Tag Archives: Lewesdon Hill (G/SC-009)

M0VKR’s Lewesdon Hill SOTA activation with the Elecraft KH1

Many thanks to Lee (M0VKR) who shares the following field report and video:

Activating Lewesdon Hill with the Elecraft KH1

by Lee (M0VKR)

After taking a day off from work my wife Joanne and I pondered about what we could do. “Shall we go over to Dorset to that hill you have spoken about and take your new radio?” There is no need to ask me twice to get outside and activate so we were quickly packed.

The KH1 came as the Edgewood package, so everything is contained in its own pack, ready for moments just like this. I grabbed it off the shelf in the shack, along with a KX3 as backup.

Within 10 minutes we had our labradors Toby and Konnie in the car and set off on a new CW ham radio adventure to activate Lewesdon Hill in Dorset for a SOTA activation. It was mid-morning by this point and things looked promising for a perfect day of outdoor radio operation.

With my Elecraft KH1 and KX3 as a backup snugly packed, along with my trusty home brew antennas, we embarked on the journey. The drive was scenic, with the rolling hills of the Dorset countryside providing a beautiful backdrop, Traffic was light too – Perfect.

After 45 minutes or so we arrived at the base of Lewesdon Hill. I took a moment to appreciate the tranquility of the area, breathing in the fresh air. The only downside was no nearby carpark, so we parked the car in a layby making sure it wasn’t going to be in the way of any farm traffic.

Finding the right spot to set up was the first small challenge.

Lewesdon Hill is only 279 meters (915 feet) to the summit, not exactly a mountain but it is the highest point in Dorset. We set off up the concrete driveway to a local farm, then turned right through a gateway and began ascending. The ascent is marked as a footpath and is pretty much through woodland until you get to the summit. It is a relatively steep climb, and we stopped every so often to take in the expanding view of the countryside through the trees.

Joanne had completed a 10K run a few days before so was happy to stretch her legs.

We arrived at the summit in good time. I needed a location with good elevation and a clear view to maximize my reach.

After a brief walk 1KM’ish, Joanne found the perfect spot—a clearing with a panoramic view of the surrounding area and a fallen tree which made the perfect workstation. I could already feel the anticipation building as I began unpacking my gear.

Setting up the antenna is always a mix of art and science, but mostly just plain luck. Today, I was using my favourite home brew random wire, which had served me well in previous activations. I found a stone to act as a weight and tossed the wire into a tree on the first shot and with a few quick adjustments, it was up and ready. Next came the radios.

The Elecraft KH1 and KX3 are compact yet powerful, ideal for portable operations like this. Because the KH1 had been configured already at home and previous activations, I hit the tune button. It tuned the random wire within a second or so and I double checked the keyer speed and set it to 16 WPM. Luckily, there was good phone service, so I sent out a spot on the SOTA website and I was ready to start.

The band conditions were not exactly favourable, however the clear blue skies hinted at a good run. I powered up the KH1 and began calling CQ. A station in Northern Ireland came back instantly and exploded out of the speaker, at a lovely cadence. One by one, contacts started rolling in. Each successful connection was a small victory, a testament to the power of CW communication and the effectiveness of my setup and of course the superb performance of the Elecraft KH1.

The weather was kind, with a gentle breeze keeping things cool. Throughout the activation, I logged 4 contacts, each one a story in itself. Notable among them was a contact from my good friend Steve MW0SAW from across the Bristol Channel in Wales, a testament to the reach of my modest setup. Steve and I had been in the same CWOPS class last year, so it’s always great to get him on air, even though we speak most days on the phone.

By the end of the session, I had made 4 contacts. I was really satisfied and could have sat for longer working the bands but, content, we decided to pack up and go grab some lunch from the nearby bakery in the village of Beaminster. The KH1 had performed flawlessly, and the homebrew wire antenna had once again proven its worth and overall, it had been a successful activation.

Reflecting on the day’s achievements as we hiked back down, the sun now a little higher in the sky, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of accomplishment. Having just completed a 10 week comprehensive ICR course with CW innovations and being a relatively new CW operator, I was pleased that the contacts had come back at a predictable pace. This made copying the callsigns easy. As I complete more activations, I am finding each activation is a unique experience, and today with the Elecraft KH1 was no exception. We are looking forward to the next adventure, with new challenges and new stories to tell.

Back at home, I reviewed the logs and relived the day through the video footage I had been encouraged to make by my family and friends. For those who want to see the activation in action, you can check out this video on my YouTube channel:

73 and see you on the airwaves!

Lee (M0VKR)

Readers: Would you do me a favor and subscribe to Lee’s new YouTube channel? Lee kindly shared his field report at my request and this activation video was a first for his new channel. Let’s support him by giving his video a thumbs up and subscribing! Thanks for sharing your report, Lee! -Thomas (K4SWL)