Tag Archives: Beinn Eich

That Was The Year That Was ’11…Pt 1

2011..a rewind pt 1

Another busy year…..

The first 10pt summit Ben Lawers, my first English activation Skiddaw and a visit to the Isle of Mull to activate the islands only ‘Munro’ Ben More are among my highlights of this years in pursuit of both activating’ and ‘chasing. Each summit reached and every contact made valued, 1pt or 10pt and the chance to talk to those who regularly are out on the hills or in their shack makes it all worthwhile. I have tended to make trying to chase more from the local hills, I have ‘chased’ locally from Corlic (now a HuMP), Hillside Hill, Cruech Hill, the trig point at Lurg Moor and the golf course trig  at my back door.  Handy places for chasing those out on the summit. Being oot’n’aboot adds a little more fun to it. A new name for this is ‘Extreme Chasing’….groan.

View to the Gareloch

View to the Gareloch

There has been an increase of VHF activity mainly on 2m in this past year and this is in thanks to new activators and the regulars. I occasionally head out myself to activate averaging one per month over the year.

It has been great fun in all aspects…..and a cracking year ( yet to finish !)

We’ll start with my Jan – June Activations..

No rest for the holidays as SOTA devotees decided that a VHF Fun Day was being held on the 2nd day of the New Year. Roddy 2MØIOB had suggested a joint activation so it was a hill within easy reach and a good lift off esp to the South.

Beinn a’Mhanaich was the choice, my third visit to this hill. The day promised dry and snow free so that was a good start at this time of year and we duly activated with 4m FM contacts to Wales, Northern Ireland, England and of course, Scotland. An excellent day and 6 summit to summit contacts, apart from the STS’s the memorable part of the day was how quickly the ground froze under our feet, a cobweb clearer.

Beinn a'Mhanaich from Eich summit

Beinn a'Mhanaich from Eich summit

I did a second activation in January on my first ever SOTA hill, the Hill of Stake, a hill no one else seems to like but I’ll be returning again in 2012, best to do this in frosty conditions. Only contacts were localish..

My next activation was a trip with Roddy IOB to a claggy Ben Venue, on a March day where the views were just not seen. The visit  topped by top quality guiding by Roddy which led to us both sinking to our erses in snow on the descent.. A good day out. I worked mostly 4m and 70cm where the latter band surprised me with more contacts than before achieved on 70cm on SOTA duty. The day finally started to clear as we finished the day.

A UHF Fun Day  proposed for late March so another hill with good take off south chosen, Ben Donich..I will recommend this to anyone who has never graced this hill. Please visit on a clear day as these views are exceptional. Mere words or photos cannot not describe these views, read my blog post HERE and click on the images. It was good to say both the Fun Days being well supported by so many fellow Scottish stations… Whilst we were descending Jack COX called out and a first in the fact that we could see Jack  across the glen on the Cobbler summit, it was not a STS but the chaser points were still most welcome.

The following weekend had a first for me, an activation on the East coast. The hill in question was Kings Seat, one of the highest tops in the Sidlaws overlooking to the east, Dundee. It was a relatively easy climb going via an unconventional route from the west. The wind was blowing strong and it was a chore keeping the 2m beam pointing the way intended. Nonetheless I worked Iain WJZ who was on Corserine in the Galloway Hills approx 110 miles away, mention also must be made as I worked Steve UAU back in Greenock on 4m plus Jim FVM in Berwick area on the same band. A hill worth returning to.

Cruach Ardrain summit from the ridge walk

Cruach Ardrain summit from the ridge walk

The SOTA International weekend was the first one in May and another trip with Roddy IOB  made to the 8pt summit of Cruach Ardrain, wx wise the day was excellent, my choice of hill ? let us just say memorable, I had fallen for the words and advice of a charlatan, you know who you are. I struggled on this one but TBH on reflection it was an exciting day. Roddy IØB had activated the hill with 4 STS before I stumbled/dragged myself to the top. A long day..

