It was clear from the moment I reached the summit today that I was going to struggle to get the SOTABeams 10m Compact Travel Mast to stay vertical.
The forecast was for 50-60mph gusts on summits, easing during the morning. It took me six attempts to get the SOTABeams Band Hopper IV in the air, and I was only successful after I employed a technique I’ve never used before.
The mast kept collapsing until I guyed it first (on the ground) and then raised it until the guy rope was tight. This meant the guy rope was at a much shallower angle than deploying the guy rope in hand and then feeding it out and pegging it afterwards.
That worked and I didn’t have any more trouble, until I came to take it down and sections took some real working to get undone. Fair dues to the mast however, it survived for another activation!
Woods on the ascent
Highland Cattle & Calves
Summit from the path
Clinging to the benchmark!
It was windy enough when I reached the top that I was struggling to stay upright. I picked a spot that I use a lot which keeps me out of the South-Westerly wind but the mast is still on the plateau.
This was the first time out for the IC-705. I ended up cutting a couple of holes in the Manfrotto camera case that has become its’ new home. One hole takes the microphone lead and the other a switch I have included inline between the LifePo4 4200 mah battery that sits in the case below the 705 and the rig to provide 10w power.
I was a little unsure of the IC-705 as an activation rig but I have to say usability is first class and it was a real pleasure to use. Moving between activator frequencies when attempting S2S was really easy and I appreciated the waterfall in finding a free frequency both on HF and on VHF FM when the channel I was using was suffering from QRM.
Manfrotto case and IC-705
Microphone lead and power switch in the front pocket
Mast with lowered antenna
Lots of visitors
With the antenna finally stable I found the bands to be very lively with lots of activity on both 20m and 40m. Inter-G was working well on 40m (getting contacts with UK operators) which probably explains why 60m and 80m were quieter. Only one S2S with HB9FUE in this first batch.
|11:08||OK1SDE||20m||SSB||59||57||Dalibor ( Borek ) W|
|11:09||EA7GV||20m||SSB||59||51||JOSE L. MENJIBAR|
|11:10||OH3GZ||20m||SSB||58||59||JUKKA " Jack " KOVA|
|11:22||GM0AXY||40m||SSB||59||59||Einar Kenneth (Ken)|
|11:31||G4OBK||40m||SSB||59||57||Philip (Phil) Catte|
|11:32||IK1DFH||40m||SSB||59||55||(ROBY) ROBERTO MART|
|11:35||M0DXT||40m||SSB||59||59||William Tinnion [BI|
|11:38||DF2QZ||40m||SSB||59||55||Hartmut Braun - 'Ha|
|11:40||SP4SHW||40m||SSB||55||55||“JUREK” Jerzy Wydra|
Having worked all the HF bands I returned to 20m as there were several SOTA activators spotted and had a nice run on 7 S2S contacts into Europe.
|12:04||OE6ADE/P||20m||SSB||59||58||Andy Andreas Domani||SOTA||OE/SB-163|
|12:11||LA5WNA/P||20m||SSB||59||57||Odd Harald Holumsne||SOTA||LA/OL-184|
|12:26||OE3TBU/P||20m||SSB||51||30||DI Thomas Buchta||SOTA||OE/ST-265|
A few on 80m before I dropped the antenna and attached the Spectrum Communications Slim-J for some 2m contacts including two at the end with @G7CDA Douggie and @G1OHH Sue using DSTAR DV point-to-point.
|12:45||G0LWU||2m||FM||59||59||Andrew Charles Scar|
A final run of S2S brought the activation to an end for a total of 76 contacts of which 13 were S2S.
|13:05||DB7MM/P||20m||SSB||51||44||Dr. Michael Multere||SOTA||DM/BM-065|
The highest S2S contact today was the last one with Stefan @HB9HCS who was on Elsighorn HB/BE-089 at 2341m, although there was some good efforts all round for this time of year!
HB9HCS/P on HB/BE-089
One other contact to highlight: PE1OAD/MM was on his ship north of the Netherlands. He must have one of the coolest callsign locations ever!
Thanks for all the contacts today. Even though it was fairly mild for the time of year the wind chill was wicked and I still don’t feel like I’ve fully warmed up yet!