Tuesday 11 August 2015
FT-817 5 Watts, 4.2Ah LiFePO4, 60m/40m/20m linked dipole, 7m sotapole and a palm paddle, VX-170 plus RD
Todays trip was originally planned for Monday 10 August but the weather forecast was atrocious so stayed at home instead.
Hardown Hill G/SC-011
As is always the case with a unique hill for me I study the comments and reports of previous activations. My primary aim of these prelims is to ascertain possible parking places and routes. I was evident from the reports pertaining to Hardown Hill that parking was at a premium because of the narrow lanes that formed the villages around the base of the hill. However, the ever faithful Google Maps showed a largish layby outside the Post Office on the main A35 through Morecombelake which was ideally placed for my preferred route SY 404938. From here take a short walk westwards along the A35 then head north up Gibb Lane to a sign-posted footpath on the right hand side. This path links in with the main bridal way to the top of the hill. About 100 metres short of the aerial mast is a small wooded area with a convenient bench seat ideal for setting up the sota pole. Distance travelled 0.62 miles, total ascent 263 feet time taken 12 minutes.
Opening up on 60M resulted in 3 quick contacts but it took a move to 40M SSB to qualify the hill and even that only produced 2 further QSO’s. A switch to 40M CW netted a further 5 stations including a summit to summit with HB9BCB/P on HB/BE-085. The activation was concluded with a chat on 2M FM with G0HET just down the road in Charmouth.
Lewesdon Hill G/SC-009
Again studying the previous activation comments highlighted an issue with parking, it also seemed that the preferred route was either from the east or the longer option from Broadwindsor. However, there is a good route up along the Wessex Ridgeway starting to the west of the hill at ST 424017. Google Maps also confirmed that at this point there is room to park at least 2 cars without blocking any access roads. From the parking area there is an obvious sign posted footpath leading directly to the top of Lewesdon Hill. Once at the top a small clearing was located within the tree topped hill and the station set-up. Distance travelled 0.72 miles, total ascent 214 feet time taken 20 minutes.
Whilst I was setting up for this activation I was trying to decide whether it was worth while closing the links for 60M as it had only produced 3 QSO’s this morning. Curiosity got the better of me and I opened up on 60M not expecting great things. How wrong could I have been to doubt 60M and how strange the propagation is at the moment for 8 stations were worked on 5.3715 MHz, just like the good old days! On a request via Don G0RQL from Jim EI9GBL I QSY’d to 5.4035 MHZ (a permissible QRG in EI-land) and worked Jim plus a further 2 stations. This morning 40M SSB had been poor and this was no different, except that it was now open to G-land rather than EU-land, but still only for 2 QSO’s. A change to 40M CW brought in the final 3 EU’s before it was silent again and time to go home.