Winter activation of Red Screes G/LD-017

The weather in the Lake District has been rain, rain, rain over the last couple of weeks and in a surprise turn of events the forecast quickly got better for Sunday and an opportunity presented itself for a winter bonus.

I typically activate Red Screes in the Winter Bonus Season as it is the easiest 6+3 pointer and is only 20 mins drive from my QTH. Forecast today was for easing winds around lunchtime. Not much wind blowing in Windermere but I know not to believe that! I took a DD superlightweight although couldn’t find my walking pole so would have to rely on the antenna mast for support if required. My all-in-one thermal made another welcome outing - no more exposing flesh when stretching for antenna clips!

Trying to stay lightweight I took the IC-705 out of the 400g case I normally use to protect it and use bubble wrap and a dry bag instead. I took a 3S 2200 mAh LifePo4 which proved worthless as I hadn’t taken the power lead to convert to powerpoles! Solar conditions looked very promising with the SFI at an unprecendented 228:

Screenshot of

Much to my surprise as I ascended towards Kirkstone Pass there was snow on the hills above about 400m ASL. Too much snow can make the path up tricky to find, but today there was a maximum of 30 cm on the very top, with a lighter dusting on the leeward side of the ascent. Footing was good and I didn’t experience any ice on the stones making progress (apart from my terrible fitness) easy.

On the Ascent

First time on a Lake District Fell for some of these lads!

Semi-frozen fell top tarn

View towards Ullswater

Sotabeams Band Hopper IV and 10m compact travel mast deployed

The wind was biting at the top and I thought I’d have to jerry-rig the DD Tarp, but I found natural shelter on the leeward side. In the sun this was very nice, and at one point I had to take my hat off.

Radio was amazing. Using my 5w I got 3 transatlantic contacts and 100 total. I was keen for this to be my sixth qualifying activation for the Guru Memorial Key raffle so braved a 20m CW activation as well as a couple of CW S2S.

Now I know that I can complete a lengthy activation without needing a separate battery with the IC-705. I still had some power remaining.

Thank you so much to all the chasers, both HF and VHF for making this such a rewarding adventure!

Looking back towards the benchmark

Summit Station

Old Man of Consiton getting some precipitation

Classic ridgeline of Froswick, Ill Bell, Saddle

Windermere on the left, Coniston Water on the right

Stony Cove Pike

View down to the Kirkstone Inn


Mandatory Lake District Sheep Photo!

