We had a sneaky week off before the main school holidays get started and took the dogs to the Pembrokeshire coast. I took the satellite gear and worked a few passes of SO-50 but also took the opportunity to meet up with Richard GW1JFV to climb and operate the local summit of Foel Cwmcerwyn (GW/MW-011).
On the climb we enjoyed clear sunny views of the surrounding country side but, as we breached the summit, low cloud swept in and robbed us of the view. The cloud meant that darkness fell a little quicker than expected which made circumnavigating the swampy bottom of this hill pretty tricky.
I sank up to my knees in bog which was gross but at least I did this as we returned to the cars and not as we started up the hill!
I've been looking for an electronic logging aid to try when out portable or operating SOTA but all seem a little fiddly or unintuitive. I recently discovered
VK porta-a-log which really seems to tick all the boxes and is tailored to support SOTA. Its only available as an Android app but that means it works on the numerous cheap android tablets and phones out there.
It's also only available to download from the VK porta-a-log Yahoo Group. Check out Peter's (VK3ZPF) excellent application here.
After a few wet SOTA activations it's time to perfrom a little regular maintenance...this time to my SOTABeams travel mast. Every so often I unscrew the bottom of the mast and slide all the sections out, wipe them clean, remove any dirt or grit that could stop the friction joints working correctly and then dry everything off.
Occasionally, when I apply too much downward pressure to the mast by making the guys too tight the mast collapses, concertinering all the sections which impact with the base cap at high velocity :o(
To avoid causing damage to the bottom of each section when this happens I put a little disk of foam on the base of the mast to soften the impact. Typically I use a bit of old sleeping mat but any high density foam or expanded polystyrene will do the job.