July 07, 2010

Last of the summer wine

Hello Folks,

At the end of my last entry covering the Group BBQ, I mentioned that I would be putting a special blog together based on one of our members and here it is.

Members of the group have varied interests within the hobby other than contesting, for example Chris Baker enjoys some experimental work creating baluns for use with HF antenna's and often puts emails out with diagrams showing what he has tried, and how well or badly it works. Its not a negative point to document your failures along with the successes because that's how we learn.

The topic for this special is "Summits On the Air"

My first introduction to this subject was with Ian G0VGS in the early days of Summits on the Air when he organised a speaker to come to Morecambe Bay Amateur Radio Society to do a talk on the subject. We learned a little of the early history and how it was rapidly expanding to other area's of the world... Its grown out of all proportion since then and is a very popular activity taken up by many amateurs and it is very popular in my area.

Barrie G1JYB has been involved for many years and I am pretty sure he has covered most if not all the local summits. Sadly he had a fall on ice during the Christmas period this year and is not fit enough to do much climbing. His other passion is cycling much to his frustration he is improving slowly and has managed the odd 35 mile bike ride but at this moment in time doesn't feel fit enough for climbing yet.

However the focus of this blog concerns another of our members a YL Stephany G1LAT.

I informed Barrie that I would like to put a blog together celebrating Stephany's achievements in SOTA and asked Barrie if he could send me some details of the climbs Stephany has done. here is part of the email Barrie sent back to me (Sorry Barrie) but you have worded the message below so perfectly, I could not do better.

Hi Brian

Thanks very much for thinking about doing a mention on the Blog for Stephany, she does deserve it because she has done a lot of radio operating on SOTA recently and although it may not come under the general heading of “SPORT RADIO” I can assure you that the mere fact of just attaining the Summit is very Challenging and Competitive at times and the operating conditions can from Sublime to outright Ridiculous.

So here's the team:

Planning and emergency cover:

Barrie maps out the routes and acts as emergency cover.

Stephany is often supported by Ray do the summit climbs. Ray is not a radio amateur but is a long time friend and enjoys the exercise.

I would like to thank Barrie for supplying me with all the pictures you will see in the blog from now on, they show many aspects and weather conditions that face anyone attempting to climb a summit.

At this point I should re-enforce the fact that both Barrie and Stephany know the countryside they live in and are aware of the ever changing weather conditions. No climb is ever attempted that would put them at risk.

Below are a number of pictures which include Barrie. This must have been one of the last climbs that Barrie did before his accident dated 9/11/2009

G1 JYB SOTA Packhorse

Shack In A Rucksac

G1 JYB Whernside, Note Strong Wind

Last year Barrie and Stephany took a short break to the Isle of Man and activated as many summits as they could.

Bradda Hill IOM

G1 LAT Descending from Bradda Hill IOM

South Barrule SOTA IOM

The picture above is one of peace and tranquility but I feel sure there will be many who have experiencedthe other side of the coin where they have struggled to find a spot of shelter to operate from and shield themselves and the mic against the elements.

As you will know if your a regular visitor to the blog, Sands Contest Group have the privilege of operating many of our contest stations from Barries and Kathy's home at Oysterber Farm an if we look in the right direction we cannot miss seeing Inglebrough and what a glorious sight it is.

A Winter View From The Summit of Ingleborough

Above The Clouds On Ingleborough

Made It The Summit Cairn Of Ingleborough Winter

Ingleborough Radio Shack On A Busy Winters Day

The pictures above are are Achieve pictures the before the Great Snow Storm/Blizzards of 2009/10 hit us all.

Stephany G1 LAT On Ingleborough Summer under better conditions.

Stephany & Ray Ascending Great Coum

The Howgills From Summit Of Great Coum

Pen Y Ghent The Very Steep Final Section

Stephany & Ray Descending Pen Y Ghent on Steep Section

Sadly I cannot add the table Barrie created because MS Word creates all sort of problem with the blog, but she has been a busy lady since she started in 2006. totaled together she has climbed 14'139 metres and if you bear in mind that Mount Everest is 8,848 metres high, its quite an achievement.

Stephany has been joined on her climbs this year by Ray and both have a few knotches on the walking stick of life although I will probably be in trouble for mentioning it. SOTA is open to all ages and can make for a great family day out if you enjoy walking. Stephany has activated at least 10 Sumits this year including "The Old Man of Coniston"

Finally here's a few pictures of Martin another close friend of Barrie and Kathy's

Martin M0LCY Calf Top

If you have found this blog interesting and would like to learn more about SOTA take a look on the link below and you will find it well worth your time.

Two of our members Martin M0ZIF and Hughie G4UME activated Arnside Knott over the weekend and enjoyed themselves.

