CUWS Lake District SOTA Trip 2015

From the 10th to the 12th of April 2015, a handful of CUWS members embarked on a long and arduous SOTA mission to the Lake District. Along the way, we’d face such dangers as the British motorway system, a stiff breeze, and campsite badgers.

Present on the expedition were Rob Chipperfield (M0VFC), Dom Smith (M0BLF), David Turner (M0TNR), Dan McGraw (M0WUT) and me, then the proud owner of M6IKY.

Day 1

Most of dream-team departed from Cambridge Friday in a couple of cars, picking up Dan from a train station. A long drive and several service stations later, we arrived at the campsite. We were duly warned about the campsite badgers (dangerous, hungry creatures apparently), then proceeded to make camp as the wind built.

Day 2

Campsite on the morning of Day 2.

We woke to wind, snow on the mountains, and rain in the foothills, but we were all keen to get going, so we started up the first hill, Stony Cove Pike (2503’, LD-018). The ascent went well and in no time we were setting up various antennae on the summit. Due to solar activity, the HF bands were inaccessible at best, but some local VHF contacts were made.

M0BLF and M0TNR working from Stoney Cove Pike with M6IKY functioning as antenna support.

After a quick lunch, we decided that the next planned summit was going to take too long in the adverse weather conditions, so two smaller peaks were found: Little Mell Fell (1657’, LD-037) and Great Mell Fell (1762’, LD-035).

SOTA selfie. Much wind. Wow.

More contacts were had at the top of both summits, most interestingly with another pair of radio amateurs (both called Victor, G4ONL and G4TDM) from Ireland who we proceeded to swap summits with.

In the evening, the dubious decision to enter a pub quiz was made,
which we narrowly lost after a series of questions about golf and celebrities which were not our specialist subjects!

Day 3

Initially the plan for the final day was to find some more peaks, but we found that the pass was blocked with snow when we got up. Rob bravely tried to get over, but the intrepid Škoda was defeated by a particularly steep section.

Mildly discouraged, we decided that going to the Blackpool amateur radio rally was a better idea. Some members spoke to friends of theirs, some got signed up to the RSGB, others bought suspiciously-large toroids for an unspecified project involving a band-pass filter; a fairly typical mix, we felt. Having spent a couple of hours bumbling around and bumping into the two Victors from the previous day we called it a day with some bacon sandwiches and headed for home.

David really loves bacon.

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