Joint WOTA/HEMA Activation of Black Crag

My original destination of Crinkle Crags for this Joint HEMA activity evening and WOTA activation was thwarted due to an accident on the road to Coniston. With the clock ticking I had two options, both recently visited. Baystones on Wansfell is a HEMA (which I didn’t realise till I checked this time around) but I opted to revisit Black Fell (or Black Crag based on the benchmark stone plaque). The fell is positioned nicely for views to Lake Windermere, Fairfield, Helvellyn, the Langdales, Crinkle Crags, Wetherland, and Old Man of Coniston.

Black Crag: 323m IO84ij, NY30
HEMA: G/HLD-005, WOTA: LDW-212

The ascent from the road behind the Drunken Duck Inn (highly recommended) is only about 30 minutes on an obvious trail. A wooded ascent before a boundary fence and wall (with no-mans land) marks the start of the fell proper.

The Sandpiper Delta Quad works great on 2m and I deployed it this time using the 6m lightweight mast bought from Decathalon in Spain. I have a camera harness that allows me to chest mount the FT-857 and activate standing up.

The weather was sunny but with a strong wind which started affecting my core temperature even though I was layered up - I don’t think the shorts helped. In hindsight Crinkle Crags would have been a disaster with the wind and a ridgeline walk. One for another day!

I jumped on Mickey’s 2m FM frequency for a quick S2S and then worked GW0DSP and MW0ISC Steve before picking up Phil GW1CJJ/P’s activation of Mynydd Marian. Chris 2E0MOW then called in, mobile in Thornton followed by Sue G1OHH and Keith M0IHN. Geoff GM4WHA in Scotland was next and a surprising contact based on the distance and geography.

Geoff’s calculated propogation path

Having an affection for 2m SSB I turned the delta quad by 45 degrees then got MW0ISC and GW0DSP in the log again, much stronger this time, and then a long distance contact with Don G0RQL.

Dropping back to 2M FM it was great to get a good run of HEMA S2S’s now with Nigel G1XJO/P, Chris M0RSF/P, Simon G7WKX/P and fittingly Rob G7LAS/P as the last S2S, all lighting up the Pennines. Half way through these the 4200 mAh FlightMax Zippy LifePo2 finally gave up the ghost, with the inevitable hammering from FM. I must take a meter and see what it actually draws constantly when 2M 50w is used on the FT-857.

Time to get all remaining clothing on and hunkered down out of the wind. My SOTABeams Quad Bander (V2 now, having been restrung with 20/40/60/80m) was deployed on the 6m mast with the 2nd battery now in play.

A good run of chasers on 80m with some usual calls in the mix: G8XDD, G0RQL, 2E0FEH, EI3GYB, GM4WHA/M, GB4ABG, GI0AZA, GB5WAB and G0LGS - Geoff using an Ampro 80m hamstick on a triple magmount to defy any grounding requirements - to be fair he was weak but what percentage of his power was warming that coil at the bottom!

I then had a play on 20m SSB with some of the Spanish AM70 stations coming in strong. Scrolling to the top of the band I happened across Larry AG5Z in Missisipi who was entirely workable, as well as Daniel LZ5DD who always recognises my callsign and is typical of Bulgarian operators in their friendly nature!

Thanks for organising the HEMA Activity Evening, a great excuse to play radio once again and a new experience for me to get HEMA S2S’s.

All photos here.