Chobham Common NNR
A new year dawns… this gave an opportunity to visit the nearby Chobham Common NNR (GFF-296, WAB SU96) – despite its proximity to my home, I’d never activated this one, although Andy G7SQW had done previously.
It also provided the chance to get some contacts in the log as part of the Worked All Britain Christmas Party award, and to start off the new year’s activity.
Atmospheric conditions were far from ideal… the temperatures was around 5°C with incessant drizzle from the overcast sky.
About Chobham Common NNR
Chobham Common is a large area of temperate lowland heath, managed by Surrey Wildlife Trust for nature conservation and public recreation.
Chobham Common is a National Nature Reserve (NNR) and a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
Although a standalone site (hence its separate WWFF reference), it also forms part of the wider Thames Basin Heaths Special Protection Area (SPA) (WWFF GFF-121) under the EU Birds Directive.
For this activation, I used the Devon Radio Club call-sign, MX0WFF/P – generally, the conduct of the Hunters was exemplary, so a “Thank You” is in order!
Starting on 20m
I arrived on site and set-up to start on 20m at 0840utc.
A scan of the bands was not promising; with 14.244 free, and with a good 4G signal available, I posted an alert on the WWFF Chat Group, and the calls quickly started coming in.
Although band-conditions were very tricky at times with heavy QSB, and quite a long skip, a steady flow of contacts followed, and over the next hour, 115 stations were logged – from 24 DXCCs – 22 EU; plus Asiatic Russia; and the Canary Islands representing Africa.
Switching to 40m
At 0940utc I moved down to 40m…
Here, band conditions were even more erratic – and with some very wide signals!
I found a free frequency at 7.157 and I posted an revised alert on the WWFF Chat Group.
While there was never a pile-up, over the next 50 minutes, 44 callers went in the log from 10 local DXCCs – including Park-To-Park contacts with DL0BFF in DLFF-033.
Amongst these, was my first encounter with an MK station – Karl MK3FEH taking advantage of the Kernow (for Cornwall) special prefix!
Joining the WAB Net
By now, all chasers had been worked, and I hoped up to 7.160 where a small net of five was waiting for my planned mobile activity. We were joined by Peter MM3PDM/M who was embarking on a new year circuit of squares himself, so square NK15 went into my log.
Quick Hello to the RSARS Net
Before setting off on my mobile run, I popped up to 7.170 to say hello to the RSARS Net – formal exchanges were made with four stations… informal “net style” reports given for several others, but these were not “proper” exchanges, so not logged!
Re-joining the WAB Net
Back down to 7.160 where a further five had joined the WABnet and were keen to log teh square and the WWFF reference… Peter MM3PDM/M called in, now from NK05, which went into my log.
In total, 173 WWFF qualifying QSOs were made, from 32 DXCCs. Thanks to all hunters!
|20m||115||115||24||EU, AF, AS|
|All||173||TBC||32||EU, AF, AS|
As has become a bit repetitive of late, but 40m was erratic!
The critical frequency hovered around 7MHz, with a big mid-day dip, and it was very clear very early on that conditions were far from ideal for inter-G on 40m – but as I don’t (yet) have an antenna for 80m, I had no real alternative…
A big “Thank You” to Ken G0FEX and then Phil G7AFM for their net control.
The Planned Run
My planned route was to head down to Chichester, taking in the SU9x and SU8x squares en-route.
I knew that, despite the recent rains, the main roads were clear but (as was to be discovered) the side roads, required to pass through some intended squares, could be trickier!
This also meant I was passing through the Surrey Hills AONB (GFF-273) and then the South Downs National Park (GFF-018) – although several squares may be worked by the chasers for each of these, only a single contact was logged per chaser for WWFF purposes!
Having reached Chichester in reasonable time, some “bonus” squares were activated, by heading towards Bognor Regis (SZ99, SZ89) and then via onto Hayling Island (SU70, SZ79, SZ69 – and for an extra island point for the Winter Award).
By now, inter-G had gone, and only Dan SM6CNX and Ben DL7UCW were left… so taking the fast route home, I was still able to call out the squares…
Squares activated were:
- SU96, SU95
- [GFF-273]: SU94, SU93
- [GFF-018]: SU83, SU82, SU92, SU91, SU81, SU80
- SU90, SZ99, SZ89
- [HI] SU70, SZ79, SZ69
- SU60, SU61, SU71, SU71, SU72, SU73
Although all objectives were completed, a very frustrating day especially for the mobile activity…