Tag Archives: Cairnpapple Hill

(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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This Hill Is Becoming A ‘Habit’…..

The Red Danger Flag - 2013

The Red Danger Flag – 2013

Or more to the point, if I return to this hill I shall feel obliged to dress for the occasion.

Let me explain..

Beinn a’Mhanaich translates from the Gaelic as ‘Hill of the Monk’ . This was my fifth visit in as many years and I guess now the hill is mine to keep.

Can I just say at this point that I have used some images from earlier activations plus I have included some from this trip but will show the year in the image.

I must admit this hill although pretty featureless is one of my favourites although I am not too keen on the steepish uphill start but it has a broad ridge with a couple of quick rises to the summit cairn. There is a quad track which shows almost the length of the ascent. It is very deceiving looking from the S or SW as the summit is a largish plateau but falls off rapidly at the N end which leads you to the bealach between it and Cruach an t-Sidhein, another ‘Marilyn‘. I looked at the descent for the first time yesterday and was surprised how quickly the ground falls away although the higher of the hills in this area, Doune Hill falls away dramatically towards Glen Douglas MOD area. One notable feature is when visibility is excellent is that Ben Nevis is seen from this hill but in five visits I have only seen it once.

Looking SW towards the Firth Of Clyde - 2009

Looking SW towards the Firth Of Clyde – 2009

I keep more than an eye on weather forecasts as my job entails working outside so being prepared beforehand allows me to plan work to suit conditions. I had asked Katie (my expedition driver and nutritionist) if the weekend was free, it was and I was good to go. I do prefer getting any hill done on a Saturday as leaving it to a Sunday leaves more chance of weather not being suitable, remember now I’m a fair weather activator. Saturday proved a miserable day, Sunday it was to be. The forecast said sun, more on this later.

I had gone through the usual pre-activation ritual of getting things charged, double checking all necessities, connections and mapping  but I had decided that the FT 817 was going this trip but I only had a 7ah SLAb which is a bit heavy, I ‘picked’ up a 2.1 ah battery to try. The rukkie packed and only scran and water to be packed in the morning.

I had a quick glance out of my bedroom window at dawn and I could see a’Mhanaich, Chaorach were clear but Lomond had some cloud around 3,000 ft. Time to put the wheels in motion..

Doune Hill from aMhanaich - 2013

Doune Hill from aMhanaich – 2013

The roads were quiet as we sped towards Glen Fruin but Katie has thought it was the single track road to Eich and we flew past the turn off, two activations this year and two ‘fly past’ the turn off’s. I had a quick thoughts of Eich and Doune Hill but I quickly remembered that Glen(or Loch as I refer to it as) Mollachan would be literally afloat so it was back to the original plan.

We reached the base of the hill and I got all the equipment out from the car and as I waved Katie goodbye I headed up the  mile long first sharpish ascent. I made good time on the first mile noting I was 5 mins quicker than the last time and I passed the ‘pitstop’ and decided to take on some water and scran before I headed over the first snowfield and up the second steep rise.

Watered and fed I was glad to find the snow was hard underfoot so no problems on the three patches I had to cross and as I topped the second rise I could see two figures running up the ridge behind me in the distance, I had heard continual gunfire from the military range on the W side of the hill on my way up and wondered ‘ Fugitives?’ but I carried on and as I topped the hill at its cairn, the two runners appeared at the gate at the bottom of the last rise. I spoke briefly with them as they headed to drop down to the bealach then ‘up’ to Cruach an t-Sidhein. Keen ! Another lone runner appeared 10 mins later and panted a quick ‘Hello’ before heading back down the hill.

Heading Home -2010

Heading Home -2010

It was time to get going radio wise, I had taken just under 1 hr 40 mins (98) to get there and was pleasantly surprised, an hour improvement from my first ascent of this hill. Nice one !

