Tag Archives: Beinn Bhreac

(Jan) Radio Days and…

Time again for Bawb’s monthly warblings on his radio and other related activities plus a wee update from Lance on his saddle-sore activities.

January was a tough month weather wise but there were some keen souls out activating but I have one activation to report on.

Tinto…

A visit to Tinto Hill in Lanarkshire was taken on the second Saturday of the month, the original targets of Glen Douglas hills Tullich and Beinn Bhreac were in doubt as the forecasted weather would not have suited. It was meant to be low cloud and frosty conditions, Roddy IOB had mentioned Tinto during the holiday period and we decided to head there on the Saturday, Tinto has a well-defined path nay ‘road’ at most points which means easy access in cloudy or misty conditions.

Tinto summit cairn

Tinto summit cairn

STS (summit to summit) contacts were aplenty, six in all, NW to Robin PKT on Beinn nam Beathrach in the Morvern area also Iain WJZ on both summits of Buachaille Etive Beag in Glencoe. I also worked Jack COX on Uamh Bheag and Colwyn YCJ just to the N of him on Stuc a’Chroin and finally just to NE, Adrain DHY on Meikle Say Law. Excellent day plus a WOTA contact in Richard JTD on Lank Rigg. Interesting contact on 70cm was Derek MIX out walking in the Loweswater Fell area, a surprising but good contact.

My blog report is HERE

Roddy 2MØIOB’s report is HERE

Chasing…

I have covered in the short Tinto report the ‘chases’ from that day but first name in the chasing log for 2013 was Bob AWV who turned up on Meikle Bin ironically at the same time as Iain WJZ so a double call that day. Later that day I worked Robin PKT on the summit of Meall Bhuide to the NE of Loch Earn. A good day to start the years activity. Next in the log was Craig PHT from Duncolm in the Old Kilpatrick Hills.

That was all the activity for me in Jan as I missed time at weekends to chase due to the uncertain weather as I had worked the last two weekends of the month. Two good overtime shifts not to miss. Got to keep the roads and pavements ‘open’. Hopefully back to normal now…….

Waiting at home

Waiting at home

HF…

Busy month almost entirely on JT65 with once again, a sortie on to the JT9 band area. No new DXCC to report but contacts across the pond and to the E as well as the regular Euro contacts. Time to head back to PSK I think….

I did however set myself to try another ‘older’ I suppose data mode but more on that once I give it a serious try. I did think of trying FreeDV, a new SSB to data mode but I will have to ‘install’ another sound-card or perhaps, one of those sound-card ‘dongle’ thingies….

Lance’s Bit…

Hi all ! the wizard of the saddle’s first wee report.

Yes, the rear area still is hurting after putting a few miles in and as Bawb has now fitted the gel seat, life is slightly just slightly easier. I’m still getting the hang of this cycling lark and I hope to go further afield as the sunny summer evenings start.

Luckily there is a cycle track (NCR 75) not too far from home, it heads westwards towards Greenock and eastwards to the Johnstone area and beyond. I have found that in exposed sections that if it’s breezy yer reporter is not very aerodynamic.

It’ll be used well by myself as the surface is more safe than the main and local back roads which happen to be in terrible condition in places. I’would have to carry a rope to pull myself out of some of the pot holes I have spotted lately.

Others…

I mentioned Beinn Bhreac (Gaelic – the speckled hill or mountain) the Marilyn in Glen Douglas earlier and was surprised to find another ten Marilyns of the same name plus countless others….a contender for most common hill name in Scotland? 60 in all ?

No precipitation forecast

No precipitation forecast

Just as an aside, I have done some ‘research’ into Scottish hill names and came across an interesting story about Lochnagar. Its original name was Beinn Ciochan which literally translates as ‘mountain of breasts (or nipples)’ and allegedly Queen Victoria took a liking to the said hill and the hill got renamed……Victorian prudery ? allegedly..and as I looked further into Gaelic equivalents, I would have to label the blog ‘mature’…they had quite a vivid imagination in the past.

If you look at the image of a screen dump from my phone this last week, you will see that 0% of precipitation is forecast for SEVEN days, four or five weeks ago you would thought we would be ‘drowning’ with the constant deluge of rain…then this.

I’m threatening myself to get more done on the SDR dongle front and as I have all the parts to hand so maybe now more can be done on this front although eventually I will have to fit it in an aluminium box but the box it was built around is US based and the usual $ to £ plus if ordered here. I’m still searching for an equivalent.

Once again, thanks go to Wikipedia, Peakbagger and IWeather for the WX screen dump.

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(Aug) Radio Days

Mr. Mhor is not a creature of habit eh?

All those recent ‘Radio Day’ posts being up to six weeks late and now I post within two weeks of the end of the post’s month in question.

Let’s get going…

Activation….

