GW/SW-041 Black Mountain & GW/SW-012 Coity Mountain

20170216_092015.jpgLast time I walked up Black Mountain it was the day after Storm Henry had battered the UK and it was a wild ride to the top.  I remember having to drop to my knees each time a gust came through otherwise I would be blown over!  As a result I didn’t enjoy the trip and spent very little time on the summit.  So I wanted to return in decent weather and have a more enjoyable journey.  My second target of the day, Coity Mountain, was also visited last year.  On that occasion I went up from the Big Pit side which is an awful route through the remain of the more working.  So this time I approached from start point.

Equipment

FT-817 5 Watts, 4.2Ah LiFePO4, 40m/30m/20m linked dipole, 7m sotapole and a palm paddle, VX-8 plus RSS 2M dipole.

Black Mountain GW/SW-041

I opted for the more leisurely departure time of 6am  which got me to the parking area at the top of Gospel Pass for 9am.  The sun was trying to break through the thin vail of cloud and there was very little breeze.  The walk up to the trig point at Hay Bluff is fairly easy but you spend a lot of time trying to avoid the areas destroyed by the bikers and quads.  I reached the trig in about 30 minutes and from here is was a reasonably gentle ridge walk along the English/Welsh border with a slight climb towards the summit.  The ridge walk is featureless so rather than go all the way to the summit this time I stopped when safely inside the AZ.
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I noticed that there was a few menacing black clouds heading my way from the west so I self-spotted on 2-fm and quickly had several callers including VPX Allan for a summit to summit contact from Mynydd Troed, the subject of my walk last week.  After 10 minutes I had 6 stations in the log and it had started to rain heavily.  Having qualified the hill I opted to skip the 7-cw activation and headed off the ridge via Hay Bluff and back to the car.
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An excellent walk with some good, but curtailed, radio.  The visibility and wind strength this time was much more pleasant than last time.  The only disappointment was that I realised that there is very little on this hill to write about!

Coity Mountain GW/SW-009

Parking up at the grass verge just past the pub car park (SO 228100) the track leads to a pathway which takes a gentle climb up onto the ridge between Cefn Coch and the main summit of Coity Mountain.  Follow the ridge to the left towards the highest point.
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I tried a couple of calls on 2-fm but received no response probably because of the height.  Setting up for HF, I self-spotted on 7-cw and almost immediately got my first contact.  Over the next 18 minutes I made 10 contacts across Europe including a further Summit to Summit with HB9CBR/P on HB/SG-033.  It was just unfortunate that I had to QSY part way through because of what appeared to be deliberate jamming followed by heavy QRM just off frequency.  Still I was happy with the activation and quickly backed and made my way back to the car for a 2.5 hour journey home.
log-2017

 

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GW/SW-009 Mynydd Troed, GW/SW-015 Mynydd Llangorse & GW/SW-013 Tor y Foel

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It was time to start working my way through the winter bonus summits of South Wales again as it has been some time since I was through this way.  Today was three straight forward hills at the eastern end of the Brecon’s whilst carrying out a gear review for a new Windproof Buff.

Equipment

FT-817 5 Watts, 4.2Ah LiFePO4, 40m/30m/20m linked dipole, 7m sotapole and a palm paddle, VX-8 plus RSS 2M dipole.

Mynydd Troed GW/SW-009

I have covered these hills before in previous blogs so will not dwell on the straight forward routes taken for all three.  Arriving at the joint parking area for Mynydd’s Troed & Llangorse the weather was calm with an air temperature of minus 1C.  Taking the direct route up Troed took about 40 minutes and by the time I had reached the summit the wind had picked up and the chill factor dropped to about minus 4C.  Setting up for 2-fm I quickly had 3 stations in the log and then a struggle to get a further contact until I ‘hijacked’ a net and got 3 quick reports to qualify the summit.  dispensing with HF I descended via the same direct route and took a break for coffee at the car.
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Mynydd Llangorse GW/SW-015

