Another weekend of dubious weather. Forecasts for SW Scotland today are for heavy rain so no chance to finish off my SS bucketlist. NE (Ballater way) was forecast to have light rain though today that has changed to dry. Can't win them all so another local activation aiming for 13cms QSOs was on. I don't intend to do much 13cms during the Winter, ordinary HF is hard enough in cold wind and snow, so I want to get as much in now before 4-5months enforced shutdown. With 6 non-SOTA stations within 30miles of Edinburgh QRV 13cms, the chances to get 4 QSOs are high. An alert was pushed out to the GM13 group. Jack GM4COX and Dan GM6CMQ were up for a play so there was an S2S chance.
My summit was Black Mount SS-158, a Pentlands outlier. I remember toiling up this thinking it was a serious mountain assault akin to scaling the Eiger when I started SOTA in 2006. Now I just threw the SOTA box in the car, drove out in 30mins, put on boots and walked straight up it. Just over 45mins from locking the car to getting the handy out to call Jack. Well I dropped my rucksak on the 13cms antenna doing that and bent it, straighted out it worked, but the elements need tweaking as the SWR is more than it was pre-bending
It was a blue and sunny morning but by 1300Z it was a black sky. And windy. I didn't notice that on the forecast and that made antenna aiming hard. Onto 13cms and Dan was weak...how can this be? Well from Scald Law I could see the Forth and the bridges and Dunfermline where Dan lives. Now I was 10 miles further away and behind the main Pentland ridge. Pointing directly at Dan and he was 59+ but it was possible to drop his signal to 51. This wasn't possible at Scald Law, 59+ wherever I pointed. Jack was not strong unless I pointed his way when he was 59+. I could see Dungavel Hill SS-165, well I could at the start, the clag was down on Jack. The wind was also affecting Jack, he was hand holding his beam and so it was easy for it to not be pointing exactly at me as he operated.
At this point I was happy. Well sort of. A 13cms S2S, A 13cms QSO to a fix station. But it was quite cold and the clag came down making it seem much more like November than September. Also my bag was in Summer configuration and I could have done with another fleece. At this point Brian GM4DIJ appeared from home on 13cms. Despite being well screened behind the Pentlands he was an easy S3 signal. Just too screened to work Jack who had not only the Pentlands but was stuck behind 200m of Tinto Hill overtopping him in that direction.
We all chatted for a bit and then closed down on 13cms. I looked and saw I needed 1 more QSO to qualify. I was too cold to setup HF but I thought must be able to get a QSO on 2m. I knew Robin GM7PKT was out and hoped he'd still be on air. Onto 145.500 and I hooked up with Robin and Steve MM0XPZ. An S2S with Robin was great as I completed Carn nan Gabhar ES-022, an infrequently activated summit near Braemar. Robin was more pleased, it had taken him 3.5 hours to work 4 contacts. After Steve was logged I packed up and was back at the car in 30mins where promptly the cloud broke up and the sun came out.
Another great day on 13cms including working a new station. Again no earth shattering DX but I have yet to try 13cms from a summit and fail to have at least 1 QSO. For a band that has low occupancy and use I think that's pretty amazinf going. And again, I'm always impressed at the silly distances you can work summit to summit with a 2m handy and a rubber duck. 140km upto Robin being an example.
Finally congratulations to Paddy MM6IPO who is now 2M0IPO. Paddy has one of these 13cms transverters and has been working to upgrade his licence so he can join in the fun on 13cms.