As readers of this blog (and my chasers/hunters) will know, I am normally a morning operator, with the occasional early afternoon activity. However, an over-night stay to the west of Bristol on Monday 13th May, meant I had an evening to fill, which offered the chance of something different.
Initially, I had intended to operate from GFF-062 Leigh Woods, but my journey across to Bristol had been blighted by terrible band conditions, and I wanted something a bit closer.
GFF-056 Gordano Valley was the obvious choice.
About Gordano Valley
Gordano Valley National Nature Reserve is a small area of peat-land, managed by English Nature.
As far as is known, it has only been activated once before, by G4WSB in November 2010. Crucially, access is currently closed to the public.
However, careful checking of the site boundaries revealed an access gateway, on Moor Road near to the southern edge, that allowed me to be within the site boundary, but outside of the boundary fence.
The Worked All Britain Square is ST47.
I switched to 14.244 at 18:25z – and was answered pretty much immediately by DK4RM who kindly spotted me one the cluster. I really confused matters by initially giving the wrong reference (GFF-062) but a confirmation call, and a second spot sorted that out.
Conditions on 20m held up reasonably well, and over the next hour, 105 contacts went into the log from 28 different DXCCs. I had just completed the last of these, with VK2AU, when the Propagation Gods flicked the switch, and the band died.
After approximately half-an-hour of scanning the bands, with no success, 40m showed signs of life. Self-spotting on 7.195 brought in a brief flurry of 13 hunters, before the bands died again.
My throat was now getting a bit sore, so I decided to call it a night, and go QRT… in just over two hours of activity, I had logged 118 QSOs – a reasonable return for my first evening activity.