Leaving the south of England, we were due to head up to the Lake District, where I want to activate a few summits. To head north from where we were, you need to head north up the M5 motorway, several hours of mind-numbing motorway travel. On the way up, we skirt so close to Wales that I thought it’d be a pity not to head over the Severn and activate something close. The high point in Wentwood made the most sense, being close to the border, and not that substantial a diversion – adding maybe 30-40 minutes onto the travel time, plus time spent activating.
It seemed a perfect way to break up the motorway travel, and gave me another association for the Mountain Explorer award, so it wasn’t hard to convince myself, and since I was driving, that was all that mattered. Mr Google was consulted for driving directions, and we headed off. Mr Google’s directions weren’t real flash and I turned the wrong way a few times, but a helpful gentleman noticed me trying to work the smartphone’s GPS and gave me directions. I wasn’t far off, but came in on a different road. It wasn’t hard from there to find where the summit was.
The summit itself looks like the Tunguska Event, with pine trees having been clear-felled, but the path by a comms tower towards the summit was still there and my wife and I followed it until we were well into the activation zone, the main criteria being some good trees to string the Buddistick’s counterpoise from. The path was very muddy, no doubt churned up by whatever machinery had been used to clear the forest.
I fired up 40m first, onto 7.118 and could hear 2E0NON working some chasers and tried to call in for a summit-to-summit. Unfortunately, there was high SWR and I struggled to get a signal out to them. I tried a few times, and tried to reduce the SWR by tuning the counterpoise length and tapping the coil, but it stayed high. In the end, I worked Don G0RQL, who spotted me, and G6LUZ, both with low reports.
Recognising a lost cause and seeing the battery voltage dropping, I jumped instead to 20m. I was able to tune the antenna much better on 20m, even if it was a bit rough and ready, and quickly qualified the summit with DJ5AV and EA7PY. I worked 4 EA stations (EA1MA QRP), 1 SP station which should have been 2 if a DL station hadn’t kept calling over the top. He was one of 3 DLs (including DJ5AV) I worked. I also worked OK and OE, OE3KAB, Karl, Kevin VK3KAB’s Austrian doppelganger.
We headed back to the car, my wife going first while I tried to find the trig point. It seemed to be missing, although it was tough with all the pine tree root balls blocking the view in all directions. In the end, I gave up. I had to be on top of it almost according to the OS map, but it wasn’t obvious to me. I headed back to the car. Near where we parked, there is a small garden planted with flowers. A small sign says it marks the spot where someone’s wife died, and that person has permission to keep the garden there as a memorial. I didn’t get a photo of it unfortunately.
All up, a nice distraction from the drive, and a GW association summit.