Tuesday 25 October 2016
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.
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
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.