Tag Archives: Ben Oss

Ben Lomond

(July) Radio Days 2011

Another good month SOTAwise. I had two activations near the end of the month plus these were also my first ones in England (G land), I had visited the Lake District for a few days and reached the summits of Skiddaw and Dale Head.

On local VHF the local contacts were made on 2m FM whilst I did some SOTA chasing from two of my local hills, one was an activation of Corlic which now has the status being a HuMP and its official title is GM/HSS 088, which roughly translates as GM ( Scotland) H (Hump) SS (Southern Scotland) and 088 is its relevance in height total, the other local hill was Creuch which lies to the south of Greenock, I had not been there in almost two years but had frequented this hill during the old 11m days.

Chasing…

First logged contact was with on my Corlic (GM/HSS 088)activation ( unofficial as yet). Robin PKT was worked from the summit of Creag Meagaidh, approx 115 km away, a good one to start whilst Neil 2MØNCM was next on Beinn Mhor on the Cowal peninsula, I spoke to Jack on Dungavel Hill whilst waiting on Iain WJZ who I unfortunately missed due to conditions but finally working Robin again on his second summit of Beinn a’Chaorainn.

The next weekend was a quiet one due to weather but I still worked Colwyn YCJ who activated Beinn a’Bhuiridh in the Cruachan area, the following day, a single summit worked, Robin PKT was on Meall Nan Tarmachan, a hill I activated in 2010.

Meall Nan Tarmachan ridge

Meall Nan Tarmachan ridge

Robin was out and about for the next seven days, first was from the summit of Na Maoilean between Bonawe and Connal then two days later I caught him on Sgor Gaoith which under the conditions was a good contact, next was Beinn Euniach and Beinn a’Chochuill. On the second last Saturday Robin PKT was on Ben Oss and Beinn Dubhchraig whilst I worked Ian WJZ on Ben Starav, a hill in my ‘Etive triangle’ and finally that day,Jack COX was on Ben Challum.

The next trip out for me was to Creuch Hill south of Greenock, a good day weather wise with cracking views led to contacts with fellow PARC members Craig on Ben Bowie, Graeme 2MØGIL on Ben Lui then Iain WJZ on Stob Dubh and finally Robin PKT on Stob Ghabhar altogether a worthwhile hike to Creuch.

The Lake District chases were all STS (summit to summit) on my visit. On Skiddaw I worked John VCO on Arnside Knott, Dave JDH on Pillar and finally, JImmy EYP in the Borders area on Slighty Crag. The last one for the month was a STS with with Jimmy EYP who was still in the same area  but this time was on the top of Peel Fell. The month wasn’t finished with on the last weekend, I worked Robin PKT on the summit of Starav and finally on the Sunday, fellow club member Brian MM1HMZ braved a wet and windy summit of Ben Lomond, well done fella !

Ben Lomond

Ben Lomond

A good month point wise considering the occasional rainy day, PKT was out in force and also good to see PARC members out activating.

HF…

Conditions have not been the best this month but I have been spending more time than usual on the lower bands, still mostly working psk31 but had a foray into looking at working some Olivia but I obviously was searching in the wrong places as I could not find any signals in the couple of sessions I had put aside for this, conditions mostly paid a part in this.

I have towards the very end of the month been looking another data mode JT65 using the interface programme JT65HF, initial results have been encouraging but more of this next month.

ROS ? due to the looking at other data modes, ROS has been lying on the back burner but I shall return to it soon. I still occasionally use WSPR especially when propagation looks out or I’m doing something else ( watching Baseball, mostly)…

Ahead…

Plans are being construed as we speak for a SI activation in Sept, I’ll need to try up my fitness for that one and let’s hope the weather will be good for it. If not a weekend away should be fun.

More ‘playing’ about with the regular data modes with a bit more time using JT65HF I think as some DX stations have popped up. I guess my SWL days have come back, the difference between then and now is considerable as you had CW, voice or RTTY only. Are we going away from the tradional methods or more likely, it is evolving quickly as the internet has taken hold of our pastime.

I must admit the information available on line regarding help with any installation problems etc really helps greatly.

If bored , go look at my two new pages with some of my boring old stuff on them..

‘My SOTA Activations’ and ‘Radio Days’….

As usual, I will probably edit and add to this, I tend to tweak a lot.

