Tag Archives: Duncolm

2012… in retrothingy…….part one

‘Twas the night( four sleeps actually) before Christmas !

It has come around to that time again but this year being a pessimist I thought waiting just to make sure those Mayans had it totally wrong SO at 11.12 UTC (December 21st) I sat down to write this as I still know I have an audience. You are still out there, are you or has it all past me by ?

Sitting comfortably are we ?

2012 almost started with an activation but due to the weather being extremely seasonal the trip out was abandoned. It took me until late April to make my first appearance on a hill although the local hilltops got pounded in pursuit of points. At the beginning of February I did activate Corlic in its guise as a ‘HuMP‘, the official title being GM/HSS 088. I had headed there to try and catch fellow blogger Neil 2MØNCM who was on Cruach Tairbeirt in the Arrochar area so a hybrid summit to summit to start.

The first SOTA activation took place in April with a visit to that hill which no one likes, the Hill of Stake the highest point in Renfrewshire although on the ’11 visit I got put wise to a drier route which was still boggy but not sink to the knees boggy. I did manage four STS (summit to summit) that day including one to EI land (Ireland). I think a visit in ’13 why not ?.

GAX on a'Mhanaich

GAX on a’Mhanaich ® Roddy 2MØIOB

This was quickly followed at the start of May to another of my now yearly visits, I headed to Beinn ‘a’Mhanaich on the west side of the Luss hills only this time, Roddy 2MØIOB had accompanied me but we split hills, Roddy headed to the nearby Beinn Chaorach which managed to evade a visit this year, I’m sure we could have had a STS in semaphore but we did have one not only on 2m FM but also using PMR, a first for us both. We had used PMR to keep in touch during the ascents.

The next weekend on what was a boomerang visit to Duncolm in the Old Kilpatrick hills, I had done an activation there in 2009 and on what was a sunny but very breezy day, I headed up an exellent aggregate track before following an occasionally damp grassy track until a short, sharp ascent. It was a busy day out on the GM slopes as I worked another 4 STS. As I researched Duncolm I came across the inference that Duncolm was a major part of ‘Glasgow’s Secret Geometry’, interesting. I like that kinda stuff as it makes you think. Unfortunately the main links to the original site with this info has a malware warning.

I now turned to serious stuff ( for me anyway !) as mid June saw me heading to the Arrochar Alps and on what turned out to be a miserable wet, cloud day I headed to the summit of Beinn Narnain and after a pleasant ascent, the weather or more to the point, a dark cloud decided to position itself over the hill and kill visibility and later on another activation I saw that the descent from the summit was one I’d rather have done in clearer conditions. I still enjoyed my day as it cleared up literally as I left the rock field just before the summit.

Narnain summit from Beinn Ime

Narnain summit from Beinn Ime

Four weeks later I headed the same route only this time, I had set my sights on the Cobbler but after a good walk in, I saw the path heading up Beinn Ime was kinda saying ‘ C’mon Mhor’ so off it was. Was it worth it ? I bet as the views in all directions were exceptional, a hill worth a return ( the Cobbler to do first though).

This was my last GM activation for 2012 but on my now regular yearly Lake District visit, I took the time to ascent Blencathra and although I had RX problems with a hand-held I enjoyed a day on a hill I had often looked at, I did the opposite route from the guidebook starting up Blaise Fell from near Threlkeld and although I did have a look down Sharp Edge, I thought better of it. I had read that this hill was riddled with paths and on the descent and I had to consult the map on more than a few occasions. I had finally exited down Mousethwaite Combe then a short walk to Scales. A good activation.

The following day, Katie and I headed to Latrigg which overlooks Keswick and I managed to sneak a handie and  activated the WOTA fell. A good day for a stroll plus it was fun to take my beloved with me plus Katie toddled along too. I meant my 2m handie ..what did you think I meant ?

Following on from the previous years visit to Mull and Ben More, it was off to the Lakes with both Roddy 2MØIOB and Patsy UPG. I’d planned more than a few hills but the main target was Scafell Pike, the highest point in England-shire and on what turned out to be four seasons in a day, the cloud lifted as we topped the hill and even the RAF saluted us with a 360 fly past as we arrived on the summit proper.