One SOTA and two WOTA this month.

There is a twist on that last sentence as my SOTA activation of Blencathra is also a WOTA hill to those who are unfamiliar with SOTA and WOTA, follow these links below and the explanation is there for you

SOTA HERE

WOTA HERE

Back to business…

On what now seems an annual trip to the Lake District, I had planned hills to activate but due to circumstances only Blencathra (Hallsfell Top) was done under the SOTA banner. We had travelled down with intentions being dropped off near Threlkeld and doing a round route whilst activating on the way. My descent took in a quick look at Sharp Edge then a quick descent back to Scales via Mousthwaite Comb, a good day contact and weather wise.

Blencathra from Latrigg

Blencathra from Latrigg

I followed up Blencathra with an activation of Latrigg Fell which over looks Keswick.  Accompanied by Katie, my long-suffering XYL and the scran option was far superior to the previous day. An idea for the future although I must get a lighter car battery for her to humph up the hill.

Chasing..

This was another non stop month contact wise so take a deep breath.

First in the Aug log is Duncan CXM who activated Dumyat on the western end of the Ochil Hills whilst Colwyn YCJ was on the Isle of Arran but I only caught him on the one hill Caisteal Abhail the middle one of his triple activation that day, I had headed out to Corlic to work him on his third but was on my way back home due to the worsening weather and I missed him.

The following day I worked Craig HCF, a fellow Paisley club member on Ben Ledi whilst Robin PKT turned up later on Beinn Bhreac-liath near Glen Orchy.

Next chased points were during my activation of Blencathra, first contact( and Summit to Summit) was Terry VWP who was to the south of me on Claife Heights on the west bank of Lake Windermere whilst one of my last contacts that day was Terry CJJ who was on the Isle of Anglesey high point Mynydd Bodafon, Terry was using the Baofeng UV5R with its stock duck antenna. It works well as this was over approx 170 kms.

Returning home it was soon back to serious business as Robin PKT appeared what turned out to be a day to remember on Stob Choire Easain east of Fort William and he proceeded to work into the near continent, I think only the oncoming darkness and long trek out forced him off the hill.

The next day I made my way to the trig point on Lurg Moor where I first worked Jim GLM who appeared on Ben Chonzie and back to a ‘liftless” activation was Robin this time on Stob Ghabhar whilst waiting to talk to Robin I heard Iain WJZ calling him from Creag nan Damh part of the south Glen Sheil ridge. A fine contact of over 140 km.

Busy ? we are not even at the mid part of the month yet.

Meall Corranaich from Ben Lawers lower path

Meall Corranaich from Ben Lawers lower path

The next weekend at Lurg Moor, I first got Robin PKT who was on Carn na Caim in the Drumochter Pass area whilst I had a longer than normal contact with Neil 2MØNCM who was on Grey Hill between Girvan and Lendalfoot. The next day on a busy day from the same trig point, Iain WJZ was first in the book, Iain was on Gael-charn then next was Robin on Beinn a’Chlachair and was pleased to contact fellow blogger Roddy 2MØIOB who was almost 150km away on Larriston Fell in the Borders area. There was some QSB but the contact made with no problem plus I had checked the elevation profile between our two points and had reckoned earlier there was only a slight chance. Roddy’s activation blog post HERE. Next was Jim GLM who turned up on Meall Bhuide just north of Lochearnhead whilst Robert GUF had returned to his normal haunt Tinto before I finally worked Robin PKT on his second hill of the day Geal Charn, note this is a different hill than Iain’s before mentioned for this day. Robin’s hill that day Gael Charn is to the south-east of Loch Laggan whilst the Gael-charn Iain WJZ was on is just to the west overlooking the Drumochter Pass. That ended what was a busy Sunday.

Still with me ? I did say a busy month..

On the last weekend, on the Saturday I worked Robin PKT on Meall Corranaich and just as I was leaving for Cappielow, I caught him on Meall a’Choire Leith both in the Lawers area. The following day I waited at home and caught Robin PKT from the daddy of all Scottish hills, Ben Nevis then I left to head to Corlic with my youngest, Ailsa in tow and as we headed on to open moorland I received a text from Roddy IOB telling me Colwyn YCJ had turned up on Cat Law to the north of Kirriemuir and using only my wee 2w Baofeng and a Nagoya 701 worked him over 130 kms, a fine contact on what was almost a line of sight contact. Returning home I had just turned on the radio and heard Bob AWV out on what is a line of sight Duncolm in the Old Kilpatrick hills.

Grey Hill summit © Neil 2MØNCM

Grey Hill summit © Neil 2MØNCM

A busy month and a few miles walked to make some of these contacts.

HF..

As you read above I had not much time to ‘play’ HF but still made contacts in Europe, Asia and N America mostly on JT65. On the last Sunday of the month whilst having breakfast I worked into Anchorage, Alaska a very good start to what was a good day SOTA wise as well.

