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Activation Report: Black SS-167


#1

Black Hill is one of my winter bonus favourites. It was the 1st hill I activated on HF in 2006. After the struggle with 2m FM in and around Edinburgh it was a revelation to use 5MHz! It remains today a nice, easy leg stretch. My preferred route is from the Bavelaw car park at Threipmuir Reservoir, up the road and then on to the well maintained tracks then straight up to the top. The reservoirs around here capture water before it enters The Water of Leith and in recent years the level has been lowered by about 1m to provide flood protection for Edinburgh. Sadly this means the reservoir is now a huge mudflat :frowning:

Anquet says 1hr20 for this route but I went at hit hammer and tongs and got up the frozen ground and to the cairn in just under the hour. There was no wind at all and it was quite warm. The Forth Valley and most of Edinburgh were under mist and watching it billow about was mesmerising. The seeing to the West was hazy but North West was great: Ben Vorlich, Stuc a’Chroin, Stob Binnein, Ben More, Ben Lui, Cruarch Ardrain, Ben Ime, The Cobbler were all very clear. That’s not quite 100pts worth of SOTA fun! Best was Ben Lawers though, unlike the others he was completely covered in snow and stood out behind the Ochills like a Toblerone box. Anquet says that the LOS distance is 62miles to Ben Lawers and he was a steady image, fantastically clear air!

I started on 2m and managed to attract Ken GM0AXY and Christine GM4YMM who’s QTH I could see down in Edinburgh. Ken spotted me on 2m and 60m and whilst getting the dipole up I was called by Steve GM7UAU in Greenock which is a fair old distance to work on a handy+rubber duck. The handy, Icom IC-80AD, was laying on the ground when Steve called, quite surprising I’d hear him at all. Later on I heard MM1AVV from Criffel working GM4CXM, but he was too weak to work. Shame.

Onto 60m and it was like shelling peas although quite a few people said there was deep and fast QSB. This was when the Mongolian Hordes arrived. There’s never anyone walking on Black Hill. Except today, when a walking group was doing the Pentlands loop came by. So I had to explain the antenna and smile with the jokes “have you caught any” etc. etc. I almost had my frequency purloined by a Robin GM7PKT and Frank G3RMD double act whilst I was explaining stuff to the walkers! You can’t trust any of these old time G3 calls! :wink: A subsequent 3 way sorted that out and Frank chased and Robin was S2S’d. Some DX wafted by in the shape of Leif LA9BM and Kjell LA1ENA. Then I cleaned up the stragglers on 60m finishing with an S2S with Paul GW4MD/p. I think this was my first activation with 4 S2S contacts. I thought I did it on Meall Bhuide 15 months back but one portable station was not on a SOTA summit.

Finally I pulled the links on the antenna and plugged in the paddle. Time to make an idiot of myself on 40m which I promptly did. I’d told Ken it was warm enough for just a fleece even though it was well below 0C. However, I had my new down jacket on within minutes. Fantastic and cosy. Anyway I didn’t realise my head was cold and so were my hands. I’d forgotten the thin gloves which you can operate in and my thick gloves are too thick. Cold hands meant awful sending and a cold head meant it was just dots and dashes. I now know that GWWZ0/G33OAO was actually Les G3VQO. If my head had been warmer I’d have got that, sorry Les. And yes, very QRS was how people had to send to work me. The QRM monster was there but his game is busted. Smart ops zero beat with him and then shift a hundred Hz or so and whilst he runs a big signal keydown you can hear the stations calling as they beat with the constant tone. Especially as I now have a 300Hz filter and can make 7.032 almost bearable! After working DJ5AV the QRM monster realised he was not causing any problems and stopped so I was able to work ON5QRP and ON3WAB. After that I couldn’t think any more. So it was a “SRI TOO COLD QRT” and I packed up.

The walk out as the sun set was lovely. The temperature was well below zero back at the car as I sat getting changed. Some fantastic colours in the sunset above the mudflats/reservoir but after all day outside the camera was too cold to play… it wouldn’t even turn on never mind say flat battery.

All in all a lovely day out and not too hard after a strenuous works Christmas do yesterday. The exercise and cold cleared out the remnents of the Sicilian Red we had with the meal and the long conversations I had with my good friends Stella and Artois during the evening! See Tom, moderation is the key to these things though I think your CW is better when you’re legless than mine is sober. :slight_smile:

Total walked: 8.8kms, total ascent: 322m, distance driven: er… it’s just a wee bit up the road from home.

Andy
MM0FMF


#2

In reply to MM0FMF:

Hi Andy

Many thanks for the informative and entertaining report. And for waiting to ambush me for the S2S! Much appreciated, and also one of four - a record for me too!

73 de Paul G4MD


#3

In reply to MM0FMF:

The QRM monster was there but his game is busted.

No sign of the QRM monster here. Must be nearer to me than to you?

