International SOTA Weekend – Day Two Blaeloch Hill

sotaimage55
Blaeloch Hill  in the North Ayrshire hills was the activation for today, we left home and set off and reached the foot of the route to Blaeloch, we ascended from a layby on the LargsKilbirnie road. A long damp heavy slog uphill took us to the summit of Blaeloch Hill, the summit was found only after finding the Blae Loch which nestles at the W side of the summit. The weather had been mixed on the ascent, high winds plus hailstones made it slightly uncomfortable at times.
The ‘camp’ was set up and the antenna and mast were erected, the mast then had to be reduced in length as the high wind was putting stress on it.
First contact was Barry, a 2MO station in Bathgate, Barry had activated Tinto Hill the previous day, next contact was Bob, a MM1/P station at Ardentinny nr Dunoon, I next contacted Eunice, a MM3/P station at the same location, we exchanged signal reports and I left to go back to S20 (145.500) to try and get the fourth contact I needed to fully activate the hill, a mobile station, Derek, 2M0 in Patna, Ayrshire came back to my call, the activation had been made.

I took a break and headed to the wreckage of a Fairey Firefly aircraft which had crashed to the SW of the hill, I had a quick look and headed back, if interested, further information on this specific air crash is HERE.

I then called on S20 and made the contact with MM1, John in Glasgow, I’ve made the contact with John on each of my activations. Next to answer my call was Andy, a GM7 station from East Kilbride. Grant, a MM5 station from Bearsden, with whom I had spoken to the previous day was next in the log.
I had another quick break for some lunch then called on S20 and MM0, Gordon from Irvine came back to my call, we chatted for some time then Brian, a MM1 station from Howwood called in for a chaser point. The next station contacted was a STS (Summit to Summit) contact, Alan, a 2M0 had been activating Nutberry Hill and was ready to depart.
Next station I contacted was Gordon, a MM6 station from Troon with whom I had previously spoken to the previous day, last station contacted was Julian, a MM0 station from Irvine, contacts were getting thin on the ground and the weather was deteriorating so we decided to ‘break’ down the station and head back to our prearranged pick up spot.
The walk-in and out was very wet and muddy, the ascent was steepish at times but another SOTA point had been earned.

Photos :

Top Right – Blae Loch
Next Left -Me
Middle Left- Firefly Engine Block
Middle Right – Firefly Crash Landing Site
Bottom – Firefly Wreckage

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International SOTA Weekend – Day One

sotaimage55Unable to ‘activate’ a SOTA summit, I decided to concentrate on trying to add more ‘chaser’ points from the home QTH. I had been speaking to Bob, a MM1/P who was visiting Ardentinny in Argyllshire, I met up with Bob on occasions throughout the day as he was looking for SOTA chaser points .I meanwhile kept an eye on both the SOTA ‘Spots’ page and the SOTA ‘Alert’ page, whilst monitoring the 2m FM / SSB frequencies, I first made contact with Graeme,  2M0GIL/P station, a SOTA regular , Graeme was on Beinn Bhreac and was just about to make a move to another SOTA summit nearby.
I later decided to ‘head’ up to the hilltop behind my house, I crossed the golf course and found a sheltered spot just below the high point which is 620ft ASL , I erected the mast but this time instead of the beam I used a 2m ‘slim jim type’ vertical that I had made up from 300ohm ribbon cable.
I first made contact with Roddy, a 2M0 station who was on the Hill of Stake , Roddy was activating this as his first SOTA summit, Roddy’s signal was end stopping, I could see the summit to the south of me.
I then spoke with two reasonably local stations, Ray, a GM4 station from Drumchapel and Grant, a MM5 station from Bearsden.
Moving about the frequencies , I heard Barry, a 2M0 station who was activating Tinto Hill, I then worked Jack, a GM4 station who was on frequency with Barry, Jack was activating Culter Fell. Jack was a strong signal as well. I left them as other stations were calling them, I next spoke to Rab, a MMo station who was mobile in Motherwell, I had worked Rab on one of my previous jaunts to Corlic. I then hooked up again with Roddy on the Hill of Stake and then spoke to Gordon, a MM6/P station, Gordon was located on Brown Carrick Hill, a SOTA summit near Ayr but he was not activating it.
I then heard Graeme, the 2M0/P station I had worked earlier in the day again but never had the chance to make the contact. I heard Robin, GM7/P on Meall Corranaich calling on S20, we moved down and had a quickish QSO, Robin was ready to ascend and head home so I said goodbye and had a further look around the 2m FM frequencies, it had gone quiet so I broke down the station and headed back home. Handy to know that a good portable location is only 15 – 20 mins away.