Other Stuff…

Firstly I must recommend a book I read towards to the end of the month.

The title ? “Rocket Men, a story of the first men on the moon” by Craig Nelson, a well written account of how Neil Armstrong finally made the first step on the moon. It deals with the history leading up to JFK’s declaration of sending a man to the moon to the background politics, training plus a revealing insight into each astronauts life. A book which some reviewers say fragments at times and leaps from the story but I found this added to the overall story. Worth a read.

I’m still learning about SDR and hope over the winter months to do something along building a Softrock rx but still to look at what frequencies I’m really interested but if the new work being done on another tuner chip bears fruit then I’ll stick to this line of thought.

Finally..

If you have been a long time reader of the blog, you will have read how my oldest Euan was with me on most of my first SOTA activations but fell away but all this paid off for him as he recently graduated from the University of Glasgow as a BSc with First Class Honours in Computer Science, Sergey Brin & Co watch out..

Euan on Duncolm trig

Euan on Duncolm trig

and a mention for my youngest Ailsa who also recently completed the ‘ hike’ part of her Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award, she only has her presentation of her days spent in the Border hills to do. The hike was done over what could be described as horrendously wet for the first two days.

Phew !! a biggie post this month, I hope you are still with me at the end…

Thanks again to all sites I have linked.

My thanks also to Neil 2MØNCM who let me use © his image of Grey Hill in South Ayrshire.

(April) Radio Days………

Once again, I’m running late with these monthly round ups. This time of year is a busy time not only radio wise but in other things esp with the improving weather and as I write this we are in the midst of a heat wave with possible water restrictions being mentioned. Long may it continue, the rain to fill the lochs can fall overnight. One useful side effect is that the dreaded midge is taking its time to appear in numbers and this is one side effect that we want to definitely continue .

SOTA….

I did my first activation of the year on the nearby 2 pointer, the Hill Of Stake. I was later than I normally am as this is one hill in which I usually grab the winter bonus. Four STS’s (summit to summit) on the day, one NW to Sidhean Na Raplaich in the Morvern area, one to the NE Carleatheran, 5 mile to the SW of me to Blaeloch Hill and finally one to Muckish Mountain in the Derryveagh Mountains in Donegal. A total of 15 contacts on both 4m and 2m FM. Blog post HERE

Meall Nan Tarmachan summit

Meall Nan Tarmachan summit

Chasing…

The month started off with a bang as I worked first fellow blogger Graeme 2MØGIL who was in the Lawers area on Meall Nan Tarmachan then quickly following was Robin PKT who was to the west of Graeme on Beinn Chaorach in the Tyndrum area. Next in the log that day was Bob AWV who activated Ben Bowie on the opposite bank of the river estuary to me, I scanned the hill and summit with binoculars but could see nothing. Neil 2MØNCM was next to appear on Meall an Fhudair, his first hill of the day, I was later to work him on a smaller hill Beinn Damhain. A good start to the month and definitely not an April’s Fool day.

Five days later, Adrian DHY was to turn up on the aforementioned Meall Nan Tarmachan, a hill I would recommend plus not much later that afternoon Gerald AQU appeared on the tongue-twister Beinn Bhreac-liath (the speckled grey hill), Scots Gaelic is such a poetic language, the hill is to the N of Tyndrum. Just as an aside, there are 11 Beinn Bhreac’s ‘in the ‘Marilyns’ list and our previous mentioned one’ -liath’ would make it twelve, the most popular name in the entire list.

Two days later on what was a miserable cloudy day, Gerald AQU appeared on Beinn Odhar another Corbett in the Tyndrum area whilst our good friend Neil 2MØNCM was ascending Beinn Bhuidhe from Glen Fyne, another Munro to his collection.

The following weekend, I worked Robin PKT on Meall Buidhe not on the usual 2m FM but this time on 6m SSB before I set out on a local walk where I heard and worked Bob AWV on Beinn Lagan.

The following Saturday, Jack COX was just to the N of me on Beinn Dubh whilst the following day, I caught four STS from the Hill of Stake ( see above)…

The last weekend of the month finished as it started with first working Bob AWV on Corse Hill, Robin PKT on Beinn Fhionnlaidh in the Glen Etive (or Glen Creran as it depends from where you access the hill) and finally that day, Jack COX appeared on The Stob.  The following day I worked Robin PKT this time on Beinn Leamhain followed by Graeme 2MØGIL on the Brack in the Arrochar area and finally to close out the month, Jim GLM on Beinn Dearg.

A very busy month indeed….

