Tag Archives: Glen Douglas

(Jan) Radio Days and…

Time again for Bawb’s monthly warblings on his radio and other related activities plus a wee update from Lance on his saddle-sore activities.

January was a tough month weather wise but there were some keen souls out activating but I have one activation to report on.

Tinto…

A visit to Tinto Hill in Lanarkshire was taken on the second Saturday of the month, the original targets of Glen Douglas hills Tullich and Beinn Bhreac were in doubt as the forecasted weather would not have suited. It was meant to be low cloud and frosty conditions, Roddy IOB had mentioned Tinto during the holiday period and we decided to head there on the Saturday, Tinto has a well-defined path nay ‘road’ at most points which means easy access in cloudy or misty conditions.

Tinto summit cairn

Tinto summit cairn

STS (summit to summit) contacts were aplenty, six in all, NW to Robin PKT on Beinn nam Beathrach in the Morvern area also Iain WJZ on both summits of Buachaille Etive Beag in Glencoe. I also worked Jack COX on Uamh Bheag and Colwyn YCJ just to the N of him on Stuc a’Chroin and finally just to NE, Adrain DHY on Meikle Say Law. Excellent day plus a WOTA contact in Richard JTD on Lank Rigg. Interesting contact on 70cm was Derek MIX out walking in the Loweswater Fell area, a surprising but good contact.

My blog report is HERE

Roddy 2MØIOB’s report is HERE

Chasing…

I have covered in the short Tinto report the ‘chases’ from that day but first name in the chasing log for 2013 was Bob AWV who turned up on Meikle Bin ironically at the same time as Iain WJZ so a double call that day. Later that day I worked Robin PKT on the summit of Meall Bhuide to the NE of Loch Earn. A good day to start the years activity. Next in the log was Craig PHT from Duncolm in the Old Kilpatrick Hills.

That was all the activity for me in Jan as I missed time at weekends to chase due to the uncertain weather as I had worked the last two weekends of the month. Two good overtime shifts not to miss. Got to keep the roads and pavements ‘open’. Hopefully back to normal now…….

Waiting at home

Waiting at home

HF…

Busy month almost entirely on JT65 with once again, a sortie on to the JT9 band area. No new DXCC to report but contacts across the pond and to the E as well as the regular Euro contacts. Time to head back to PSK I think….

I did however set myself to try another ‘older’ I suppose data mode but more on that once I give it a serious try. I did think of trying FreeDV, a new SSB to data mode but I will have to ‘install’ another sound-card or perhaps, one of those sound-card ‘dongle’ thingies….

Lance’s Bit…

Hi all ! the wizard of the saddle’s first wee report.

Yes, the rear area still is hurting after putting a few miles in and as Bawb has now fitted the gel seat, life is slightly just slightly easier. I’m still getting the hang of this cycling lark and I hope to go further afield as the sunny summer evenings start.

Luckily there is a cycle track (NCR 75) not too far from home, it heads westwards towards Greenock and eastwards to the Johnstone area and beyond. I have found that in exposed sections that if it’s breezy yer reporter is not very aerodynamic.

It’ll be used well by myself as the surface is more safe than the main and local back roads which happen to be in terrible condition in places. I’would have to carry a rope to pull myself out of some of the pot holes I have spotted lately.

Others…

I mentioned Beinn Bhreac (Gaelic – the speckled hill or mountain) the Marilyn in Glen Douglas earlier and was surprised to find another ten Marilyns of the same name plus countless others….a contender for most common hill name in Scotland? 60 in all ?

No precipitation forecast

No precipitation forecast

Just as an aside, I have done some ‘research’ into Scottish hill names and came across an interesting story about Lochnagar. Its original name was Beinn Ciochan which literally translates as ‘mountain of breasts (or nipples)’ and allegedly Queen Victoria took a liking to the said hill and the hill got renamed……Victorian prudery ? allegedly..and as I looked further into Gaelic equivalents, I would have to label the blog ‘mature’…they had quite a vivid imagination in the past.

