After a successful morning on the 29th doing the Top Band activation at Wendover Woods I decided to nip out in the afternoon and activate another summit. This didn’t leave me with many options so I decided on G/SE-001, Walbury Hill as it was only about an hour and a half away and also seemed to be lacking in 80m QSO’s.
So off I went having plugged in the parking spot on the Tom Tom using Richard G3CWI’s POI file. It worked perfectly although the narrow lanes and instructions in the last couple of miles were more like a navigator talking to a rally driver…
“Fast left 200… easy right 100…” …and so on
Anyway having arrived at the parking spot I quickly grabbed the gear out of the boot as it was about 14:20 by now and I didn’t want to be too late. A short yomp up the track got me to the summit. I didn’t walk to the trig point, as there were some sheep in the field that I didn’t fancy worrying… I mean I didn’t want to worry them and I certainly didn’t fancy them in the first place! Anyway leaving all that aside I set up the station!
The 10m Sotapole was strapped to the gatepost and the 26m doublet set up in a nice inverted V with the ends about 2m up… perfect. I settled down sheltered behind a clump of scrubby bushes next to the gate and unpacked the 706, connected the tuner and antenna and then got ready to connect the 7Ah SLAB to the power lead.
Disaster… as I offered the spade on the battery to the connector on the power cable, the connector just snapped off cleanly leaving a stump with no wire protruding… Arghh
I picked away at the insulation and soon had enough copper exposed so that I could get power if I pressed the stump against the battery spade connector but there was no way I could key, log and keep the power on during the activation. So I tried various angles to lead the cable to the battery and managed to work out one position where it would naturally stay in place. I sat and waited for a while to see if it stayed that way and thankfully it did so I was in business.
An unannounced call on 3.557 brought an almost immediate response from Roy G4SSH. We exchanged reports and I briefly explained my predicament and then I was off after Roy spotted for me. I worked a nice run of stations before moving to 3.642 to work a run of SSB callers too.
During this run I commented to someone that it didn’t seem as cold as the morning but later I realised that frost was starting to form on the rucksack next to me. The temperature was dropping fast as the sun went down behind Combe Gibbet and what a beautiful view it was too. The location was very peaceful with just a few passing walkers. However a couple of 4x4’s crashing through the ice in the ruts of the track behind me scared me a couple of times as I was facing the other way with my headphones on!
A QSY to 7.032 brought in a small run of CW chasers and then a couple more Hungarian SSB chasers on 7.088.
I did try to run out the counterpoise for Top Band but the antenna configuration was not really correct and I didn’t have time to move it all around so, not surprisingly, I got no responses. I decided to call it a day as it was cold and the battery was starting to give up.
As I was packing up I realised how cold it had become as I brushed the thickening frost off the rucksack and got the gloves back on. I was very glad to get back to the car just as darkness settled and the temperature was reading –2C and falling.
Thanks to all callers and especially for the patience when the power flipped out a couple of times. Thanks to G4SSH and HA7UG for the spots.
QSO summary as follows:
80m CW – 25
80m SSB – 11
40m CW – 8
40m SSB – 2
10 DXCC entities worked.
As you can see, the 80m QSO count for the summit was well and truly bumped up so I was very satisfied with the activation once again.
73 Marc G0AZS