I had decided that I’d join in with this years SOTA Cycling Weekend and get my bike out of mothballs. G/SP-017 Billinge Hill is the closest SOTA summit to home so it was an easy decision to activate. I’d like to get out and activate more summits, this being only my third activation.
Once I’d got my list of other Sunday morning tasks out of the way I uncovered the bike and checked it over, I’d oiled and covered it well so all looked good, still plenty air in the tyres… I’d better just top that up… Two minutes later I’ve got a flat tyre and I’m holding the valve that was once attached to the inner tube, maybe winter hadn’t been so kind. Thankfully I’m a licensed radio amateur, I have a cupboard full of usefulness (won’t repeat what my nesting pregnant girlfriend calls it).
New inner tube fitted and the bike was ready. Camelbak hydration topped up, Wouxun KG-UVD1P charged, pad and pen (last /p in Scotland I didn’t have a pen!!! ‘logged’ using voice recorder on my iPhone) and I’m ready ready, time for a sit down it’s thirsty work this cycling.
The route from my home QTH to Billinge Hill is 5.8 miles (according to Google maps) 4.5 miles as the rf flies. I’d estimate 5 miles of it uphill so at least I had that to look forward to on my way home. A pleasant ride up even if the fine approach (the one I chose runs between the two nearest transmitter towers) was a little overgrown.
The summit of Billinge Hill is home to a trig point and a tower (Built as a summerhouse to Winstanley Hall in the 18th century. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Billinge_Hill). The sun had attracted quite a few people making the summit busy but thankfully everyone was attracted to the tower leaving me free to set up near the trig point.
I found a clear frequency and self spotted on sotawatch. My first 7 chasers were G6ODU, M0UPH/M, G6NFR, M1EYP, G7CDA/P, G0HRT and M6JFY. I was well aware that Billinge Hill has pager transmitters and that my little Wouxun really doesn’t like them. I managed to pause between transmissions and only had to request repeats a few times. with the summit activated I’d decided to have a last few minutes then head off. I’m glad I did, my last two contacts were both summit to summit the first, Allan G4VPX/P on G/LD-017 Red Screes 67 miles away and then to close Alan MW6ZEC/P on GW/NW-009 Cadair Idris 75 miles away.
UPDATE: Read Allan G4VPX’s report from the other end of our summit to summit http://mw0bbu.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/sota-expedition-to-lakes-de-gw4vpx.htmlthanks for the mention Allan 73
So that was my 30 minutes on Billinge Hill over, I kind of wish I’d got up there earlier in the day maybe even to see Richard G3CWI/P and spent a little longer there. I’ll add that to my plans for my next activation.
Big thanks to everyone who help me activate Billinge Hill,
73 Stew M0SCU