If you look at the image of a screen dump from my phone this last week, you will see that 0% of precipitation is forecast for SEVEN days, four or five weeks ago you would thought we would be ‘drowning’ with the constant deluge of rain…then this.

I’m threatening myself to get more done on the SDR dongle front and as I have all the parts to hand so maybe now more can be done on this front although eventually I will have to fit it in an aluminium box but the box it was built around is US based and the usual $ to £ plus if ordered here. I’m still searching for an equivalent.

Once again, thanks go to Wikipedia, Peakbagger and IWeather for the WX screen dump.

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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

(Dec) Radio Days……

The end of another years radio work, a hobby ? it could be if I slowed things down.

The year was covered in my two-part 2012 Retrothingy posts (see bottom of this post for links).

Let’s get going…

SOTA..

No activations more due to the weather which for most part was rain, rain and more rain. There were a few hardy souls venturing out on to the summits and as you will read, it turned out into the ‘Iain WJZ show’, all those months ‘Down Under’ yearning for the rain-soaked hills of Scotland ?. Mad I say.

Ben Donich trig point

Ben Donich trig point

Without further adieu, here is the ‘chasing’ bit..

On the first day of the month, three stations took to the summits. I headed to my usual Lurg Moor area trig and as I arrived I worked the aforementioned Iain to the north of me on Ben Challum. I knew fellow blogger Graeme 2MØGIL was heading to Ben Donich and although I could have worked Iain and Graeme from home with no problems, I thought time to get out and have the cobwebs blown away.

Whilst waiting on Graeme, Bob AWV turned up on Beinn Ruadh which was to the WNW of me on the Cowal peninsula, I could see the summits of both Donich and Ruadh from my location. Donich had a fair covering of snow as I found out when finally making contact with Graeme plus I knew the dangers of this hill in the snow. Fissures abound on the upper slopes adjacent to the path. The day was over as I finished working Graeme so it was the long way home.

The following day I caught Iain on Glas Maol, the highest point of the Mounth Hills and a part of the Glenshee Ski Centre plus the county top of Angus. I had used the beam from the home QTH to catch Iain and nab a good contact at 130km plus.

The following weekend, Iain was on Tullich Hill in the Glen Douglas area, a hill I then pencilled in for my first activation of ’13 (weather changed the venue). Two days later, Iain crossed to the east side of Loch Lomond and climbed the ‘Ben.

To finish December and ’13, I spoke with Iain on Ben Ledi and after a call from Steve UAU saying that Colwyn YCJ was on Meall an t-Seallaidh, a Corbett to the west of Loch Earn. A quick word with both and my SOTA year was finished as I missed those who headed out on Boxing Day. I had taken my packed rukkie to on my Xmas NE visit but King’s Seat will have to wait until another day, it was the hill that started off the discussion about ‘white’ trig points HERE.

Tullich Hill from Glen Douglas © Neil 2MØNCM

Tullich Hill from Glen Douglas © Neil 2MØNCM

HF

I spent most time using JT65 with the odd visit to the JT9-1 frequencies. I did return to PSK on occasion. A couple of new DXCC‘s in Iraq and Lebanon and the continuing search to work States to get my WAS, I’ve still 16 to go, I’m in for a long haul I think.

JT 9-1 still has some activity but I seem to ‘miss’ it…

Other..

I did more work with the dongle SDR stuff as I had ordered a upconverter (see image) to use in with the 820 tuner chip. I set up everything one evening when the HF bands were quiet and after following this short instructional video HERE, I was listening to AM stations in the 49m band area. I’ve packed all away as other things have taken up my time but I must return and do more work in this area to follow-up the earlier posts on SDR. This being able to incorporate the HF band opens up all sorts of possibilities. Looking forward to it..

SDR dongle earlier posts –  HERE and HERE

Upconverter available from HERE plus all documentation is HERE.

2012…Retrothingy posts – Pt 1 and the last bit

Upconvertor for SDR dongle

Upconvertor for SDR dongle

New contributor..

