Tag Archives: Schiehallion

(Feb) Radio Days

Late again, I need to get my act together.

The shortest month of the year, so how much did I manage to cram in to it ?

Lets see !

SOTA…

Activations ? Two, what I would call my now annual visits to first, Beinn a’Mhanaich and secondly the Hill of Stake.

a’Mhanaich I did on a cold windy day but I was kept busy with 24 contacts from Scotland, Wales, England and Northern Ireland. Later in midweek I headed to the Hill of Stake in ideal conditions for walking in and out but I must add not for sitting about on the summit, this hill is best done in ‘cold’ conditions as some of you know fine well it can a boggy pathless ascent. ‘Crisp’ is what I would describe as the best attack plan. I made 19 contacts all in Scotland but nonetheless a good midweek total. I gave a call out on my 70mhz FM handie and snagged one contact to Steve UAU in Greenock but at the HoS, I decided to try 70 cm FM and made three contacts which for midweek was good. I’ll try 70 cm as 70 mhz seems to be quiet in the Central Belt but if S of the HoS, I will consider 70 mhz FM as I know a few stations in NI and some in the NW England area are normally about.

Looking down the Firth from a'Mhanaich

Looking down the Firth from a’Mhanaich

Chasing…

The month started with working Iain WJZ who activated Beinn Dorain, another of those iconic Scottish mountains. I had been out walking and waited to catch him from the local golf course car park about 400m W from my house. One done by handie.

On what seemed a slow start to the month, I caught Iain seven days later Schiehallion SE of Loch Rannoch this time I was at home. Iain had just activated two hills I have looked at very closely lately. The following weekend I ‘chased’ from Beinn a’Mhanaich and logged Iain this time from Creag Meagaidh well to the N of me near Glen Spean , Robin PKT who was Beinn Chaorach nr Tyndrum, Jack COX to the E on Cairnpapple Hill, John BLV who was on Moel Famau in North Wales and finally Alister BKQ whom I caught on Skiddaw in the Lake District, a good haul of contacts. I was down on HF when I get tipped the wink by Steve UAU that Colwyn YCJ was on Ben Clach to the NW of Braco, an unexpected one in the log.

On the last weekend of the month, I caught Robin PKT on Sgurr Mhic Eacharna then the following day on Beinn Leamhain both hills in the Morvern area and the last contact for the month was Bob AWV directly across the river on Ben Bowie. A reasonable month considering the poor weather at times.

Quiet but still a worthwhile time considering hill conditions.

Brr

Brr

HF…

Another month in which JT65 and to a lesser degree JT9-1 were my go to modes. I must return to PSK at some point as some interesting propagation has been showing lately. Nothing new DXCC wise although I’m trying hard trying to work grey line or monitoring bands as they open or start to close which seems to be my best chance. Right place right time I hope will pay off for me.

Odds..

I’m still playing about with the SDR dongle stuff but still not devoting the time that I should, I must try to source a box to fit the upconverter in as more a shield than anything else. It is remarkable how sensitive the dongles are for the price that you pay for them and with some excellent free software to run them with. I think the winter months will be spent trying some of the Softrock projects.

That’s been short and sweet for Feb, a month in which I crammed in so much but found I’d very little to write in this piece. If it seems a dry post, I may put that down to short memory hihi.

My post on Beinn a’Mhanaich HERE

Ditto …Hill of Stake HERE

73

Thanks again to all those I have linked to, Wikipedia, Peakbagger and others…

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(April) Radio Days….2011

VHF….

Working 2m from home, still monitoring 4m FM and 70cm but not much activity.

SOTA….

One activation this month, a visit to King’s Seat in the Sidlaw Hills to the W of Dundee.

Chasing..

First in log was two summit to summit contacts from the top of King’s Seat, Iain WJZ was first, Ian was on the summit of Corserine in the Galloway Hills, a cracking STS across country and Barry TOE was to the N on the summit of Mealna Letter for the next STS, a worthwhile activation for me.

Looking NW to the Lawers Range

Looking NW to the Lawers Range

The following weekend, I worked Jack COX on Dungavel Hill and later that day, Iain WJZ on Sgor Gaibhre. On the Sunday, Bob AWV was on Conic Hill near Balmaha and this day it was the turn of Neil 2MØNCM to be on Dungavel Hill. The following Sunday, I made tracks to Corlic as a few alerts were posted. Firstly fellow blogger Graeme 2MØGIL was on Beinn Dubhchraig whilst at the same time, Neil 2MØNCM was making up his way up to its sister summit of Ben Oss

Looking to the Lui summits

Looking to the Lui summits

whilst unknown to all of us, Alan XXP was making tracks up Ben Lui a stone throw to the N of both hills. Next in the log was Alan EYO who was on a GM land activation holiday, Alan was on Schiehallion to the NE. In a busy day chasing wise, Jack COX was to the south of EYO on Meall Corranaich in the Lawers range. 40 odd points in one day, nice one.

I noticed another visitor to GM land was activating Ben More on the Isle of Mull mid-week so I monitored S20 waiting on him, the points from Gerald AQU were in the bag. A couple of days later, Corlic was my base while Robin PKT started his day off on one of the Beinn a’Ghlo summits followed later by a visit to the summit of Braigh Coire Chruinn-bhalgain, I heard his third activation as I headed back home but failed to make the contact.. In between this, Neil 2MØNCM was line of sight on the Hill of Stake, hill for some reason that some activators hate, dunno why ?.The Holiday Monday I was on Corlic again to chase Graeme 2MØGIL as he was to activate two ‘Munros’, Sqiath Chuil and Meall Glas but whilst I waited on Graeme, Seamus OVV activated Conic Hill, another point.

