Tag Archives: Cruach Ardrain

(July) Radio Days

 

Lets get going…

Activations…

July had only  one activation but a good one for me. I headed to the Arrochar area with the intention to activate the Cobbler but as I stood at the bealach I looked left then straight ahead and the twin tops of Ime tempted me too much. I only wished I had taken a quick photo.  The extra effort was worthwhile. One to remember ! Blog post HERE

Chasing…

Another busy month, my thanks again to those who headed to the tops.

Looking N from Corlic

Looking N from Corlic

First in the log for July was Colwyn YCJ with the first of his summits for the day, Stobinnean plus later I was to work him on Ben More and Cruach Ardrain, a good workout. Robin PKT turned up on Beinn Challum, I had worked YCJ’s first and Robin from Corlic and with Jack COX’s help I managed YCJ on what probably was the lowest part of my journey home, Cruach Adrain worked later from the home.. A great start to the month !

The following Friday I worked Jack COX from his activation of Beinn Odhar which sits to the north-east of Tyndrum, unexpected but welcome points.

Two days later I worked Iain WJZ on the Green Lowther a hill which I thought would be out of my reach but with the beam up at home I managed the contact and later that day, Robin PKT turned up on a Lawers area hill, Meall Nan Tarmachan. During the midweek, Jack COX had done a wild camp and I managed to catch him on each hill, first was Beinn Achaladair followed by Beinn a’Chreachain and finally on the Friday morning on Beinn Mhanach.

The following day Iain WJZ activated both Beinn Each then later was on Stuc a’Chroin whilst Robin PKT was on Carn Mor Dearg. I had just left to head to the Lurg Moor trig when I heard Iain and I made the contact using my 2w Baofeng and its dual band Nagoya duck.

Ben More and Stobinnean

Ben More and Stobinnean

Robin PKT activated some high point hills helping raise my chaser points total, first was the two hills Jack COX had earlier done, Beinn Achaladair followed by Beinn a’Chreachain and four days later, the Crainlarich high points, Ben More and Stobinnean. The following day I worked Robin as I headed over the Green Rd on Ben Lawers and as I headed home from Corlic, I caught Iain as I walked up the B788 road leaving Greenock, I had previously heard Brian HMZ, a fellow PARC member who was on Corse Hill from what was the wrong side of the hill so after i worked Iain I headed quickly and even sometimes breaking into a run to catch Brian but I caught him from a high point just to the east of the Lurg Moor trig, chaser point bagged. The thought of me running for points just shows my commitment to this game. 19 and a half stone is a lot to shift and more to the point, STOP.

The following day was one to stay in and read books or tidy up your shack but no blog regular Neil 2MØNCM headed northwards from his South Ayrshire base in what can only be described as ‘I’m glad I’m inside’ weather but after a wet and windy ascent activated the hill in a true ‘lets get the hell outta here’ , I felt appreciation of his efforts as I scoffed another cream bun and sipped my coffee and shuffled my feet about. I later spoke with Neil on his return journey down the Balloch By Pass until he was lucky enough to lose me on the south side of the Erskine Bridge. A hard-earned eight points for him.

On my ascent of Ime, I heard Kenny ZUN activate Beinn Dubh which I could see to the SE of me so I nipped in and grabbed the points from the ascent of Ime. A good start to that day.

5 ele beam on Lurg Moor

5 ele beam on Lurg Moor

Those points were the last points for what was another busy month…

HF..

I still gave out a call on a daily basis but I spent more time on other projects. As usual modes of choice were JT65 and PSK31. I’ll get back to more use in the winter months although I may have to revert to the onboard audio as I’m having a problem with an aging SB card I installed. I’ll fix it at some point. I have no problem from 20m upwards but 30m and below isn’t working as it should…ces’t la vie.

Other…

Spent a considerable time on this SDR dongle thing, blog post HERE.

I’m amazed at the quality of the received sound on both FM, AM and especially SSB, I did follow one activator as he worked on 2m FM and next on 2m SSB using the dual band collinear in my loft space. Signal strength wasn’t much down on my 2m radio but I have since found the lack of diodes in-line with the E4000 dongle I have has literally fried it. I still have and use the other with the FC0013 tuner chip and although it has a higher signal to noise ratio I still get results but under close examination, this dongle seems to lack the diodes as well. I’m sure someone will step and start production of the excellent 4000 tuner chip at some point or even better a superior tuner ? An interesting and cheap entry into SDR(software defined radio).

I am looking for an alternative for HRD and am presently trying OmniRig and Log4OM.

That has possibly taken up most of my time radio wise obviously apart from my SOTA work.

