Monday, 5 May 2014

International SOTA weekend activations

On Saturday 3May it was the International SOTA Weekend and QRPTTF (QRP To The Field) .
We drove towards Ludlow to activate G/WB-004 Titterstone Clee Hill and to try to work DX with the States.

We left the car at the car park in the quarry and walked up 5-10min to the summit (very accessible). It was partly sunny and about 16C, pleasant.
Station: HB1B 3-4W, Mountain Tuner, 20m EFHW and Multiband EFHW, Palm mini paddle, 10m fibre glass pole - the little one's backpack carrier proved very handy to hold the tuner and SWR meter.

We started on 20m at 14.00z with M0HDF and work 19 stations: DXCCs - SP, RG, LY, I, HA, F, DL, OM, S52, EA, LA, OK, DJ, SM, OH. The ARI contest was going on and was very noisy, I had to use the attenuator or wind down the IF filter, additionally there was a big buzz EMC pulse every few seconds - I guess coming from the radar system at the top of the hill.

Bill  W4ZV said that he heard me but I could not hear him despite him trying all the tricks on his K2. 15m was the band to use but my HB1B does not go that high. This is the propagation prediction he sent me the day before. Thanks Bill!!

We swapped antennas to the Multi EFHW and opened the switches for 30m - on Eva's M0HJV call we worked 8 stations in 10min: DL, F, DJ, PA and DL6AP/P.


G/WB-002 Brown Clee Hill
We arrived to the car park at 16.30z, luckily there was some people around and gave us directions to the summit. It took us about 35-40 min to the get to the top. It is a nice walk through the forest and we encountered a few very curious spring lamb on the way.
Approaching the summit..

View of Titterstone Clee Hill from Brown Clee Hill

Microwaves operators
As we reached to the top, I spotted some hams on microwaves. I walked to the top and introduce myself to Martin G3UKV, Mike G4NKC, Jim G8UGL, Kevin G8UPC. We had a nice chat about the usual things and they also asked me about the CW requirements and other aspects of the license in EA land.

I moved close to the summit trig point and assembled the shack. Bad news, we did not have Internet and as we had not planned to activate this summit there was not an alert either. In the end as it was late, we resorted to work a few stations in the contest.

When we got back to Birmingham we visited one of our favourite local take-aways, chicken and fries, it was late and we were tired and hungry after a long day.

Sunday 4th May - G/CE-003 Bredon Hill
Glorious weather, about 17C, sunny and slightly breeze. It was a short drive from home, and once there, it took us about 35min to the get to the top from the car park on the South side of the hill. There was plenty of space to operate.


 Antenna was a 20m End Fed Half Wire (EFHW) on a 10m pole slightly sloping to the west. 


We operated on 20m. I swept the band and heard a few US stations in a contest but I could not worked them. At 13:48z I started with M0HDF and worked G, SP, OE, DL, CT and RV.
After a short break for a snack we swapped to M0HJV and the conditions seemed to have improved. We worked a few more stations: SM, EA, G, DF, SP, OK, including a couple of S2S with Martin DF3MC/P at DL/MF-080 and Juan Carlos EA1AER/P - who first called on my freq and afterwards we called him on his freq and had a little chat. It was also nice to hear Peter G4ISJ who a few weeks earlier had shared with me details of his EFHW antenna design.

More sheep!!

View from the summit

There were some great views from the tower at the top. We took some family photos and walked around for a short while before we returned the car. We enjoyed very much our visit to the Bredon Hill - a must return!

Thank you to all the Chasers.

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