Suitably refreshed I headed off up Mynydd Llangorse until comfortably inside the activation zone.  I had operated from the trig point last time so saved time by avoiding the long walk along the ridge.  This time, due to the lower summit, I went straight to 7-cw and had 6 european stations in the log before silence fell on the band.  A brisk descent allowed my time for a quick coffee and sausage sandwich at the Llangorse Riding Centre (highly recommended) before heading off to Tor y Foel.
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Tor y Foel GW/SW-013

Like Mynydd Llangorse, this is an easy hill – just follow the track and 30 minutes later you are sat on the summit.  Setting up for 7-cw I quickly had 9 stations in the log with 4 of those coming from the UK.  As I started packing up I noticed the rain had started to fall lightly, so a quick descent was made back to the car and the comfort of my flask of coffee.  I had just reached the car when a group of about 15 walkers stopped for a chat.  Not one of the them was under 60 and they had just walked up from Talybont reservoir and were now flying up Tor y Foel and an incredible rate.  Just proves that age is no obstacle to getting out on the hills.
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Ordnance Survey GetOutside Champion

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It is an honour to be able to announce that I have been chosen by the Ordnance Survey to be one of their GetOutside Champions. For me this is a dream role being given the opportunity to help inspire more people to get outside and enjoy what nature has to offer.

In the words of the Ordnance Survey

“we believe that an active outdoor lifestyle helps you to live longer, stay younger and enjoy life more. But it is a sad fact that research tells us fewer and fewer people are regularly getting outside, either on foot, on bike or by any other means….. The results suggested a quarter of the British public won’t walk anywhere that takes over 15 minutes. Three quarters won’t walk to work. Almost 70% never walk to the shops, while only a third would ever do the school run on foot, with only around a third of us admitting to enjoying a weekend walk for pleasure”.

The Ordnance Survey launched the GetOutside initiative to change this, by showing people of all ages and abilities just how amazing Great Britain is, and how easy it is to #GetOutside and enjoy it, which is where the GetOutside champions come in. It is our job to inspire and encourage more people to GetOutside.

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So what does this mean for me. Well two things –

  1. Promoting the linking of another hobby with hill-walking such as Summits On The Air, Geo Caching or ‘Summit-Bagging’ thereby increasing the motivation to GetOutside through challenge.
  2. Encouraging and inspiring over 60’s to get out and enjoy the hills rather than thinking that they have reached the ‘carpet slipper’ stage of life and are ‘Over the hill and not On the hill’.

How this will be achieved will be revealed over the next few weeks but suffice to say what I write on my two blog sites;

plus the Ordnance Survey GetOutside website:

will have a major impact on the outcome.


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High Points in Devon & Somerset

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High Willhays from Yes Tor (library pic)

This was my first outing of 2017 and the first during this seasons Winter Bonus.  I have several trips lined up between now and the 15 March each of them taking in at least two summits for max point return per mile driven (bear in mind it usually takes me at least 3 hours drive each way and I do these trips  in one day).  Todays targets were the highest points of Devon – High Willhays within the Okehampton Army Firing Range and Somerset – Dunkery Beacon on Exmoor.  I had done both these hills before but never as a single expedition.  This trip would entail 8 hours driving for approximately 5 hours on the hills!  So with sunrise scheduled at High Willhays for 0817 I departed home at 0500.

Equipment

FT-817 5 Watts, 4.2Ah LiFePO4, 40m/30m/20m linked dipole, 7m sotapole and a palm paddle, VX-8 plus RSS 2M dipole.

High Willhays G/DC-001

The start point for todays walk is within the bounds of the Army Firing Range and is accessed via the Army Camp just south of Okehampton.  Access to the range is permissive depending on firing activities – check out MOD website for open access details.  Do not be tempted to go at any other time and if the red flag is flying go elsewhere!