Just to say I used a HDR app to take the ‘Looking N from Corlic’, HDR explanation HERE

A big thanks to Wikipedia ( a project worth supporting) also Peakbagger.

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(May) Radio Days

Phew ! July already and once again I’m late with this roundup.

So without further ado here we go !

SOTA….

Two activations within seven days.

Firstly my annual visit to Beinn a’Mhanaich, a favourite of mine. The weather was just ideal for activating, cool and a light breeze. The following Saturday a trip to Duncolm, a one point high point of the Kilpatrick Hills, I had previously been here very early in my SOTA career and it was a welcome trip which I may as well make another annual trek. The wind this day caused me to pack up early but all contacts made and a few STS’s made.

Looking North from Duncolm

Looking North from Duncolm

Chasing…

A bumper month indeed.

Three STS (summit to summit) started on Beinn a’Mhanaich with contacts to 2MØIOB on Beinn Chaorach just across the glen from me. Roddy and I had travelled together and split up, his blog post HERE. The next STS was to Jack COX who was on Blackcraig Hill just over 100km away. Finally I worked Robin PKT who was 80km to the north of me on Chno Dearg.

The following day, Robin was back out on the ‘wee Buachaille’ Etive Beag activating both summits Stob Coire Raineach and Stob Dubh. Bob AWV appeared on Conic Hill near Balmaha to finish off the days chasing.

The next week saw me getting four STS from the summit of Duncolm, firstly Robin PKT on Sgiath Chuil then Neil 2MØNCM who was to the SW of me on Knockdolian in South Ayrshire, a 4m FM STS ! Iain WJZ called in from Beinn na Gainmh SW of Loch Freuchie before finally working Jack COX on Creagan nan Bienne which conventionally means I have now chased all the top 20 SS summits.

The following week I worked Jack this time on Cruach Ardrain, a hill I once toiled on. Three days later, Jack appeared on Beinn a’Choin but earlier I had worked Robin PKT on Beinn Squlaird. The good thing is that most VHFactivators in GM land try to make the STS’s and time their ascents to suit so this helps us chasers as well.

Cruach Ardrain summit from the ridge walk

Cruach Ardrain summit from the ridge walk

I headed to the Lurg Moor trig point with the equipment and firstly to work Colwyn YCJ who was about 140km to the NE of me on Carn an Fhreiceadain (Gaelic is such a tongue-twister at times). A good start and worth going out for. Robin PKT appeared on two hills in the Ballachullish area that day, the twin peaks of Beinn a’Bheithir. I only caught him on the second one, Sgurr Dhonuill. Next in the log was Graeme 2MØGIL who had travelled to the Great Wall of Rannoch area and was on Beinn Mhanach, a fine days chasing in fine weather, his blog post HERE.

Carrying on what was a busy month, fellow Paisley club member Craig, HCF turned up on Ben Lomond the following day whilst Robin PKT turned up on Beinn Lora, a hill I must visit soon, for a night activation to tie in with a VHF contest if I remembered correctly.

The following Saturday, Robin did two of the ‘Grey Corries‘, Stob Ban and Stob Coire Claurigh whilst on the Sunday, Bob AWV turned up on Beinn Eich and Doune Hill inn the Glen Luss area. A good contact made to Robin PKT who had travelled to the Ardnamurchan Peninsula to Ben Hiant, funnily enough I had worked Robin on his hill from both the hills Bob AWV was on the previous year. Finally to complete the month, Jim GLM turned up on Earls Seat.

Ben Lomond summit from the Ptarmigan Ridge

Ben Lomond summit from the Ptarmigan Ridge

A busy month indeed….plus it was good again with the two activations and visits to sit in sunshine on the side of a hill chasing.

HF…

A quiet month spent very occasionally on either PSK or JT65 but not with the intensity of recent months. I think a break will do me some good. Still working into Asia, N.America and of course, Europe wide.

I’ll check the state of the bands each day and see what is about but no extended sessions.

A lazy HF month ahead..

Other…

Nothing much doing, I’m still out doing local walks trying to raise my fitness levels but I guess a cut down in my main hobby food is needed. Plans are being laid down for the now annual SOTA DXpedition with the Lake District the choice this year. I hope to make the trip there for a short break in July or early August. Occasionally using the 5 ele 2m beam from my front postage stamp to chase, it takes about 7 or 8 mins to throw up and even less to take down. The difference between that and my loft based collinear is obvious so any hill which may be borderline, the beam goes up.

Once again, thanks goes to the sites to which I have linked to mainly Wikipedia and Peakbagger.