73

Richard
G3CWI


#4

In reply to MM0FMF:
I almost had my frequency purloined by a Robin

GM7PKT and Frank G3RMD double act whilst I was explaining stuff to the
walkers! You can’t trust any of these old time G3 calls! :wink:
Hi Andy,
Great report, enjoyed reading it. Sorry for the confusion; my fault. I presume your remark about ‘oldies’ refers to Richard (cwi). I’m very young, so it can not be me!
73, Frank


#5

In reply to G3CWI:

I suspect he (or one of them) is close to me as he is very strong and doesn’t show any fading. I’m thinking of a little light DFing!

73

Brian G8ADD


#6

In reply to G3RMD:

Sorry for the confusion; my fault.

Not at all, it just added to the fun. Brian G4ZRP was listening and said to me later on that he was well impressed at the smooth way you took control and had 2 activators chasing you rather than the other way around. So much so he’s going to try it himself rather than tuning about! :wink:

I’m very young, so it can not be me!

To be honest you can’t trust any of the G3-wallahs!

Andy
GM3PYU


#7

In reply to MM0FMF:
Andy
You are right about the clarity it was as clear as I can remember up Tinto, usually there is alot of stuff in the air from the city. Arran was the clearest I have ever seen it. Bloomin cold but no wind so shelter from the cairn worked for me again. Sunset was amazing, forgot head torch and was cooling rapidly so missed it from the top… and the ice was really bad.

Sorry I never got up to FM 2m I was doing my usual on SSB, best was Walt G3NYY/P near Cheltenham, 23 contacts but should have gone to FM and made a few more. EI2WRB beacon was unusually strong but nothing from EI/GI.
73
Robert
GM4GUF


#8

In reply to G3RMD:

I presume your remark about ‘oldies’ refers to Richard (cwi). I’m very
young, so it can not be me!

No, no. Richard is a youngster masquerading as an oldie … as I am constantly at pains to remind him! He is really a G4 in disguise.
:wink:

73 de G3NYY


#9

In reply to MM0FMF:

To be honest you can’t trust any of the G3-wallahs!

Andy
GM3PYU

G3PYU is a Silent Key. He used to live on the Wirral.

73,
Walt (G3NYY)


#10

In reply to G3NYY:

G3PYU is a Silent Key.

Indeed he is much missed. Peter was a truly special person, he always had time for everyone. A true giant of man always willing to help and exceptionally generous. He had a a most amazing collection of radio related ephemera and junk never mind a healthy collection of working amateur gear. Not only a radio amateur but a keen photographer and genius mechanical engineer. You only had to mention that you were looking for some kind of bracket or doo-dah or whatsit and one would miraculously appear FOC within a few days made with fastidious attention to detail.

He was as generous in his death as in life leaving large legacies to his local radio and photographic clubs aswell as leaving his entire substantial estate to the RNLI. When we heard he was terminally ill, a few of his friends decided that he may soon be gone but would not be forgotten and we agreed with him to pass his callsign on to a group of us to use now and then. It was last on the air for the International SOTA weekend and one of his old radio clubs may use it on HF Field Day next year. I’ll be using it for the SOTA VHF Fun Day this coming January. Just a few special occasions a year is enough to make sure we never forget our friend.

Andy
MM0FMF (and chairman WLC Radio Group GS3PYU)


#11

In reply to MM0FMF:

To be honest you can’t trust any of the G3-wallahs!

Andy
GM3PYU

I blush to point it out, but the early G8s are contemporaneous with the late G3s…so now I am practising my used-car salesman look!

73

Brian G8ADD


#12

In reply to MM0FMF:

‘I think this was my first activation with 4 S2S contacts.’

Well done Andy and thanks for the S2S to NW-043!
And actually, I had five S2S yesterday - so there :slight_smile:

Ron, GW4EVX


#13

I recall that Whernside NP-004 on a scorching hot 25th April 2004 was the first occasion where I qualified a summit with four consecutive S2S QSOs. It was on one of the SOTA Youth Hostel weekends that were popular back then, and was coincidentally my 100th activation in SOTA.

The notable activations in my log for S2S QSOs are:

22/11/03 - Dale Head G/LD-020 - Grasmere YH weekend - 9
29/12/03 - Corndon Hill GW/MW-013 - Gaulfest - 9
13/11/04 - The Wrekin G/WB-010 - Pen-y-pass YH weekend - 12
23/04/06 - Raw Head G/SP-016 - SP Fun Day - 27
15/04/07 - Ingleborough G/NP-005 - hot day with VHF lift - 11
21/09/08 - Hail Storm Hill G/SP-009 - long activation - 11
04/01/09 - Wild Boar Fell G/NP-007 - NP Fun Day - 19

The most summits on simultaneously must have been on the International SOTA Weekend back in May this year, but the pile-ups were so big that I decided it would be of more use overall if I just held my own QRG. I did still get some S2S contacts on both days - but an awful lot of SOTA SWL logs as well!

I imagine that Steve G1INK will probably be able to claim the biggest number of S2S in a single activation.

Tom M1EYP


#14

In reply to G8ADD:
Oh dear
Rob
G4RQJ/G8AOR

I blush to point it out, but the early G8s are contemporaneous with
the late G3s…so now I am practising my used-car salesman look!

73

Brian G8ADD


#15

Thanks for the first contact in CW Andy !!

Peter