Tag Archives: Beinn Dorain

(Feb) Radio Days

Late again, I need to get my act together.

The shortest month of the year, so how much did I manage to cram in to it ?

Lets see !

SOTA…

Activations ? Two, what I would call my now annual visits to first, Beinn a’Mhanaich and secondly the Hill of Stake.

a’Mhanaich I did on a cold windy day but I was kept busy with 24 contacts from Scotland, Wales, England and Northern Ireland. Later in midweek I headed to the Hill of Stake in ideal conditions for walking in and out but I must add not for sitting about on the summit, this hill is best done in ‘cold’ conditions as some of you know fine well it can a boggy pathless ascent. ‘Crisp’ is what I would describe as the best attack plan. I made 19 contacts all in Scotland but nonetheless a good midweek total. I gave a call out on my 70mhz FM handie and snagged one contact to Steve UAU in Greenock but at the HoS, I decided to try 70 cm FM and made three contacts which for midweek was good. I’ll try 70 cm as 70 mhz seems to be quiet in the Central Belt but if S of the HoS, I will consider 70 mhz FM as I know a few stations in NI and some in the NW England area are normally about.

Looking down the Firth from a'Mhanaich

Looking down the Firth from a’Mhanaich

Chasing…

The month started with working Iain WJZ who activated Beinn Dorain, another of those iconic Scottish mountains. I had been out walking and waited to catch him from the local golf course car park about 400m W from my house. One done by handie.

On what seemed a slow start to the month, I caught Iain seven days later Schiehallion SE of Loch Rannoch this time I was at home. Iain had just activated two hills I have looked at very closely lately. The following weekend I ‘chased’ from Beinn a’Mhanaich and logged Iain this time from Creag Meagaidh well to the N of me near Glen Spean , Robin PKT who was Beinn Chaorach nr Tyndrum, Jack COX to the E on Cairnpapple Hill, John BLV who was on Moel Famau in North Wales and finally Alister BKQ whom I caught on Skiddaw in the Lake District, a good haul of contacts. I was down on HF when I get tipped the wink by Steve UAU that Colwyn YCJ was on Ben Clach to the NW of Braco, an unexpected one in the log.

On the last weekend of the month, I caught Robin PKT on Sgurr Mhic Eacharna then the following day on Beinn Leamhain both hills in the Morvern area and the last contact for the month was Bob AWV directly across the river on Ben Bowie. A reasonable month considering the poor weather at times.

Quiet but still a worthwhile time considering hill conditions.

Brr

Brr

HF…

Another month in which JT65 and to a lesser degree JT9-1 were my go to modes. I must return to PSK at some point as some interesting propagation has been showing lately. Nothing new DXCC wise although I’m trying hard trying to work grey line or monitoring bands as they open or start to close which seems to be my best chance. Right place right time I hope will pay off for me.

Odds..

I’m still playing about with the SDR dongle stuff but still not devoting the time that I should, I must try to source a box to fit the upconverter in as more a shield than anything else. It is remarkable how sensitive the dongles are for the price that you pay for them and with some excellent free software to run them with. I think the winter months will be spent trying some of the Softrock projects.

That’s been short and sweet for Feb, a month in which I crammed in so much but found I’d very little to write in this piece. If it seems a dry post, I may put that down to short memory hihi.

My post on Beinn a’Mhanaich HERE

Ditto …Hill of Stake HERE

73

Thanks again to all those I have linked to, Wikipedia, Peakbagger and others…

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(April) Radio Days….2011

VHF….

Working 2m from home, still monitoring 4m FM and 70cm but not much activity.

SOTA….

One activation this month, a visit to King’s Seat in the Sidlaw Hills to the W of Dundee.

Chasing..

First in log was two summit to summit contacts from the top of King’s Seat, Iain WJZ was first, Ian was on the summit of Corserine in the Galloway Hills, a cracking STS across country and Barry TOE was to the N on the summit of Mealna Letter for the next STS, a worthwhile activation for me.