That Was The Year That Was….Pt 2

Have you wakened up since Pt 1 ? don’t worry the end is nigh.

July – Dec……

SOTA activations continued..

Skiddaw near the end of July was my first activation in England, the Lake District to be precise. I was away for a few days as part of a celebratory 30th anniversary break and being based in the north-west lake area, a compromise was made as I don’t shop so I got allowed to play ‘radio’. Skiddaw was memorable more for the crazy parking area and being passed by mountain bikers just before the last climb to the summit plateau. I activated on both 4 and 2m FM with no problems and made three STS (summit to summit) contacts, two locally on Pillar, Arnside Knott ( the lowest ‘Marilynin England) and one to Jimmy EYP on Sighty Crag in the Border region.

Derwent Water from the ascent of Skiddaw

Derwent Water from the ascent of Skiddaw

Two days later, I returned to old pastures with a quick nip up to Dale Head from the top of Honister Pass, I first visited this summit in the early ’80 and was blown away with the view north to Skiddaw and yep, the view is worth the visit. I had intended to try to fit in the nearby Robinson but alas we had to head home early so one for the next visit. There is a convenient fencepost at the summit so off I called and worked the same friendly group of chasers I had worked two days earlier on Skiddaw. Only STS was again Jimmy EYP who was on Peel Fell. A quick activation then to Honister Hause and sadly off back home.

My English adventure was over and the next activation was two months later but what a doozy, Ben More on the Isle of Mull, I had worked Gerald AQU there earlier in the year and as I always do, I had a look at the hill etc and made a mental note that this would be a cracker and when Roddy IOB mentioned a trip, I was front of the queue.

The weather gave us a window of blue skies and sunshine and we took full advantage, 4m contacts to outside Glasgow, South Uist and Skye was surprising plus two STS to Iain WJZ on Beinn Chaorach and Robin PKT on Beinn Lora. As we descended and reached our start point, it started to drizzle. An excellent 3 days on Mull thrown in as well.

Looking towards Loch Scridain from Ben More

Looking towards Loch Scridain from Ben More

Finally but not least was my annual trip to Beinn Chaorach in the Luss Hills, another excellent weather day and only one STS but made not with the 5 ele 2m yagi but my wee Baofeng handie and its two watts(Nagoya 701 antenna), I was trying 4m FM with no joy and whilst I called, I had my handie monitoring s20 and heard Robin PKT on Meall Chuaich so I followed him and made contact at approx 105km with the twin peaks of Ben More and Stobinnean in the way. Another good day.

That was the last for 2011, 13 activations and plenty fun and tired legs along the way. Thanks go to Roddy 2MØIOB for his company and his suffering my snail pace and tales of yore.

Thanks also to anyone with whom I have spoken to over the past year from a summit.

2012 ? who knows…

Chasing highlights…

Leaving out the STS, all contacts are highlights as well as points!!!! It is possible I could work 95% of contacts from sitting here in the shack but a good day, sunshine, fresh air and the chance of a contact outside isn’t to be sniffed at. I have a selection of high points I use.

I achieved ‘Shack Sloth’ during the activation of Cruach Ardrain with an STS,  I only claim points after the activator posts his log online so looking at my chaser log it looks different date wise but Colwyn YCJ was on one of Beinn Eighe‘s tops and that when uploaded gave me over 1,000 pts. Over the year, I amassed at least 800 plus points doubling both 2009 and 2010’s total.

Beinn Chaorach from the Green Road

Beinn Chaorach from the Green Road

In conclusion…

My thanks go out to all those who were out in all conditions to activate and for the points I accrued from you.  I have promised to try get my golf handicap down in 2012. I said that this time last year and never.

HF…

Another year but I have not been as active as possibly the previous year but I still manage on most days for a call. In addition to PSK (I only use datamodes), WSPR and RTTY. I have also made contacts on ROS, JT65 and Contestia.

I experimented with ROS and V4 before deciding to give more time to WSPR whilst getting set up for JT65 which has taken most of my HF work lately.

A few new DXCC counties added to the list and in November, I finally worked into South America on 10m JT65. WAC achieved.

The outlook for 2012..

I’ll work away on HF mostly from 20m to 10m and have a more than close look at the other data modes I’ve not used. I had thought of looking more at WAB (Worked All Britain)this year but got bogged down elsewhere, next year ?

SOTA wise…

Hopefully to get my 150 activator points then cut back on both that and chasing.

The end of my inane ramblings for another year….I said that last year didn’t I ?

Hope the year 2012 is a good one for you in all radio and other contexts.

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.