Tag Archives: Corlic Hill

(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.

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A New Hill For Me…..

Hillside Hill…

not exactly an imaginative name although it being a sister hill to Dunrod Hill. It is part of the same hill group but is only 1m less in height ASL than Dunrod. A cairn adorns the summit which as I found out was exposed to the wind when it comes from the East. An excellent view can be had in all directions but unfortunately there was poor visibility but the main local high spots were visible, last week’s hill Corlic is to the E, Creuch Hill, the highest by far in the area at 1,300 plus ft was occasionally in cloud to the S, Dunrod to the west roughly 500m away.

I had set off with the plan of working both WJZ and Neil 2M0NCM who had SOTA declared. I travelled through Greenock and headed southwards along the single track road known as the ‘Old Largs Road’ and just before the road heads towards the ‘Back of The World‘, we took a right turn to take us to the Greenock Cut Visitor Centre car park mentioned previously in the blog.

Having left the car which then headed back home, I headed up over the stile and along a damp grass path until I reached the foot of the hill proper now it goes straight up but the track  zigzags to ease the ascent until you reach a gap which heads towards Dunrod Hill when you notice a slight track heading N to Hillside. A short climb and you quickly reach the summit.

A cairn marks the high spot whilst on the west side of hill, some snow was still lying, the wind by this time was racing through at a pelt. I found a nook and set up my mast just in case if needed. A cup of hot tea to warm myself first then off to look for contacts, Roddy IOB had called so we had a ragchew and later from the Old Kilpatrick Hills, ECO called in. I then monitored S20 and later than planned, Iain WJZ called from Ben Venue.

A move to 145.450 and another four chaser points were in the bag, his ascent sounded quite eventful. I listened and ‘tested’ the beam to see who and what distance I could get. Central Scottish stations through to Edinburgh were heard with no problem, the North Ayrshire hills were keeping signals for the S and SW from coming through to me.

I had texted and later phoned Neil 2M0NCM who was on Criffel nr Dumfries but this was not the day to hook up. I had previously on 11m worked Criffel regularly from my local hill but I had chosen this hill as a change today. I had heard Alan XXP call in to WJZ when he was near the top of Hart Fell, I eventually with the help of Neil NCM found him, the signal was weak both ways but contact made so eight points were the total for the day. I then broke down everything and after another cuppa I decided to head N and follow a faint path which descended and took me round the nearest hill and eventually joined a well-kept rough Water Board track. Scroggy Bank antenna farm was in the distance so after a good pace along the track, Scroggy Bank was passed. From the mast, it looks as if it is a microwave relay station.

It was now a downhill walk towards the start of the Greenock Cut, I had heard Roddy IOB calling me on S20 but never made contact until I reached a spot which gave me a view up the river valley, I headed down the track and started down towards Greenock, Katie arrived so I said goodbye to Roddy and headed home.

A walk of approx 6km done mostly on grass and rough track using paths I haven’t used before, the tracks were busy with Sunday walkers plus the local trail bikers were roaming the hills.

In true fashion, the weather started to brighten as I got in the car but still a good day out.

Where is Hillside Hill map <HERE>

Wikipedia article on nearby Loch Thom/Greenock Cut <HERE>

Photos below in the Gallery,

not the best day for photography as air clarity was pretty poor.

2010…that was the year that was…part one

2010..

Since I wrote the blog post ‘12 months have past’, a few personal ambitions for 2010 have been achieved.

SOTAwise higher summits have been activated, a few have been revisited.

Visits to Hill of Stake, Beinn a’Mhanaich, Beinn Chaorach, Meikle Bin, Meall Nan Tramachan, Ben Lomond, Ben Donich, Goat Fell, Ben Bowie and finally a return journey to the top of Beinn Eich.

Not as many hills as last year but logisitics came into play.

Achieving a * ‘one point’ hill is still the same as the achievement of any hill, we have been blessed with magnificent scenery in our country. The views vary from sea level to the highest summit but each has its own unique highs.

The views from Meall Nan Tarmachan at 1044 m (3,425 ft) ASL on the perfect ‘blue sky’ day I activated it were tremendous, to the East you can see its sister hill Ben Lawers then to the north-east, the Cairngorm range whilst over to the north-west stood our highest mountain Ben Nevis and finally to the south-west Ben More , Stob BinneanBen Lomond and Beinn Ime stood out, superb scenery indeed. In contrast, the 360 view from Ben Bowie at 313m (1027 ft) ASL to Loch Lomond, the Firth of Clyde and westward to the Cowal hills was as enjoyable.

For 2010, I had started each activation not on my regular 2m FM but on 4m FM (70 mhz ), slow progress was being made during these  activations until I finally had my first hill fully activated on the 4m band, Goat Fell on the Isle of Arran took the honours, I had worked eight stations in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. What will next years band of choice be ? I think 70 cms possibly with 2 and 4m of course.

The activating year started with the Hill of Stake, I chose a ‘wintry’ frosty day as this is a very wet route in normal conditions, the first 4m contacts were made, 2m FM as usual made the most contacts. Next were return visits to a’Mhanaich and Chaorach, these hills  are presently covered with snow whilst I write this.

