SOTA Activation Reports 2006 (8)

SOTA Activation Reports 2006
Activation reports previously submitted  to the Summits On The Air Reflector

28th August 2006  Dufton Pike NP-027

 Three summits in three days - Day 3

 Monday and during the careful packing of the car the weather looked more promising than it had the previous two days, but there were still a few black clouds looming. Dufton Pike NP-027 is described as an imposing pyramid by Tom M1EYP and he isn't kidding our first sight of it was a bit of an eye opener, this wasn't going to be as easy yesterday. We parked in the car park in Dufton and followed the signs to the Pennine Way. Just as we locked the car it started to spit with rain but we pushed on regardless. We got about halfway to the access point when the rain proper came and we donned our
waterproofs and sheltered under some trees. After some discussion we decided to walk as far as the access point and if the rain came again we would turn back, but fortunately the weather brightened up  and off came the waterproofs. At the access point it was obviously going to be a struggle up the steep slopes and Stuart didn't want to go on Helen decided she would wait at the bottom with the kids and have lunch while I activated. Emily my youngest then suddenly decided she would come with me and berated the others for wimping out. There was no defined path and although we roughly followed sheep trails we aimed straight up rather than zigzag as Tom M1EYP had suggested. It was slippery because of the rain and you need to keep a close eye out for rabbit holes but our walking poles were a great help. Despite the damp grass we were glad to sit down at the top mainly due the fact that the wind was so strong it was difficult to stand. A quick QSO with Helen at the bottom was logged and then we settled to eat our lunch and have a drink before we called CQ on two metres Paul G4XTA came back fairly quickly and after a few calls I got Alan M3FZA/P on Grasmoor for a Summit to Summit. After no more response on two metres or anything on 70cms I tried the dipole for 5mHz strung between the rucksack and two walking poles, it was far  too windy for the mast. 5.3985 was in use by Paul G0HNW and a Scottish station so I tried all of the other 5mHz channels but nothing came back. It was really annoying to hear Paul saying he thought there might be some Summit stations on while I was sat there waiting for a break. When the Scottish station cleared I called Paul but he answered another call that I couldn't hear. I tried all the other 5mHz channels again and called on S20/SU20 and 144.300 still nothing. I had one final listen on 5.3885 and asked if the frequency was in use, no-one responded and I called CQ after half a dozen calls I heard a short snatch of conversation and I assume there was a QSO I couldn't hear that was much stronger than I was.

 Finally I got another two-metre contact qualifying the summit and we packed up and came down. I couldn't believe I had spent over two hours calling with such a poor response or that 5mHz did not come to the rescue this time. Once again the sun came out as we descended and the walking poles came in to their own again and although Emily did still slip twice on the damp grass they really were a good buy. The walk back along the track that is the Pennine Way was much more pleasant without the rain and the kids sped on ahead and were waiting for us at the car ready for the journey home. Just as we were about to leave I remembered the antenna on the car, which was just as well because Helen and I worked Rick M0RCP and Thomas M3OOL on Blencathra LD-008. Arrgg!!! Where were they when I needed them?
On their way up no doubt, but it shows how you can been lucky sometimes. The journey home on the M6 was one to forget with hours spent in traffic queues with people slowing down for none existent road works and automated speed limit signs with restrictions for no apparent reason, but it was all brightened up by getting a contact with Charlie G0PZO on Baystones LD-039 and quick chat with GW6XYE/M via the 70cm repeater GB3CR which is on Hope Mountain NW-062 from about 80 miles while travelling at 70mph. Hope may only be a one pointer but if the repeater coverage is anything to go by it offers a lot of potential. It is right on my doorstep and I would have tried it a long time ago but the summit is on private land, maybe I
should get up the courage ask, it would certainly be an easier point than Dufton Pike was, which if difficult came in to it would be much more. Dufton isn't outside scope of most experienced SOTA activators but unfit inexperienced fell walkers like myself may find it a bit of a challenge for just one point and there are easier summits for more points that will also be not so hard to qualify.

Learning points:
1. If we can do three summits in three days maybe you can
2. We are fitter than we thought we were
3. The weather can't be trusted for 10 seconds in the hills
4. Always pack a soldering iron and solder
5. The little ones aren't always the easy ones
6. Someone needs to invent a better mast for SOTA use
7. The disappointment of failure is ever present
8. Need to get all the kids their M3's just in case ;0)

Thanks to all the stations we worked and all those who we maybe
couldn't hear.

Regards and Good wishes from Steve GW7AAV and Helen GW7AAU 

13:11zG7AAU/P144MHzFMHelen waiting at bottom with two of kids
13:23zM5FZA/P144MHzFMS2S Grasmoor LD-009