2015..the radio and other bits

Radio stuff…

Ill start first with my SOTA activations which were less than I would have liked but due to circumstances, I enjoyed the ones I did, well almost!

It took me to June, first activation was Beinn Dubh, my first hill accompanied by my oldest daughter, Lora. I chose Dubh as a easy tracked hill and I knew with the WX forecast, plus a hill to let her see what excellent views were to be seen with a little effort, I could take my radio gear as well, bonus. The WX stayed excellent the whole trip, I first bagged two contacts in the Mourne mountains of Northern Ireland to start the log, 5 contacts in all which can be the norm in midweek. I didn’t want to spend long on radio but after 30 mins I had my contacts and I tried a few calls over the next 30 mins, nothing. Time to head home, a good day and quality time with Lora.

Lora

Lora

As is now a yearly event, Beinn a’Mhanaich was my second activation, I used the tried and trusted (and easiest) route starting from the A817 Haul Rd, a stiff ascent to start and a steady ridge walk followed by a couple of short rises. A cairn marks the summit on a large plateau. The WX was ideal, a good day with contacts as far afield as Northern Island and a group activating Ailsa Craig, Robin PKT had come down to active the other Luss Hills to the NE and E of me..

It was off to the Lake District on the annual short trip.

The WX was not looking good even though we’d hung off to choose our days.

I’d chosen my hills but as the last trip, it went all up in the air.

We arrived to steady unsettled weather but I decided to go to standby(and fave summit) Dale Head, I’d planned a round trip there and on to Hindscarth (a WOTA hill) then the short walk to Robinson and drop into Newlands Hause to get picked up. It never turned out that way as the walk up from the top of Honister Pass was to say the least, interesting and windy, very windy.

I arrived at the summit and it was blowing a hooley. It was a handheld activation as the beam had no chance of being erected. I snuck into the side of the large cairn and called on both 4m and 2m. One contact to North Wales on 4 and the other three on 2m, I was ever so glad when John TDM replied so I could bale off the hill, I worked two other lads descending off Blakes Fell, I think according to what they said, I’d the best of the weather but off down and a welcome drive back to Keswick.

Bob about to start descent

Helvellyn…

I’d been planning this hill since a long time and finally reached the summit in what can only be called a pea-souper..

Katie had dropped me off at Scales car park and off up into the cloud I headed, there is no missing this path as it is a well built stone staircase to the last slow rise to the summit, for once I appreciated the not seeing where I was going but soon I was on the way along the slow gradual rise to the summit, a trip to bag the trig and the geocache which required info off the plate on the trig. Due to a strong breeze at times, I did a handheld activation yet again and the same fella on 4m, I got the other contacts 0n 2m and the last contact was a 216 km contact to John on Stiperstones in Shropshire. More than happy with that! If only I’d used the beam, next time?

As I descended the cloud slowly was being burnt off and as I started down the stone path, views cleared to the W and N..

Another one of the higher Lakes fells ticked off.

That was my SOTA activity for the year, sad really as I now have the time but other circumstances have come into play. I did acheive my 300th ponit.

I’ll be back in ’16.

HF...

Carrying on the year as I left off ’14, I was active most early evenings on 12 and 10m when open, I’d arrive home head to the radio and try see what I could work, WAS is now sitting at 47 with three states to get, 2 to verify, I’ll send QSL cards for those, 45 LoTW verified. The cycle is dropping back down with activity over the latter months of the year falling back on those bands, there is always the next peak in about 10 years time.

The rest of the year spent on JT65, JT9 and various PSK modes mostly 31 and 63, a steady stream of new contacts with a drop off late Oct into ’16 as I was now playing with other radio stuff. I did keep my hand in by occasionally having a CQ..

I now achieved 8,000 logged contacts by the end of the year since my return in 2009 (I’ve just worked a German station on 30m to give me the total)

VHF..

Nothing new planned or tried, I kept up my SOTA chasing and finished the year within reach of 4,000 VHF chasing points (I’ve just made it, 4,001 and counting).

I didn’t do as much portable work in the local hills but that was more down to lack of activity on my part, I’ve still to fully organise the bike for carrying everything. One trip to Scroggy Bank was successful so maybe more planned, it will depend on my reckoning the best LOS for working some of the further N SOTA activations. I’ve a wee thought to trying some of the VHF 2m and 70cm RSGB but it’ll be down to WX and mostly, midge status.

Other..

Another foray back into the SDR dongle with the newer R 8202T/2 chip, this is ongoing as I find new ways of using..

I’m doing more listening between VHF and HF and as you may have seen in one of my last blog posts my foray into AIS which is still toodling away on an old laptop, I’ve now hooked my WX station to the APRS and live weather from GAX towers, more plans to go further with this.

I’ve a box with more stuff to get round to but I never do anything in a hurry, I first looked at AIS over seven-year ago and look how long it took me to get round to it, can anyone let me borrow one of the USB AIS rx units to try to see how it performs against dAISy…

I’ve also been playing with PSK on Android tablets, AIS, SDR on Windows Tablet….2016 could be interesting

I think that is it…

If not I’d add as I remember..

 

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