Tag Archives: Moel Llyfnant

Beinn a’Mhanaich SOTA Trip 25/7/09

The weather forecast looked promising so I got everything charged up and ready to go. I left home before 7am and sotaimage55arrived at the set off point at 7.20, the initial stretch of the walk in (called The Strone) is rather steepish, you just follow the many ‘MOD Warning’ Keep Out signs, keeping to the safe side, of course. After 1.5kms the ground gets to being a steady uphill slog, then to your left, Meall Odhar and Meall a’Fleidh come into view, not high tops but when you have them on your left, you head slightly to the right heading uphill toward the summit. I had listened to the ‘ICQ Podcast’ , an amateur radio podcast on my ipod on the laborious slight uphill section. Keeping to the ‘safe’ side of the MOD range, I had followed a faint quad track then a track to the top of Beinn a’Mhanaich. The summit has a small cairn beinn a' mhanaich 250709 001which offers some shelter against the wind, this fine morning, there was only a cooling breeze. The walk in was 4.5kms, the views from most points on the walk were excellent, I saw Beinn Choarach from its western flank, more impressive than when I look at from outside my house also Beinn Eich, Doune Hill and Cruach an t-Sidhein (all ‘Marilyns’) were close by, in fact, there are more ‘Marilyns’  within view that I could have counted.  Cruach an t-Sidhein (‘the stack of the fairy hill’) could have been activated this trip but I had only maps for the area I had intended to walk to. Next time, maybe.

I set up the station, I had left the SLA battery at home due to having to carry all equipment in myself, Euan had other plans. I first called on 144 SSB but no takers, perhaps too early, I had activated the hill earlier than normal, 10am was the time. I then called on S20 (145.500) and started to get the four QSO’s that would activate the hill, this achieved, I then alternated between SSB and FM, I worked three STS’s (Summit to Summit) , Richard a GW4/P on Moel Llyfnant, Robin GM7/P on Beinn na Bheither – Sgorr Dhonnuill… and lastly Andrew, a GM0/P on An Caisteal , not bad for a few hours work. The fact I had to finish early made me miss some other STS possibles, Graeme , 2M0GIL/P had activated Beinn Chabhair, but I only spoke to him when i was ready to descend the last leg of the walk out. Chaser points !!!!!

Any journey downhill is never a favourite of mine, steep hillsides I do not like, walking up or coming down. There is a few ‘iffy’ parts of the track which was not as damp as I had expected, an eye as usual was kept for any dodgy footfalls.

I had made good time descending from the summit to the pickup point, it took approx 90mins, Katie had just arrived for me as I had approx 200 metres to go. Good timing !beinn a' mhanaich 250709 018

Beinn a’Mhanaich means ‘the hill of the monk’,. The Luss area and Glen Luss have had monastic connections, St. Kessog had arrived at Luss at the beginning of the sixth century and built a monastery on the island of Inchtavannoch (monk’s island), opposite Luss. In Glen Luss, there are the remains of an ancient church of Saint Michael.

The red flag was flying which warns of MOD activity, I had seen hundreds of personnel being bussed out from outside the Danger Area as I climbed the first part.

This obviously means ‘Keep Out’, OS maps have the wrong area mapped as inside the danger zone, the danger area is to the left of  The Strone, it is well marked….

Once again, another enjoyable SOTA activation, another four points which leaves me on the ‘unlucky’ number. Hopefully I will move off that soon….

beinn a' mhanaich 250709 026

Stations worked include Brian, a GM0 station form Falkirk, MM0 station Alan from Larkhall who ‘spotted’ me on the SOTA spot page and relayed information on who was where and what, thanks Alan !!!, Bob, a MM0 and Eunice, a MM3 at Croftamie, MMo station David in Maybole, Fred a 2M0 station in Paisley, Richard , a GW4/P station operating from Moel Llyfnant, North Wales, a Gm4 station Brian in Falkirk, Stuart a MM6 from Irvine, Derek a 2m0 station from Patna, a MM6 station Steven from Cowdenbeath, Andrew who was activating An Caisteal south of  Crainlarich, Robin,GM7/P activating Beinn na Bheither – Sgorr Dhonnuill nr. Ballachulish, a GM7 station John from Ayr, Phillip a GM0 station from Wishaw,Dennis a MM0 from the east end of Glasgow, Andy, another regular, a MM0 station from Falkirk , next was Eddy a 2M0 from near Glasgow Airport and finally, Colin a MM6 from Irvine. Ayrshire  and stations from Falkirk were the hot spots this activation, the STS to North Wales was a good ‘un, amazing what you can do with 2 1/2 watts and a beam antenna.

