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Easter Weekend Review: SS-195,SS-148,SS-225 & SS-0


#1

Brian G(M)4ZRP was staying with me over Easter and I’ve already reported on our activation of Ben Vorlich SS-008. Here is a review of the other summits we activated all on 60m.

Mendick Hill SS-195 7/4/2007

This is a lovely and easy 1 pointer at the South end of the Pentlands. I’ve put route information on the summit page for this hill already. After we had done Ben Vorlich on Friday, both Brian and myself had slightly stiff legs on Saturday. Well we had climbed about 2900ft, which is much more than I’m used to doing. I had a number of mundane tasks to do in the morning which meant that after lunch we decided to do something easy.

The weather was really good as can be seen from the photos on already on Flickr and unlike on Friday, the ionosphere decided to play, so signal strengths on 60m were back to normal. A nice gentle stroll back in the evening sun completed the day.

QSOs: GW0DSP, GW7AAV, G4BLH, M0COP, GM0AXY, GM4YMM, G0AOD, G0RQL, G4OAR, G0NES, G4CPA, M1MAJ, GW7AAU, GW0VMZ, GM4FAM, G4GKE, G0RWL, GW0DSP & M0JDK/P

Meikle Says Law SS-148, Dirrington Great Law SS-225 9/4/2007

We saw that Steve GM7SRJ was going to be out in The Lammermuirs today and decided that as I hadn’t been out activating that far East before we do SS-148 and SS-225. We started from Faseny Cottage on the Gifford<>Duns road. You can’t see the cottage from the start, but it’s obvious from the map were it is and there is lots of parking just off the road. The weather was very overcast when we got to the start and the wind was getting up but the ascent to the summit is a bit of a joke for this hill. You might not climb much overall but it does start with a descent of about 200ft! This is the first summit I’ve done where you start by going down. There were a few showers on the way but by the time we reached the summit the weather was brightening up nicely.

There’s a picture of Brian holding an old spent artillery shell we stumbled across. We made sure it was safe by kicking it and then beating the daylights out of it before Brian picked it up! I’m not sure how it got there and the only numbers we could find on it said 11 & 4… November 1944? I wonder how you can find out if that area was used by the army in the past?

Brian had his handheld on 2m and we heard Steve, GM7SRJ call us and later had a contact on HF where we arranged to meet up after we finshed these activations. We managed two S2S contacts with Clive M1YAM on TW-002 and Steve GM7SRJ on SS-182. I managed to get much better output power from the FT-817 when I connected the external battery the correct way round! The lead is fused yet the fuse didn’t blow. I’m not sure if the 817 just has a reverse polarity diode rather than an idiot diode. Anyway, having thought I’d gubbed the radio, I take a little more care connecting everything now.

QSOs: M1YAM/P (TW-002), G4JZF, GM4FAM, M0VEY, G4CPA, G0HNW, G3NIJ, G4BLH, G0RQL, GM4YMM, GM7PKT, G4GKE, GW4BVE, GM7SRJ/P (SS-182), M0COP, GW4EVX, MM1FHO, G0NES, G4OWG, G4OAR, M1MAJ, GW0VMZ, GW0DSP & GW7AAV.

A few minutes after arriving back at the car Steve GM7SRJ rolled up and we had a good 20 minutes of SOTA discussions. Of course I forgot to get a group photo of us so that will have to wait till next time. D’Oh! Steve gave us a better route for SS-225 which we then set off to do.

It took about 15 minutes to get to Dirrington Great Law and the weather was really sunny now but the wind was blowing a bit. The walk from Dronshiel farm is short to the hill and then up one of the steeper sides. But Dirrington is only a tiddler and it didn’t take long to get to the summit. We set up in the lee of the cairn which is just inside NT65 sqaure. We worked Don G0NES later who was looking for NT75, about 100m from where we were. The wind had already toppled the antenna once and we were tired and cold or we’d have moved the setup so we could give Don NT75. However, Steve GM7SRJ was now home and lives in NT75 so he was able to give the square to Don. You could ‘hear’ Don’s smile after that for getting a new SOTA summit and two relatively rare WAB squares in one 3 way QSO.

By the time we had taken down everything the weather was turning colder and more overcast. Dirrington is quite steep so the descent was quick. The scenery was magnificent with The Eildon Hills being prominent and The Cheviot dominating the Southern skyline. Of course The Cheviot SB-001 is one of those soft Southern hills worth 8 points. Move it a mile NW into Scotland and it’s only worth 4 points! Just joking, it’s worth the drive from my QTH for the extra points.

QSOs: G0HNW, GM4FAM, G0NES, G4OAR, GM7PKT, GW0VMZ, G0RQL, G4CPA, GM7SRJ, G4GKE,
G4GKE, G4BLH, GD3YUM, G0GWK, GW3TUX(??), GW7AAV, GW0DSP, M0VEY & G4JZF

Broad Law SS-029 10/4/2007

Well no more good weather now. But at least it wasn’t raining though the wind was forecast for 35mph. Broad Law can be climbed from several places. One popular route is up the access track from Hearthstanes Farm. This is a simple trudge but it does involve a walk through some nice forrest which I do enjoy. Or you can climb it from the South from the road that runs past Talla and Megget resevoirs. This is a very narrow road. I made the mistake of trying to drive along here on a lovely Sunday afternoon but turned back as the traffic was daft. Now, I’ll only drive up the steep narrow bit from Talla on windy overcast, midweek days like today. There are no passing places on the steep narrow part and I don’t like having to reverse on such roads!

You can squeeze two cars worth of parking at the back of a passing place just past The Megget Stone without blocking anything. On a busy day, and Broad Law is popular, you may have a long way from where you parked to The Megget Stone, but not today. The walk is straight up from the stone following the very obvious track. There are cairns to mark the route but you keep the fence on the left and climb till you hit the trig point.

The weather was OK till we got to the summit of Cairn Law when we got the full force of the wind. Not much higher the mist closed in and the fence was our marker to the summit. All the climbing is done by the time you reach Cairn Law, the route to the summit is a very gentle stroll along the broad plateau that gives the hill its name. Well it would be if it wasn’t for the wind. Brian’s anemometer gave the speed as 33-35mph with gusts well over 40mph.

The wind was so bad at the summit we didn’t push the fishing rod up to full height and still it was bending alarmingly. Propagation was poor too and only a few contacts were made. With the bad weather we were ready to leave as soon as we had enough contacts but we had a desperate call from Steve GW7AAV to wait for Mike GW0DSP who was driving back to his QTH whilst we were on air. Whilst waiting we managed to contact Jack GM4COX but were unable to have a nice easy 2m QSO with him because someone had forgotten to put the rubber duck in the box after comparing its performance with a high gain tri-band antenna Brian had brought along. Oops! The return was easy as the wind blew us back! By the time we returned the weather had closed right back to the road and it was a little misty till we reached Megget Resevoir.

QSOs: G4JZF, GM0AXY, GM4FAM, G0NES, G3RMD, GW7AAV, M0VEY, G4JZF, G4FUJ, GI4SRQ,
G0HNW, GM4COX & GW0DSP

So the whole weekend saw 5 hills activated, my first Munro climbed, discovery that reverse connection of the battery doesn’t harm an FT-817, about 2000m of climbing and about 27 miles walked.

Thanks to all those chasers who made it all worthwhile.

Andy
MM0FMF