Parking at SX 590912 at the end of a metalled road.  The route is fairly straight forward – follow the track until a fork, take the right fork over a ford and climb up towards the cull between Yes Tor and High Willhays.  Today I decided to take in Yes Tor first so I turned right at the end of the good track and headed directly to the trig point on the rocky outcrop.
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After a quick break and a chat to a passing walker, I headed south along the ridge to High Willhays.  Setting up just below the summit I self spotted for 7-cw and almost immediately started getting a response.  Within 15 minutes I had 17 stations in the log from 9 Countries so was well happy with the result.  A quick check of 2-fm resulting in very strong data burst interference which I assumed came from the aerial on Yes Tor.
logThe cloud had started to descend by now so I packed up and headed off back along the ridge to the top of the track then reversed my outbound track back to the car.  Walk up to High Willhays via Yes Tor including chat 1 hour 30 minutes, time on summit 30 minutes, time back to the car 50 minutes.

Dunkery Beacon G/SC-001

A 1 hour 45 minutes drive from Okehampton brought me to the lay-by opposite the track to Dunkery Beacon SS 904420.  This is an easy walk to the summit along a well maintained path and this is the umpteenth time I have made the journey never to see the fantastic views from the summit.  I am told there are good views across to Wales – I will have to accept that as true because every time I come here it rains or is in low claggy cloud.  Well today was no exception – it was absolutely chucking it down!
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After a somewhat brisk yomp to the summit I called on 2-fm and managed a pleasant QSO with Peter G3TJE but had no other takers.  So set-up for HF to find I had left the aerial in the boot of the car after sorting out the Ruck Sack at the end of High Willhays!!!   Fortunately the summit was void of human ears because the air turned very blue very quickly.  There was nothing for but to stash my Ruck Sack by the cairn and run/walk back down to the car and collect said aerial.

Arriving back at the summit 30 minutes later I finally set up and self spotted on 7-cw to find the bands had changed completely from this morning.  In 10 minutes I only managed 4 contacts but the bonus was that the first contact was with Juerg HB9BIN/p on the summit of Monte Boglia in the Ticino region of Switzerland.  Becoming concerned about rain getting into the radio gear I packed up and headed back to the car and the prospect of a nice 3.5 hour journey home.
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Overall a good day out which can be divided into a day of two distinct halves.  A great walk on Dartmoor with some excellent radio conditions followed by a duel ascent on Exmoor in pouring rain and lousy radio conditions (as I climbed Dunkery twice can I claim the points twice???).

 

 

2016 – A Review

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Well its now Boxing Day and I have no further hill walks planned this side of the New Year so its time to look back at what has happened this year and what I want to look forward to next year.

Firstly what didn’t I do from the 2016 ‘bucket list’? Well we had to cancel our holiday in North Yorkshire and my wife Mandi cancelled her trip to Portugal, so the hills in those two areas never can to fruition.  I had also planned to complete the Marilyns in South Wales and start on those from Mid Wales.  Well this never fully happened – but more about that shortly.

So what did I achieve in 2016 – firstly the stats:

  • I activated 55 summits this year of which 37 were uniques i.e. never before activated by me, so averaging just over 1 per week.
  • From those 55 summits I completed 444 QSO’s accumulating 166 points of which 36 were winter bonus points.
  • A total of 126 points were gained from Summit to Summit radio contacts.

This was a lot less than I had hoped for this year – so what went wrong?  Well during a fantastic walk up Sugarloaf in South Wales I twisted my ankle and as a result only managed to get up 18 hills during the whole of the 2nd half of the year!  This is the main reason why I have not completed South Wales and only managed a handful in Mid Wales, I had originally planned to do about 100 hills this year.

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So what were the high points of the year?  Well this has to be my two mini expeditions.  The first was to South Wales on the 1st & 2nd February where I activated Black Mountain, Mynydd Carn-y-cefn & Craig y Llyn followed by Pen y Fan & Fan Fawr. These 5 peaks accumulated 41 points so a good trip.  I fact in the first 3 months of 2016 I completed all of the high peaks of the Brecon Chain.  My 2nd exped was a 3 day trip to the Welsh Marches activating 12 summits during absolutely glorious sunny weather in May.

