SOTA Activation of Leith Hill (G/SE-002)

Dusk at Leith Hill SummitOn Friday I took advantage of excellent weather for the last day of October and activated the SOTA summit of Leith Hill (G/SE-002) down in the Surrey Hills. I once again decided to make a ramble out of it and walked from the nearest train station in Holmwood. I followed this walk by the Saturday Walking Club.

One of the suggested routes over a railway track had been closed which threw somewhat of a spanner in the works, the detour was going to add an extra 2 miles to my 1.5 hour walk, not good! The closed crossing was blocked by a high fence, but my plan of attack was clear, climb over the fence, get across the train track and hop over the other fence and I’d be back in business!

The walk was surprisingly hard work, initially starting out through boggy and muddy fields before heading steeply uphill to the summit. One particularly steep ascent resulted in less walking but more scrambling (described in the walking descriptions as a grade 1 to 3 scramble – not sure what that means but it was bloody hard!) up a damp and leaf sodden hill side…. The route back down resulted in semi controlled sliding!

Here are a few pictures from the walk and the summit itself:

The Activation Point

At the top of the summit there is the Leith Hill tower which is owned by the National Trust. There’s a little kiosk selling snacks and drinks in the side of the tower, the Sicilian Lemonade with ice was most welcome after climbing up to the summit. From the trig point you have great views over the South East of England, apparently on a clear day you can see the English Channel, but alas today was hazy.

Finding a suitable activation point was a little tricky as this is a really busy summit with many people around. Instead of activating near the tower I walked over to a woody area with an opening. It had just enough space to put up my linked dipole up for 40/60/80m. It was also quiet in terms of walkers and boisterous children.

Setting up was easy enough, especially with the sugar boost from the lemonade! Soon I had spotted myself on 40m and I was in action!

See the video of the activation setup:

The QSO’s

I only had one hour of operating time after setting up so I chose the 40m band as a sure way of activating the summit. After spotting myself on the SOTAwatch site the QSO’s were thick and fast with a number of regular chasers worked from previous activations. I worked Plenty of Inter-G and Ireland, Belgium, Spain and Italy which I thought was quite good going on 5w SSB QRP on 40m.

After 40m dried up I tried 60m but conditions proved to be poor with a surprising amount of noise on the band, I managed to make 5 QSO’s here before packing up for the day.

Highlights were a Summit to Summit contact with GW6OVD/P on Mynydd y Lan (GW/SW-024) and two contacts with lady operators. Here’s the full log (thanks to all the chasers!):

Time Call Band Mode Notes
14:41z ON6ZQ 7MHz SSB
14:42z G0RQL 7MHz SSB
14:44z M0IML 7MHz SSB
14:45z G0POT 7MHz SSB
14:46z G8TMV 7MHz SSB
14:47z GW6OVD/P 7MHz SSB  S2S GW/SW-024 (Mynydd y Lan)
14:48z M1CNL 7MHz SSB
14:49z G4OBK 7MHz SSB
14:50z G4WSB 7MHz SSB
14:51z G6WRW 7MHz SSB  YL
14:53z MM1AWV 7MHz SSB
14:54z M0MDA 7MHz SSB
14:55z G3XQE 7MHz SSB
14:56z EI9GLB 7MHz SSB
14:59z 2W0KGQ 7MHz SSB
15:01z ON5SWA 7MHz SSB
15:03z G8VNW 7MHz SSB
15:04z M1TAP 7MHz SSB
15:06z EA2CKX 7MHz SSB
15:13z M0WBG 7MHz SSB
15:16z IU1AUV 7MHz SSB  YL
15:29z G4LNA 5MHz SSB
15:33z G3RDQ 5MHz SSB
15:36z G3KAG 5MHz SSB
15:41z G0ELJ 5MHz SSB
15:45z M5AFG 5MHz SSB

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The sun was just setting as I was leaving the hill, but i managed to grab this nice panoramic shot before setting off…

Leith Hill Panorama at Dusk
The descent was much quicker, only taking an hour to get back, which was lucky as it was all but pitch black when I get back to Holmwood station!

Conclusion

This was another nice activation mixed in with a walk in the great outdoors. The walk was harder than I thought it would be as the ascent was steep and very slippery with leaves and mud making walking hard. The operating site was busy especially considering it was a Friday, it’s probably even busier at weekends. I’d strongly recommend trying to find a quiet spot away from the tower itself as that is a focal point for walkers and kids.

The operating was leisurely and enjoyable with some good contacts, it was also nice to work some of the regular chasers again. As we head into winter I’m not too sure how many more activations I’ll manage this year but this sun drenched autumn day will remain in my memory for a while.

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