Tuesday 20th May was a day out, as I attended the Reliable Software Developer’s conference in Bristol. I planned to use the spare time between sessions to activate a few local Worked All Britain squares – but did not plan on any other activity, and as such, I only had the 40m whip with me.
Setting off from home bright and early, to avoid the peak-hours traffic, but finding the roads empty, I found myself approaching Bristol earlier than planned.
For some quirk of my travels, and whilst all of the neighbouring squares have been multiply-activated, WAB squares ST78 and ST79 remained on my never-activated list. Both of these squares are within the Cotswolds AONB (GFF-248), so I decided to slip off the M4 at junction 18 onto the A46, and add a few calls to the log from ST78, to fill the gap.
The propagation Gods were not in a good mood… while N1IFU/M in Massachusetts could “tell that a mobile is calling” my signals were not good enough to make the contact, and the band was otherwise quiet. Calling CQ didn’t offer any joy either… Scanning the band again, and eventually Miran operating special event station S567O came up (very loud).
Realising that a pile-up was not forthcoming, I decided to move along (and just west of) the A46 towards ST79… a further period of calling, and eventually I managed to work Richard M0RBG in Huddersfield – quite surprising as 0711z is a bit early for inter-G working!
ST89 and ST88
Turning back towards Bristol, I put out a few more calls, and logged Willy ON2BDJ from ST89, and then as I entered ST88 I found Alain F1MMR/P in FFF-1267 and Castle DFCF61155 working WWFF chaser Paul-Joel F2YT, to get both in my log (for a “new one” for Paul).
But time was now pressing, and I had to get to Bristol…
I’d already decided that the second session of the conference would be a time to have a little play, and had pre-alerted the WABnet, so checked in to find quite a big net.
Mike G4TSQ and Christine G4WYL were en-route home, so plenty of activity was expected.
Band conditions were pretty difficult, which were compounded by an increased level of engine-noise pick-up…
But a good run down the M32 onto the A37 saw squares ST67, ST57, ST66 and ST65 all logged, before turning off…
GFF-261 and ST45
… into the Mendip Hills AONB (GFF-261) to run through ST55, ST56 and ST46 before reaching the real objective of the day: ST45 – my fifth ’45’ square activated of the year.
A total of 20 unique chasers were worked within the AONB boundary.
A Trip Down Memory Lane
The next square, ST35, allowed a trip down memory lane, as I stopped briefly to visit my home of 35 years ago!
Motorway Back To Bristol
But now I had to get back to Bristol for the afternoon sessions, so picked up the M5 at junction 21, and worked through ST36, ST46 (reprise), ST47, ST57 (reprise), ST58 and ST68 before arriving back at ST67.
A Hunter As Well As an Activator
While I was activating, Mike G4TSQ and Christine G4WYL were also heading south… I worked them from a total of twelve squares, including a notable three-way 45-to-45 exchange between ST45 and SE45 (for my 20th worked 45 of the year).
The Voyage Home
Shortly after 16:00BST I set off for home… the skip was getting long and band noise quite high, but I had still had company along the M4 through ST67, ST77, ST87, ST97, ST98, SU08, SU18, SU28, SU27 and SU37.
By now, only Tom GM0GFI was a solid signal, with several others a real struggle… with the weather getting unpleasant and since the remaining squares home are a well trodden path (none required by anyone remaining on the net) I decided that the time had come to close down.
In total, I activated 26 squares for the first time in 2014 (bringing my running total to 209), of which six were my first-time activations (all time total 524).
Thanks to everyone who kept me company on my travels, and for those who responded to my calls in the morning.