SOTA had a ‘VHF Fun Day’ booked for Sunday the 3rd of January, the weather had played a big part and caused quite a few cancelled activations, some hardy individuals did make the trip onto the ‘Marilyns’ albeit those on the Central/West coast area, the Eastern activations to a man got cancelled.
I thought that rather than sit and try to work any ‘activator’ from the comfort of my house, I would get together some equipment and head up my local hill, Auchinleck 659ft asl, the summit is normally only 15 mins away but with snow lying to a depth of 12 inches it took that wee bit longer.
I arrived and put up my SOTA pole but instead of the 2M beam, I used the backup 2M J-Pole which is an excellent substitute, I had a quick look around the frequencies and found Graeme, 2M0GIL/P working Ken, a GM4 station in Edinburgh.
I had a check on the SOTA Spot page to see what other stations had been spotted. Robert GM4 had been spotted on Tinto on 2M SSB but I had left the FT 817 at home. I eventually heard Graeme call out on S20 145.500FM and we moved down the frequencies, I spoke with Graeme who was activating Meikle Bin in the Campsies, Jack, a GM4 station was next to call in from Dungavel Hill in Lanarkshire whilst they had their STS (Summit to Summit) , I nipped down to see if Neil 2M0 had activated his backup hill Beneraird, in the Galloway Hills. I made contact and we both moved back to 145.425 to meet up with the others, a few ‘chaser’ stations were also on frequency…
Today’s view were made all the better by the snow-covered hills in the distance, the Cowal Hills to the west, The Arrochar Alps to the north-west, Ben Lomond with Ben More, Cruaich Adrain and Stob Binnean to the north, the OK hills to the east amongst others.
Alan, a 2M0 station called in from the base of Middlefield Law but after digging out a parking space, he proceeded to ascend but soon realised that waist-high snow does not make for easy-going and sensibly cancelled.
Graeme 2M0GIL/P had decided to ‘break’ down and head back to the base of the hill, the sun started to drop behind the hills to the west and the temperature started to fall rapidly, I tried a CQ on 70.450 FM but no takers, I had taken the 4M J-Pole with me but decided to just leave it in the rucksack, everything broken down I then headed back home via the Golf Course clubhouse.
Those who ‘activated’ deserve a big thanks on such treacherous conditions getting to and then to ascend the hill.