Sunday, 5 July 2015

SOTA Cycling weekend - Sunday 5th July (Day 2)

May Hill - 296m, 1 point

Association: England Region: Welsh Borders
Latitude: 51 53 21 N, Longitude: 2 26 37 W
Grid Reference: SO 695212, QTH Locator: IO81SV

Well this weekend was certainly a game of two halfs.
After yesterday's beautiful summer weather, I awoke to slate grey skies and cool conditions this morning.
The forecast was not particularly enticing either.
The weather gods played tricks with me, and as I was pondering as to whether it was worth going out and getting wet for a single point, the sun came streaming through.
I grabbed my SOTA cycle pack and hit the road.

Shack in a pack

Today's venue was to be May Hill, G/WB-019. No sooner was I on the road than the first signs of rain became apparent in the air.
The clouds were building over the top of May Hill. (with it's distinctive clump of trees on the summit)
May Hill in the distance

Getting closer
Near Tibberton, about 5 miles short of the summit, all hell broke loose. Torrential rain and gale force winds almost had me turning around and running for home (or the pub!) The sky was an evil black from horizon to horizon.
I pushed on through muddy lanes that now resembled mountain streams. Traction on the steep lanes was becoming a big issue.
I pushed on, and as I arrived at the start of the final footpath to the summit, it all started to clear up.

Final ascent

rain clearing to the east
An easy push (there was no way to ride in the slippery condx) and I was at the trig point.
Fortunately the storm seemed to have blown over, and in fact there were super views (but short lived) down into south Wales and the Brecon Beacons.

Wales in the distance
I unpacked the Go bag and set up.
The same kit as yesterday; 5m travel pole, MTR 20/60, Sotabeams EFHW tuner, 10metres of wire, Pico Palm paddle and a 350 mAh LiPo.

Shack in a pack

As no one else was mad enough to be up here after the storm, I used one of the many memorial benches to set up shop.

Conditions were way down on yesterday. RBN never spotted me and I ended up not making it out of single figures today! Not strictly true, as I had 2 QSOs with Ignacio, EA2BD, who called me back for more of a chat. He was also using a MTR from a beach!  He forwarded me some video clips from his phone.

I know where I'd rather have been just then. Although the storm had blown over, I was thoroughly soaked and dressed for cycling, not SOTA ops. Sitting for just a short time had me a shivering wreck and I knew I had to cut short any plans of a lengthy activation.
Nice seating

Slow going...
I contemplated moving on to Ruardean Hill, G/WB-021. That would have added about 15 miles to the day, but the approach of yet another black cloud steered me in the direction of home!

It took some time to warm up again, but after Newent the sun was out again and I got home warm and dry.

sunshine and rain

Just 50 miles for the day.


Saturday was the day to be out!

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