Tag Archives: Corserine

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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(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..

Kings Seat……

After last weekends trip to Ben Donich for the SOTA UHF Fun Day, I had thought my ‘activating’ would be put on the back burner for a month or so but Katie had asked if I wanted to head up the East coast on Mothers Day whilst dropping the unexpected bombshell, ‘Isn’t there a hill nearby you could walk ?’…..

Activation of Kings Seat 3rd April 2011

Activation of Kings Seat 3rd April 2011

An offer never to give to Bob….’I think there may be’ replied Bob coyly, knowing fine well that two qualifying one point Marilyns were within easy reach (I had previously checked both hills out and had made a mental note of prospective routes). I made Kings Seat in the Sidlaw Hills the choice as the other, Craigowl Hill is a mass of antennae. I’ll hopefully activate this on another occasion.

Kings Seat looked as if it would give good VHF take off south and possibly west. I proceeded to firstly, check the weather forecast and it looked promising, the wheels then went through the motions next charging the handhelds and gathering the odds and sods needed which were checked and double checked and packed away ready. This was all done 60 hrs before the time of activation, I was a bit more keen than normal as I normally pack everything the night before. All checks including the weather was done early Sunday morning then it was off towards the Carse Of Gowrie via Glasgow then heading towards Perth and finally to the country road at Balbeggie which would take us to my start point approx 6 mls from Newtyle, our eventual destination.

I got dropped off half way down a local farm track, waved Katie goodbye and headed up a tractor track passing a copse then over a stile and headed towards my first landmark through some very boggy areas and as the Donich activation, an odd shower of rain passed over, I had noticed on Google Earth that thick heather was the main covering on this hillside but I worked my way through and found gaps where they had cleared areas for the grouse when I eventually came across a good track which led me to just below the summit. Forty odd minutes after being dropped off I had reached the top which surprisingly has an ususual white trig point ( I had seen this on Geograph).

A white Trig Point

A white Trig Point

It was windy, very windy and probably the windiest situation I had activated or ‘chased’ in. I found a nook on the north side and preceded to erect the mast and then setting the 5 element 2m beam up. Neil 2MØNCM, our fellow blogger had driven to higher ground near Damellington plus Iain WJZ was to be active on Corserine in the Galloway area.

I found that the mast was bending double plus the beam was of its own mind so I tried lowering it to approx 8ft off the ground, this was not perfect but the beam stayed pointing south when I held the mast but when it was higher the beam was pointing at a 45 degree angle to the sky at times, not good.

I switched on and in between trying to tough the odd but quickly passing shower, I called and instantly spoke to Baz DOR who was mobile in nearby Blairgowrie, I thought I better go ‘look’ for WJZ and found him but I took three efforts to ‘break’ in, it was an excellent contact at 164 kms. I wished Ian goodbye and moved to S20 where I next spoke with TommyTCN  who was just out of line of sight in the Carse near Kirriemuir, I had mentioned to him that I intended to try 4m and we arranged a sked for later in the activation.

I returned to S20 and called CQ SOTA to which Barry TOE who was nearing the summit of Mealna Letter (also known as Duchray Hill) returned my call but as he was just out of the activating zone, I waited on him reaching the summit and then proceeded to make the STS (summit to summit) before letting Barry work other regular chasers who were by now calling him.

Looking towards to Dundee

Looking towards to Dundee

Another call and I was speaking to Ron YGI sitting in a supermarket car park in Perth, everytime I hear the word ‘Asda’ their fantastic breakfasts come to mind…Lastly on 2m, I spoke to John EOU who was at sea level at Cellardyke in the Kingdom of Fife, a good chat before I explained I was off to try 4m before heading back down the hill.

I quickly took off the beam and attached the 4m JPole and made the first call, Tommy TCN was first in the 4m log, we had a general chat about the 4m activity in the Tayside area and his going portable on the odd Tuesday evening to the local hills, I must take myself into Corlic or perhaps Creuch Hill on a Tues evening during the summer to try to work the Tayside regulars. Leaving Tommy, I returned and called on 70.450 and Jim, FVM from Ayton in Berwickshire answered, we had a general chat about 4m and Jim had mentioned he had read this blog quite possibly from a link in my profile in the Four Meter forum where I frequent, an interesting forum to monitor (or join!!) if you are 4m minded, have a look here first <HERE> Jim was 106km away, another fine contact. Finally the ubiquitous Steve UAU from Greenock called me on 70.450, the contact was made which I had thought possible but now means I can possibly work Tayside 4m stations from the high spots above Greenock. A note for my summer diary !!