One month later was my surprise CS visit, my son Euan had chosen unknown to me the top of the list Ben Lawers and I tried on the ascent to post an alert but no internet. There were so many people ascending it looked like a conga line heading to Beinn Ghlas, only 5 contacts and disappointingly none on 4m but a STS to Derek MIX who was down in the Lake District on Pillar. My first 10pt hill..

June was a busy month for me as I followed this with a dual activation of Beinn Eich and Doune Hill in the Luss Hills, I had done this before in 2009, the weather this day was excellent and is memorable for trying to figure out where the couple who had been just in front of me totally disappearing on the first part of the descent into Glen Mollachan, I looked and looked and finally looking back saw them appearing from what looked like a cave, strange..

That finishes what was a busy six month activation period for me.  I’ll soon finish the rest of the year in pt2 and cram everything else into it (hopefully)..

For the blog posts on each of these activations and of my earlier ones, follow this link HERE 

Thanks for taking the time to read this first part and I hope that it wasn’t a total bore..

You can now again click on each image to see full size in a separate window.

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Ben Lawers from Meall Nan Tarmachan

(June) Radio Days 2011

Firstly, a cracking month radio wise on the SOTA front whilst on the home VHF front, the usual contacts made on 2m. I had posted last month about taking down the 4m antenna which I had placed in my attic space, the frame is still in place but I removed the wire but it will be a 10 mins job to fit it all back in place. I had intended to rattle up a Halo type antenna for 6m but due to my appetite for golf being rekindled it is on the back burner. I now have my Shack Sloth so the relentless pursuit of points isn’t so intense although on the third Friday of the month, I had ‘chased’ Robin PKT on Meall a’Bhuraidh just before midday and knowing that he was heading to Creise, I took my handie with its ‘helically wound’ on to the golf course with me ( a two-stroke penalty ?).

the 2nd ( my 'handy' trig point , mid left )

the 2nd ( my 'handy' trig point , mid left )

Roddy 2MØIOB had let me know Robin was on the hill but he was not be heard but in my search, I found Jack COX on An Caisteal, a quick call in and with a 30ft pitch and run for a birdie, I left Jack…

I bogeyed the hole….perhaps the gaining of an extra six points put me off. The handie placed back into the golf bag and off I went to play ‘army golf’. left, right, left, right yet again.

Activation wise.

a good month with my first 10 point activation, Ben Lawers bagged…read about it <HERE> and following that 10 days later, a return trip to Beinn Eich but this time I repeated my 2009 double activation with Doune Hill. An eight point jaunt ! read about the Eich/Doune trip <HERE>. One ‘story’ I never mentioned on the Lawers blog post, I was just over half way to the summit of Beinn Ghlas when I saw someone descending with a spade across his backpack. He stopped to chat and I asked if he had been forewarned about my impending doom, he laughed and said he had cleared some of the water run-off areas on the path. I did get a strange look though.

Ben Lawers from Meall Nan Tarmachan

Ben Lawers from Meall Nan Tarmachan

Chasing….

First one was a summit to summit (STS) with Derek MIX who was on the summit of Knott in the Lake District area, I had come across Derek whilst I was on Lawers. Two days later, Alan TXY was working from one of my favourite hills Beinn a’Mhanaich along with his nephew Scott SWC, it was Scott’s first activation…also our fellow blogger Roddy 2MØIOB ably assisted by Mrs IOB on his activation of the Cowal hill of Beinn Mhor, Roddy’s blog report <HERE>. A busy Saturday indeed.

