Had a lot of fun today up on Cairnharrow - the third time I’ve been up the hill, the second actually to the summit.
The intention was to test out a new 7-ele yagi (DK7ZB design) that I’ve put together over the last week or two. Having used the 5-ele for a while, and having added the homebrew linear for 2m, I thought we might do a bit better still with a better antenna (and better still with a little preamp, but that’s for the future …).
The antenna is built in much the same way as the 5-ele design (see the web pages for details, link from qrz.com) but is one of DK7ZB’s 28 ohm variants, so needs some different matching. However I followed the recipe on his website and it seems to have done the trick - got some decent signal reports today in conditions that were far from superb.
I parked in the usual place, which is not quite as far along the road as G4OWG’s description on the SOTAwatch summit info; there’s a gate on the north side of the track about 300m before the road becomes private, where there is room to park without obstructing a passing place. The route I use is a bit to the south of that described, keeping just to the SE of the wall that heads up the hill to the col. From the col, over the wall, then join the quad bike track shortly thereafter; that bit is the easiest part of the walk. I have done the walk to the summit in an hour, but today with the heavier pack (more batteries for the linear!) it was 65 mins.
Arrived in time for the alerted activation, but the first I heard was Gerald G4OIG/P on G/TW-004, so I was pleased we got an S2S in before he closed down - he was running ahead of time at that point. I then moved to .3 to call CQ and found Robert GM4GUF/P on Tinto - starting with two S2S contacts was not bad! Having had quite a chat with Gerald and then Robert I moved back to .3 and having moved to .320 for the QSO with G8ZVZ found I was getting a lot of shouts. Mike GW0DSP, as often, was the magic number 4 that qualified the summit! Very sorry that I didn’t manage everyone, because I have a couple of part calls noted in the log that didn’t turn into contacts. However, there was a good run of contacts until about 1210z.
Having a bit of time to spare I swung the beam around in various directions calling CQ; Steve GW7AAV came back and gave me time to play around with the beam a bit, showing it is very pointy - it makes a huge difference when it’s in the right direction, so I’m going to have to take some string in future to make sure the wind doesn’t blow it away from where it’s supposed to be pointing. There were quite a few more contacts waiting so I did my best to finish that run before closing 2m. These included another S2S, Rob G4RQJ/P on G/NP-015.
Tried a quick shout on 70cm but all was quiet locally. I’m going to have to give 70cm the same treatment I have with 2m, getting organised with a linear and a decent antenna.
Many thanks to all for contacts, and especially as always to spotters including G6XLL who I didn’t get the full call for at the time but who could obviously hear me. Much appreciated.
A great day on the hill, lovely weather and fantastic views over Galloway and out to the Isle of Man and the Lake District. That’s why we do it!
(PS the title was meant to include “(and a New Beam!)”)