So what for the coming year – well this is going to be an extra special year for me as I will have some very exciting news to announce soon although I can’t say anymore until later in January!!  As a result of this I am not going to predict what hills I will be doing as it’s all likely to change.  Suffice to say what I will be doing this year will bring awareness of Summits On The Air (SOTA) to a wider audience for all the right reasons.  One prediction I will make though is that I am currently standing on 371 activator points and this I intend to take past 500 points this coming year.

I look forward to working many of you during the coming year

G/SE-013 Detling Hill

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My wife Mandi and myself were visiting our Daughter in Sittingbourne for her 30th birthday party and staying at the Bobbing Premier Inn.  The party was on the Saturday evening and my wife wanted a lay in on the Sunday before our drive back home.  This presented the ideal opportunity for an early morning activation of Detling Hill just 10 minute drive from the hotel.  I overslept by 30 minutes due to my phone running out of battery, so I didn’t get to the White Horse Wood Country Park, that forms the top of Detling Hill, until 0820.  Parking in the main Car Park (TQ808586) I set-up station on one of the many picnic benches that festoon the area.

Equipment

FT-817 5 Watts, 4.2Ah LiFePO4, 40m/30m/20m linked dipole, 7m sotapole and a palm paddle, VX-8 plus RSS 2M dipole.

Detling Hill G/SE-013

Due to lack of a functional phone I was unable to self spot, so relying on the RBNhole system I called on 7-cw and hoped for the best.  Well it didn’t take long before there was the best pile-up I’ve had in a while.  My apologies to those whom I asked to repeat their calls but there were several stations who were calling me but obviously couldn’t hear me because they just continued to call even when I responded with a specific part callsign.

log-2016

Anyway fourteen minutes after the first call the pile-up was worked and a total of fourteen station were in the log.  There was a good scattering from all over Europe with 9 DXCC countries worked including the only Brit, Ken GM0AXY in Edinburgh.  The temperature when I started the activation was -3C and although it had risen to 0C I was not properly dressed for staying out too long in these temperatures and my fingers were starting to hurt with the cold.  So with no more stations calling I packed up and headed back to the hotel for a shower and breakfast.

Welsh Borders Road Trip 2016

cleeve-hill-1Getting out on the hills has been very hit and miss over the past 5 months, mainly due to injury and other commitments.  However, an opportunity came up for a final push before the ‘Winter Bonus’ season started.  Obviously aiming to save all the 2+ pointers for the coming season I looked for a good cluster of 1 pointers that could be completed within the constraints of winter daylight hours.  This was going to be a points grabber trip rather than a serious walking trip so the emphasis was on selecting hills with a quick turn-round.

Six summits were selected from this list of hills I had completed last year and these were G/WB-020 Burton Hill, G/WB-023 Hegdon Hill, G/WB-022 Seager Hill, G/WB-024 Aconbury Hill, G/WB-021 Ruardean Hill and finally G/CE-001 Cleeve Hill.  Checking the sunrise time for Burton Hill I had to leave home at 0500 and could spend a maximum of 30 minutes activating each hill in order to complete Cleeve Hill before sunset at 1600.  This was also going to be the first outing of my new Sotabeams 40/30/20m linked dipole.

Equipment

FT-817 5 Watts, 4.2Ah LiFePO4, 40m/30m/20m linked dipole, 7m sotapole and a palm paddle, VX-8 plus RSS 2M dipole.

Burton Hill G/WB-020

Having used Google Earth ‘flood tool’ I worked out that I could activate from near the transmitter site at the eastern end of the ridge which was well inside the AZ and only 5 minutes from the car.  So parking at SO 415487  I set off along the level track over the first style and into the sheep pen.

