Conic Hill GM/SS 239 was the choice for the this trip, it rises 361m ASL above Balmaha nr. Loch Lomond. We left Port Glasgow and headed through Dumbarton, Balloch and Drymen and arrived at the car park at Balmaha, the car park was strangely quiet as we headed up toward the top of the hill, there is a track with steepish sections which have steps, these are hard going. The ascent was pretty steep from start to finish with many others walking to the top. The summit was reached in slightly just under an hour.
First thing , was to set up ‘camp’ and then get the mast and beam erected, radio checks then I gave my first call out on S20(145.500), Robbie, a MMO/M station came back immediately, Robbie was heading westwards towards Ayr and was a strong signal. I next spoke to Andy, a MM0 station from Falkirk who is a regular SOTA chaser and Andy ‘spotted’ me on the SOTA Spots page, thanks Andy !!
Next to return to my call was John, a MM0 station from Stevenson in Ayrshire, the beam certainly makes the difference, a quick swing and the signal when the beam is pointing your way makes all the difference. John, a 2M0 station in Clarkston, Glasgow called by next, Gordon, MM6 station from Troon gave me his regular call by before leaving me to speak to Charlie, a GM 8 station from Glasgow.
A break for lunch followed and a chance to soak in the wonderful views, I had read that the views were stunning from the top of Conic Hill and they were fantastic, I could see Arran, Inverkip Power Station chimney, Greenock, my home QTH high in Port Glasgow, south east to Glasgow and eastwards to the Campsies and the Ochils, to the north Ben Lomond and many high tops to the NW. I could see two of my previous SOTA activation hills, the Hill Of Stake to the SW and Duncolm to the SE.
The weather at this time was sunny but we could see rain heading our way, a couple of slight showers soon passed.
After a bite to eat, I called again and 2M0/M station, Colin was near Eaglesham, I noticed Colin’s callsign on the SOTA Activation list when I recorded my activation log. Another call and a swing of the beam NE and Peter, a GM1 station from Muirhead nr Dundee called back, it was good as I had never worked that direction from any of the previous SOTA summits I had activated. Brian ,a regular, a MM1 station from Howwood called in for his chaser point.
Roddy, 2M0/M,who had ‘spotted’ me on the SOTA website the previous week (Thanks !!)was next to call by, Roddy was mobile in North Ayrshire. Next was John, a MM1 station from Springburn, Glasgow. John calls in every Sunday I’m on a hill whether it is SOTA or one of my local hills. Alan, a 2M0 station called in from Larkhall, I had worked Alan the previous Sunday, Alan had activated Nutberry Hill and todays contact was from his home QTH.
I then had a call from Peter, who is a GM8 station from Fishcross, a village near Alloa. Peter shares the last three letters of his callsign with me, rather ironic hi hi. Barry, MM0, another SOTA activator from Bathgate called in , I headed back to S20 (145.500) and made contact with Paul, a GM0 station from Biggar and then lastly I worked Steven , a MM6 station from Cowdenbeath.
Another activation, another point, the ascent was steepish but with the contacts and seeing Loch Lomond’s south side at its best made it all worthwhile. I’m slowly exhausting all the ‘lowish’ hills in my local area, I must look at other targets.
Top Left- Conic Hill from road
Next Right – Looking towards Ben Lomond from Conic Hill
Middle Right – Looking NW
Bottom – Euan heading down