Tag Archives: Meikle Bin

(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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(Sept) Radio Days

I thought a wee break in posts was in order after I posted the three rapid blog posts of September’s Lake District activations and visit.

September was a busy month as it was the yearly trip of myself, Roddy IØB and Patsy UPG and this year we headed for the Lake District after the 2011 visit to the Isle of Mull was deemed a roaring success. We first activated the highest point in England, Scafell Pike in what turned out to be almost weather-wise four seasons in one day. The following day it was a dual activation as Roddy and I headed on to separate hilltops and passed each other on Littledale Edge to each others first hill, the venue was Dale Head and Robinson, two ‘Marilyns‘ separated by just 3 km  . The weather was much the earlier days but thankfully this time no hailstones on this trip.

Scafell Pike Summit

Scafell Pike Summit

Finally the five day visit was ended after an activation of Stony Cove Pike near Kirkstone Pass on the Fri, all done with handheld activations except my 4m one on Dale Head as the wind was strong on each of our visits except for Stony Cove Pike which has amazing views looking south to Morecambe Bay. Thanks obviously must go to those who took the time to work us plus I’ll be back down next year. Blog posts are here Pt 1  Pt 2  Pt4

Chasing

Another busy month started with a visit to the now usual Lurg Moor trig point and first in the log for the month was Robin PKT who was on Beinn Udlamain which is the highest hill on the west side of the Drumochter Pass. I had returned home and caught Robin on his next summit Sgairneagh Mhor on 2m SSB.

The following Saturday Robin popped up on Schiehallion and the next day I headed to Lurg Moor and although knowing Graeme 2MØGIL was activating Meall Corranaich I missed him as I was heading along the single track road with the handie scanning the 2m band, I later found out I had mistimed and missed him. I did catch him later on his other hill of the day Meall a’Choire Leith but back to my arrival and set up.

Trig point station

Trig point station

I switched on the 817 and lo and behold, a ‘ lift‘ was on as I made contact with Mike YYY on Pen-Y-Ghent in the North Pennines, I did try to contact stations on Great Gable, Blencathra among others but with no joy. The strong signals you receive in the Fells would dwarf mine as the incoming signals were weak. I gave up trying after a short time. Jim GLM was next in the log from Meikle Bin followed by Robin on Carn Dearg  to the east of Glen Roy and a good contact given its lower height and it being over 115 kms away . The day wasn’t finished as Craig HCF appeared on Schiehallion which I also worked the previous day.

A midweek contact with Kenny ZUN who activated Ben Lomond, this one caught from sea level from my work base.

It was off to the Lakes and on our second days on the Fells I worked two STS (summit to summit) with Roddy 2MØIOB on Dale Head and Robinson. Two days later, I had just reached the activation zone when I worked a station PLF on Snowdon ‘handie to handie’ over 175 km away then a local STS with Richard JTD who was just to the north of us on Hallin Fell which overlooks Ullswater.

Beinn Bhuidhe © Roddy 2M0IOB

Beinn Bhuidhe © Roddy 2M0IOB

The next day it was back to chasing in GM (Scotland) land and Robin PKT was on Binnean Mor the highest and one of the remotest Mamores. Meanwhile Jack COX had climbed up to Beinn Bhuidhe at the top of Loch Fyne and was my final contact that day.

The following day I recorded points from Neil 2MØNCM who had travelled north from his Ayrshire base to Beinn Udlaidh which towers over Glens Lochy and Orchy. this Corbett is known for its quartz rib which is visible from the main road which runs to its east plus it was good to see Neil oot’n’aboot again and last contact for the month was with Robin PKT who also started the month, Robin was to the west of Neil on Creagh Bheinn to the west of Loch Etive.

Neils blog post on his activation of Beinn Udlaidh is HERE

A busy month with points mounting up..a possible 99 pts.

Apart from enjoying the contacts it then leads to a ‘google’ of any new summit worked and reading about the hill, its Gaelic meaning and all relevant info plus I look at possible routes even though I may never visit the area so it’s not all about the chase it is a learning process after the contact, I also apply this to any HF contact I make….the Internet is such a wonderful learning tool.

HF…

Propagation started to really pick up towards the latter part of the month but my activity was negligible although most days I had a call. 15, 12 and 10m started to show some exotic DX locations but none seemed to come my way.At the start of the month I did manage to work a station in Beijing on 17m JT65HF. I’m presently having a rest from it all.

