Sunday, January 17, 2010

Out on Sale Fell

An outside temperature of 6 degrees and a sight of blue sky and the sun made us decide to go for a walk in the hills after morning coffee. I had thought of going to Whinlatter and Lord's Seat but after we set off we could see it was grey and gloomy over there so I decided to visit Sale Fell instead. As it happened, we didn't see the sun there either and an icy cold wind made it feel much colder than we expected!

This was also the first portable outing for APRSIS-CE on my HTC Touch mobile phone. Unfortunately it was not entirely successful. I found that the program does not track your position when the screen is blank or the phone is on standby, although it does remain connected to the APRS network and can receive APRS messages. Also the program kept closing while the phone was in its case. So my position was only logged sporadically as I stopped periodically to wake up the device, look at the screen and restart the program if needed. I think there are some issues with using the program on a battery-powered device that need to be looked at. On the plus side, doing it this way the battery drain was much less than leaving the GPS active all the time and the battery was still 75% full after more than 3 hours away from the charger.

Although the position tracking was a bit of a disappointment, the ability to communicate using APRS text messages was very successful. I received a message from Colin M6XSD to say "Are you on your way up Sale Fell?" I let him know when I would be on the top. Unfortunately we didn't make contact: I was only running a handheld, he was mobile in his Land Rover and a large lump of rock called Lord's Seat was between us.

I also received a message from Keith G0EMM who saw me on my way home. It was nice to have this extra way to contact friends while I was out and about. And if you were out alone on the fells it's good to know that people are tracking your position in case you should have an accident.

Due to the wind I didn't stay long on the summit. Not only was it bitterly cold but I had to press the TH-F7E to my ear to hear the radio over the noise of it. My CQs managed to raise one Scottish mobile station though, so at least I managed to log my first Wainwrights On The Air activation of 2010.
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