Tag Archives: Ben Donich

(Dec) Radio Days……

The end of another years radio work, a hobby ? it could be if I slowed things down.

The year was covered in my two-part 2012 Retrothingy posts (see bottom of this post for links).

Let’s get going…


No activations more due to the weather which for most part was rain, rain and more rain. There were a few hardy souls venturing out on to the summits and as you will read, it turned out into the ‘Iain WJZ show’, all those months ‘Down Under’ yearning for the rain-soaked hills of Scotland ?. Mad I say.

Ben Donich trig point

Ben Donich trig point

Without further adieu, here is the ‘chasing’ bit..

On the first day of the month, three stations took to the summits. I headed to my usual Lurg Moor area trig and as I arrived I worked the aforementioned Iain to the north of me on Ben Challum. I knew fellow blogger Graeme 2MØGIL was heading to Ben Donich and although I could have worked Iain and Graeme from home with no problems, I thought time to get out and have the cobwebs blown away.

Whilst waiting on Graeme, Bob AWV turned up on Beinn Ruadh which was to the WNW of me on the Cowal peninsula, I could see the summits of both Donich and Ruadh from my location. Donich had a fair covering of snow as I found out when finally making contact with Graeme plus I knew the dangers of this hill in the snow. Fissures abound on the upper slopes adjacent to the path. The day was over as I finished working Graeme so it was the long way home.

The following day I caught Iain on Glas Maol, the highest point of the Mounth Hills and a part of the Glenshee Ski Centre plus the county top of Angus. I had used the beam from the home QTH to catch Iain and nab a good contact at 130km plus.

The following weekend, Iain was on Tullich Hill in the Glen Douglas area, a hill I then pencilled in for my first activation of ’13 (weather changed the venue). Two days later, Iain crossed to the east side of Loch Lomond and climbed the ‘Ben.

To finish December and ’13, I spoke with Iain on Ben Ledi and after a call from Steve UAU saying that Colwyn YCJ was on Meall an t-Seallaidh, a Corbett to the west of Loch Earn. A quick word with both and my SOTA year was finished as I missed those who headed out on Boxing Day. I had taken my packed rukkie to on my Xmas NE visit but King’s Seat will have to wait until another day, it was the hill that started off the discussion about ‘white’ trig points HERE.

Tullich Hill from Glen Douglas © Neil 2MØNCM

Tullich Hill from Glen Douglas © Neil 2MØNCM


I spent most time using JT65 with the odd visit to the JT9-1 frequencies. I did return to PSK on occasion. A couple of new DXCC‘s in Iraq and Lebanon and the continuing search to work States to get my WAS, I’ve still 16 to go, I’m in for a long haul I think.

JT 9-1 still has some activity but I seem to ‘miss’ it…


I did more work with the dongle SDR stuff as I had ordered a upconverter (see image) to use in with the 820 tuner chip. I set up everything one evening when the HF bands were quiet and after following this short instructional video HERE, I was listening to AM stations in the 49m band area. I’ve packed all away as other things have taken up my time but I must return and do more work in this area to follow-up the earlier posts on SDR. This being able to incorporate the HF band opens up all sorts of possibilities. Looking forward to it..

SDR dongle earlier posts –  HERE and HERE

Upconverter available from HERE plus all documentation is HERE.

2012…Retrothingy posts – Pt 1 and the last bit

Upconvertor for SDR dongle

Upconvertor for SDR dongle

New contributor..

As you will have seen in the earlier blog post, Lance Mhor has joined us to regale us with stories of the saddle although he informs me that the present saddle could do him some damage, the blog has since purchased him a new gel one to ease the pain.

I’m sure you will as a regular reader remember the post where Bob’s rucksack wrote a guest post but if not the post is HERE


Found links to an old Reporting London TV report of CB in London (circa 1981)

Click Pt 1 HERE and Pt 2 HERE

Believe me, it is seriously worth a look….

A big 10.10, good buddies or ‘Root Toot am oot !!’

Once again, thanks goes to Wikipedia, Peakbagger and to Neil 2MØNCM for allowing me the use of his atmospheric image of Tullich Hill.

To embiggen images, click on image.


Beinn Narn…….Rain ?????

The planned outing on the Saturday was cancelled on Friday evening due to the strengthening East winds.

The map printouts which I’ve previously mentioned were still to be used and it was the top one which kept catching my eye, the Arrochar Alps. Mmmmm?