Facts :

Beinn a’Mhanaich is 709 m ASL (2326 ft)  ‘the hill of the monk’

Round Trip of approx. 9 kms

Total Ascent (approx) 509 m ( 1670 ft)

Total Descent (approx) 509 m (1670 ft)

Map HERE

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Beinn Chaorach SOTA Trip

sotaimage55Finally, a 4 point SOTA summit activated !!!!. Beinn Chaorach GM/SS 062was the intended activation, we set out from the home QTH and enjoyed a pleasant run to the start point via Loch Lomondside, the temperature even at mid morning was hot, after being dropped off at the start point (NS 297 885) opposite Ballevoulin Farm, we headed towards the top of the first hill which is called Auchingaich Hill, the summit of Auchingaich is 546m (1693 ft ASL) , a rise of approx 1200ft in about 1.5km, a really steep walk, this took approx 105 mins for this first stage, from the Auchingaich summit we then headed north along a ridge towards Beinn Tharsuinn where we skirted the left hand flank of the hill, there is a quad track most of the way, it gets lost in the odd place but it can be found soon after, we then headed towards the fence that runs from Thursuinn all the way up and over Chaorach, this was a steepish ascent but we soon made the top, an hour had past since we left the top of Auchingaich so the whole journey was done in approx 2hrs 45mins. I’m sure that a regular hill walker would do this much quicker, the first section was the time consuming one.
Back to the activation, the mast and the beam were then quickly set up and immediately I got a call back on 144 ssb, I then worked some interesting stations over a two and a half hour period that we stayed on Chaorach.
Stations worked were a GM3, south of Ayr, two Yls on Moel Llyfnant, MW0/P Helen and GW6/P Carolyn my first contacts into Wales, next was a EI3 station, Jim who was 30ml south of Dublin, I then worked Robin, GM7/P who was on Binnean Mor, Roddy 2M0 who I speak with most weekends from Gourock, Brian a MM1 station from Howwood, GM7  Steve from Greenock,next was Alan 2M0 from Larkhall, next was Richard G4/P who was on Seat Sandal, Andy MM0 from Falkirk, John MM1 from Glasgow, next was a GM0, Ken and his XYL Christine a GM4 from Edinburgh, a mobile GM4 station Scott from East Kilbride, Barry, a MM0 station from Bathgate called in, lastly I worked Steve GM7 on 2m ssb and also on 70cm ssb.
The return journey took just under two hours. A great day, made better by the lovely views from the top of Chaorach, the Arrochar Alps topped by Beinn Ime, Ben Starav to the north, Beinn Eich and Doune Hill across the valley to our NE, Ben Lomond to the E and Ailsa Craig to the SW.

Facts :

Beinn Chaorach  ‘the hill of the sheep’ is 713m ASL (2338 ft)

Beinn Tharsuinn ‘ the transverse hill’ is 656m ASL (2151 ft)

Auchengaich Hill is 546m ASL (1790 ft)

Total Ascent : approx 548 m (1797 ft)

Total Descent : approx 548m (1797 ft)

Map HERE

Photos :

Top Left – Auchingaich Hill, the first stage of the trip in(from the start point)

Middle Right – Beam pointing south

Bottom Right – ME !!! with Ben Lomond in the background

Other photos from this trip HERE

FT 817


After much debate, finally bought myself one of these. Two reasons, first, due to space limitations at the home QTH and secondly, as I intend to do  some more SOTA activations, I have just got myself the FT817. I intend to work  HF frequencies /P (portable) on my local hills and on any SOTA summits I activate. I still have to organise external power but I am in the process of getting a 12v 7ah SLA battery to power the rig, the internal Yaesu battery gives only a short operating time, the SLA will extend that time greatly. The QRP rig (2.5w on internal battery, 5w on 13.8v) will prove a challenge on HF.
Building antennas will be the next step, the selection of antenna choice through the internet is staggering, I will take plenty time deciding what to build, I have a few ideas I’m mulling over.
It will be interesting comparing my recent SOTA activations using 2m FM and the other options now open to me.
I hope to have a report on how I get on soon, if not a SOTA summit, I will have a session on one of my local hilltops.

Update :

Having now worked three hilltops with this radio, the first being the SOTA activation of Beinn Chaorach, first calls on the radio were on 144.300 SSB and amongst the first stations worked were a GM4 in Ayr, an EI5 station 30ml sth of Dublin, two SOTA STS (summit to summit) stations in North Wales, a GW6/P and a MW0/P stations on Moel Llyfnant and later, another STS G4/P on Seat Sandal. This was an excellent introduction of 2M SSB from over 2,000 ft using only the internal battery’s 2 1/2 watts output.
I now have a Yuasa 12v 7ah SLA battery which now gives me the capability of using the radio’s 4-5 watts on SSB and I’m look forward to a full activation of a SOTA summit. I now have my NOV(Notice of Variation) for 5mhz so I hope that in the near future I will be active on that band.