The highlights hillwise were Meall Nan Tarmachan which had been the first Munro I had climbed since the mid ’70s, Ben Lomond, another hill I can see from here and Goat Fell was with thanks to Roddy IOB, a most enjoyable day ! The downside of the Goat Fell activation was the ‘carry out’ (take away) suppers we had whilst waiting on the ferry plus one of our fellow bloggers advice that the start of the climb wasn’t that far away, you know who you are.

Activating the Corbett Ben Donich was my 2010 personal highlight, a hill of just over 847m (2,778 ft) often overlooked because of its more famous neighbours at Arrochar. Neil NCM had activated this hill in 2010 and as I normally do I checked out the route etc (Neil had kindly sent me photos of the route), I decided I wanted to climb this hill and I was not disappointed. An excellent hill which proves you do not have to climb the highest hills to meet satisfaction, one I recommend, the view down Loch Goil towards the Firth of Clyde was in my opinion, simply stunning.

Best contact ?

they all are but one ‘summit to summit’ contact stands out, I ‘worked’ GC0000, a club call used by John who was on the summit of Tal Y Fan (GW/NW-040), a hill situated in the Carneddau mountains of North Wales, I was on the summit of Beinn Chaorach (GM/SS 062) in the Luss Hills area, a 322 km contact, a cracker. No reports of any ‘lift’.

I also made a contact from Beinn Eich into the Lake District to Great Calva, Phil a M0 station was using a handie with a 40cm helically wound ‘duck’ type antenna. The hill is a WOTA summit.

Contacts were made into England, Wales, Northern Ireland, Ireland and of course, Scotland over the year.

I have no problem revisiting hills to activate, the hills which are ‘near’ to me are mostly all within an hour of my house and if like me, you have to rely on others to get you there.

Those who have read the blog have noticed that my ‘rucksack’ had humorously written a post about life with me, I’ll forgive it but I’ve changed my password and details since, just in case.

The usual visits to Corlic, one of my local hills were documented too, this year a mix of HF and VHF, an excellent place to do some HF portable testing, I must admit I should have out more often. Next year maybe.

SOTA Chasing…

A good year pointwise..

I’m well on track to break 680 points in total since the beginning of 2009 with 60% coming this year, my target of 1,000 is slowly getting there, over 95% of the points are VHF and although HF could speed up my rate of points, Ill concentrate on VHF as long as the excellent activators we have here in Scotland are active.

My thanks go  to all those who have taken the time to ‘work’ me when I have been out activating also a ”big’ thanks once again to those regular activators who suffer all sorts of weather to let us ‘chasers’ get our points.

Part Two, coming soon

* – For the SOTA scoring system explanation HERE refer to section 3.11

Picasa photos of each activation –

Hill Of Stake Beinn a’Mhanaich Beinn Chaorach Meikle Bin Ben Lomond

Meall Nan Tarmachan Goat Fell Ben Donich Ben Bowie Beinn Eich

You Tube summit panoramas  – GM7something

Another Visit To My Fiefdom

Yes, it’s that hill again…

The forecast on Saturday afternoon looked good for the Sunday, I waited until the early morning to make a decision. It was thick with fog and wet early Sunday morning, all was off.

The morning still was foggy but mid morning started to clear slightly, I decided to head to Corlic, on two points, a GM activation on 5mhz was posted and also be prepared for any 2m SOTA. I had to check if my 60m attempt on Ben Bowie was due to poor propagation or the vertical antenna was inefficient on 60m.

The winter bag was packed but was still weighty with the 12v SLAb inside it. I took along the 4m and 2m handies and as I set off on the ascent, I switched on 2m FM and listened on the ascent. I had expected the ascent to be pretty mucky but was surprised it was no wetter than usual. I slogged through the marshy bits ( there are no paths or tracks) via the usual high spots until I arrived at the summit. It felt good to be back here again. As I said in a previous blog post, I must have first stood on this summit almost half a century ago.

I placed down the equipment in the usual spot, just 10 m to the east of the trig point. I had a quick word with a walker who had arrived just before me, he had taken the track from the west.

I started to quickly erect the Rybakov vertical, just in time to catch Andy, FMF on 5mhz on top of The Sow Of Atholl (also known as Meall an Dobharchain) near the Pass of Drumochter, I called in on his QRZ and made the contact immediately, we passed signal reports etc and I left Andy working into England and Northern Ireland. I listened until he departed for his next hill.

Rybakov vertical

Rybakov vertical

I then put up the 2m JPole and gave a few calls but no one came back to me but I had heard a G0 station in talk with a G1 in the Lake District but to my rescue came Roddy 2M0IOB, he called me and we had a ‘ragchew’ then just as Roddy was leaving, a mobile station heading into Kirkintilloch called in, a quick exchange of reports and I then had a good prowl through the 2m band, FM and SSB, still nothing.

I then listened in on HF and as it was contest day, 40m and 20m was buzzing with virtually none of the allocated voice band free. Time to have a quick scran break, I listened to HF but then not long after, I broke down and packed up the equipment.

I called home and arranged to get picked up at my start point, I had intended a walk round to the Lurg Moor Roman Fortlet but seeing how the mist was still hanging over the river I just headed back down the usual route.

It seems I broke down to early, a few regulars to the blog were out and about not long after I departed the summit, ces’t la vie.

A fantastic day weather wise, the bands ? 2m and 4m very, very quiet. My thanks to Roddy for the QSO.

I normally wouldn’t have done another panorama for this hill but if you look closely, you can see an inversion in the river valley and also towards Kilmacolm.