Other…

Still playing with the ‘dongle’ on VHF and UHF. Things have slowed slightly as stocks of the superior 4000 tuner chip are now running out. Work is currently being done on the suitably of a 820 chip which has appeared on the market. Some sellers are now labelling these dongles as SDR so please check the chips first are suitable, check this at the subReddit RTLSDR

I’m still heading out to higher local spots for radio work and the trig at Lurg Moor is beginning to be my ‘go to’ place, it has excellent views in a 180 degree vista from west to east. I must organise a seat as with a wet summer, the grass areas are sodden and Bob must save his weary legs.

Thanks goes to Roddy 2M0IOB for © the image of Beinn Bhuidhe seen from the outskirts of Inveraray near the head of  Loch Fyne also my linking to Wikipedia and Peakbagger.

(Feb) Radio Days ’12

Another month on…

No SOTA activations to report but with a new kid on the block, Summitbase’s ‘HuMPs’ Awards which brings me to Corlic, my favourite hill is now a HuMP with the title of GM/HSS 088. I activated the hill although this activation was unintentional. Blog post on the activation HERE.

First contact was a ‘mongrel’ summit to summit with Neil 2MØNCM on a SOTA ‘Marilyn‘  Cruach Tairbeirt, I had picked out Corlic to go and work Neil as I before had trouble working another station on the same hill on some lower ground a few weeks earlier, a hill surrounded on 360 by higher hills. I also worked local stations that day locally plus a mobile station going to Carnwath, good going on 2w and the IOB beam. Another hill related facet of our hobby which promotes activity.

Corlic Hill From Dam Wall

Corlic Hill From Dam Wall

SOTA…

Quiet month for me once again as this pounding the local tarmac and green tracks is taking me out of opportunities to work stations who are out, sadly not everywhere has good take off when I’m out. I do try to estimate my walks to take in higher spots but it never seems to work out that way. I’ll take what I can get until hopefully the summer months and lying toasting on a summit waiting.

First station worked was Neil 2MØNCM with the aforementioned contact then later that day I caught Bob AWV who was on the summit of Beinn Dubh on west Lomondside, I caught Bob from the wrong side of the hill as I was leaving the ruined farmstead area at Glenbrae. A good one to get considering location.

Two weeks later, I caught Iain WJZ from Beinn Narnain in the Arrochar Alps, I have promised a visit to this hill since I first worked Neil way in Sept 2009, I’ll get there. Later that day, Craig HCF kept up his recent activation run with my first ever SOTA activating summit, the much dreaded Hill of Stake, this hill is also my nearest Marilyn.

The following week, I headed out and caught Iain WJZ on Broad Law from the trig point just to the east of the local golf course, a regular chasing spot for me. The next day, I caught Bob AWV this time on Meikle Bin, his XYL Eunice UVL was making this a dual activation so two in the log.

That was another quiet ‘chasing’ month for me but I’m sure the miles being walked will stand me in good stead if I manage to get back out activating.

HF….

Not much difference in the previous two months, I’m still calling out but not as much as usual. I am mostly on JT65 or PSK as I’ve given OPERA a rest. I did spend some time monitoring for other modes such as Contestia and Olivia but the latter seems to be passing me by. Nothing exciting to report DXCC wise. I seem to miss the better openings.

I’ve trialed Multipsk more specifically for the HF Fax and Acars, sadly the Acars is a limited part of the program but at 20 quid for the full program it could be an excellent addition to my data programs. My present Acars decoding program is complicated to set up but there again it has its advantages over Multipsk.

One wee extra this month..

I came across this article here on Lifehacker HERE.

This is as lightweight as you may get for a wild camp in the wilds, I know you can sleep under the stars but I can’t because the midge family love dining on me….I had a one man tent in my earlier years but believe me, it wasn’t very light. I know those of you who know me personally will wonder how I could even manage to fit into such a small space then…Just read that a mosquito was found in a house locally…oh boy!

Bobby early 1980s

Bobby early 1980s

Which leads me on to a photo that Ailsa my youngest found whilst looking through some old photos, it shows a rather young Bobby Mhor. If I remember correctly this photo was taken on a trip oop north to the Glen Feshie area, the previous week I had done a week’s volunteer work for the RSPB at Insh Marshes, a thing I would say was a worthwhile exercise.

Unfortunately and happily for me, the image on the blog is actual size I scanned. What a beard though !

Once again, thanks to all those sites I have linked to, Wikipedia and others.

Summitsbase has recently started their ‘HuMPs’ awards and many have started activating mostly down south ( England and Wales) on both HF and VHF, the site itself is an ongoing work in progress and by becoming a member you can take part in this exciting venture, the site is one in which you can share your local knowledge for others to learn routes etc. I know some regular readers of this blog are contributors. If you are a Radio Amateur, go register and join in….any queries I am sure an email to one of the team will soon sort you out.

‘Hundred Metres Preference’ or ‘HuMP’

‘HuMPS’ ebook (pdf) HERE

(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>