Last evening I went out portable with my halo and FT817 to a local (small) hilltop to operate in the RSGB 144MHz cumulative contest. What surprised me was the great amount of activity: the band from 144.17 - 144.36 was packed with SSB stations from all over the UK. Just over an hour of operation gave me best DX of 203km and 7 stations worked. It was great fun. Next Tuesday evening is the 70cms cumulative contest, so I may well give this a try too from the same spot.