Having been in receipt of one of Roddy 2M0IOB’s 2m portable Yagi antennas, I had been waiting on the first opportunity to go ‘test’.
There had been two stations posting SOTA activation alerts in GM land, a regular to this blog, Iain WJZ was to activate two hills in the Ben Lawers range and one station had ‘alerted’ for the biggie – Ben Nevis. What is a more tempting test than this ?
I had, of course, everything charged and packed and ready to go.
Firstly I waited at home to work Ian WJZ on Meall Corranaich as it was his ‘earlier’ activation, 8 points in the bag and it was then time to head into the local hills. I did what I call ‘the two golf course walk’ as I get dropped off 200m south of Greenock Whinhill and pass the Port Glasgow one on my way home.
The mist was thick as I started heading along a tarmac single track road which soon changes to a rough track as it passes the MOD relay station ( see photo) which then winds it way to the foot of Corlic.
I started the ascent of the hill, a rise of only 150 ft from the track which starts then to wind northwards and just as I was ready to make the summit I received a text message, it was Roddy 2M0IOB on the west side of Isle of Bute so I called on the handie and made contact just as I reached the trig point. I quickly set up the 2 element beam and returned to him with a much stronger signal, we ragchewed for a time then Roddy was disappearing to get some scran. He laughed at my lowly packet of crisps, choccy biccy and bottle of water ( perfectly chilled), I wished him heartburn……
It was back to checking the SOTA spots page on my phone when I heard WJZ on S20 calling from Meall a’Choire Leith, a Munro to the north west of Ben Lawers. Contact was easily made and then I listened to Iain working the frequency. The ‘alert’ for Ben Nevis was looking as if it wasn’t going to appear but I hung around for another 20 mins before heading eastwards and home. I did some ‘checks’ on some repeaters I had in my handie memory, all the ‘local’ repeaters were opened fine and I also could ‘open’ HI 85 kms away on the Isle of Mull with no problem. The 2m FM band around S20 was deserted, I made a few calls but nothing.
I headed down a very damp and marshy east face of Corlic, it was really mushy underfoot, occasionally I stopped to check the SOTA ‘spot’ page for activity and had just made my way into a dip when I noticed a spot for Aonach Air Chrith, I quickly set up the beam and scanned around looking for the station but nothing heard. I was unfortunately in one of the only parts of the hill which din’t have a clear view to the N or NW. I later found out WJZ had made the STS with this station.
Back to my walk home, no more radio and within a short time I had reached the last field at the golf course car park, not far from home.
The walk ? approx 8kms long, mostly on track but 2.5kms through a boggy heathery yomp.
The fog had slowly cleared and the afternoon turned sunny but chilly with the light wind.
The beam had worked well, thanks Roddy.
This hill has now become known amongst those who know me as my 1000 ft tower…
the reason ?
the hill is 996ft ASL, the rest you work out.
Music supplied by Slade ( a bit retro this trip)