I first caught Roddy 2MØIOB on my 2m handie before I set up the 4m JPole, a quick word then it was down to business. I called and called on 4m FM but eventually only Steve UAU replied to my call. I’m getting delusioned  with 4m FM as it is getting a struggle up here in Scotland, I may just start trying the 70cm band instead…..pity. Time to to throw up the 5 element yagi…

I kept threatening to sit and have some scran which in Bawb’s new healthy eating kick is home-made wholemeal bread, toasted of course. The contacts came thick and fast initially but after the first contacts I scanned the band checking for any distant SOTAists, I heard a station in North Wales on Moel Famau but all attempts to break in were being lost in the strong signals of his locals. I was to catch him much later, a good contact.

I mentioned Roddy IOB  earlier and Steve UAU on 4m, the next call in the log was Geoff AHO whom I later realised had given a talk at the Paisley AR club. I knew the callsign but didn’t realise until after he had gone. I got called by Ken AXY through in Edinburgh plus I was able to work his XYL Christine YMM later in the day.

I got called by fellow blogger Graeme 2MØGIL who was ascending Dumgoyne to the east of me, Graeme called in later from its summit. The next contact was a surprise, Jim GLM who I usually chase was turning the tables and was calling me from home in Dunfermilne, good to work Jim for the first time in ’13. The first STS (summit to summit) was Jack COX who was 76 km away on Cairnpapple Hill, the chat was short as Jack was having ‘breakthrough’ from the transmitters on a nearby hill.  Steve UAU called in from Greenock and then a contact with Tom FGI from Kilchattan Bay on the Isle of Bute, ah memories of weekends spent there fishing in the ’70s.

Looking down the Firth from BaM - 2013

Looking down the Firth from BaM – 2013

‘Mr Tinto’ Robert GUF called in from his home town of Biggar  and then a strong contact to John BOU based in Larne, NI. Tommy JOE in Darvel was next and Robin PKT called in for the second STS of the day from Beinn Chaorach 39 km to the N of me, I had spoken to Robin on his ascent.

Regular chaser Brian HMZ had driven to the Gleniffer Braes to catch the GM stations who were out, a quick word to Brian then it was off to Troon to have a quick word with Alex OAW who was mobile. My next contact decided to harangue me, it was regular activator Neil 2MØNCM with Cat CNC who was on the S side of Girvan, we had a chat before he started descending and possibly losing me, this was another role reversal as I usually chase Neil.

I had a short break for some water before working Duncan AHL for Dumbarton then it was off to Ayr to speak with John OIN. I had another go for the MW(Welsh) station I had heard, Steve UAU had called in occasionally to pass on any contact I might have a chance to catch. I eventually at the second attempt worked John BLV on the summit of Moel Famau in North Wales, another STS at a distance of approx 344kms. I worked Barrie KZX in Dumbarton before catching Iain WJZ who had headed N to activate Creag Meaghaidh on the N side of Glen Spean. Iain related the conditions which certainly were much different from mine and I was only ‘suffering’ from a high wind chill as the wind was whipping up from both Glen Luss and from Auchengaich Reservoir. I left Iain and worked Chris GPL from just SW of me in nearby Shandon.

I had headed down the band to check if any WOTA stations were about and I could hear an activation from High Rigg just outside Keswick but I couldn’t break through at all and as I called, Alastair BKQ who was on the summit of Skiddaw called me in and tried to patch me through but no joy, unfortunately. Another STS though.

It was time to call it a day and finally had some scran before calling home to arrange my lift home and as I got packed the sun appeared, typical eh ? I descended and just as i was about 200m from the road, Katie arrived so it was perfect timing.

Beinn Chaorach from a'Mhanaich - 2013

Beinn Chaorach from a’Mhanaich – 2013

A good day except for the wind chill and it was good to get out in my 3/4 shorts again.

All relevant information is in my earlier blog posts on this hill, links below.

2009 <a title=”Beinn a’Mhanaich SOTA Trip 25/7/09″ href=”https://gm7something.wordpress.com/2009/07/26/beinn-amhanaich-sota-trip

Continue reading

(Oct) Radio Days

Sitting here monitoring the 10m band whilst fuelling myself with more caffeine and trying to get the enthusiasm to head out for a few mile walk. I took a quick look at the front page of the blog earlier and realised it has been well-nigh a month since I last posted. I thought mmmm, I’ll surprise everyone by doing the Radio Days post early. I did have a part local post ready to go but I’ve not  got round to heading out to some local spot to see if I could find remnants of a rifle range long disappeared just to the SW of me, another day. I enjoy just poring over the old local area mapping available online but I’m digressing from what is the original point of this monthly post so here goes..