Other miscellaneous …

Occasionally working the HF data modes mostly JT65, PSK and on occasion, WSPR. The sunspot cycle isn’t hitting the heady heights yet but I’ll keep monitoring the higher frequencies for openings.I now have a 4m FM mobile radio which I am hoping to rig up in the shack but more to the point it is down to the choice of antenna I decide to use with it…

Sorbus Aucuparia growing in the top of a fence post

Sorbus Aucuparia growing in the top of a fence post

Still scanning the VHF and UHF bands but not much activity to report, I take my wee Baofeng dual band handie out on my local walks but mostly PMR traffic with the odd use of the 2m and 70cm FM frequencies.

I’m still using the 5 ele yagi beam at home when needed for chasing, I can set it up and get on air in about 8 mins and drop and pack it away in much less. Very handy !!!

No visits this month to the local hills but I look forward to when I do…..

Walking…

Still plodding away trying to build up my fitness and enjoying taking in the sights and smells

( farms!!) of the local area. I’ve set high totals for myself and are achieving them.

One other bit of news to pass on, I have been reluctantly accepted into the Second Class Operators Club (SOC), a fine recognition for my poor radio operating skills and I am now SOC #1008, I’m pleased to be a member of such a mediocre bunch. More Info HERE

This month’s nostalgia bit…

My personalised Alfa Tango card from 11m days (I’ve digitally removed the P.O.Box number just in case)…I used Bob as it was easy to do phonetically and in some of pile ups, the shorter the better but the AT group issued an excellent directory of all members annually so the information was there.

Bob AT 459

Bob AT 459

My thanks go to all the linked content esp Wikipedia and Peakbagger.

Till next month, slainthe mhath !!!

Ben More and Stobinnean

(Aug) Radio Days 2011

SOTA…

No activations to report this month…

SOTA chasing had been excellent in August after the upward trend shown so far in 2011. Activity has been steady all summer long, first points this month were gained from Iain WJZ who activated Beinn Eich and Doune Hill, both in the Luss Hill area, mention is made of Roddy 2MØIOB who had activated Blackwood Hill in the Scottish Border area and gained the points necessary from the Beinn Eich summit to summit contact with Iain to gain his Shack Sloth award, nice one!! Later in the day Robin PKT put an appearance in from Stob a’Choire Odhair.

The following day, Neil 2MØNCM returned to the Glen Douglas area to activate Beinn Bhreac, I had a look at Google after Neil mentioned large fissures about the hillside, one for the future.

There was no midweek activations so it was on the following Saturday that Bob AWV called from The Fruin above Helensburgh, I contacted Bob with my wee 2w handie as the hill is line of sight from the home QTH, a cloudy day. Neil NCM popped up on the Sunday on what was an occasionally wet and windy day from Lomond side, Ben Vorlich was his hill for the day.

Luss and Arrochar hills

Luss and Arrochar hills

The following day Robin PKT was out on sister hills in the Ben Lawers area, Meall Corranaich was the first and was later followed by Meall a’Choire Leith, I managed to work him on the latter which was my first home contact to the hill as it sits slap behind Corranaich. He was out on most days this week and popped up on Beinn Challum, Ben Lui and Sgurr a’Mhaim ( in the shadows of Ben Nevis).

On the Saturday, I had gone out for a local hill walk taking in Corlic which I had timed to work Iain WJZ using only a handie and on my walk home, Roddy IOB had let me know that fellow Paisley club member Craig ANL was to activate Beinn Chaorach later that afternoon, I ended up working him from home.

On the last weekend of the month, it was Robin PKT who activated a double on the Sat doing both Beinn a’Bheithir tops, Sgurr Dhonuill and Sgurr Dhearg and finally for the month, Iain WJZ did the pair of Ben More and Stobinnean

Ben More and Stobinnean

Ben More and Stobinnean

Another excellent month

for ‘chasing’ points !

HF..

I tended to spend too much time on JT65 this month, ignoring my usual modes of PSK and WSPR. Contacts being made across Europe as far as Japan and as westwards to the US. There is, as in WSPR an excellent spotting facility in this mode and pleasantly surprised to be ‘spotted’ in Indonesia, South Africa , Australia and in New Zealand on more than one occasion. Power varies between 5 and 15 watts.

If the bands are quiet then a test of three CQs using the JT65HF software will let you know the propagation situation, I occasionally used other bands in this mode, contacts being made on 40, 30, 20, 15 and 10m but spent most time on 20m. I’ll probably look further more at the mode but unless conditions improve dramatically, I’ll just move between WSPR and JT65.

Outlook..

As this is usually written at the start of the next month, Sept in this case, plans were afoot to activate a SI munro but due to weather and other circumstances, this had been shelved until later, hopefully in early October…I did try to up my fitness level doing regular local walks late in the month and early Sept but suffered an ankle sprain whilst on my way to Corlic, unfortunately I had just under two-mile to hobble to a pick up point, sod this healthy exercise stuff. Oh well.