Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Swinside for Summits On The Air G/LD-057

Swinside - route taken
I've been wanting to climb Swinside for a few years now. This is one of the few Lakeland summits worthy of being included in A Wainwrights pictorial guides but which isn't. The reason for this is that the summit lies on a private estate near to Derwentwater, so permission must be obtained from the Estate Manager before entering the woodland, which is used for rearing pheasants.

The forestry track leading up to Swinside 
Swinside was the last of the 55 Marilyn summits in the Lake District that I needed to climb to finish them all off. It was also the last one which I needed to activate on ham radio for Summits On The Air.

After obtaining permission from Mike, the estate manager, I parked inside the double gates at grid ref NY 247221 at 2.30pm and walked up the track towards the summit. The weather was fine, sunny and dry after rain had fallen earlier in the day. After 300m I left the track to contour up rough ground to the summit. The time to reach the top was less than 15 minutes.

The view from Swinside summit (244m) to Catbells and Maiden Moor
The top was mostly cleared of trees, which I know was not the case when Terry G0VWP visited here two years ago. The deforesting made it easy to erect my fishing pole and short wave dipole antenna.

The ridge over Barrow and Outerside with Grisedale Pike G/LD-015 in the background
I first operated on VHF 2m FM and completed 3 contacts with Terry G0VWP who was staying in Borrowdale. This contact was followed with the two stations in Penrith of John G0TDM and Geoff G4WHA. 
After alerting Roy G4SSH in Scarborough of my operating plans I then moved on to the short wave using 40m CW and SSB, finishing off on 30m CW. As often happens Roy was my first HF contact. There were plenty of callers despite the lack lustre conditions.  I took time to take several photographs as the summit is a superb viewpoint in all directions. 
I returned to my car at 5.00pm to find Terry G0VWP there by the gate. We had a good natter and then I returned to the cottage we were staying at in Keswick and Terry returned to his site in Borrowdale.  

My pole on the summit of Swinside
Conditions on the 40m band were fairly poor, especially on SSB. CW was more successful however but I was troubled by the station of OM7DX who was continually calling me over the top of the other stations I was specifically calling. This was frustrating and slowed progress and I failed to work him on 40m after putting him on my blacklist. When I moved to 30m CW he was calling me at good strength whilst I was setting up so I reluctantly worked him.  This operator is proving to be a real nuisance to chasers and activators alike. I just hope he improves his bombastic and ineffective operating standards sometime soon, or better still takes up fishing! 

Distance walked: 0.75m
Amount of ascent: 400 feet

Number of contacts completed: 77
2m FM: 3
40m CW: 35
40m SSB: 23
30m CW: 16
Countries contacted: 16

Equipment used:
Yaesu VX-170
Yaesu FT-857 (running 50 watts from 5 amp LiPO battery)
Palm Morse key
2m Rucksack special half wave vertical
30/40m link dipole on 7m high fishing pole

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