Over in the UK for work, it was a great opportunity to try some SOTA activations in the Southern Pennines. Saturday weather was predicted to be quite bad with heavy rain, good old Murphies Law!
As I didn’t have a whole lot else to do, I headed out anyway for The Cloud, which has pretty easy access. I figured that it wouldn’t be too far to dash back to the car if the rain became too heavy.
As I approached The Cloud, it wasn’t immediately obvious how to access the summit. I didn’t want to end up on private land. After parking in a small parking bay on Red Lane next to a gun club sign, I asked a lady walking a dog about access. She said that the hill was on National Trust land and access could be made via either the gate at the end of the parking bay or up a sealed road at the other end of the bay for a small distance and then up steps. I opted for the steps. It was only a short walk and it was drizzling a little which was an improvement on the heavy rain on the drive up.
I walked past the direction indicator at the top and down the path for about 100 metres to keep out of the way of any other walkers.
The small squid pole was jammed in a rock and the EFHW erected.
It wasn’t the best conditions, so the antenna was quickly matched and 20m tuned. Almost immediately I heard DG5WU on DL/BG-003 and had the first contact. The wind got up a little and so did the rain. 20m was pretty packed and I couldn’t spot due to no phone data, so it was a while until the next contact. After switching to 40m, I was able to spot and quickly made a few more contacts, qualifying the summit. The rain was now getting heavy, so I packed up and headed to the car.
This time I powered the FT-817 from 3 x Samsung 18650 3000mAh Li-Ion cells. The reason for this is that I didn’t want to take unprotected Li-Poly batteries on an aircraft. The 18650s are short circuit protected and have reasonable capacity for their weight.
Richard, G3CWI, had suggested to drop in for a coffee if the weather was too rough, so I went over to Macclesfield and dropped in. Richard of SOTA Beams has a great operation manufacturing SOTA equipment. It was terrific to have a look around and a chat. Richard also gave me a “Flight Deck” for operating from using the MTRV2 radio. Thanks Richard!