SOTA summit: Seat Sandal, Lake District National Park, England G/LD-033
Activation Date: May 18, 2019
Unique: Yes, 166th and 204th overall
Call sign used: M0SNA/P
Portable operation: Yes
Radios: KX3, SG-Labs 1.2Ghz transverter and G4IPB’s Yaesu handhe;d
Antennas: HB9CV 2 element PCB 23cm Yagi and 2m slim jim
Band/Modes used: 2m and 23 cm voice
- Accidentally being a part of 4 activators operating simultaneously on the peak
- Participating in G/LD SOTA activity day
- 6 S2S contacts including 3 1.296Ghz FM
- Meeting the Swinburns, a hiking family
Pack weight: Approximately 16 lbs
Hike: ~9 miles R/T and ~3200ft ascent (includes Seat Sandal) (<–click left for GaiaPro track etc)
Hike and AZ profile:
- Well maintained trail often steep
- Broad flat treeless AZ with no obvious mast support points
- Fabulous views of St Sunday Craig and Fairfield peaks
Recommend: Yes but a workout ascending
Solo operation: No with Mark M0NOM/P, M/N6JFD/P and G4IPB/P
Cell Coverage: O2 excellent
Photos: Copyright Paul Gacek 2019
Mark (M0NOM) and I are hyped from our Helvellyn activation and particularly Mark as he is the organizer of today’s Lake District SOTA gathering and judging by the number of Summit to Summit contacts we garnered, it’s a well attended first G/LD.
We had run into Jamie (N6JFD) on this way up to Helvellyn and to our surprise, the pub isn’t the next time we see Jamie.
I’m in awe of our surroundings. The Lake District holds a very special place in the hearts of the Brits not just for its outstanding beauty but as a place of inspiration and respite. Famous poets like Wordsworth and Shelley found exactly that here and many Victorians “discovered” the Lake District and built beautiful homes such as Ruskin.
I can be a bit of a chatter box and my healthy respiratory system doesn’t confine this to just the decent and I appear to me in good form, quite possibly to the point of overwhelming poor Mark with questions and trivia that I have accumulated over decades. So much so that we miss our turn and find ourselves on the wrong side of Grisdale Tarn (a lake in everyday English) and the find ourselves on a longer journey to Seat Sandal.
It was unmistakable and we wondered what the implications will be for us. It stuck up into the air and dropped slightly to one side. Getting closer and closer we begin to see guy lines and start discussing if its a dipole or end fed. This is the UK, land of the SOTA dipole and so that becomes our odds on favorite.
Paul G4IPB had setup shop long before we arrived and we broached the delicate subject of co-activating. He’s already there and so we can’t exactly hijack bands and frequency. Paul’s more than a good sport and before we know it we are confusing the poor chaser with not just one activator (i.e. Paul) but two, then three and a fourth.
Charging up the side of Seat Sandal possibly cross country, possibly on a use trail, Jamie has not only reached Helvellyn but activated it and now arrived at roughly the same time as us, all while we missed turns and sauntered around Grisdale. Well done Jamie.
With a handful of 2m FM contacts in the log and enough to qualify the peak and nab 8 more points, I step aside and attempt more 23cm (1.2Ghz) contacts. I manage 3 S2S 23cm FM contacts one with Andy M0FMF and Paul HB9DST. Euphoria sets in and my mind turns to other things beyond radio.
One of the fun aspects of travel is meeting people and hearing about different adventures and goals. I think its super cool to see families enjoying time together especially in the wilderness and I stopped and chatted with the Swinburns. Jude and her son were in training to hike the West Highland Way (about 130 miles) in 2-3 weeks time. Most of the peaks in the Lake District have been thoroughly mapped and document by the iconic Alfred Wainright and one popular goal is to hike to each of his 214 peaks. Jude’s tiny daughter had nabbed 70+ and the son more. A very impressive accomplishment.
Despite finding myself airborne during an unplanned summersault, the return journey was uneventful.
Fun activation and my first 4 activator summit.