Tag Archives: Seat Sandal

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)


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.