SOTA work….

No activations to report as only ‘chasing’ done this month and not as much in recent months. I had packed my rukkie with all the equipment on a trip up NE but due to weather and other factors I missed out.

First one in the log in October was Kenny ZUN who headed to Ben Ledi in the Trossachs area and the following day from my now regular Sunday perch at NS 303737, I chased a dual activation of Sgor Gaibhre by Adrain DHY and Colwyn YCJ and I was to catch Colwyn later on a second hill Meall na Meoig, a Corbett, both hills are to the east of Corrour station. The contacts were excellent this day as next station worked was Victor JST who had crossed the border into Eire and I worked him from his summit of Crocknasmug in NE Donegal. Crocknasmug has what could be one of the weirdest but coolest  ‘cairns’ see photo HERE. You must take a look, go on go on go on go on go on (apologies to Mrs Doyle)

5 ele beam on Lurg Moor

5 ele beam on Lurg Moor

Next in the log was Robin PKT who was on Stob Dearg, one of the two Munro summits of Buachaille Etive Mor, this hill is one of the iconic views of Scotland and if you have ever travelled to Glencoe it stands tall on your left as you approach and will hopefully play its part in something I have planned for late 2013.

Following this was Jim GLM who was on another hill known to me, Craigowl which dominates the landscape to the west of Dundee. I had plans to ‘do’ this hill but it is a hill with many military et al antennae bristling on its top. Next in the log was Brian HMZ to the east of me on Cairnpapple Hill, I had received a text from Brian advising that I could find rare DX on .525. I did find him and he forgot to log me, the rare DX is lost.

Next was a very pleasant surprise  as I spoke with oor Cat CNC on a hill both her and Neil 2MØNCM had ascended, one of the many named  Beinn Chaorach this is the one in the Tyndrum area after working both it was the previous mentioned YCJ on Meall na Meoig.

Two days later on what was an excellent sunny day, I spoke to Robin PKT on Ben Cruachan from my work base at sea level  which was a good contact on my handie but I had to go to a higher point to work Jack COX who was celebrating his 10th year of SOTA activating on Ben Lawers. Only six more years for me to do this.

Ben Lawers

Ben Lawers

The next weekend was one in which I made no contacts as I had travelled NE for the weekend but had stopped on the way home to try to catch Neil NCM just N of Peebles but nothing heard from just SW of Perth. I later found out I had passed the hill Jim GLM had been activating near Perth, ces’t la vie.

The following Sunday, perched on my usual spot at Lurg Moor trig and first in the log was Jim GLM who was on Creag na

Ciche in the Glen Shee area and after not long, I spoke with fellow blogger Graeme 2MØGIL who was just under 4,000 ft on Ben Lawers among some snow, I think Graeme was thankful of his flask of soup that day. I was enjoying a ‘crisp’ sunny day but there was a slight difference of 3,300 ft between our heights.

Robin PKT appeared on one of the Southern Scottish high points, Ben Lui whilst next in the log was Colwyn YCJ on Mam na Gualainn which is just N of the Pap of Glencoe on the very south of the Lochaber region.

Neil 2MØNCM appeared on Corradie on the Cowal penninsula this is when I discovered my ‘Homer moment’ that I had left my 4m handie on charge at home but I got Neil later on 2m, this was another virgin summit for Neil and congrats on what was a long round trip for a couple of points.

Last contact for the month was Craig HCF who was on the summit of Duncolm which is line of sight for me plus an enjoyable summit to activate although a one pointer the views and walk in and out is excellent.

Still a busy month and hopefully the snow will stay away in November although the first snow of the year in the Luss hills appeared on the 30th of this month but disappeared quickly within hours.

Duncolm from the South

Duncolm from the South

HF…

Still having an odd call on both PSK and JT65 in the data sections of the HF bands. My 7-year-old computer died on me and although I had set everything up on my laptop I waited until I got a replacement tower and since then it has been primarily JT65 with contacts to Euro, Asia and NA. The bands have been very active and some good DX is out there to work, I tend to try to be around at ‘grey line‘ time if possible.

