Monday, 11 February 2013

SOTA - A day of "Firsts"

11th February 2013

With it being almost the anniversary of my first activation, I was keen to get out on the hills again before the dreaded "work" starts again on Wednesday. 

Last night I'd finally got around to modifying my MTR (KD1JV)to run on 60 Metres.
I was keen to give it an airing to see how it worked, so decided on a quick local activation.
As I got closer to my local summit, G/CE-001, I realised that there had been a fair bit of snow overnight!
So the first "first" of the day was setting up in snow!

First snowy activation

New Bothy bag and waterproof logbook
If I said my hands were cold that would be an under statement! The biggest problem was that I'd brought a couple of connectors with me to extend my 40m EFHW with another 25' of wire for 60m operation. My fingers would not play ball with the connectors so I ended up forgetting about lengthening the antenna and just trying it as was. I couldn't find a match at all on 5Mhz, and my FG01 antenna analyser was sitting on my bench at home! Never the less I decided to give 60m a go anyway.
A quick CQ pulled in GW0MYY, G3TLH and G3ICO.
So another first, my first 60m SOTA activation.
Not being regular SOTA chasers, it was at this time that I realised that a spot would speed things along (RBN has very little coverage on 60).
Pulling out my mobile phone, I discovered the battery was dead!

Never mind, I changed rigs to my ATS4 and soon had a pile up going on 40m.
A call from Victor, GI4ONL/p brought my first S2S QSO under the new award, and 5 points to S2S Roll of Honour!

As it started to snow I noticed how well my new waterproof log book was working on it's first outing..

Snow and cold calls for shelter, so I crawled into my new Bothy Bag for the first time. The difference was amazing. The thermometer was showing 0.8C outside, but within the bag we were quickly up to 6.5C and without the wind chill it was easy to operate without gloves.
After a spell on 30 and 20 metres and no chasers on 17, I packed up.

For the first time my SOTA pole refused to collapse, I think the joints were frozen and I couldn't shift it with gloves on. I had to manhandle it with bare hands, which was a chilling experience.

All in all a good day and a chance to try the new rig, new logbook and new Bothy bag. I might try 60m again with a proper antenna tomorrow if I get a chance.

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