Wednesday 2 September 2015
FT-817 5 Watts, 4.2Ah LiFePO4, 60m/40m/20m linked dipole, 7m sotapole and a palm paddle, VX-170 plus RSS 2M dipole.
May Hill G/WB-019
In order to activate uniques I am now starting to have to travel further from home, so after a 2 hour 15 minute drive I arrived at the car park to the North West end of May Hill SO 690222. The views from the car park over the Wye Valley towards the border country are very impressive and set me in a good frame of mind to get to the top of the hill for some better views. The weather was uncharacteristically dry and warm with a clear blue sky so it was off up the obvious path towards the wooded summit. The walk up is straight forward and fairly easy and was very quickly at the summit. Distance travelled 0.37 miles, total ascent 231 feet time taken 15 minutes.
Starting at the trig point I self spotted 2M FM and logged a quick 6 QSO’s whilst at the trig point before moving a short distance away to set up the HF leaving the trig clear of wires for the steady flow of walkers passing through. Unlike other recent activations, 60M and 40M seemed in fine fettle this morning. Starting on 60M I quickly had 9 stations in the log before the silence prevailed. Switching to 40M SSB brought a steady 14 QSO’s with good solid reports from across the UK plus 1 in Germany and Spain. Changing to CW added a further 11 contacts this time though the majority coming from Europe and only 3 UK. There was definitely a clear demarcation between SSB and CW with regard to the propagation and it wasn’t due to the ease of copying CW as I was receiving good reports in both modes.
I had spent longer on May Hill than originally planned due to the good number of QSO’s so it was a quick walk back to the car and off to the next location – Ruardean Hill.
Ruardean Hill G/WB-021
Ruardean Hill was only a 15 minute drive from May Hill and I parked up by the Sports and Social Club (the home of the Ruardean Hill ARS) inside the SOTA AZ. The trig was locked up within a secure compound but operation is possible within the WAB AZ.
Initially I started on 2M from the wall at the side of sports club opposite the trig, this netted 3 QSO’s before I de-camped to the woods immediately to the east of the secure compound to set up for HF. During the short drive across the weather had made a dramatic change from clear blue sky to cloudy and threatening rain. Opening up on 60M I managed 5 QSO’s before changing to 40M SSB which brought in a further 13 QSO’s including a S2S with Jourg HB9BIN/P on HB/FR-019. However, just as I pulled my palm paddle key out of the rucksack the heavens opened and forced a premature end to this particular operation.
Originally I had planned to do just the 2 hills on this trip but the evening before decided to add this easy ‘drive-on’ hill to the itinerary. It was added to two reasons – firstly it was near-ish to the other two hills and secondly I had never activated a Welsh hill before and it seem churlish when this close not to. I parked up in the car park ST 414945 and followed the path past the transmitter tower for about 400 metres to the trig point which is not easily visible from the path but there is an ephemeral path which leads straight to it at the highest point of the track.
Following the same MO as with the previous two hills, I started on 2M FM but only managed 1 QSO into Dorchester! Nothing from Newport or Bristol, later Don G0RQL said his squelch kept lifting but there was nothing there – strange. So onto 60M and a nice steady 6 QSO’s in the bag including a S2S with Barry M0IML/P on Cheriton Hill G/SE-015 before the heavens really opened up this time. The previous clear view of North Somerset and the Severn Bridge had disappeared into the mist and rain. So it was an even quicker de-camp and back to the car for the 2 hour 15 minute drive home along the lovely M4.
Overall a great day out with 3 new hills in the bag and all with trigs to boot. On this occasion I had remembers to taken my RSS with me and this enabled me to enjoy a lot more 2M FM than I had previously had. A big thanks as always to the chasers old and new who kept me company. The ‘Chaser of the Day’ award go to Don G0RQLwho got me on all 3 hills with a total of 5 QSO’s followed by Carolyn G6WRW with 4 QSO’s on 3 hills