Sunday, 29 January 2017

28th January 2017. Brown Clee SOTA Activation visit.

G/WB-002 Brown Clee Hill. 28th January 2017.

This years visit to Brown Clee Hill was going to be a 2M and 20M activation as last year, The walk started from the same location with parking the car at GD SO585888 just in front of the gate and leaving room for the gate to open if required. The weather was not great for visibility as the cloud cover was low. The ground was wet and fairly muddy, so a very steady ascent was called for.

We took about 45 minutes to reach the summit with 2 or 3 rest stops to catch a breather and try take in the sights between the passing clouds. As you can see from photo No 1 top left visibility was not great at the start. Jamie (my son) set up the 2M dipole before getting his cooker set up ready for warm food and drink, I tested the antenna with the analyser and was happy with the result so started to erect the Moxon for the 20M.

I have now had a few people ask about the size of the Moxon so have included a few photos as seen below.

As seen in the right hand photo I have now purchased a nice SOTA flag from SotaBeams, We had a few visitors during our activation and as always they wanted to know what we were doing and one of them commented on the flag. I was glad to explain the reason for the activation and the equipment as always.

Towards the end of the activation the weather cleared up and we could admire the views. 13 QSO's on 2M and 10 QSO's on 20M, so I thought a very good day. Greece being the furthest contact at 1524 miles away.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

21st January 2017. Three Summits SOTA Activation.

21st January 2017.
G/WB-005 Long Mynd Pole Bank. GW/MW-013 Corndon Hill.
G/WB-004 Titterstone Clee Hill.

My first time activating three summits on the same day, hats off to those that have completed the 5 hill challenge.

Well the day started as usual get food shopping out of the way then pack the gear in the car and head off to the hills. First summit Pole Bank, after last weeks fiasco at least the road was open and not blocked with snow and ice. We headed up and parked in the same car park that I did in December 2016. Had a pleasant walk for 10 minutes to the trig point and on arrival I was met by a hill walker that informed me he was an M6 but I forgot the rest of his call sign sorry. Had a quick chat then set up my 2M gear and started to log my QSO's I only wanted to qualify each hill and move on  lol that was never going to happen.

Managed to log 14 QSO's Long Mynd, 8 QSO's Corndon Hill and 12 QSO's Titterstone Clee Hill.

G/WB-005 Picture's above with Corndon Hill in the far ground on the first picture.

GW/MW-013 Corndon Hill pictures. This is only my second time visiting this summit and both times we walked up the hill in picture one. For those like me or not had chance to visit this summit I have now been told of an alternative route, see photo below. Michelle (XYL) nearly killed me when we took the easier route down lol.

The green circle is were I parked my car. The red is my normal route to the summit and would have 2 or 3 rest breaks. The green is now my proffered route as it is a lot easier and only about 300 meters further to walk and probably no breaks required.

G/WB-004 Picture's above with my Home Brew 20M Moxon. I normally use 3 or 4 poles but tested the SWR with 2 poles and as you can see in this location I could get away with 2 and was happy with the results. I managed to have QSO's with Canada, America, Spain and Slovenia. Then (XYL) said she was too cold to continue, so we packed up and headed our way back home.

       Long Mynd                               Corndon Hill                              Titterstone Clee Hill

Friday, 20 January 2017

10th December 2016. Titterstone Clee Hill SOTA Activation.

G/WB-004 Titterstone Clee Hill. 10th December 2016.

Titterstone Clee Hill was a fairly easy walk from the quarry except the low cloud cover was making it difficult to find the summit as I had never been here before. I found the Comms and radar station first then had remembered the summit was west of its location. So after another 2 or 3 minutes walk I found the summit. The full ascent took about 25 minutes or so. I now use the Great Outdoors GPS app and no more wondering if I am in the right location.

I set up my 2M Dipole and started CQ SOTA on S20 FM and right away had a response, the QSO's came flooding in. 16 contacts in 40 minutes and a few of these were a 2 or 3 minute QSO's.

As the weather was not great (visibility about 25 yards) I decided to ring Jamie (my son) as he didn't accompany me on this outing, just to let him know I was starting my descent and would ring him once I got back to the car in approximately 25 - 30 minutes. You can never be too careful so I thought it was a good idea. I ended up getting back to the car a slightly different route than I had climbed and it took me 30 minutes. The cloud cover was getting bad at the point so I thought I had timed my descent just about right. A quick call to Jamie and all was good to set off home.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

2nd December 2016. Stiperstones SOTA Activation visit.

G/WB-003 Stiperstones. 2nd December 2016.

Still my first ever day of SOTA and my first ever visit to the Stiperstones, my son and daughter have been many times and always tried to get me to go. It was a pleasant walk up of about 25 minutes and John M0JZH thought I was mad carrying my 20M Moxon. I had used this on a few portable activation's over the past month or so and liked the results so I thought why not try it.

The mast, beam and radio took around 25 - 30 minutes to assemble and get operational. I  called out CQ SOTA on 20M for a good 5 - 10 minutes and had no joy, I was getting a little miffed and went over to  how John was getting on with his 40M operation. He had already logged 5 or 6 calls, he said he would spot me using the SOTA App.
I went back to my set up and logged 4 QSO's in 8 minutes including my first ever contact with the USA on the Moxon. I was then very pleased with it all. I have now downloaded the SOTA App on my own phone and find it very handy for spotting myself on HF activation's.
I have also downloaded and paid for the Outdoors GPS Offline OS Maps App and find it very useful. I strongly recommend it to anyone that is starting out like I am. It was not too expensive at £19.99 for a full years licence.

2nd December 2016. Long Mynd SOTA Activation visit.