Thanks to Stephany, Ray and Barrie and all those who take part in SOTA for being Ambassadors and an Inspiration to others.


Best 73
Brian G0RDH

2 Metre Contest

Just to let you all know that Stephany G1LAT and I did the 2 metre contest last night and we did very well for a first attempt, we worked just short of 40 stations and best of all we worked England, Scotland, Wales, Eire, Northern Ireland and Isle of man, but can you believe this, with just over half an hour to go we had an electricity failure and it didn't come back on until 1045pm, how unlucky was that?

Never mind we worked well and the old Yagi was flying all over the place, never realised that so many stations were so keen on vhf, we had a great night.

Just thought I would mention it, Stephany also managed to work a guy who was portable on a SOTA summit called "The Cloud" and it was a unique for her, so she was well pleased.

Kathy M3YOG was not too pleased as every time we swung the yagi to the east, it interfered with her, well, not her exactly, just the TV programme she was watching, ha ha, I told her to stop moaning or I would get her banned from the group.

We used a spot frequency of 144.272 all evening and just called cq contest, well Stephany did, I just worked the rotator and moaned a bit, but it seemed to work.


Barrie g1jyb

July 03, 2010

Sands treated to a BBQ at Oysterber Farm

Hello Folks,

Along with being a contesting group Sands also enjoys its social side. You may have noticed in the general contest blogs, mention of the culinary skills of Barrie Kathy and Stephany who have whipped up a fantastic meal for us usually on the first night of a contest, and we all know that fed that an army marches on its stomach.

In past years we have had quarterly events where we wined and dined our wife's/partners. In June 2009 Barrie and Kathy gave us a great barbecue, the weather was good to us and everybody was able to enjoy an evening of quality food, and drink and friendly chat in the ambiance of Oysterber Farm

Barrie and Kathy invited us to join with them again on the 26th of June 2010 and Sands Contest Group were treated to a first class barbecue with Barrie working hard on the flame grilled chicken and excellent local sausage.

Kathy and Stephany took care of the presentation on the tables of salad based dressings and other savory dishes. A number of members also brought offerings for the table and we were treated to a feast of excellent food.

A fairly rare picture of members outside Hankocks Hut where 90% of our contests take place.

The first thing that hit me as I walked into a gathering of people standing around the area of Hancocks Hut was that tables had been laid out with food and people were sat under parasols to shade them from the evening sun.... enjoying a glass of wine or other drink they fancied (designated drivers enjoyed a soft drink or fruit juice.... I kid you not for I was one of those people)

But something was missing, and it took me a few minutes to realise what it was.

The giant holly bush had been taken down and the area landscaped with a stone floor, table and bench, and very nice it looked too.

Barrie tending the Flame Grill Chicken Half's and Legs, not to mention the excellent locally made sausages.

Kathy and Stephany were busy setting the tables up with a selection of salads covering all tastes, from Potatoes salad to the famous Basil Fawlty Waldorf Salad to name a few. Group members helped out on the salad front by bringing in a selection of their own salads and of course the Kathy's baked potatoes went down very well.

The tables also had savory meats and salad side dressing which included fresh strawberry's and green and red grapes.

Hughie was the first to tuck into the food as Barrie invited him to try one of the half chickens

Barrie Ray and Stephany

So the food is cooked and its time for everyone to tuck in.

Barrie in conversation with Emma & Martin

Here we can see Chris.... he dressed down a bit this year and left his Hawaiian shirt at home.... not that there was anything wrong with the Hawaiian shirt you understand.

As the sun sets over Oysterber Farm at the end of a glorious summers day, we settled down tummy's full, and were able to sit back and enjoy the evening and each others company until home time.

In the foreground we have Frank G8BME, but in the background there's Annette and Damien who did not have far to travel back to their caravan which was located just the other side of the meadow behind them.

Here's a picture of Hazel and Kev G6FKE

Emma & Martin

Well that's it, the end of the BBQ blog. I have not touched the subject of radio, that's not what the event was about. This blog is about 21 people having an enjoyable evening in each others company on a warm but comfortable evening in June.

We would all like to thank Kathy and Barrie for inviting us to join them for the evening and providing a first class barbecue and of course Stephany who works in the background but plays such an essential part in making the evening a success.

We were missing a few members who would have dearly loved to join us, not least were Mark and Jenni, Joe who was with us last year.... Matt whose had an accident in the garden (Speedy Recovery Matt) and last but not least Mike whose part way through his deployment with the British Antarctic Survey bod at the South Pole..... I really think he should have a shot using M0SCG/P although that may see us having to buy a new batch of QSL Cards.... It would be good to work him under his own call during IOTA at the end of July.

The next blog will be a radio based "special" on one of the group members..... Watch this space!