The next weekend was another holiday weekend and on the Friday, Robin PKT activated two of the hills which make up the Great Wall of Rannoch, first I worked him on Beinn a’Dothaidh and next on Beinn Dorain, the next day he was back out and I ‘chased’ him on both summits of Buachaille Etive Beag whilst at the same time, Gerald AQU popped in to the frequency and Stob Ghabhar was in the bag.

A frenetic month and my quest for Shack Sloth status was about to be realised with just a few more points to go.

HF…

Still scanning the bands from 40m to 12m looking for psk contacts. Working European stations with the odd sprinkling of stations outside. One new DXCC in SV5 Dodecanese Islands in the Aegean Sea. I occasionally had the WSPR set up in operation but for no extended period, 5 watts can certainly carry far in this excellent mode. I’m using what it I guess a ‘stealth’ antenna partially inside my loft space and finally running down behind the outside downpipes. It isn’t the best but it gets out there, five continents so far…

Another thanks to Wikipedia for outside links..

(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…

Funny Hats…..and the 1000 ft mast

For about a year now, I’ve been calling our fellow blogger, Neil… ‘Funny Hat Man’ as he has a collection of, in my opinion, wacky ‘hats’ or Buffs as they are called ( I’m reliably informed). Little did I know that plans were taking place down South Ayrshire way to convert yer man to wearing them, I had once again referred to Neil as ‘Funny Hat Man’ in an email and soon after I received a picture message from Cat asking me which one did I prefer.

There was a choice of three, the centre one of ‘love hearts’ on a dark background was definitely out as even I couldn’t carry that off. I made a choice and within a day, the said article arrived via the post. Thanks to you both ( esp Cat)

The look of disbelief on my kids faces had to be seen, ‘What age are you ?, ‘Surely not ?’ were amongst the advice and giggles offered. I felt I had a duty to give it a go…..you can see in the photo.

Bob with hat

Bob with hat

Now to the radio side of things…

The ‘Alerts’ page on the Sunday morning was alive with GM activations all on high summits, email communications flew back and forth so I decided it was to be a trip to my 1000 ft mast.

I was taken to the Greenock end of the track into Corlic from just south of the Whinhill golf course, I stuck on my ‘funny hat’ and got Katie to take this photo as proof ( she forgot to tell me to tuck my chins in ). The weather was warm with a steady light breeze from the south west as I headed along the track which is tarred until the MOD mast when it turns to a rough farm track, I reached the base of the hill and headed over the stile and 5 mins later stood at the summit. It is a rise of approx 150 ft, looking back I could see other walkers heading towards the hill.

I switched on my 2m handie and immediately heard Jack COX who was talking to Graeme 2MØGIL, I quickly set up the 2m beam and pegged the mast and made contact with Graeme who was on Beinn Dubhnchraig, Graeme had intended to also ‘activate’ Ben Oss later in mid afternoon but as we spoke, Neil 2MØNCM was heading to the summit of Ben Oss. Neil had as usual, sent me his position on the hill so I could keep track of his progress.

I next caught Alan EYO who is up in Scotland on a four day ‘activation’ holiday, he was on Schiehallion, a quick chat and he was off to find the other lads who were already on the tops. I had a ‘scran’ break and had a few words with some walkers who had arrived at the summit, one told his wee lass that the man is ‘broadcasting’….Radio Bawb anyone? experience ? I DJ’ed in the early/mid 70s in the heyday of Disco…

The handie was switched back on and I heard Robin PKT calling from Geal-charn, I called back and we moved to another frequency, signal reports back and forth were pretty weak but all words were understood and contact made, more points in the bag. I then got called by a couple of stations in the Lanarkshire area, WNR/P and VYU and whilst working them, Jack COX called in to give me the chasing points for Meall Corranaich before he took off for another hill, another eight points bagged !

I caught up with Neil 2MØNCM and made the contact to Ben Oss and whilst talking to Neil, Alan XXP called in as he was nearing the summit of Ben Lui and said he would be on about 20 mins. I spoke to Neil then left him to chase the other activators for his STS’s (summit to summit).

Alan XXP soon appeared so I got to work him on 2m FM with the usual sked arranged to work him on 4m FM, Neil also had his 4m handie and dipole so we had a four way QSO once Graeme 2MØGIL arrived on the summit of Oss, superb.

I decided it was time to head back to the hacienda and I broke down everything so it was off to descend my usual trip through occasional knee deep heather and bog, I had a quick look at the old burn controls as I neared the road between Greenock and Kilmacolm and headed north along the roadside until I cut through a gap in a fence and headed past the Harelaw and Knocknair reservoirs and traisped over the fields to the golf course where I headed down home, five mins away.

A cracking day out with a good walk in, a fine days ‘chasing’ and an excellent walk home in almost perfect weather plus a few hours spent talking to those who ascended much higher hills than mine…

One of the activators arrived home just after midnight….who says radio isn’t fun ?

The ‘cairn’ in the photo ‘Remnant of the Second World War’ is possibly related to the Whitelees Decoy station or the MOD building which is now a telecommunications station ( I think). A lot of activity took place on the this area above Greenock during the Second World War.

Once I claim all the points, I have 98 left to achieve my goal of Slothdom...onwards and upwards plus what is next ? A bottle of Fizz awaits.

Whilst ‘Googling’, I found this. It is part of a poem by Daniel King..

No more by the river, lake, or deep fountain,
No more over Corlic, high hill, or mountain,
In deep musing mood will he wander alone ;