Mr Mhor on Scafell Pike

Mr Mhor on Scafell Pike

The following day I’d pencilled in a double activation, Robinson and Dale Head and surprisingly there was no achy legs and both hills proved no problems, Dale Head is worth the walk just to see the view northwards. It did end with Bob being slightly forgotten.

Two days later was to finish my outings for the year, Stony Cove Pike is ascended from the top of the Kirkstone Pass and I activated the hill as I had done the previous three hills on 4m FM only popping on to 2m FM to give out the odd WOTA point.

Highlights ?

Them all of course.

I enjoy heading out even it is only on to my local hillsides to work those who have taken the time to head out and on a sunny day there is nothing better than turning the beam round to bring in someone. I did manage to pass what I call my portable chasing sloth (1,000 points) at one point, it fair beats sitting at home.

Next year ?

I have already chosen 2013’s intentions and pinned it to my computer desk, I did the same last year and managed one or two of them but this year I have downsized and have only three…

The ridge walk to Hallsfell Top

The ridge walk to Hallsfell Top

We will see….

For my blog posts for the above…just go HERE

Yep you have guessed it, a pt.2 will be in production soon. Keep an eye out.

My thanks as usual to Wikipedia, Peakbagger and Roddy IOB for use of an image taken through a monocular !

I hope that the holiday period has been good for you and I look forward to either ‘chasing’ or working you from a hilltop in ’13.

Nollaig Chridheil dhuibh !

Bliadhna Mhath Ùr dhuibh uile!

To embiggen any image just click on it…

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(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 ?

 

(May) Radio Days…..2011

Another month on..

SOTA activity..

One activation to report.

On the first day of the month, Cruach Ardrain was the choice on the second day of the now annual International SOTA weekend. An excellent day weather wise apart from 60 mph winds reported around the summits. Ardrain strangely wasn’t as tough wind wise. A total of 8 STS (summit to summit) contacts made as far North as Beinn Eighe – Ruadh Mhor and south to Kirkland Hill in the Galloway Hills.

I also achieved my 100th activating point on Cruach Ardrain, 27 summits now done in total. It was the toughest hill I’ve walked yet.

Cruach Ardrain summit from the ridge walk

Cruach Ardrain summit from the ridge walk

Chasing…

A good start to the month as I finally achieved Shack Sloth status.

First into the log was a contact with Robin PKT on Gaor Bhein (Gulvain), this contact made on the ascent, the first contact on the summit was an STS with Bob AWV and Eunice UVL on 70cm, both were on Duncolm Hill. Followed by blog regular Neil 2MØNCM on Kirkland Hill followed next by a line of sight contact with Barry XFM who was nearby on Ben Lawers, another blog regular Graeme 2MØGIL had set up station on Conic Hill. Jack COX had taken up station on his local hill Dungavel whilst the last points came from Colwyn YCJ on the aforementioned Beinn Eighe – Ruadh Mhor approx 150km to the north of us. A good finish to a good day. Shack Sloth was in the bag !!!!

The following weekend, I worked Alan TXY on Ben Venue ( I hope he saw more than I did when I activated the said hill) and the same man was out the following weekend on Beinn Dubh, west of Luss. The next day I nipped up the golf course to work Neil 2MØNCM who was activating Black Mount, Neil was ‘activating’ other hills that day but unheard from my home QTH.

Finally on the last weekend of the month, Bob AWV popped up on Meikle Bin on what was a very windy day.

The weather had not been kind for May activations with high winds and rain dominating the month’s weather after such a fine start weather wise.

Activity…

Occasional monitoring of 2m FM, 4m FM locally has a lack of activity and I’ve taken down the 4m antenna I had in the attic and will replace it with a 6m one but not decided which one yet. HF conditions have been in and out but still managed a few data contacts on PSK. New DXCC country in Faroe Islands.