The following weekend was my dual activation and two STS’s with Robin PKT, one from Eich and the other from Doune Hill, Robin was on Ben Hiant in the Ardnamurchan peninsula, this hill is a ‘to do’ as the views from its top are impressive from images posted online. The other STS was with our old friend Neil who was on Beinn Bhalgairean south-east from Dalmally. One week later, Iain WJZ activated Ben Cluech, the highest summit in the Ochil Hills, I stayed at home for this one as the weather was not too good for ascending any of my local hills. Later that day, Caroline ZCB appeared on Meall Greigh which is one of the Lawers Munro hills, Caroline and hubby Martyn were up for their annual activation week in GM land. The following day, Caroline appeared on Stobinnean, I think I could have used the proverbial piece of wet string as its summit just peeks over Kilotter above the village of Cardross on the opposite bank of the Clyde from me, it only shows when the sun drops in the winter months when snow is lying.

Three days later, Robin PKT popped up on the same summit after I caught him on his first hill, the steep-sided Ben More, he then appeared on the summit of Stobinnean, I worked him both times on 2m FM. Later that day, Caroline popped up in the Trossachs on Ben Vane. I had a quick chat with Caroline as they were heading back south on the Saturday.

The next day, I caught the relentless Robin PKT on another dual activation, both over 1,100m in height, first the aforementioned Meall a’Bhuraidh but I failed to chase him on Creise. 4 10 pt’ers in two days, I did Lawers and was stiff for a week ( a bit less !). Finally that day, I got Jack COX on An Caisteal ( see previous reference to this)…a good month point wise.

HF..

A funny month propagation wise, it was dead to me most days but came alive most evenings with occasional forays on to10m thrown in. Nothing of much to report except a throwback to my school geography days when I saw the name Svalbard appearing, the operator was getting swamped by European stations, I did try but at that time, no chance. I had a look around the other bands when I thought time for a wee bit of SWL’ing and lo and behold the JW station was cq’ing, off went the ‘him to me’ call and voilà ! I had Svalbard, a new DXCC country, luck or what ?

WSPR

5 watts only

5 watts only

A few forays into modes, WSPR is excellent to leave running in the background whilst I do other stuff on the computer or laze and watch some tv. I tend to concentrate on the 20m band but have occasionally visited the 10m band on occasion.

ROS.

Daily look to see what is happening although I did have a surprise contact mid June, I was sending out a general CQ call on 20m ROS and noticed the 15m band had a few Euro stations calling, I tuned my dipole and headed to15m and had just sent out a general CQ and I saw I had been ‘picked’ up in South Korea albeit with a lowish signal, as an aside to this I had earlier that day updated the ROS programme to its latest version and was watching the screen when I saw the ‘GM7 de’ coming through onto the ROS screen and next came the DS prefix and then the programme ‘hung’, I quickly restarted said programme and immediately sent out more CQ’s on 15m but apart from a couple of Europeans nothing else ‘came’ back, I checked my eQSL account later and found a card from the South Korean station confirming our ‘QSO’, a bad time for it to freeze….it hasn’t happened since, dilemma DXCC or not ? This programme tells you who is sending out CQs and on what band, a bit DX clustery ? but you will get reports from who ‘hears’ you even if they are only monitoring the frequency and will upload to pskreporter.

For Ben Hiant photos, try Geograph

(February) Radio Days

 

 

A slight wait to post this review of my previous months radio stuff, I have included relevant photos to the post but as a wee treat, these were taken last summer when the sun was at its highest and warmest. Oh for a lazy day or two on the hills, I may do some HF from some lowish one pointers this year!!!

VHF…

Been more active on these bands outside SOTA work. Mostly on 2m FM with an occasional shout out on 4m FM.

SOTA…

Another busy month on the ‘chasing’ front.

Steve INK was the first contact of the month, I caught Steve on Stob an Eas working 60m, I know HF. Next in the log was Bob AWV who activated Ben Bowie, my nearest ‘Marilyn‘ as the crow flies, this hill was to be activated a few times over Jan and Feb, the contact with Bob was on 2m FM. The next day, can you guess who activated the aforementioned hill, Steve INK had a quick call on 4m FM and  I caught him.