11:24 CT1DIZ 20m SSB 59 55 JOSE
11:25 EA2DT 20m SSB 59 57 Manuel
11:25 F4IOQ/QRP 20m SSB 59 57 DIXNEUF
11:25 SP9JKL 20m SSB 59 55 Jerzy
11:25 HB9CMI 20m SSB 59 59 Peter
11:26 EA4GU 20m SSB 59 59 Manuel
11:27 SA4BLM 20m SSB 59 59 Lars
11:27 OE6GND 20m SSB 59 59 GERHARD
11:27 PD4EHJ 20m SSB 59 59 Shivani
11:27 F6FNA 20m SSB 59 59 JEAN-PIERRE
11:28 SP9AJ 20m SSB 59 59 Adam
11:28 SP9KEK 20m SSB 59 59 Adam
11:29 ON7TWA/M 20m SSB 59 57 Geert
11:29 SV3IEG 20m SSB 59 56 Dinos
11:30 HB9MKV 20m SSB 59 56 RUDOLF
11:30 F4ISZ 20m SSB 59 54 Franck
11:31 DJ9FBA 20m SSB 59 59 Franz
11:32 HB9DDS 20m SSB 59 59 Daniel
11:32 EA3HYJ 20m SSB 59 57 Agustín
11:33 SP9TKW 20m SSB 59 55 Marek
11:33 SP2NAX 20m SSB 59 59 Piotr
11:33 EA2CKX 20m SSB 59 55 PEDRO
11:34 EA2DDG 20m SSB 59 57 Jose
11:34 G4OBK 20m SSB 57 43 Philip
11:34 EA3EBJ 20m SSB 56 55 Roca
11:36 HB9AGH 20m SSB 56 55 Ambrosi
11:36 F6IPR 20m SSB 55 53 Frederic
11:36 OE7PHI 40m SSB 58 55 HANSJOERG
11:42 G7SXR 40m SSB 59 59 Mark
11:42 G6LKB 40m SSB 59 59 David
11:43 ON3QRP 40m SSB 59 57 Frank
11:43 MW0OFA 40m SSB 59 59 Frank
11:44 G0RQL 40m SSB 59 59 DON
11:44 G3TQQ 40m SSB 59 59 J
11:45 G0MHF 40m SSB 59 55 JOHN
11:45 G1PIE 40m SSB 59 59 MARK
11:46 G4FFN 40m SSB 59 58 COLIN
11:47 G0KYS 40m SSB 59 55 BOB
11:47 G8ADD 40m SSB 59 59 Brian
11:48 M7CQX 40m SSB 59 57 Nick
11:48 G0FEX 40m SSB 59 58 KEN
11:49 2E0FEH 40m SSB 59 55 Karl
11:49 G6AEK 40m SSB 59 59 David
11:50 GI0AZB 40m SSB 55 59 Ian
11:51 GI0AZA 40m SSB 55 59 Esther
11:53 2I0WMN 40m SSB 58 59 William
11:53 GM4WHA 40m SSB 59 46 GEOFF
11:55 EA3EBJ 40m SSB 45 55 Roca
11:59 GM4WHA 80m SSB 59 35 GEOFF
12:00 2E0FEH 80m SSB 55 44 Karl
12:01 2E0ESY 80m SSB 59 52 MIKE
12:08 G8CPZ 80m SSB 59 43 AJ
12:09 G8CPZ 80m CW 599 439 AJ
12:28 LA9XGA/P 20m SSB 58 59 Tor-Atle SOTA LA/RL-153
12:30 DL/HB9BIN/P 20m CW 599 599 Juerg SOTA DM/RP-406
12:40 CT7/W0CGA/P 20m CW 559 599 Ernest SOTA CT/ES-002
12:44 G7CDA 2m FM 59 59 Douggie
12:44 G1OHH 2m FM 59 59 Sue
12:45 M0SSD 2m FM 55 55 George
12:46 G6HMX 2m FM 59 59 DEREK
12:47 G4WPS 2m FM 59 59 Dave,
12:50 SV2HJW 20m CW 599 339 KOSTAS
12:00 DL1FU 20m CW 599 579 Friedrich
12:02 W4JKC 20m CW 599 559 THOMAS
12:03 OK2PDT 20m CW 599 599 JAN
12:04 SP9NLI 20m CW 599 559 Andrzej
12:05 OK1FMJ 20m CW 599 599 Josef
12:06 EA2DT 20m CW 559 559 Manuel
12:07 SP9AMH 20m CW 559 339 Mariusz
12:10 LY2BNL 20m CW 559 599 Valdas
12:13 PE2JB 20m CW 599 599 Jaco
12:18 F5RMN 20m CW 599 599
12:26 SP6KEP 20m SSB 59 59 Radio
12:27 DD2TC 20m SSB 57 55 Clemens
12:28 G8CPZ 20m SSB 59 57 AJ
12:29 IU3GKJ 20m SSB 59 57 Riccardo
12:30 OH1MM 20m SSB 59 59 Pasi
12:30 LA9DSA 20m SSB 59 58 Knut
12:31 PA5KM 20m SSB 59 58 Coen
12:32 IN3ADF/P 20m SSB 59 58 Markus SOTA I/AA-211
12:33 F4JUA/P 20m SSB 47 44 CABANE SOTA F/AM-661
12:33 SV3IEG 20m SSB 59 56 Dinos
12:34 OH3GZ 20m SSB 59 59 JUKKA
12:34 PA2FA/P 20m SSB 59 59 Frank
12:37 S57MS/P 20m SSB 45 57 Marko SOTA S5/RG-017
12:37 IU3DWQ 20m SSB 59 56 Alex
12:38 S57ILF 20m SSB 57 44 FRANCI
12:38 PE1PUX 20m SSB 59 59 Eric
12:39 F6GBP 20m SSB 59 59 Jaque
12:40 F4IAW 20m SSB 59 57 Eric
12:40 K2GRG 20m SSB 57 44 Gregory
12:41 DK9CA/P 20m SSB 59 57 Martin DA-0121
12:43 M3DDY 20m SSB 59 59 Martin
12:44 K2TRD 20m SSB 59 53 Martin
12:46 ON8CW 20m SSB 59 59 Croes
12:47 ON2LVC 20m SSB 59 59 Luc
12:47 EA4GU 20m SSB 59 59 Manuel
12:48 G8TXK 20m SSB 59 59 Pete
12:49 IK2JTS 20m SSB 59 59 ANGELO
12:49 SQ9JXS 20m SSB 59 59 Piotr

Furthest contact

Highest S2S today

European Contacts

Transatlantic Contacts

All photos here


That’s a very impressive activation Mark. :slight_smile:

I haven’t managed a CW S2S yet. Did the other station send “S2S” or did you identify where they were on SotaWatch?