As you will have seen in the earlier blog post, Lance Mhor has joined us to regale us with stories of the saddle although he informs me that the present saddle could do him some damage, the blog has since purchased him a new gel one to ease the pain.

I’m sure you will as a regular reader remember the post where Bob’s rucksack wrote a guest post but if not the post is HERE

Retro…

Found links to an old Reporting London TV report of CB in London (circa 1981)

Click Pt 1 HERE and Pt 2 HERE

Believe me, it is seriously worth a look….

A big 10.10, good buddies or ‘Root Toot am oot !!’

Once again, thanks goes to Wikipedia, Peakbagger and to Neil 2MØNCM for allowing me the use of his atmospheric image of Tullich Hill.

To embiggen images, click on image.

Ben More and Stobinnean

(Aug) Radio Days 2011

SOTA…

No activations to report this month…

SOTA chasing had been excellent in August after the upward trend shown so far in 2011. Activity has been steady all summer long, first points this month were gained from Iain WJZ who activated Beinn Eich and Doune Hill, both in the Luss Hill area, mention is made of Roddy 2MØIOB who had activated Blackwood Hill in the Scottish Border area and gained the points necessary from the Beinn Eich summit to summit contact with Iain to gain his Shack Sloth award, nice one!! Later in the day Robin PKT put an appearance in from Stob a’Choire Odhair.

The following day, Neil 2MØNCM returned to the Glen Douglas area to activate Beinn Bhreac, I had a look at Google after Neil mentioned large fissures about the hillside, one for the future.

There was no midweek activations so it was on the following Saturday that Bob AWV called from The Fruin above Helensburgh, I contacted Bob with my wee 2w handie as the hill is line of sight from the home QTH, a cloudy day. Neil NCM popped up on the Sunday on what was an occasionally wet and windy day from Lomond side, Ben Vorlich was his hill for the day.

Luss and Arrochar hills

Luss and Arrochar hills

The following day Robin PKT was out on sister hills in the Ben Lawers area, Meall Corranaich was the first and was later followed by Meall a’Choire Leith, I managed to work him on the latter which was my first home contact to the hill as it sits slap behind Corranaich. He was out on most days this week and popped up on Beinn Challum, Ben Lui and Sgurr a’Mhaim ( in the shadows of Ben Nevis).

On the Saturday, I had gone out for a local hill walk taking in Corlic which I had timed to work Iain WJZ using only a handie and on my walk home, Roddy IOB had let me know that fellow Paisley club member Craig ANL was to activate Beinn Chaorach later that afternoon, I ended up working him from home.

On the last weekend of the month, it was Robin PKT who activated a double on the Sat doing both Beinn a’Bheithir tops, Sgurr Dhonuill and Sgurr Dhearg and finally for the month, Iain WJZ did the pair of Ben More and Stobinnean

Ben More and Stobinnean

Ben More and Stobinnean

Another excellent month

for ‘chasing’ points !

HF..

I tended to spend too much time on JT65 this month, ignoring my usual modes of PSK and WSPR. Contacts being made across Europe as far as Japan and as westwards to the US. There is, as in WSPR an excellent spotting facility in this mode and pleasantly surprised to be ‘spotted’ in Indonesia, South Africa , Australia and in New Zealand on more than one occasion. Power varies between 5 and 15 watts.

If the bands are quiet then a test of three CQs using the JT65HF software will let you know the propagation situation, I occasionally used other bands in this mode, contacts being made on 40, 30, 20, 15 and 10m but spent most time on 20m. I’ll probably look further more at the mode but unless conditions improve dramatically, I’ll just move between WSPR and JT65.

Outlook..

As this is usually written at the start of the next month, Sept in this case, plans were afoot to activate a SI munro but due to weather and other circumstances, this had been shelved until later, hopefully in early October…I did try to up my fitness level doing regular local walks late in the month and early Sept but suffered an ankle sprain whilst on my way to Corlic, unfortunately I had just under two-mile to hobble to a pick up point, sod this healthy exercise stuff. Oh well.