SOTA – Shining Tor – My first SOTA Activation in the UK

Saturday 21 May 2016.  I have arranged to meet Mickey 2E0YYY at the Cat and Fiddle Inn near Buxton in the Peak District.   5 months earlier I mentioned to Mickey of our travel plans to the UK, including two days in the Peak District.  I had considered taking amateur radio equipment on our overseas holiday such as a FT-817, lightweight antenna, 2.4 Ah 3S LiPo batteries and a 2m/70cm HT, but our holiday includes a week in Phuket, Thailand where taking amateur radio equipment into the country is generally forbidden.  Mickey offered a solution, he generously offered his assistance with a suggestion he and I undertake a joint activation of Shining Tor, using his portable SOTA station, perfect thanks Mickey.  🙂

Since early 2014 Mickey and I have been active in making SOTA summit to summit (S2S) contacts between Australia and the U.K. primarily using the 20m band.  Whilst we enjoy many amateur radio voice contacts over 21,000 km, until now we had not met face to face.   It was with emense joy to meet up with Mickey in the township of Buxton where the rain was pouring down.  A low pressure weather formation was passing over the UK moving west to east and the Peak District was definitely in sight of nature’s fury. After a teriffic greeting at Buxton, we decided to take a short 15 minute drive to the Cat and Fiddle Inn, which is known locally as a good starting point for the 30 minute 1.5 mile walk to Shining Tor.    At the Cat and Fiddle the rain was pouring Cats and Dogs while the wind was blowing the rain horizontally across the pass. We both agreed to give the summit a miss and head back towards Buxton for lunch at the Knights Table Inn.  My wife and I had spent the last 4 hours driving from London, we were both ready for a descent meal, hopefully one that has some form of vegetables in it.

After a marvoulous lunch with Mickey, my wife and I departed for Birch Vale, but not before Mickey suggested we meet up at the Cat and Fiddle Sunday afternoon around 4 pm.  Sunday 22 May 16 would be my last chance to activate the peak, we are heading back to London early Monday morning.  Mickey had an amateur radio swap meet Sunday morning near Birmingam but suggested we make time for a second shot at the activation of Shining Tor.  So we agreed, lets meet up Sunday afternoon.

Sunday afternoon at 4 pm, here we are on my birthday at the Cat and Fiddle Inn, BTW the Inn is closed.  The weather across the Peak District is looking okay, at least for the next three hours.  Mickey arrived at the Cat and Fiddle 10 minutes later (my wife and I were early), we unloaded Mickey’s car and set off for Shining Tor summit.

Photos: © Copyright 2016 Andrew VK1AD

Cat and Fiddle Inn

Shining Tor on the horizon – 30 minute walk to the summit

Finger Post – 10 minutes to Shining Tor Trig

Shining Tor Trig

Antennas and radio equipment in the backpack. I relieved Mickey of the heavy backpack and carried the bundle of antennas for half of the journey.

Left to right.  Mickey 2E0YYY and Andrew VK1AD assembling the 2m/70cm collinear.  Mickey suggested I start the activation on 2m simplex  🙂

Started the activation at 15:50 UTC (16:50 BST) with a CQ SOTA call on 145.500 MHz FM (calling frequency) Peter 2E0LCK responded with a 5-9 report. I sought Peter’s agreement to QSY away from the call channel to 145.475 MHz.  The next three chasers, Anne 2E0LMD, Ron G0HLL and Nick GW1JJT/m followed in quick time helping me to to qualify the summit in four minutes.  Back in VK1 qualifying a SOTA peak on 2m may take 15 to 20 minutes and that’s on a good day!

A pileup on 2m FM continued for the best part of one hour working 28 chasers.  Before running out of chasers on 2m, I passed the microphone to Mickey for his 100th activation of Shining Tor.  Congratulations Mickey, a first class achievement.  After running out of chasers on 2m we QSY to 40m working 10 chasers across Europe.   I still had one outstanding request and that was to work Mike G6TUH in Sussex.  Leaving the 40m vertical in place, Mickey used his auto tuner to present the FT-857D with a 50 ohm load on 60m 5.403 MHz.  Thankfully the auto tuner transferred sufficient power to the antenna, I worked Mike for a 4-6 report while Mike’s received signal was 5-8.

After a successful contact with Mike we lowered the 40m antenna and raised Mickey’s famous Antron 99.  On 20m 14.310 MHz I worked 18 chasers, 15 in Europe, 2 in North America and my first SOTA chaser in Canada, awesome.

As a follow up, Maurits ON3MK has kindly sent me an MP3 audio file of our contact on 14.310 MHz, thanks Maurits.

Andrew M/VK1AD operating Mickey’s rig a Yaesu FT-857D.

Close up of my #2 hair cut


Mickey operating the FT-857D on 2m FM simplex 145.475 MHz, completing his 100th SOTA activation of Shining Tor G/SP-004.  Congratulations Mickey!

Thanks Mickey for your time on Saturday and Sunday, I couldn’t have activate Shining Tor without your contribution.  I am eternally grateful.  👍

When I return to Australia, I will update this post to include chaser Callsigns. Using the iPad for blog posts is a little clunky.  😉

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5 thoughts on “SOTA – Shining Tor – My first SOTA Activation in the UK

  1. Great to see/hear of a meeting around the world! Interesting times on 2M in the Mother Country. Thanks for the words and pictures.

    Chris
    VK4FR/P

  2. Great story and result and you have illustrated so well the universal bond amateur radio operators share even across the world. 73 Andrew VK1DA

  3. Hi Andrew, how about two metres? It is mind boggling to see so much activity. A great story. Thanks.
    John D
    VK5BJE/VK5PF

    • Hi John our trip has been a terrific adventure thus far. I am kicking myself, I should have packed the 2m HT then later mailed the HT to Canberra before our depature from Austria. A valuable lesson learned.
      Cheers Andrew

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