Sunday, 29 January 2012

SOTA expeditions G/NP-028 and G/NP-010

After work on Friday I thought I would try for a late afternoon activation of Rombald's Moor, G/NP-028. I'd been watching the weather forecast most of the day and decided that I would probably miss the worst of the weather. As it turned out, some snow had just settled on the moors as I arrived. I experienced occasional snow flurries during my operation. I worked only 3 stations, for some reason I was really struggling with the CW. Maybe I was tired. I packed up and headed for home just as it was starting to get dark.

Saturday 28th January

I had intended to activate Helvellyn (G/LD-003) for SOTA, but after researching the weather conditions, I decided it would be better to activate this summit on a later date. I decided to activate Pen Y Ghent (G/NP-010) instead, this summit being not that far from my QTH and still worth a good number of points. The drive to Stainforth was uneventful, but I soon discovered the country lane towards the parking place was very icy! I managed to get my car stuck at one point on an incline. Ten minutes of chipping away at the ice with a rock I picked up managed to get my car free again. I thought about turning around and heading back home, but whilst looking for a suitable place to turn the car around, I realised I was nearly at the parking place!

I got my 'phone out of my pocket to take a picture of my car in the snow and I found it was totally dead! I had wanted to let my wife know that all was OK, but all I could think to do was to try and hit the local repeater, GB3TP and see if someone could let my wife know what had happened. I was not able to get into the repeater, so I set off up the hill with hopes of contacting someone later on.

Eventually I managed to open up the repeater, but after several calls I received no response. The path to the summit was covered with snow all the way. I had deployed my APRS system with hopes that my wife would at least know my location and progress.

The summit had about 25cms of lying snow. There was very little wind and the sun was shining. There wasn't a cloud in the sky - a perfect day to be on a summit. I first called on 2m FM, as I didn't have a working 'phone, I was hoping to get a 'spot' arranged on SOTAwatch for my QRPp 30m operation. I worked quite a few stations on 2FM from my handheld transceiver and set top quarter wave antenna, including Mike, G4BLH in Nelson, Lancashire, who kindly not only spotted me on SOTAwatch, but also let my wife know I was OK by telephone. Hams really are nice folks!

I worked 10 stations on 30m CW using a RockMite 30 from Small Wonder Labs and my challenge battery. This was a good result I thought. I then tried my 17m Manhattan style RockMite into my linked inverted vee dipole. I didn't manage to score any QSO's, but on my return home, I discovered something nice on the Reverse Beacon Network site -

 I'd been picked up about 1000 miles away by OH6BG! I think that is pretty good for less than 100mW!

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