SOTA: G/SC-003 (Beacon Batch)

I visited Beacon Batch around nine in the morning on a chilly weekend in January. There is a convenient parking area near this site and the name is particularly encouraging: the Burrington Ham Parking Lot (51.319928N, 2.734174W). However, in this case, not everyone parking there was a ham. Despite drizzly weather and temperature just below freezing, there was a lot of activity in this area: hikers, bikers, horse riders, even an orienteering group walking around with compasses and maps, so the parking lot was almost full when I arrived. I would suggest getting here early on weekend days. It is possible to park along the verge, and if you do so, I would recommend picking a straight part of the road uphill from the car park, so you have a better view of oncoming traffic (and vice versa).

There were a few ancient barrows off the side of the trail on the way up to the summit.

A few trails will get you to the summit. I took beeline course towards the summit, so I had a steeper climb than required, but it was still fine. On my return to the car park, I took a more rational path, but because it was icy and crowded, I also ended up walking off to one side of it for better footing.

The summit in the distance, and my little tree, just to its right.

A lot of people gathered near the trig point — everyone seemed to be taking selfies there, so I was not keen to lash a pole to it. I noticed a little tree to the side of the trig point and decided to use that as a support for the pole.

I’m not quite sure in retrospect how I managed to affix the pole to the tree — I think used my backpack straps since I didn’t have bungee cords along. The trees up on this summit are not very tall, so I broke with my usual practice of tossing the end-fed antenna into trees. I’d recommend a pole of some sort for this summit.

I had a SOTAbeams 10m telescoping pole with me (I keep it at the office in the UK) and I wedged a few rocks around its base and wove it through the trees branches, tying it in a couple places to secure it. I bent the antenna off towards the side away from the trig point and towards some low scrub that afforded just a bit of wind protection.

Listening conditions were great up there, very quiet. I had 36 QSOs total, 34 on 20m, a mixture of CW and, for a change, SSB, and two CW contacts on 10m.

This is the view from where I operated — it looks towards mouth of the River Severn.

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