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Path to sheep pen – mast visible on left

Self spotting on 7.031 MHz I quickly had 7 european stations in the log before all dried up.  I noted on SOTAWatch that a VK was calling on 20m so a quick link and frequency change resulted in nothing but back ground hiss, shame would have been a great start to the day!  Packing up I arrived back to the car 30 minutes after having left.
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Hegdon Hill G/WB-023

This hill is a ‘drive-on’ as the main road passes through the AZ and last year I had activated it as a last-minute add-on after a long day out from the grass verge.  So this time I wanted to actually operate from the trig itself which require all of a 2 minutes walk through a field!  Parking at SO 584538 I passed through the gate and walked along the right hand edge of the field to the trig.
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Self Spotting on 7-cw I had a good steady flow of 10 european contacts over the next 17 minutes.  For once the radio conditions were good and it seemed as though I was in for a good radio day.  Once back at the car it was time for breakfast – total activation time 27 minutes.
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Seager Hill G/WB-022

The next stop was Seager Hill, this is a short walk again from the car to the top of a long ridge within the AZ.  Parking at SO 622379 there is a short, sign posted, path up through the trees to the ridge.  The way ahead was a lot easier than last year as the trees had lost most of their foliage.

Self spotting for 7-cw brought in a very weak and unfortunately unworkable Jan OK2PDT.  This was a shame because Jan had managed to work me on every hill so far.  A little more calling brought 4 stations quickly into the log and qualified the hill but more importantly a strong Jan came through at the end for a good solid QSO and 3 out of 3 hills completed for him.
log-2016Carefully making my way back down the slippery muddy slope, I got back to the car 25 minutes after leaving it with 5 stations in the log before the band went quiet.  So far all the contacts had been european except for David G4CMQ who made the journey from Ipswich with a 599/579 exchange from this hill.

Aconbury Hill G/WB-024

This is a favourite hill of mine with its gentle path up through the woods to the trip point in the middle of an Iron Age Hillfort.  As an academic archaeologist I always feel a connection with these old places of habitation.  It was also going to be the only ‘proper’ walk of the day.  Parking at SO 506325 I set off along the path for a hundred metres to the gate on the left.  From here follow the straight footpath to the very top of the hill and turn right at the T junction.  The trig point is just up on the left side on a raised grass mound.
20161128_115056Sticking to 7Mhz CW I quickly had a good pile-up going and logged 12 stations in 10 minutes including 2 more UK stations and, not surprisingly, Jan OK2PDT for hill number 4.  On this hill band conditions seemed at their best all day with most incoming reports being 579 – 599.  Adding to the good radio conditions the weather was playing ball today with a clear blue sky and a warming sun making for a very pleasant walk back to the car.
log-2016Once back at the car (total time 45 minutes) I had plenty of time for a sandwich and some more coffee.  With only two drive-on hills left to complete the 6 hill day I was more than happy to be well ahead of schedule as this would mean I missed the rush-hour chaos of the A34/M3 interchange later that afternoon on the way home.

Ruardean Hill G/WB-021

Last year I activated this hill from the Fields of the sports club, but this time I found a better location.  From the village green head down Spout Lane towards the Pan Tod Beacon to a small parking area adjacent to the line of large boulders SO 634169.  A timber gate next to the dry stone wall makes an ideal mast support whilst the wall itself acts as a desk for the rig.
20161128_130722Self spotting for 7-cw quickly brought in its usual string of QSO’s – this time I managed 8 european contacts including, of course, Jan before all went quiet again.  I might add that Jan was not the only one to get multiple contacts with me today, there were several regular callsigns appearing in the log though not all on every hill.
log-2016The short walk back to the car concluded a 20 minute activation and now it was off to the final destination for the day.