Looking NW to the Lawers Range

Looking NW to the Lawers Range

The following weekend, I worked Jack COX on Dungavel Hill and later that day, Iain WJZ on Sgor Gaibhre. On the Sunday, Bob AWV was on Conic Hill near Balmaha and this day it was the turn of Neil 2MØNCM to be on Dungavel Hill. The following Sunday, I made tracks to Corlic as a few alerts were posted. Firstly fellow blogger Graeme 2MØGIL was on Beinn Dubhchraig whilst at the same time, Neil 2MØNCM was making up his way up to its sister summit of Ben Oss

Looking to the Lui summits

Looking to the Lui summits

whilst unknown to all of us, Alan XXP was making tracks up Ben Lui a stone throw to the N of both hills. Next in the log was Alan EYO who was on a GM land activation holiday, Alan was on Schiehallion to the NE. In a busy day chasing wise, Jack COX was to the south of EYO on Meall Corranaich in the Lawers range. 40 odd points in one day, nice one.

I noticed another visitor to GM land was activating Ben More on the Isle of Mull mid-week so I monitored S20 waiting on him, the points from Gerald AQU were in the bag. A couple of days later, Corlic was my base while Robin PKT started his day off on one of the Beinn a’Ghlo summits followed later by a visit to the summit of Braigh Coire Chruinn-bhalgain, I heard his third activation as I headed back home but failed to make the contact.. In between this, Neil 2MØNCM was line of sight on the Hill of Stake, hill for some reason that some activators hate, dunno why ?.The Holiday Monday I was on Corlic again to chase Graeme 2MØGIL as he was to activate two ‘Munros’, Sqiath Chuil and Meall Glas but whilst I waited on Graeme, Seamus OVV activated Conic Hill, another point.

The next weekend was another holiday weekend and on the Friday, Robin PKT activated two of the hills which make up the Great Wall of Rannoch, first I worked him on Beinn a’Dothaidh and next on Beinn Dorain, the next day he was back out and I ‘chased’ him on both summits of Buachaille Etive Beag whilst at the same time, Gerald AQU popped in to the frequency and Stob Ghabhar was in the bag.

A frenetic month and my quest for Shack Sloth status was about to be realised with just a few more points to go.

HF…

Still scanning the bands from 40m to 12m looking for psk contacts. Working European stations with the odd sprinkling of stations outside. One new DXCC in SV5 Dodecanese Islands in the Aegean Sea. I occasionally had the WSPR set up in operation but for no extended period, 5 watts can certainly carry far in this excellent mode. I’m using what it I guess a ‘stealth’ antenna partially inside my loft space and finally running down behind the outside downpipes. It isn’t the best but it gets out there, five continents so far…

Another thanks to Wikipedia for outside links..

If Donich is a 10 then Cruach Ardrain is a 7

Aye right !!

Activation of Cruach Ardrain GM/SS 004 1/5/2011

Activation of Cruach Ardrain GM/SS 004 1/5/2011

ISW or International SOTA Weekend was looming and the hunt was on for a summit, a few possibles were looked at and finally, Cruach Ardrain was the choice with a backup of a lower hill just in case of weather problems. The usual palaver of pouring over maps, checking for routes in the Scottish walking forums but as a couple of fellow bloggers had already ‘climbed’ this hill so email was duly fired out for advice, Graeme had made his way from the South from the Braes of Balquidder whilst ‘baggingBeinn Tulaichean on the way in. Neil (of whom the title of the post refers to) had accessed the hill from the A82, this was the route chosen as it seemed the easier of the two.

Once again the activating team of 2MØIOB (or 2RØIOB this time) and myself headed swiftly northwards to find the parking spot at NN368238 which was busy even at the early time of 8am. A quick look and the summit was viewable from our setting out point. A check of equipment and it was off over the stile heading to the railway bridge underpass which leads onto a rough track which had been driven into the glen possibly for grouse shooting.

