After last weekends trip to Ben Donich for the SOTA UHF Fun Day, I had thought my ‘activating’ would be put on the back burner for a month or so but Katie had asked if I wanted to head up the East coast on Mothers Day whilst dropping the unexpected bombshell, ‘Isn’t there a hill nearby you could walk ?’…..
An offer never to give to Bob….’I think there may be’ replied Bob coyly, knowing fine well that two qualifying one point Marilyns were within easy reach (I had previously checked both hills out and had made a mental note of prospective routes). I made Kings Seat in the Sidlaw Hills the choice as the other, Craigowl Hill is a mass of antennae. I’ll hopefully activate this on another occasion.
Kings Seat looked as if it would give good VHF take off south and possibly west. I proceeded to firstly, check the weather forecast and it looked promising, the wheels then went through the motions next charging the handhelds and gathering the odds and sods needed which were checked and double checked and packed away ready. This was all done 60 hrs before the time of activation, I was a bit more keen than normal as I normally pack everything the night before. All checks including the weather was done early Sunday morning then it was off towards the Carse Of Gowrie via Glasgow then heading towards Perth and finally to the country road at Balbeggie which would take us to my start point approx 6 mls from Newtyle, our eventual destination.
I got dropped off half way down a local farm track, waved Katie goodbye and headed up a tractor track passing a copse then over a stile and headed towards my first landmark through some very boggy areas and as the Donich activation, an odd shower of rain passed over, I had noticed on Google Earth that thick heather was the main covering on this hillside but I worked my way through and found gaps where they had cleared areas for the grouse when I eventually came across a good track which led me to just below the summit. Forty odd minutes after being dropped off I had reached the top which surprisingly has an ususual white trig point ( I had seen this on Geograph).
It was windy, very windy and probably the windiest situation I had activated or ‘chased’ in. I found a nook on the north side and preceded to erect the mast and then setting the 5 element 2m beam up. Neil 2MØNCM, our fellow blogger had driven to higher ground near Damellington plus Iain WJZ was to be active on Corserine in the Galloway area.
I found that the mast was bending double plus the beam was of its own mind so I tried lowering it to approx 8ft off the ground, this was not perfect but the beam stayed pointing south when I held the mast but when it was higher the beam was pointing at a 45 degree angle to the sky at times, not good.
I switched on and in between trying to tough the odd but quickly passing shower, I called and instantly spoke to Baz DOR who was mobile in nearby Blairgowrie, I thought I better go ‘look’ for WJZ and found him but I took three efforts to ‘break’ in, it was an excellent contact at 164 kms. I wished Ian goodbye and moved to S20 where I next spoke with TommyTCN who was just out of line of sight in the Carse near Kirriemuir, I had mentioned to him that I intended to try 4m and we arranged a sked for later in the activation.
I returned to S20 and called CQ SOTA to which Barry TOE who was nearing the summit of Mealna Letter (also known as Duchray Hill) returned my call but as he was just out of the activating zone, I waited on him reaching the summit and then proceeded to make the STS (summit to summit) before letting Barry work other regular chasers who were by now calling him.
Another call and I was speaking to Ron YGI sitting in a supermarket car park in Perth, everytime I hear the word ‘Asda’ their fantastic breakfasts come to mind…Lastly on 2m, I spoke to John EOU who was at sea level at Cellardyke in the Kingdom of Fife, a good chat before I explained I was off to try 4m before heading back down the hill.
I quickly took off the beam and attached the 4m JPole and made the first call, Tommy TCN was first in the 4m log, we had a general chat about the 4m activity in the Tayside area and his going portable on the odd Tuesday evening to the local hills, I must take myself into Corlic or perhaps Creuch Hill on a Tues evening during the summer to try to work the Tayside regulars. Leaving Tommy, I returned and called on 70.450 and Jim, FVM from Ayton in Berwickshire answered, we had a general chat about 4m and Jim had mentioned he had read this blog quite possibly from a link in my profile in the Four Meter forum where I frequent, an interesting forum to monitor (or join!!) if you are 4m minded, have a look here first <HERE> Jim was 106km away, another fine contact. Finally the ubiquitous Steve UAU from Greenock called me on 70.450, the contact was made which I had thought possible but now means I can possibly work Tayside 4m stations from the high spots above Greenock. A note for my summer diary !!
Little had I know Steve had then ‘spotted’ me on the SOTA Spot page or I would have hung around a little longer but by now, I had been joined on the summit by a walking group from Aberdeenshire and was asked by one of them ’20 meters ?’, he then explained is a MM0 station from the Aberdeen area, he showed interest in the chinese handies I was using so after I broke down and packed everything, I had a chat about SOTA and the benefits of using a handie to activate when out these group walks, ‘four contacts is all you need’ was my last words to him.
Kings Seat is 377m (1237ft), a small hill on the SOTA scale but a well-known hill locally for its fantastic views, sadly the photographs and the panorama video I have taken does it no justice. I would recommend if you are in the area to ‘nip’ up the hill and activate whilst appreciating the view. I did get dropped off but there are parking places on the Abernyte road which the hill is easily climbed. The hill is sometimes climbed as a round walk with taking in Dunsinane hill fort ( unfortunately I missed meeting Macbeth by 950 plus years)before heading across to Black Hill and finally ascending Kings Seat then returning the same route.
I had preplanned this hill as I intended ‘doing’ it at some point but having all the info to hand in advance saved last-minute research. As I descended I now followed the track to a fence line which I then headed back to my first marker where I descended back to the pick up track. One more point in the bag.
On a funnier note, you may remember the ad on TV, the Aussie saying ‘I can see the pub from here’ ? Me ? I could just see the church where I got married, not often you can say that on an activation.
Kings Seat is 377m (1,237 ft) ASL
The meaning ? self explanatory…
Google Map <HERE>
Trig Point info <HERE>
Trig Point Article <HERE>