Cleeve Hill G/CE-001

This hill was added to the itinerary as it is a drive-on and en route home to Southampton.  So after an hours drive from Ruardean Hill I pulled up into the car park on top of Cleeve Common adjacent to the transmitter tower complex SO 994248.
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For this final activation I kept to the same procedure and opened up on 7-cw.  Very quickly I had 9 stations in the log in 8 minutes all with very good signal reports.  The bands had played well all day with a good skip into Europe from 0800 this morning till now. No prizes for guessing that Jan OK2PDT managed a QSO with me to complete 6 out of 6 hills today – always nice when you can do that.
log-2016The activation was almost complete with just one thing left to do.  I knew from past experience that there is good 2-fm monitoring carried out in this area by a few keen SOTA chasers in and around Cheltenham and Gloucester.  So a quick call was made on S20 and immediately taken up by Andy M0RON, a callsign I did not recognise.  The reason for this was made very clear during the next over.  Last year I worked M6YAO for his first ever SOTA contact and I recall explaining what SOTA was all about.  Earlier this year I worked 2E0PCP twice during my Welsh Marches Tour and now I had worked M0RON – all the same person at each stage of his progression through the UK amateur licensing system.

I said in the preamble that I would be using my new Sotabeams 40/30/20m linked dipole for the first time.  Well I am not in a position for report how it performed as a radiator due to no comparative aerial.  However, I did have a concern when I first received it in the post.  The wire used for the actual dipole is very thin and I questioned in my own mind whether it would withstand the punishment of constant use in adverse conditions on SOTA activations.  Compared to my old 60/40/20m linked dipole it was obviously shorter which made it easier to find space to erect it.  I managed 120 activations with the old linked dipole with just one minor repair.  The test of the new Sotabeams linked dipole will be time itself.  Personally I don’t think it will last as well but I could be pleasantly surprised.

Winter Preperations

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The Lakeland Fells (photograph by Chris J Coates)

With the news of the first snow falls of the autumn/winter season and the fast approaching winter bonus season (1 Dec – 15 Mar) it was time to start prepping for the coming winter walking season.

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I tend to use a light weight 30L rucksack during the summer which is sufficient to carry my radio equipment plus the essential summer survival kit of a head torch (plus spare batteries), whistle, space blanket, survival bag, small first aid kit and my ‘GO’ tin (more on that later).  Little extras get added as required for individual trips depending on where I am going.  Even on a hot day the bag will always include a mid layer and goretex waterproof.

bothy-bag
Now that winter is approaching it is time to change to the 55+10L rucksack due to the increased amount of equipment carried on every trip.  In addition to the kit already mentioned I now include spare clothing – socks, base layer, mid layer, gloves and hat.  A bothy bag, crampons, ice axe, small gas stove and mess tin and ration packs.  The summer walking boots are cleaned and put away and out come the goretex winter walking boots.

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Fire Starter

The GO tin – this has been with me since I was in the RAF and flew on every mission with me.  The contents have changed little over the years it is basically things I would need to help me survive.  Lighting a fire is essential to create warmth and comfort on a cold winters night, but carrying matches or a lighter is a non-starter.  Matches get damp or wont light, lighters freeze up or run out, I know there are specialist matches and lighters out there but why?  When all you need is a fire lighter which is basically a serrated scraper and a magnesium rod for creating sparks.  There are two things required for tinder – a tampon (an incredible source of cotton wool) and a pencil sharpener to create fine shavings of wood from twings.  Heliograph for signalling in sunny weather and para cord for tying things!  Many commercial survival packs contain fishing lines and snares – why?  In the UK you are likely to be rescued within 24 hours so you wont have time or the need to fish or hunt!  All of this carried in an old tobacco tin.

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Ex RAF Heliograph

How do I get help in the event of an emergency?  Simple – I have enough radio equipment in the rucksack for all manner of communication requirements and in the fortunate occurance of being within mobile phone coverage I have the LocSMS App linked to the satnav on my mobile phone.  This will send my current position to the rescue services via a 999 txt message.  Dont forget to register for SMS with the 999 service.  But most importantly I leave a detailed route, timing schedule and emergency call out details with my wife before I go so that in the event of an accident she can call the rescue services out.

G/LD-058 Arnside Knott

Wednesday 26 October 2016

DSCN0160.JPGToday we were going to Keswick for an evening show at the Theatre by the Lake.  As a result are plan was to spend the day around Kendal relaxing.  This meant the chance for another activation first thing in the morning.  The target for today was Arnside Knott which was about 25 minutes drive from the hotel.  Leaving the hotel at 7.30am I headed south on the A6 for Arnside and then took the road up to the National Trust Car Park, sign posted ‘The Knott’ (SD 449774).