Little had I know Steve had then ‘spotted’ me on the SOTA Spot page or I would have hung around a little longer but by now, I had been joined on the summit by a walking group from Aberdeenshire and was asked by one of them ’20 meters ?’, he then explained is a MM0 station from the Aberdeen area, he showed interest in the chinese handies I was using so after I broke down and packed everything, I had a chat about SOTA and the benefits of using a handie to activate when out these group walks, ‘four contacts is all you need’ was my last words to him.

Kings Seat is 377m (1237ft), a small hill on the SOTA scale but a well-known hill locally for its fantastic views, sadly the photographs and the panorama video I have taken does it no justice. I would recommend if you are in the area to ‘nip’ up the hill and activate whilst appreciating the view. I did get dropped off but there are parking places on the Abernyte road which the hill is easily climbed. The hill is sometimes climbed as a round walk with taking in Dunsinane hill fort ( unfortunately I missed meeting Macbeth by 950 plus years)before heading across to Black Hill and finally ascending Kings Seat then returning the same route.

I had preplanned this hill as I intended ‘doing’ it at some point but having all the info to hand in advance saved last-minute research. As I descended I now followed the track to a fence line which I then headed back to my first marker where I descended back to the pick up track. One more point in the bag.

On a funnier note, you may remember the ad on TV, the Aussie saying ‘I can see the pub from here’ ? Me ? I could just see the church where  I got married, not often you can say that on an activation.

Information Overload…

Kings Seat is 377m (1,237 ft) ASL

The meaning ? self explanatory…

Google Map <HERE>

Trig Point info <HERE>

Trig Point Article <HERE>

Corlic Hill, Portable 13/9/09

Looking W

Looking W towards Dunrod Hill and the Cowal Hills

The weather was fine and the golf had been cancelled so I returned to one of my old favourite ‘tops’, Corlic Hill 996ft ASL above Greenock.

walking.jpg

I had known of Graeme’s, 2M0GIL, intention to SOTA activate Stob Binnean in the Crainlarich Alps area so why not get myself to a local ‘top’. I packed everything I had unpacked the previous evening and then got dropped off about 1.75 km from the summit, the ascent was very boggy due to the wet summer we have had and was quite a slog through heather and reeds to arrive at the summit, I moved then to my usual spot just below the summit on the east side of the hill, if I extend the pole/mast to it’s full height, the beam is just over 1000 ft ASL.

I was setting up when I heard Graeme calling on S20, made the contact, another 10 chasing points !!!, I then finished setting the beam etc, I must admit I had brought the FT 817 with an external SLAbattery but DOH !!!forgot the power lead connection colours, the 817 has no reverse polarity safety built in so it stayed in the rucksack, the old faithful Puxing 888 was called into service again.

I listened to Graeme making some excellent contacts into South Cumbria, GI land and to Walney Island in Cumbria (G land). I heard though for the first time, a station from Islay making contact with Graeme, I have worked the local hills this year and apart from Robin, GM7/P I have never heard any station from out westwards or further north on air.  I then occasionally scoured the band looking for other SOTA activators, I had heard Caroline, a M3 (or MM3 this activation), she and her hubby are regular activators in Scotland, talking to Graeme on her ascent of Corserine. I had heard a G8 station calling CQ from a G/LD (Lake District) summit but the frequency was in use in Ayrshire so I didn’t try a call back.

Gareloch

Looking N towards the Gareloch and the Arrochar Alps

The weather was excellent except when the breeze would drop, the ‘flying’ ants would appear. I then took a sandwich break,next I spoke to a station who was ‘mobile’ passing along the A9 at Braco in Perthshire.

I then looked for and worked Neil, a 2M0/P station who was activating Beinn Narnain in the Arrochar Alps, it was line of sight as I could see Narnain to the N of me. More chaser points !!! I next spoke again with Graeme who was getting ready to pack up and head back down, I left Graeme and next heard Caroline, a M(M)3 station mentioned previously,  she was on the summit of Corserine in the Galloway hills. Reports were exchanged and I then broke down the station, packed up and headed off the hill.

Map HERE

Further photos are HERE