5th January 2007 SP-011 Freeholds Top
Hot Tubs and Champagne
In January 2006 Helen and I decided to take up her mother’s offer to look after the younger of our children while we had a weekend away. Thus we found ourselves in a cosy rented cottage on the outskirts of York with the full use of a sauna and Jacuzzi, just the thing for a relaxing chill out. That was only the second time in 23 years we had been away without the kids. We visited the museums, went shopping and walked around the walls. I had protested at the time that Bishops Wilton Wold G/TW-004 was only a stones throw away but I was told “no radio”. We had a great time and immediately booked the same again for 2007, as there was so much we did not do which we would have liked to. Much to our surprise Helen’s mother decided to pay for the weekend as a wedding anniversary present for our 25th.
This time we had extended our stay a little and Helen agreed to activating TW-004 and with a little persuasion also agreed to do a summit on route as well and we choose G/SP-011 Freeholds Top as it did not seem too far from the motorway.
5th January 2007 started as it meant to go on and the alarm clock failed to go off. There then followed a series of delays before we finally go on the road a little before our alerted activation time. Road works and slow moving traffic due to torrential rain followed. I was convinced our activation would not go ahead. We stopped on the motorway at the last service station before the exit for SP-011 and as if by magic the sun appeared. By the time we were on the road again it was a different day and we happily set off towards Freeholds Top.
We approached from the Todmorden end off the A681 and after passing the observatory on the right we parked on the grass verge adjacent to a gate with a cattle grid with a kissing gate along side. We then followed the gravel scar of a track up the hill through some rather uninspiring countryside. We stopped opposite the observatory to take some photographs but after one photo with each of the two sets of freshly recharged batteries the camera refused to work. I don’t know if this was due to the cold or damp but this problem seems to rear its head every now and again with this camera. After a while the path left the track and headed up over the boggy moor land to the summit.
We set up the mast on a convenient fence post and called on 2 metres FM using the handheld 15:00z. Mike G4BLH responded but we had a problem with high SWR when we went to the main antenna on the FT-817 and nobody else seemed to be hearing us on the handheld so he spotted us on 5mHz. There was no problems getting customers on Fox Echo (5.3985) and the summit was soon qualified, although probably a few chasers had given up on us by that time as we were about four hours later than advertised. By the time we were back at the Land Rover it was already going dark.