Our track now veered off to the left and said goodbye to a couple of walkers we had met and who were heading on to An Caisteal. We now reached the rickety bridge which was gingerly crossed and then it was now into the serious stuff, a relentless upward slog over grass following a faint path along a forestry fence, the first scran break was taken just before the end of this section.

It was then upwards until we met the start of the ridge walk which would take us to the last uphill push to the summit. A quick rise to the top of Grey Height then a gradually rising ridge walk where the all-round views were improving the more height we gained, Crainlarich with its green valley and looking N you could see the recognisable shape of Beinn Dorain and to the west the summits of Bens Lui, Oss and Dubhchraig. The twin peaks of Ben More and Stobinnean were constantly in view to the E until we met the summit of the ridge walk which has Meall Dhamh to your left. We could see the summit cairn and thought ‘eh ? have we got to go there? we had to.

The summit from the top of the ridge walk

The summit from the top of the ridge walk

It was now descent time into the bealach 150 ft below then it was a quick up and over another lump of rock until it was time to strike up the last steep section, this was proving a bit of a hill too far for myself. Just as we struck out for the top, we worked Robin PKT who was on Gaor Bheinn (Gulvain) then relentlessly we drove on and the summit was slowly getting nearer but every time I checked the gps phone app, I swear the summit was moving further east or I was going in reverse. Roddy then pressed on but just at the point I was cussing under my breath at my stupidity, I met the path between summits and off I headed (slowly) to the left and after another up and over, the summit was metres away.

I first, headed to the summit cairn and touched it. Sadly there was no trig point (white or otherwise). Roddy by this time had ‘activated’ the hill. I had a quick scran break and although windy I put up the 4m JPole and proceeded to call out, 15 mins later and with no contacts it was down with the 4m antenna and the 70cm JPole erected in its place, nothing again until I made contact STS (summit to summit) with both Bob AWV and Eunice UVL who were on Duncolm in the Old Kilpatrick Hills, I tried again but no takers. A bit disappointing as I had thought 4m would have been good from over 3,000ft but it was a cracking sunny day and I guess most sensible folk would be out doing more relaxing things than playing radio.

I headed back on 2m and worked Dave TAP who was in the Selkirk area then STS with Neil who was on Kirkland Hill near Kirkconnel, next STS in the log was Barry XFM who was just to the E of us on the summit of Ben Lawers. Next was by fellow blogger Graeme 2MØGIL who was on Conic Hill near Balamha. Jack COX was out hunting STS, Jack was on Dungavel Hill in Lanarkshire, next in the log was Christine YMM from Edinburgh and finally, a cracking STS to finish the day was with Colwyn CYJ who was in the Wester Ross region NW of us on Beinn Eighe – Rhuad Stac Mor near Kinlochewe approx 150 km away.

It was then time to break down the station and head back of the hill, slowly but surely the steepish section was manoeuvred and it was time to climb up the 150ft to the ridge, this was painful but soon done and it a pleasant walk back down to descend off the Grey Height and now the relentless plod down the steep grassy slope until we took a break at the ricketty bridge before the last walk down the track to the parking area on the A82. The walk was finally done ( and so was I !)

A last look at Cruach Ardrain summit then it was off back to civilisation.

Would I do it again ? No…

Would I recommend it.. Yes !

A contrast in answers but the views from the summit cairn were fantastic, too many summits to name but the twin peaks of Ben More and Stobinnean were as if you could reach out and touch them, Ben Lawers showing through their bealach, the Tarmachan ridge, Ben Nevis with its patches of snow, the trio of Lui, Oss and Dubhchraig, Ben Lomond, the Trossach hills Venue and Ledi and an old favourite far on the south horizon, the Hill of Stake.

Rather interestingly, ‘Naismith’s Rule‘ was created during a walk on Cruach Ardrain on the way to Ben More, obviously my pace wasn’t taken into consideration.

My thanks once again go to Roddy as he suffered my slow pace etc. Funnily I’ve just received a text from him about a much lighter pack will be carried next time, I must be staying at home….

