Thursday 11 June 2015
Having been off work for a week with a chesty cough I was starting to go stir crazy and felt the need to get out in the glorious sunshine. Still not being 100% I needed somewhere to go that was not going to put too much strain on my recovering body. So with battery charged and bag packed I set off for Walbury Hill a drive of just under the hour. On arrival at the car park (SU 370 620) there was only one other car parked up which is always encouraging. It was a gloriously sunny and warm day and a few moments were taken out to enjoy the beautiful scenery and observe a Red Kite hunting in the thermals created by the upslope of Walbury Hill.
A short walk up the track to the gate into the field on the right hand side and then an easy flat walk to the trig point. Car to trig in 10 mins at a leisurely pace, distance of 0.358 miles and ascent of 56 feet. Fortunately the field was devoid of sheep, though the fresh evidence of their occupation was all around to be seen and stepped into!! More importantly, it was also devoid of human presence.
Chose to activate from the trip point and quickly had the mast and radio set up. Tuned around and was greeted with nothing, I knew the band conditions were poor but this was ridiculous. Tried a call and noted low power output as well. Quick check confirmed that, in my haste, I hadn’t connected the aerial to the rig!!
FT-817 plus 2Ah SLAB, linked dipole 60m, 40m & 20m and palm paddle keyer. For VHF – VX-170 and Sotabeams Rucksack special (RSS).
Band conditions seemed very poor today. Opened up on 60m SSB and managed 3 QSO’s into the log, thanks to Andy G8MIA for the spot. A check of 40m SSB and after several calls nothing at all, quick tune around and the band appeared totally flat. Changed to 40m CW and got a quick spot from KU6J, this resulted in 6 QSO’s in quick succession before the band died again. One more call on 40m SSB resulted in a QSO with a none chaser but that frittered away due to very heavy and deep QSB – 59+10 to silence in seconds!
A quick pack-up of the HF gear and a relaxing lunch sat on the troughs by the trig. Several calls on 2 FM but to no avail, so a leisurely stroll back to the car with a quick stop off to look at the Iron Age Hill Fort ramparts just above the car park. (my academic background is an MA in Archaeology).