|Map of the walk (from aprs.fi Google Maps)|
I don't know what the SWR is like. Possibly it isn't that good as the radio does not have me holding it to provide a ground plane. Perhaps I should try clipping a 19 inch "tail" to the outer ring of the BNC connector as a counterpoise? But even without it, it worked well. Most of my position beacons were received by MM1BHO across the water in Scotland so I was able to see the track after the walk. I also received some interesting APRS DX, of which more later.
But back to the walk. The weather was glorious, as you can see from the pictures. The temperature was around 20 degrees Celsius with only a slight breeze. The view from the cliffs was spectacular and always reminds me a bit of Cornwall. To think that people pay money to come on holiday to places like this!
We walked for about an hour along the cliffs, stopping now and again to watch some birds through binoculars or just take in the view. This is an important area for wildlife and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) has set up several places where you can watch them with safety on the edge of the cliffs.
You can walk right along these cliffs as far as St. Bees, where there are people and cafes and ice cream kiosks. But we usually stop at Fleswick Bay, a beach backed by the high cliffs that is always quiet and secluded even in the height of the season because it isn't possible to reach it by car, it can only be accessed by footpaths. We call it our private beach because we often have it to ourselves.
On the way back I heard the VX-8GR braaping away constantly such as I hadn't heard since we were in Prague. On my return home I scrolled through the station list and observed that for a couple of minutes between 12:28 and 12:30 UTC I had received beacons from several DX stations including F4EQD-1 and OZ2DXE-2. These beacons had actually been digipeated by a station in south west England but that was still an amazing distance to receive signals on a VHF handheld, even if I didn't hear them direct.
The glorious weather had also produced fantastic tropospheric propagation which was enjoyed by people in most parts of Europe. I wished I had climbed to the top of a mountain as I would certainly have heard more there than I did down on the west coast and perhaps have worked some real handheld VHF DX. But you can't predict propagation and it was still a wonderful day's walk.