Equipment

FT-817 5 Watts, 4.2Ah LiFePO4, 60m/40m/20m linked dipole, 7m sotapole and a palm paddle, VX-8 plus RSS 2M dipole.

Arnside Knott G/LD-058

Back tracking down the road from the car park about 50 metres there is an obvious track leading up the hill on the right hand side.  Follow the track until you come to an observation point, from here follow the track to the left through an open gate way on the wooded summit plateau.  Head in a NEerly direction along the obvious track until you reach a seat looking north towards the Lakeland Fells.  A path heading SE takes you a few further feet to the trig point.  Returning to the observation seat I set up the station and realised that I had left my phone in the hotel so couldn’t self spot so just put out a call on 7.032 MHz and hoped for the best. Distance 0.5 miles, Ascent 245 feet, Time Taken 15 minutes.
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Two stations responded in fairly quick order, both with good reports which was surprising because when I had gone to bed the night before the K-index was 6!  The second station I worked also spotted me so a big thanks to IX1IHR.  Then the sky broke big time!  After calling for another 20 minutes without response I tuned around the band to find it dead, not a sausage! Then on returning to my original frequency the band lifted again for about 10 minutes – long enough to work 3 further stations and qualify the hill.
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The journey back to the car was the reverse of the walk up and very straight forward as was the drive back to the hotel where I was in time to join Mandi for breakfast.

73 Glyn

G/LD-046 Lambrigg Fell

Tuesday 25 October 2016

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The view from the car at the end of the activation

I was spending a few days in The Lake District with my wife Mandi as part of my 60th Birthday celebration.  Whilst this was intended to be a family holiday doing the usual sightseeing and endless driving, my wife had agreed to let me activate a couple of summits whilst we were there.  As mentioned in a previous blog, my wife suffers from a debilitating illness which precludes her from joining me on the fells so any activation would have to be done in the early morning before she got up – she’s also a late sleeper!  The first opportunity arose on the Tuesday morning so an early alarm call was set for 6am.

 

Equipment

FT-817 5 Watts, 4.2Ah LiFePO4, 60m/40m/20m linked dipole, 7m sotapole and a palm paddle, VX-8 plus RSS 2M dipole.

Lambrigg Fell G/LD-046

Leaving the hotel at 0615 I arrived at the start of the walk at 0630 in complete darkness.  Other activators had suggested parking in the access road to the quarry.  Well in the 5 minutes I sat in the car I had 5 heavy and fast quarry lorries go thundering past!  I chose not to risk my new car and decided to park by the gate at the start of the footpath making sure I didn’t block too much of the access off (SD 585930).

I set off, by the light of my head torch, along the footpath until I reached the service road for the wind farm.  I followed this road until I reached its northern end before setting off NW for the summit.  The walk to the summit was easy but a little eerie due to the proximity of the slow-moving wind turbines and the darkness.  Distance 0.7 miles, Ascent 174 feet, Time Taken 15 minutes
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I had a little difficulty setting up the station as I have never done this in darkness before.  But eventually I turned on the radio and tuned to 7.032 MHz only to hear Chris, F5LKW, calling me!  After an easy QSO Chris spotted me (thanks) a further 5 stations made their way into the log over the next 15 minutes.  The band conditions were not brilliant but the skip seemed to be running fairly long as most of the QSO’s were in southern central Europe.

I contemplated QSYing to 20m but conscious of the XYL back at the hotel and not wanting to push my luck on the first activation, I decided to call it a day and pack up.  As I walked off the Fell the sun started to rise and I was able to turn the head torch off for the last part of the walk.

This had been a short sharp walk and activation but it ‘bagged’ another LD 1 pointer and I was back just as the wife was getting up – perfect timing.

73 Glyn