G/WB-005 Long Mynd. 2nd December 2016.
My first ever SOTA activation.

I have been a licenced Ham for just over a year now and have played around with portable work over the previous few months then my friend John M0JZH, said why don't you try SOTA? I said I have heard people calling SOTA on S20 a few times and have always gone back to them, so I thought why not?

John kindly took me under his wing and said lets have a day off work lol and go play radio's. I didn't take much persuading. John loaned me a 2M Dipole from SOTAbeams and he took his 2M Yagi and he operated on SSB.

As we arrived at the summit there were two groups of people looking at us and know doubt wondering what we were up to? Then they started to ask us questions, what are you doing with those aerials? So we, well mainly John explained what SOTA was all about. They seamed very interested and set off on their walk and wished us good luck.

I was very surprised and pleased to log 9 QSO's with in 35 minutes. I think John logged more than me and achieved alot further distance with his SSB.

3rd December 2016. The Wrekin SOTA Activation visit.

G/WB-010 The Wrekin. 3rd December 2016.
A long walk for 1 point.

My first weekend of SOTA after yesterdays Long Mydn and Stiperstones with my friend John M0JZH, the man that introduced me to SOTA. (He has alot to answer for).

Yesterdays activation's were very good so I thought why not try The Wrekin, well it is the closest Hill. Still new to SOTA and didn't realize that I could not gain Bonus points for a 1 point hill.
 We parked on the side of the road opposite the main entrance way that most people use to start the long walk up. The journey took about 40 minutes to reach the summit, on the way up we saw a friend and had a quick chat as well. 

As I arrived there was someone else on a radio and I thought another crazy person lol well he was but he was on CB Radio. I had a little chat and left him to it, I walked another 100 metres or so towards the summit and found a nice little place close to the tree line so I could get out of the cold breeze.

I set up the 2M dipole and my end fed half wave ready to activate on 20M, Jamie (my son) his first trip out with me was asking lots of questions, once the QSO's started to come in he was trying to work out how far people were away from us. We started on 2M and had contacts to Liverpool Leicester  and a few other places. A total of 11 in all, then we changed to the end fed on 20M and then Jamie was very interested when he heard the first contact to Italy, followed 5 minutes later to Poland, Finland and a few more total of 9 QSO's on 20M.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

31st December 2016. Gyrn Moelfre SOTA Activation visit.

GW/NW-049  Gyrn Moelfre. 31st  December 2016.
Happy New Year All.

Its New Years Eve 2016 and again the team are on the way up yet another Hill. This time we went just past Oswestry to find Gyrn Moelfre at a height of 1,715 ft, this is a 2 point hill but +3 Bonus points as we are in the winter season. I could not find too much details about parking so I parked at Grid SJ 181213 as indicated on my map above. There is a pull in by the telephone box at the end of the grave yard.  I parked there leaving plenty of room for others.
We then walked back down the road to SJ 179301 were the Bridleway meets the road, there is a little gate just off the road. Then the long steep walk starts and OMG I thought Corndon Hill was steep, I can true fully say This was the hardest climb we have done so far out of the 8 hills I have activated. The walk had many rest breaks to catch a breather, I would say it took us a good hour to reach the summit. Then as we arrived a 4x4 vehicle arrived with-in 3 or 4 minutes of our arrival. The passenger of the vehicle was a BMX biker and he was there just to ride his bike back down the hill.
The first words out off my mouth was you can drive up here???
The driver said yes if you ask the farmer nicely lol.

We then set up our gear, the usual 2M Home Brew Dipole and my end fed Half Wave for 20M. A word of warning to any one that wants to activate here rocks rocks and more rocks, a few problems getting my ground spike in for the mast.
I started on 20M and logged 5 QSO's Romania (1310 miles away) again on 5 watts. Then I turned to 2M and logged a further 8 QSO's

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

24th December 2016. Corndon Hill SOTA Activation visit.

GW/MW-013 Corndon Hill. 24th December 2016.

It's Christmas Eve and we thought we would still go and walk up a hill somewhere and play radio's, We parked at grid SO301669 the gate that leads to the start of the accent up the hill. Today of all days the weather was not fun. It was really windy so masts of any kind was off the menu. The climb took us about 20 minutes to reach the summit and was not too bad except the wind.

I set up the 2M Dipole and started to call CQ Sota and 14 QSO's later and only 33 minutes logged I was all done. I had wished everyone a Happy Christmas that I spoken to. The Wind was not getting any lighter so decided to break camp and make our way back down.

Maybe on our return home the wife would have prepared everything ready for the big day tomorrow. Well we all know what the answer to that was lol. Yes Paul and Jamie had to go to work preparing veg, cleaning up and wrapping presents lol.

17th December 2016. Brown Clee SOTA Activation visit.

G/WB-002 Brown Clee. 17th December 2016.

My first ever activation on the Brown Clee, We parked at grid SO585888 by the gate that leads to the bridleway which starts the accent up the hill. This was a tiring walk carrying my 20M Moxon, the climb took us about 40 minutes to reach the summit.
The weather was overcast but luckily enough it didn't rain, We were shocked to see horse's roaming around up there but it was a pleasant sight to see.

This was our first trip out with Jamie (My Son) taking the cooker. He said we can have bacon and sausage sandwiches, which I thought was a great idea (if I didn't have to carry them that is).

I started my activation on 2M FM with my Home Brew Dipole, Logging 17 QSO's. Then decided to switch to 20M using my Home Brew Moxon. This landed me another 6 QSO's including a contact to Albany just north of New York (3254 Miles away) I was really pleased to reach there with only 5 watts even thou the beam was pointing towards Europe.