Looking to Arran from Ben Bowie

Looking to Arran from Ben Bowie

The following week I spoke to Iain WJZ from Meall Corranaich from my home location but I later headed to my 1000ft mast to catch him on his second hill of the day, Meall a’Choire Leith, both hills being in the Ben Lawers range.

The next day, Neil 2MØNCM activated a snowy Stob Coire Creagach near Butterbridge, a wet ascent with a snowy summit. A right dirty sounding day.

Next in the log was Iain, WJZ who activated Ben Lawers whilst later that day I worked Alan, XXP on Hart Fell from my regular perch on the hill above me.

The last weekend was busy with firstly, a catch of Bob AWV on Beinn Eich and the following day, I ‘chased’ regular activators from my 1000ft mast firstly Graeme 2MØGIL on Meall Gainmheich then followed by Alan XXP who was SW of me on Trahenna Hill, this QSO was on 4m FM and lastly to the north, Neil 2MØNCM who travelled to Beinn Chuirn in the Cononish area.

Ben Lawers

Ben Lawers

A busy month indeed with a good haul of chasing points achieved. Rolling on towards achieving the 1,000 pt.

HF…

Still working away on the bands between 40m and 12m, 10m has been opening occasionally but I have not been on air at the time but this augurs well for the coming months. European stations mostly with the odd trip across the pond. It will get interesting once 12m and 10m open more on a regular basis.

Trips out ( local)…

My 1000ft mast ( Corlic) was used to test out a 2 ele 2m portable yagi built by Roddy 2MØIOB, it was also used on my trip to Hillside Hill which is part of the Dunrod Hill area. I, as usual, headed up to the golf course hill, High Auchinleck (I’m assured that is its name) to catch the odd activation, it is more fun and rewarding to collect the points from outside the shack.

(December) Radio Days

VHF….

Last month of 2010 and still 2m is relatively quiet, I did have a few calls occasionally on 70cms, both FM and SSB but nothing. I had the usual occasional QSO on 2m.

SOTA…

No activations but a busy, busy month with two new Scottish Mountain Goat activators, first to reach 1,000 pts was Iain, WJZ who built up to reaching his points total with an activation on snow covered Ben Cruachan, a fitting hill on which to achieve the total. Later in the month after multiple December activations, Allan BJP also reached the magic total with a visit to Binnean Nan Gobhar, east of Loch Lomond. Neil NCM headed North late in the month to visit Tullich Hill.

Ben Lomond summit from the Ptarmigan Ridge
Ben Lomond summit from the Ptarmigan Ridge

My first points of the month came from Iain, WJZ who was on a snowbound Ben Lomond, one week later, Iain was on Hart Fell, this time I had nipped up to the trig point on my local hill, 650 ft ASL. Iain was on Earls Seat the following day whilst Allan BJP was activating Beinn Bhreac at roughly the same time of day.

The following Saturday, Allan BJP activated a trio of Luss Hills, Beinn Eich, Doune Hill and lastly Cruach an t-Sidhean, the weather at times on this activation sounded pretty uncomfortable but Allan had walked out through Glen Luss. The next day, Iain WJZ qualified  Ben Cruachan, a hill unusually not overly activated, his 1,000pts had been achieved.

Near the end of the month, BJP crept nearer the 1,000pts with a visit of Beinn Dubh.

Neil NCM finally headed north and activated Tullich Hill whilst 60 mins later that day, Alan achieved his 1,000pts on activating Binnean Nan Gobhar.

A great month for ‘chasing’ but also to see the fourth and fifth SOTA Scottish ‘Mountain Goat’ awards being achieved.

HF….

Nothing different from the recent previous months, basically roamed the bands from 40m to 12m. European contacts in the main, new DXCC in Corsica. A quiet month for me on HF.

WSPR..

I did almost no WSPR work in December although a look on occasion to see what was happening in the forum.

Odds….

Have a few irons in the fire , hopefully get these going in late January