The 2nd event in this series of contests coincides with the Practical Wireless QRP contest so we decided we would do both. This contest starts earlier than most of the other Backpackers event so it was an early start for us, or I should say even earlier.
The weather this time was fairly poor. Lots of rain and quite windy. So we arrived on the top pretty soaked through with terrible visibility and a pretty dense low cloud.
The summit site is pretty exposed so if there is any wind at all anywhere, it’s usually very windy on the summit. We were ready for this though. The lightweight mast I have built was made in 3 sections and purposely designed for such an occasion. For lower less exposed use in contests where we are OK to use its full length all three sections are extended and we have a set of guys for each section. (the lower guys are really only there to hold it up while we extend it etc). But for the backpackers series section 3B we are only allowed 4m high, which just so happens (it was designed that way really) to be the height with the mid section extended. This means we have the option of double guying the highest section of the mast. We have separate pegs for every single guy as this negates the need for knots and saves us set up time by just putting the peg in the loop, and putting the peg in when the guy is taut. This also means on a 4 metre mast we have 8x 550lb breaking strain guys on 8 decent sized pegs, so despite the scary wind noises when inside the tent the antenna is pretty safe.
Double guys shown here (one on left is the lowest set up guy going to a tiny tent peg):
Once in the tent we were pretty cold thanks to the liquid cooling we were enjoying. We’d allowed plenty of time to deal with any unforeseen circumstances or issues setting up in the bad weather so we had time for a few warming cups of coffee.
Once under way we forgot about being cold and set about the job in hand:
We got pretty decent activity in first hour or so, and to be honest not bad in the first 4 hours, which is all of the Backpackers contest. However DX was rare we managed a French station at Calais and one Belgian station. It was nice to point to Guernsey hoping to pick some mults up and within 5 minutes we got one, thanks for that! The last 3 hours to make up the PW QRP entry were best described as dire. Without the CQ caller I made I am pretty sure we would have quit and gone home. On the plus side we never heard anyone with a higher QSO count, but PW is a square multiplier contest and I feel we are going to suffer with a low square tally.
There was no post contest looking around and chatting. Radio straight off and try and pack up before the looming black cloud making it’s way towards us arrived. Here we are ready to roll (taking turns holding the mast for the camera):