Other Stuff…

I have given a rest to the SDR dongle side of things although I now have acquired one which uses the 820 tuner chip but have yet to set this up plus I have ordered another related piece of equipment and will wait until this arrives then get stuck in to this newish part of the hobby. Plus I’m having a look at a newish data mode JT9.1, I’ve got it set up and need to find some time and contacts with it. Too much to do and too much time wasted doing other things.

11m days

11m days

This was taken in the ’80 during what was an intense high in the then sunspot cycle, a 2 ele home-brew Quad which was later improved, 100w through this baby and the world was your oyster, great and memorable days indeed.

Graeme GIL’s blog post on Ben Lawers HERE

Old Scotland maps HERE

Thanks again got to Wikipedia, Peakbagger and WalkHighlands…

Linked image of Crocknasmug summit cairn © Jim Bloomer.

The link for Corradie goes to Beinn Bhreac which is the general hill area.

(Nov) Radio Days ’11

The regular monthly post is running rather late this month so here we go…

SOTA

One activation to report, Beinn Chaorach in the Luss Hills area. I normally do this hill mid year but due to so much else going on, I had hoped to try catch this hill at one point although not as late as this.

I headed to do this hill on a whim on an excellent day weather wise. Ben Bowie had been my original target. Blog post on the activation is HERE

A snowy Beinn Chaorach

A snowy Beinn Chaorach

Chasing…..

The first weekend of the month and on the Sat, Robin PKT was out on the summit of Meall Chuaich. The following day Graeme 2MØGIL headed to the Trossachs area to activate the highest hill in the area, Ben Ledi, Graeme’s blog post is HERE.

On the Monday, I caught Neil 2MØNCM on a line of sight hill, Duncolm in the Old Kilpatrick Hills, I spoke to Neil on both 4 and 2m. Later that day, Ian MXW was out on Cairnpapple Hill to the SW of me. Good to catch two contacts outside the weekend.

The following weekend, I headed out for a walk in the back roads and returned to the trig point at the top of the hill behind me and I worked rather surprisingly Iain WJZ, Iain was on the summit of the Merrick well to the south of me. Minutes later, I caught Neil 2MØNCM on Green Hill in the Lowthers, good to see Neil getting this hill out of the roadand again within minutes I worked Jack COX, Jack was on his regular hill, Dungavel to the south-west of me…a good haul especially as all contacts were made on the 2w Baofeng handie ( dual band duck)..

Duncolm from the South

Duncolm from the South

The next day, Neil was out further north on Beinn Odhar whilst Graeme 2MØGIL popped up again across the river from me on Ben Bowie, his blog post HERE. Robin PKT later popped up on Beinn Chlaonleud in the Morvern area just south-west of Fort William. I later worked Neil NCM on 10m ssb.

Finishing off the month, it was Neil’s turn to pop up on Bowie, a hill that is my nearest Marilyn.

A quiet month but typical November weather.

HF…

I spent probably too much time on JT65 and ignored PSK for most of the month. The usual European contacts interspersed with Asian and North American contacts but one lunchtime, I finally cracked South America with a contact into Argentina on 10m JT65, it took me long enough but that is the six continents finally worked, what next ?..

The Green Road (or Devol Rd) heading back home

The Green Road (or Devol Rd) heading back home

The rest…

Quite a few miles walked in the local area mostly to the south of me, I have a track nearby which takes me into the back roads of eastern Inverclyde. 15 mins from home and I drop down the other side of the hill but with the excessive rain the track is very muddy and puddly in places. It is good to head out and decide your route just before the bottom of the track.

One Sunday morning, I headed over the Green Rd early and had reached the top of the track where it splits the golf course, I looked down the 4th fairway to see if I could see any golfers. I saw none but surprised to see 9 ponies walking towards me……across the soft 4th green. Oh boy, not good…I contacted the greenkeeper and herded the ponies into an area where hopefully they would cause no harm. Unfortunately too late as a couple of greens got damaged on their walk to the top of the course. .at least I go to play cowboy, now where is me saddle ?