The weather forecase was excellent but cold for the 5th February 2023. So I decided to packup and go for a quick SOTA activation before lunch.
My nearest SOTA as the title suggests is SE009 Chanctonbury Ring which has an altitude of 240m with a start point of about 40m I think. Now being over weight with a bad knee its exactly the type of SOTA I need to start this years walking season.
This SOTA is very easy to get to, there are two local car parks. One at the Wiston Estate (goto Chalk if you fancy some nice food after, or before). The other is Chanctonbury car park. Chanctonbury car park can be a pain and is not suitable for a camper vans or high top vehicles. So I decided to park at the Wiston car park.
The walk itself cannot be missed. If you get lost on this one I would seriously consider becoming a SOTA chaser. Having said that, it is easy, gets your heart rate up and when you get to the top the view is amazing.
Also, as you can see above its also mapped at the car park. If you park at Chanctonbury lane you have no such luxury. Anyway, off I went.
The track is clay and stone, this can be slippy on the steeper parts. It is also part of the South Downs Way. When you get to the top and turn right you see the Ring itself. There was a glider playing about which is allways nice to see. There are lots of trees making perfect antenna supports.
On arrival at the ring it was just a case of getting my kit out and setting up.
I used a small ruck sack with a roll matt to sit on. Waterproof jacket to keep me warm. It was 3c when I got there and quite windy. Water and biscuits (diet type). My Yeasu891 (40 watts) 2 batteries (I'll explain that in another blog) a backup True SDX and Nano-VNA both of which were not needed. Some string a 8oz fishing weight.
I think the pack was about 3kg in total. I go out trying to be very light weight I take a True SDX and a Tiny EFHW and battery the weight is well under 500 grams. I'll post a blog with the very lightweight kit on another activation.
One point, I'm not a CW'er or FT8'er so I do like to have at least 20w on the radio unless operating on 40m. QRP SSB is not an easy. Having said that two weeks after this activation the SFI was at 367 and I did work from home some DX on 10 with 5 watts, so I guess conditions also account for a lot.
Then I flung the weight up into a tree with the line attached. The weight came down, which was nice, so I pulled up the antenna into an inverted V with the middle at about nine meters or so.
The good thing about this time of year is the lack of leaves. You can just about see the wire, just. The transformer/antenna start was suspended from a tree as was the antenna/wire end.
Sorry about the photography, but I'm sure you will see what I have done. The transformer is suspended about 1.5m above the ground. I was keeping out of the wind by hiding behind the back of a slope so it looks lower than it is. But I was in the sun.
I quickly checked the SWR on 40, 20, 15, 10m and all was good. So I activeated the SOTA on 20m 14.335mhz. After the first contact S57S we had a chat for a few minutes, he then spotted me and the fun started.
A quick 15 contacts ensued and which point the chasers stoped chasing. So I thought I would have a listen around the bands and then head home.
One thing I am allways suprised is when you have zero background noise. I do tend to listen a lot and to hear so many stations clear as day is really nice. At home some of them would have been in the background noise.