I’ll explain the title of the post..

I asked Neil his views on how ‘hard’ the ascent would be and that was his reply….I fell for it again.

Information Overload…

Cruach Ardrain means ‘Stack of the high part’ or some say ‘Heap of stones’…

it is 1,046m ( 3,462 ft ) ASL

is 87 in the Munro list

Geohack info <HERE>

Round trip of over 12km.

All photos of activation <HERE>

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(August) Radio Days

VHF

Pretty quiet, spoke to 2M0IOB Roddy, 2MoUPG Patsy on occasion. Still monitoring S20 on occasions but relatively quiet.

SOTA activity.

An upturn in activity again.

I had two activations this month, a trip to the Arrochar Alps area to activate Ben Donich and a trip to the Isle of Arran with 2M0IOB, Roddy to activate Goat Fell.

Roddy’s Goat Fell Blog post <HERE>

Blog posts <Ben Donich> <Goat Fell>

On the 1st of the month, the first station ‘chased’ was Neil, 2M0NCM who activated White Coomb. I had nipped up to NS 327728 (Auchinleck Hill) to make the contact. On the 7th I activated Ben Donich, the only STS (Summit to Summit) was down to the Lake District and was to Richard,a G1 station on Skiddaw. The next day, I worked Robin, GM7 , a regular on these postings, on first, Beinn An Dothaidh then later in the day on Beinn Dorain. Neil, 2M0NCM had activated Conic Hill near Balamaha, famous for its excellent views of Loch Lomond, my photos of my Conic Hill activation are .

The following weekend, everyone seemed to be out, once again, I worked Robin GM7 who activated Beinn Achaladair, Beinn A’Chreachain and Bidean nan Bian over two days. Bob MM1 and his party was ‘chased’ on Black Craig on the Cowal peninsula. On the Sunday, Neil 2M0NCM popped up on Beinn An Lochain, a hill at the top of the Rest and Be Thankful.More ‘chaser’ points from Neil, 2M0NCM  on the last Sunday of the month who activated Earl’s Seat , high in the Campsies in what could be described as a wind lashed summit. Neil’s Earl’s Seat blog post <HERE>

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Finally on the last day of the month, I activated Goat Fell, my first activation of a GM/SI  Scottish Island summit. I activated the hill by using 4m FM, in all I had seven 4m FM contacts before going on to 2m to work Graeme, 2M0GIL in Glasgow and another blog regular, Neil, 2M0NCM near Girvan. I had made 2 contacts into GI (Northern Ireland) , one into G (England) and rest into GM (Scotland). I had hoped to fully activate a summit in ’10 on 4m , what next ? Roddy had also added EI (Ireland) to the list so four countries was good going. Unfortunately no STS as it was a quiet Tuesday SOTA VHF wise.

I finally achieved 500 ‘chaser’ points this month, my thanks go to the regular activators mentioned in this blog.

All in all, a busy month.

HF

The usual mix of stations all worked on data, mostly PSK.

The odd excursion outside Europe to JA land.

The propagation has been hit and miss on most days but there is always something to do.

ODDS…

I’ve tested out a ‘stealth’ dipole originally cut to 40m for short wave listening, it tunes in from 80m to 10m although some bands haven’t been open to see how it performs, hopefully it will work out. I have another option to try as well.

I’ve used WSPR some surprising results so far using only 5 watts, I hope to set up to use 500 mw in the near future

I’m debating whether to try a 4m JPole (vertically polarised) for the FM part of the band outside just to check and if there is any local activity.

Plans are afoot to activate more SOTA hills.

Both photos are ©Neil 2M0NCM, all rights reserved.

SOTA reference, click on hill :

White Coomb Skiddaw Beinn an Dothaidh Beinn Dorain

Ben Donich Beinn Achaladair Beinn A’Chreachain

Bidean nan Bian Goat Fell Conic Hill Black Craig