Tuesday 4 August 2015 Equipment FT-817 5 Watts, 4.2Ah LiFePO2, 60m/40m/20m linked dipole, 7m sotapole and a palm paddle, VX-170 plus RD. Bredon Hill G/CE-003 Arrived in good time at the layby at the end of the road leading up to Bredon Hill (SO 95487 38416) after a 2 hour 15 minute drive from home. The path to the summit is a nice easy walk with a gradual climb along a Bridleway and Permissive Path. The weather for the day was forecast to be cloudy with occasional showers and windy, and it certainly was spot-on! Distance walked 1.4 miles, ascent 390 feet time taken 35 minutes.
With the recent discussions about the poor propagation and the 60M band being the saviour at times it was decided to open on this band. An initial call on 3.3985 resulted in a QSO with G3VHH in Langley but no further calls. A self spot resulted in 3 more QSO’s with EI9GLB, G0RQL & G8ADD to qualify the Activation. A switch to 40M SSB brought in a further 6 QSO’s of which only 2 were in the UK – Ken GM0AXY in Edinburgh and Di G0EVV in Morpeth. A change to CW was poor with only 1 QSO. Having struggled to get 11 QSO’s in half an hour I decided to pull the plug and head off for Cleeve Hill G/CE-001.
Cleeve Hill G/CE-001 Following a quick coffee back at the car a 30 minute drive brought me to the summit car park of Cleeve Hill adjacent to the communication towers. With the weather looking a little unsettled I took a lunch break hoping the sun would return soon. However, after 30 minutes and still no sign of the sunshine I headed off on the epic 300 metre trek to the trig point. Distance walked 300 metres, ascent 24 feet time taken 5 minutes – I stopped to shelter during a short rain shower.
After this morning partial success on 60M I decided to follow the same MO. However, all though it was only 2 hours later the conditions had changed completely. Despite self spotting and calling on the standard SOTA frequency there was total silence, a change to 40M SSB, self spot and call – nothing again. The first 30 minutes of the activation had resulted in no contacts at all – was I heading for my first failed activation? Switching to 40M CW and relying on KU6J for a spot, it was fingers crossed, metaphorically speaking, out with 3 calls – and nothing was the over whelming response. However, on the 4th call F6BWO responded with a 559 report so the band was opening up a little. This was followed by a further 6 QSOs including just a single UK station Ken GM0AXY for the second hill today. After the early struggle with SSB, CW finally came good and saved the day. Once the HF was all packed up a call on S20 (old school) got G3VKV in Cheltenham into the log.
Not the best activation but a qualified activation at the end of the day. I thoroughly enjoyed both hill todays and would like to return when the sun is shining and the there is less wind – maybe next year. But for now it was the last of the flask of coffee and a pleasant 2 hour drive home.