Once again, a big thanks to Wikipedia…

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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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Funny Hats…..and the 1000 ft mast

For about a year now, I’ve been calling our fellow blogger, Neil… ‘Funny Hat Man’ as he has a collection of, in my opinion, wacky ‘hats’ or Buffs as they are called ( I’m reliably informed). Little did I know that plans were taking place down South Ayrshire way to convert yer man to wearing them, I had once again referred to Neil as ‘Funny Hat Man’ in an email and soon after I received a picture message from Cat asking me which one did I prefer.

There was a choice of three, the centre one of ‘love hearts’ on a dark background was definitely out as even I couldn’t carry that off. I made a choice and within a day, the said article arrived via the post. Thanks to you both ( esp Cat)

The look of disbelief on my kids faces had to be seen, ‘What age are you ?, ‘Surely not ?’ were amongst the advice and giggles offered. I felt I had a duty to give it a go…..you can see in the photo.

Bob with hat

Bob with hat

Now to the radio side of things…

The ‘Alerts’ page on the Sunday morning was alive with GM activations all on high summits, email communications flew back and forth so I decided it was to be a trip to my 1000 ft mast.

I was taken to the Greenock end of the track into Corlic from just south of the Whinhill golf course, I stuck on my ‘funny hat’ and got Katie to take this photo as proof ( she forgot to tell me to tuck my chins in ). The weather was warm with a steady light breeze from the south west as I headed along the track which is tarred until the MOD mast when it turns to a rough farm track, I reached the base of the hill and headed over the stile and 5 mins later stood at the summit. It is a rise of approx 150 ft, looking back I could see other walkers heading towards the hill.

I switched on my 2m handie and immediately heard Jack COX who was talking to Graeme 2MØGIL, I quickly set up the 2m beam and pegged the mast and made contact with Graeme who was on Beinn Dubhnchraig, Graeme had intended to also ‘activate’ Ben Oss later in mid afternoon but as we spoke, Neil 2MØNCM was heading to the summit of Ben Oss. Neil had as usual, sent me his position on the hill so I could keep track of his progress.

I next caught Alan EYO who is up in Scotland on a four day ‘activation’ holiday, he was on Schiehallion, a quick chat and he was off to find the other lads who were already on the tops. I had a ‘scran’ break and had a few words with some walkers who had arrived at the summit, one told his wee lass that the man is ‘broadcasting’….Radio Bawb anyone? experience ? I DJ’ed in the early/mid 70s in the heyday of Disco…

The handie was switched back on and I heard Robin PKT calling from Geal-charn, I called back and we moved to another frequency, signal reports back and forth were pretty weak but all words were understood and contact made, more points in the bag. I then got called by a couple of stations in the Lanarkshire area, WNR/P and VYU and whilst working them, Jack COX called in to give me the chasing points for Meall Corranaich before he took off for another hill, another eight points bagged !

I caught up with Neil 2MØNCM and made the contact to Ben Oss and whilst talking to Neil, Alan XXP called in as he was nearing the summit of Ben Lui and said he would be on about 20 mins. I spoke to Neil then left him to chase the other activators for his STS’s (summit to summit).

Alan XXP soon appeared so I got to work him on 2m FM with the usual sked arranged to work him on 4m FM, Neil also had his 4m handie and dipole so we had a four way QSO once Graeme 2MØGIL arrived on the summit of Oss, superb.

I decided it was time to head back to the hacienda and I broke down everything so it was off to descend my usual trip through occasional knee deep heather and bog, I had a quick look at the old burn controls as I neared the road between Greenock and Kilmacolm and headed north along the roadside until I cut through a gap in a fence and headed past the Harelaw and Knocknair reservoirs and traisped over the fields to the golf course where I headed down home, five mins away.

A cracking day out with a good walk in, a fine days ‘chasing’ and an excellent walk home in almost perfect weather plus a few hours spent talking to those who ascended much higher hills than mine…

One of the activators arrived home just after midnight….who says radio isn’t fun ?

The ‘cairn’ in the photo ‘Remnant of the Second World War’ is possibly related to the Whitelees Decoy station or the MOD building which is now a telecommunications station ( I think). A lot of activity took place on the this area above Greenock during the Second World War.

Once I claim all the points, I have 98 left to achieve my goal of Slothdom...onwards and upwards plus what is next ? A bottle of Fizz awaits.

Whilst ‘Googling’, I found this. It is part of a poem by Daniel King..

No more by the river, lake, or deep fountain,
No more over Corlic, high hill, or mountain,
In deep musing mood will he wander alone ;