SOTA Activation of Beinn Narnain GM/SS 016 17th June 2012

SOTA Activation of Beinn Narnain GM/SS 016 17th June 2012

A check on Sunday’s weather forecast on the Met Office site, it said cloudy then the sun was to appear mid afternoon, I had to ask Katie first as she would have to ‘taxi’ me. Some of the old Bawb charm and it was on….

I’d everything packed ready so it was an empty of my rukkie and a recheck to make sure everything was there, I did pack another layer as the forecasted temperature was to be in single figures for 900m and over.

I had a quick keek out of the window about 5.30am and the sky was clear, Lomond’s summit was showing and no cloud was seen looking towards Donich and Cnoc Coinnish. Excellent. I started to prepare everything very quietly as everyone else were still in dreamland.

I stacked everything at the front door and then had a leisurely breakfast whilst waiting to head away. I posted an alert and packed the car, okay I flung everything on the back seat.

I remarked whilst on the Erskine Bridge and later towards Luss that the road had been strangely quiet for a Sunday morning but off towards Tarbet and the usual below 30 mph drive through Tarbet as it is very prone to someone standing with a radar gun pointing at you as head towards Arrochar.

The car park was reasonably full as we arrived and I got kitted up and waved goodbye as I crossed the road. I headed up the track through woodland which I knew is infested especially on a still cloudy morning like today with the midge. I got bitten occasionally as I rose in height among the trees not wanting to stop as I knew the consequences. I met and passed a large group from the Glasgow area whom I kept passing and getting passed by on my way up the path which finally leaves the wooded area behind, a fresh cool breeze was coming down the through the airy glen between the Cobbler and Beinn Narnain.

the Cobbler from ascent

the Cobbler from ascent

After an hour, it was time for to be fed and watered. I looked either side of me and the tops and lower down were shrouded in mist, not what I had hoped for. Roddy had alerted to me that fellow PARC member Craig HCF was heading just to the SW of me on Ben Donich. I started the steady climb up the glen floor on a well maintained path.

I reached the junction of the path at the bealach where routes to Ime, the Cobbler and my target Narnain break off, just under 1,000 ft of height still to gain.

The bealach and path was in a drier condition than I expected especially after the deluge that fell the previous day. A worn and occasionally rocky path headed slowly upwards towards what looked like a very claggy summit but I kept going until I met the more serious of two rocky scrambles over large scree rock, little did I know the after this one, the summit was within reach.

About three-year ago, Euan had originally wanted me to go with him up the direct route from Arrochar and on a day like it was today, I’m glad I chose the what would be called the ‘Tourist Route’ and for once, I never questioned ‘why I was doing this ?’…

The trig point eventually came in sight through the cloud, I had summitted. A quick look at the trig, it is a pity all the trig points were not built in this style. I looked around and found a sheltered bit to the east of the trig and settled down to grab a quick bite and set up for 4m, I chatted with someone who had arrived via the direct route then I called out on 4m and called and called. No takers here today. A hit and miss band lately.

Beinn Narnain Trig point

Beinn Narnain Trig point

Whilst calling, I assembled the 5 ele yagi for 2m and then took down the 4m JPole, attached the beam and first call, I worked Craig HCF on Ben Donich which fleetingly appeared and disappeared as it suddenly got cooler, next in the log was Stuart OXQ from Paisley then a third PARC member Roddy 2MØIOB called in from Gourock. The cloud then got thicker and as it chilled down, the rain came on lightly at first so I thought, a quick activation but I called again on S20 and worked Rick CIN from SW Ayrshire. I next worked Jack COX from the Lanarkshire area, I had heard Jack on my way up the last ascent and had wondered if he was out and about but not today. Billy AHJ from Glasgow then Barrie KZX from Dumbarton popped in.

The rain had now started to get heavier and I spent some time trying to cover everything up but I nipped back to s20 and worked Morgan CDW then Eric FSZ from Girvan and after a quick chat about the previous day, it was back to call again and Alan VCV from Greenock answered my call followed by Andy, USU a regular chaser from Falkirk.

Finally I was to work Martin, PXI who was on the summit of Brown Carrick Hill just south of Ayr, Martin wasn’t doing SOTA so a chasing point and a STS lost. I called again on s20 and searched through the band but nothing was heard or answered my call. It was still raining so a quick break down of the station then it was time to head off a wet summit. I looked for the cairn and headed off down the path I had come up. I’d had been earlier asked if I wanted to head back down the direct route but I thought as the rocky parts would possibly be slippy with the rain I would be safer going off the way I had arrived.

