The last few weeks have given me little time to do anything on the radio due to pressure of work. Last week I did 84 hours, I then had Saturday and Sunday off and this week I have done 60 hours, next week I have another 72 hour marathon session. I am already feeling the effects of over doing it and feeling run down. Sunday I was out from 8am until 4pm with Flintshire Raynet on a charity bike ride from Rhyl in aid of the British Heart Foundation, which was largely uneventful with the standby medics only dealing with one minor accident and a search for a child who set off without his father. My car was described as a porcupine as once I stopped I added a second antenna for 2m/70cms and an 80m whip to go with the Atas and my normal 2m/70cms whip, then just for luck I added a 4x collinear for my 3G broadband dongle. The Disco already has a broadcast antenna and a combined satnav/mobile phone sharks fin. I did nothing different to what I have done a hundred times before but this time when I came to go home the battery on the Disco was flat. Fortunately Mike M1DAP had some jump leads and Barry 2E0PXW had a vehicle with a similar sized battery to jump start me. The battery went straight on charge when I got home and so far has not caused and further problems.
Saturday was therefore my only chill out day and I spent all my time in the shack. I divided my time between chasing SOTA and Mills on the Air. I managed to work 22 mill stations and as I had a list of only thirty I thought that was not half bad, when I cross-checked my log I found that only about half were on the list I had downloaded from the Denby Dale Radio Club. One station I spoke to actually mentioned that they had been doing Mills on the Air since its inception but despite sending their information every year they have never appeared on the official list, I wonder what is going on there? Anyway, I had a great time even though conditions on HF ranged from poor to diabolical.
This morning (Friday 14th May 2010) I crawled in from work feeling like someone had used me as a football for 12 hours, but after a coffee I perked up enough to run my son in to work and drop my Granddaughter at school. Young Faith made me smile by telling me she needed "Toilet Trees" for school. If I had been compos mentis I would have realised what she meant but it passed me by for what seemed like an age. I then realised why Helen had given me a bag full of shower gel and the like, it was for a stall at the school spring fair.
On arriving home I heard Paul G4MD on 5.3985. He was portable on G/LD-039 Baystones. At first he was around 5/7 but after another station beat me to the microphone he disappeared in QSB never to be heard again. He was out with Gerald G4OIG who was operating on 2m SSB and I had no such trouble working him. I nearly did not work him though as I called a couple of times then decided to give it a miss and crawl up to bed. As I went to stand up Gerald called me back and another SOTA point was added to my tally. I was tempted to set my alarm for their second summit but I resisted the temptation. I actually woke up at their alerted time, thought about getting up for a second and then turned over and went back to sleep.
Hopefully I will have a quiet night in work and I can get some SOTA chasing in tomorrow afternoon. Everyone keeps telling me I have missed some great sporadic E openings on 10 metres while I have been working recently so I am keeping everything crossed there will be some more of the same in the next couple of days so I can have a bit. It has all been a none stop series of crazy days and sleepless nights, how I am looking forward to a break at the months end and a chance to stand atop some summit or other, feel the wind in my face. CQ SOTA!