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Corlic Hill, Portable 26/04/09


Sunday 26th April ’09….

No SOTA activation this weekend due to varying circumstances. The SOTA Alert page had a few GM alerts so instead of hopefully working them from the comfort of my home, I grabbed the usual equipment and headed up the ‘old favourite’ Corlic. Corlic Hill rises 303m ASL ( or 994ft) to the south east of Greenock and with the mast fully extended , the beam itself would be over 1000ft ASL.
As you can see from the picture, it was a dreich day with wind and rain at times, I arrived at the grassy summit after 40 mins slog, no path at the east approach of this hill.
I first checked the SOTA Spot page before hearing Brian, a MM1 station I’d worked the previous weekends so I ‘popped’ in to say ‘Hi!’ then said my goodbyes and called out on S20 (145.500FM) and Jim, a MM0 station from Helensburgh came back to my call, we chatted for a while then a break for lunch was had. I heard Graham, a 2M0 station from Helensburgh whom I regularly QSO with, so had a short talk with him before heading to find the SOTA activators. I first heard Iain, a MM3/P who was atop Ben Chonzie, NW of Crieff, chatted to Iain and then left him to work the stations who were calling him. I then spoke John, a MM1 station from Glasgow, John is another station I’d worked last weekend whilst on Duncolm Hill
I had gone down the frequencies looking for Robin, GM7/P when I heard him on145.525, the weather atop Beinn Teallach, NE of Fort William sounded horrendous but I left him after a short QSO to let him find more contacts. I then spoke to Steve, a local GM7 station with whom I speak most weekends before going in search of a 2Mo/p station who was to activate another summit but never found him. The weather then set in and rather than get drenched, I broke down the station and headed towards my pickup point. Another day, another good walk.

Photo :

Looking East, Beam on Corlic Hill

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Duncolm SOTA trip

sotaimage55Duncolm Hill, which is GM/SS 222, was chosen as the next trip to activate a SOTA summit, the weather forecast looked ideal for the haul in. We left the home QTH and arrived on the approach road approx 9.50am and started heading towards Duncolm, the track started off rising gently then bang!! the track got really steep for a section before it started to level out though still climbing gently until we reached Loch Humphreys.
We took a break then headed out to the highest of three tops, Duncolm and of course, the furthest away. The path was a steady climb as we headed NW, we soon got to the base of Duncolm where we made for the top.
‘Camp’, the mast then the beam was erected, I checked everything and then gave out a call on S20 (145.500), Roddy, a 2M0 station who stays down the coast from me was on a hill previously mentioned in this blog, Dunrod, above Greenock / Inverkip, signal strength was very strong even with the beam pointing south.Brian, a MM1 station from Howwood called in followed a MM6 , from Airdrie the a 2M0 station, Barry from the Bathgate area stayed around for a while. The four qualifying contacts had been made.

Various local stations called in and the 2M0/P, Graeme called in, Graeme was to the NE on the Campsies. I talked for a few minutes with a GM4 station from Logan nr. Cumnock then a 2M0 station, Alan from Larkhall called by.
Next contact was a STS (Summit to Summit) SOTA contact , Neil was on Ben Venue signal was once again no problem, spoke with Neil then he left to ‘chase’ for some contacts. Lastly before I ‘broke’ the station down, Andy ,a MM0 station from Falkirk called in.
We left Duncolm behind and headed back to our prearranged pickup point then home. Another ‘point’ bagged so to speak.

Photos :

Top left – Euan on trig point, looking NW
Bottom right – Looking NE towards Drymen

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