SOTA summit: Worcestershire Beacon G/WB-009
Activation Date: May 28, 2017
Portable operation: Yes
Radio: Yaesu VX-8G
Antenna: Slim Jim 2m/70cm hanging from mast
Bands used: 2m and 70cm
Furthest QSO: ~48 miles with Andy, G8MIA in Rugeley area
Hike in: Yes, ~1 mile roundtrip and 600 ft ascent
Solo operation: No, with my brother
It’s a long narrow ridge that rises unexpectedly out of a patchwork of green fields that stretch in all directions. None of the peaks are particularly high and the modest effort to climb them is rewarded with great views.
Beyond the views I’m here for a little practice run. Some amount of sleuthing in the SOTA database reveals VHF/UHF only activations fair quite well in the UK. With the exception of the LA Basin back home, VHF/UHF activating in California is a little hit or miss and it’s quite possible you could call into the ether unheard and unanswered. With the sun waning and HF being less reliable, VHF/UHF has more than novelty value.
Peak markers in the US are small discs that you generally won’t find easily. Set in a flat piece of rock it requires both luck and effort to locate. However, back in the mother country and in a roll reversal, bigger is better seems to be the British mantra and the peak marker stands conical and literally a beacon for all to gravitate toward.
The UK has a policy of not recycling call signs. Once issued its never be re-issued even if the owner is long gone and wandering the halls of Valhalla. As a consequence the UK has started with new formats such 2E0 something something something and very recently M6 something something something.
As a visitor to the UK and in this case England, I preface my US call sign with M/ for England as in M/W6PNG. This all might work well if I had a US accent but despite decades in the US I still seem to have something of a British Isles ascent and so I managed to confuse some who steadfastly tell me I have my new British call sign all wrong and that I am really M6PNG. After a short explanation, chuckles are heard and a mental note made to myself to state after I call that I should say its a US call sign.
I managed to achieve my goal; I’ve used 2m and 70cm, to Andy’s point I’ve avoided the band police and realized I needed to bone up on getting myself spotted properly.
Success achieved I round up my bro and we head back home stopping on the way at Ledbury for coffee and one of those sticky things that seems to be my slow undoing.