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Hi John

Yes, typically the other station calls S2S if on your frequency (to which I respond S2S?), although I find it much easier to jump on their frequency - that way I can copy the callsign and reference several times if required. Weirdly, although I am still struggling with CW at any speed I tend to get the reference when sent a couple of times. If necessary you can confirm with Sotawatch, but I don’t like relying on it.

The only question today was DL/HB9BIN/P Juerg on DM/RP-400 - I had seen the spot for DL/HB9BQU/P but wasn’t hearing that callsign. This must have been a joint activation between @HB9BIN Juerg and @HB9BQU Hans - I knew I hadn’t copied HB9BQU but had to check by replaying the IC-705 audio recorded to confirm it was indeed Juerg - he recognised my callsign I think because he said ‘GA Mark’.

I would suggest hunting out activators on their frequency to start with, even better possibly doing this as a /P chaser - that way you don’t have to worry about your reference!

Cheers, Mark.


Mark, that’s really helpful and confirms my suspicions that the easiest approach is a “search and pounce” on another activator.

Unfortunately, up to now when I do a CW activation I’m so focused on calling CQ I don’t look anywhere else! :slight_smile:

And I also confess to using the recorder on the 705 to confirm a QSO!

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Hello Mark, thanks for a great report and fantastic photos. Well done and a great read… :+1:

Geoff vk3sq. HNY

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Great to work you today Mark! 14-28 MHz condx to EU were fabulous here this morning.
Thanks for the stunning photos and the note on me being your furthest DX. A first for me. Looking forward to more early morning (my time) SOTA to EU.
73, Tom, W4JKC

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That’s a cracking haul for a cold snowy summit Mark. Congratulations!

I’m surprised there isn’t a 10 m QSO or two in there :wink:

On HF I am almost exclusively CW and I have never been called with “S2S”. The usual thing I hear from European operators is “/P” sent a couple times. Or they just send their whole call ending /P in which case I assume it is an S2S. It usually is although some are from WWFF, POTA or GMA or perhaps just portable and not an activation of any sort.

All my early S2S contacts on CW were from other stations calling me. It is only more recently that I have been the chaser. If you have a mobile signal then you can find their frequency and know their callsign and reference in advance which does make it easier.


Hi Fraser

I’d taken two dipoles, the Sotabeams Band Hopper IV is cut for 20/30/40/60/80. I also have a home-made dipole that covers 17/15/12/10 but I never put that up the pole. 10m is fun, but I find it very hit and miss for SOTA.



Exactly what I’ve found! We need everyone to give 10 m a try this year. This weekend, people were having transatlantic QSO’s on 10 m FM, AM and SSB, so QRP from a summit is not going to be too much of a challenge.


You’ll find that the most common response from another activator in CW is “/P” “/P” and this was discussed at length in a previous thread a year or so ago… /P is quite distinctive in a pile up. The response on hearing this as the activator calling CQ is to reply simply, “/P K” and they should reply.

As Mark says, until you gain more confidence its a little easier hunting out activators as you can listen to their calls & references until you are 100%, But even if you get someone chase you with a /P suffix, and you don’t know their reference, its perfectly acceptable ask for it, “REF PSE?” ; or if they’ve sent it once and you didn’t get it; “QRM (or QSB) AGN PSE?.”

I never assume a s2s chaser knows my reference so in an exchange I always give my reference anyway - it also saves him/her from having to ask for it if they don’t know/have it.!!



I recall how dead 10m was a few years ago [whenever I happened to check] but propagation and activity really seemed to improve in 2022, which I put down to the new solar cycle ‘kicking in’. I’ve made a mental note to try 17m to 10m more often on my 2023 activations.


Excellent Andy! I’ve qualified a summit solely on 10 m SSB in the past few months, with some regular chasers calling in. A trick could be to start your activation on a higher band, time and weather allowing.

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I caught YO5IA/P on 15 metres from Kenya yesterday, and I heard but wasn’t able to work (partly, I suspect, thanks to the mouthfull of a callsign I have to use here) a few other activators on higher HF bands in the last few days, too, so they’re definitely worth a try at the moment if you want to work DX from a summit.

73, Rick 5Z4/M0LEP