I had sent a few CQ calls on 17m to an apparently dead band and was surprised to see a JA station returning to me, contact made and the band returned to being dead, strange thing propagation. It is always worthwhile to call on an ‘dead’ band.

WSPR…

Had a few sessions on 30 and 20m bands and as usual, the mode returned some good results. Five watts can certainly travel far. Further info at WSPR.ORG

20m WSPR 13.20 - 14.20 UTC on 22.5.11

20m WSPR 13.20 - 14.20 UTC on 22.5.11

ROS…

Yep, I had a few days off work and decided to give another data mode a try. I chose ROS which is having a rather chequered introduction to the radio world, I downloaded the software and was working almost immediately. I’ve now made contacts into Europe although I must get organised at looking at the settings as I’m seemingly a bit deaf on receive…but the general interface is easy to navigate and I’ll be active occasionally…

ROS Info <HERE>

(March) Radio Days…2011

I thought I had posted this as ‘Latest Post’ on the wall but the post was hidden in the ‘Musings’ section…plus I thought I’d better add the year to the post title as it could get a bit confusing if you search for any of these posts.

Beinn Ime

Beinn Ime

I think the format of this monthly post as it is turning out to be a blow-by-blow account of my SOTA chasing for the relevant month. I’ve a few ideas rattling about in my mostly empty head and I’ll see if anything suits.

VHF….

Still spending some time on 2m and the occasional visits to 4m and 70cm.

SOTA…

Activations..

Two this month, a misty visit to the Trossachs and the summit of Ben Venue, most memorable for the antics of Roddy IOB and his crossing of a snow field and finally a jaunt up Ben Donich for the SOTA UHF Fun Day on the last Sunday of the month.

Chasing..

First points ‘chased’ this month were from Bob AWV who was activating Beinn Dubh near Luss whilst we were on the cloudy summit of Ben Venue. The following day was again busy out in the hills as first, I ‘chased’ fellow blogger Neil 2MØNCM who was out on Broughton Heights followed by Alan XXP who appeared on Black Mount and as is usual, I also worked Alan on 4m FM. Later that day, I worked a MM6 station who was on Duncolm, I pointed him toward the SOTA website but no points for this one.

In what was another good ‘chasing’ day, Robin PKT activated Beinn Odhar in the Tyndrum area and was quickly followed by another fellow blogger, Graeme GIL who was in the Campsies on the summit of Earls Seat, a busy day in which I got some contacts from my local summit and finished the day at home.

One week later, only XXP was out, I walked up to the top of the golf course to work Alan on 4 and 2m. Unfortunately I have approx a 200 ft tall solid lump of igneous rock to the SE and S of me. The hill itself is 659 ft ASL but is a quick, handy and easy summit to get to.

Ben Donich from Beinn an Lochain

Ben Donich from Beinn an Lochain

The next weekend was the test of Roddy’s 2m beam, we headed for higher ground on the border of Port Glasgow and Greenock. Iain WJZ had alerted for Schiehallion so that would be a good test for it and we also worked Jack COX who was on Culter Fell. The following day, Robert GUF was on Tinto and later, Neil NCM popped up on Nutberry Hill.

Finally, the last weekend saw the UHF Fun Day and as mentioned before, Ben Donich was the base for this one. First STS (summit to summit) was with Graeme GIL who was on Sgiath a’Chaise quickly followed by Robin PKT was further to the NE on Meall Ghaordaidh and to finish the day, I worked Jack COX who was across Gleann a’Chro on the summit of Ben Arthur better known as the Cobbler during our ascent off the hill.

A busy chasing month again and the quest to reach ‘Shack Sloth’ status continues.

HF…. 

Busy, busy month as propagation is picking up and more ‘exotic’ stations are popping up and being worked but not by me. The disadvantage of having a stealth antenna is just that but each contact is ‘worked’ for. Trips across the ‘pond’ and contacts in to Africa, Asia as well as the regular European traffic.

I never did any WSPR work this month, hopefully the higher HF bands may come more into play as the summer arrives.

‘Ben Donich from Beinn an Lochain‘ photo © Neil 2MØNCM…