A brief glimpse of Loch Long

A brief glimpse of Loch Long

As I left the summit, possibly about a couple of hundred feet lower I came out of the clag to what looked as if the weather was starting to clear and I could see most of the surrounding hills, Ime was still hidden beneath cloud which was a pity as I intend to return to activate it. The mysterious summit awaits me at some point in the future. I headed down to the bealach taking care as I descended the now damp grass.

I was back on the main path back towards the forest area and enjoyed the descent passing the famous Narnain Boulders, I finally got a signal on my phone and arranged my lift back home.  Dropping steadily I reached the forested area where I again never tarried due to the curse. I met a walker who had rather sillily stopped and was being eaten alive, classic midge attack.

Looking down Loch Long

Looking down Loch Long

I reached the car park and waited on Katie then it was off home to dry everything out.

12 contacts on a day which turned for the worse weather wise but I’d bagged another Munro, I’m now about 3% towards compleating them haha. Looking back on it, it was worthwhile getting out and the weather obviously put literally a damper on the day. I’ve decided to go back to the old Bawb activating weather, blue sky and no clouds before I head…

A good day spoiled by the lack of a view from the top but who knows I may return.

Thanks goes to Wikipedia and to those I have linked to.

Narnain Facts…

928m (3,044 ft)

a Munro, Marilyn..

translated as ‘the hill of notches’

Munro number 259

GeoHack info HERE

Climbing info HERE

Other info…

Local climbing history HERE ( I think the video links are down)

Click on images to view full size !!

Narnain Ascent route

Narnain Ascent route

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.

(March) Radio Days…2011

I thought I had posted this as ‘Latest Post’ on the wall but the post was hidden in the ‘Musings’ section…plus I thought I’d better add the year to the post title as it could get a bit confusing if you search for any of these posts.

Beinn Ime

Beinn Ime

I think the format of this monthly post as it is turning out to be a blow-by-blow account of my SOTA chasing for the relevant month. I’ve a few ideas rattling about in my mostly empty head and I’ll see if anything suits.


Still spending some time on 2m and the occasional visits to 4m and 70cm.



Two this month, a misty visit to the Trossachs and the summit of Ben Venue, most memorable for the antics of Roddy IOB and his crossing of a snow field and finally a jaunt up Ben Donich for the SOTA UHF Fun Day on the last Sunday of the month.


First points ‘chased’ this month were from Bob AWV who was activating Beinn Dubh near Luss whilst we were on the cloudy summit of Ben Venue. The following day was again busy out in the hills as first, I ‘chased’ fellow blogger Neil 2MØNCM who was out on Broughton Heights followed by Alan XXP who appeared on Black Mount and as is usual, I also worked Alan on 4m FM. Later that day, I worked a MM6 station who was on Duncolm, I pointed him toward the SOTA website but no points for this one.

In what was another good ‘chasing’ day, Robin PKT activated Beinn Odhar in the Tyndrum area and was quickly followed by another fellow blogger, Graeme GIL who was in the Campsies on the summit of Earls Seat, a busy day in which I got some contacts from my local summit and finished the day at home.

One week later, only XXP was out, I walked up to the top of the golf course to work Alan on 4 and 2m. Unfortunately I have approx a 200 ft tall solid lump of igneous rock to the SE and S of me. The hill itself is 659 ft ASL but is a quick, handy and easy summit to get to.

Ben Donich from Beinn an Lochain

Ben Donich from Beinn an Lochain

The next weekend was the test of Roddy’s 2m beam, we headed for higher ground on the border of Port Glasgow and Greenock. Iain WJZ had alerted for Schiehallion so that would be a good test for it and we also worked Jack COX who was on Culter Fell. The following day, Robert GUF was on Tinto and later, Neil NCM popped up on Nutberry Hill.

Finally, the last weekend saw the UHF Fun Day and as mentioned before, Ben Donich was the base for this one. First STS (summit to summit) was with Graeme GIL who was on Sgiath a’Chaise quickly followed by Robin PKT was further to the NE on Meall Ghaordaidh and to finish the day, I worked Jack COX who was across Gleann a’Chro on the summit of Ben Arthur better known as the Cobbler during our ascent off the hill.

A busy chasing month again and the quest to reach ‘Shack Sloth’ status continues.


Busy, busy month as propagation is picking up and more ‘exotic’ stations are popping up and being worked but not by me. The disadvantage of having a stealth antenna is just that but each contact is ‘worked’ for. Trips across the ‘pond’ and contacts in to Africa, Asia as well as the regular European traffic.

I never did any WSPR work this month, hopefully the higher HF bands may come more into play as the summer arrives.

‘Ben Donich from Beinn an Lochain‘ photo © Neil 2MØNCM…