators struggled yesterday too.
So after two hours of operating I only had 2 contacts and it was looking like I might not make the activation. I was also worried that I had been calling so much that my battery might be running down. Back to 2m FM and I managed to Work Harry, G0LHX in nearby Bridgwater followed by John, GW4LFF in South Wales.
Now in better spirits, having made four contacts I packed up and wandered back over to the trig. I decided to have one last try on 2m and put the rubber duck antenna on the FT817 and tuned to 145.500. I heard a portable station QSYing and followed to 145.300, could it be a SOTA? Yes it was! It was Gerald, MW0WML, over 100kms away on Drgarn Fawr. I called and we made contact, me with the radio sat on top of the trig point with just the rubber duck and 2.5 watts and Gerald on his handheld. It was fantastic to get an s2s and nicely rounded off the day.