I did put lots of calls out on SSB in all directions from Hill of Foundland but obviously, despite being relatively local, that path obviously doesn’t work Barry. I did work GM0HTT in Orkney and GM4GUF who was about the same distance in the opposite direction. I could hear lots of other stations including one in IN99 but conditions weren’t good enough for my 5w and 3-element quad antenna to work any of the rest.
Given the lack of local FM activity, I was really hoping that I would get some SSB contacts on ES-057, Little Conval (GM/ES-057) yesterday. I had been staying near Aberdeen over Christmas and it was a nice mild, calm day when I started my journey home yesterday morning. Things were rather different when I parked up at the base of Little Conval, I could hardly open the car door for the wind, but at least it was incredibly mild for the time of year. I was hoping that the wind strength where I had parked was just it funnelling through the pass between Ben Rinnes and Meikle Conval, but no, it was even stronger on the top. I was knocked over several times while I tried to set up an antenna. And I had picked a flat topped featureless hill with no real shelter!
Eventually I managed to get the antenna up, albeit at about half the height that I would normally have it. Three FM contacts came within about 15 minutes which is pretty good going for a Highland hill. Then nothing! I did make an attempt at operating of SSB but I wasn’t able to keep the antenna pointing in any particular direction and in any case unless it was a very strong, loud signal, I wasn’t going to be able to copy it under these conditions anyway.
After a couple of hours with the antenna and pole falling over every few minutes I retreated from the summit to the trig point which is about 5m below the summit to the north. This still allowed a good take-off towards the Aberdeen and Inverness areas which I reckoned were the most likely sources of a contact and it gave me a little shelter. Having failed to activate ES-085 under similar conditions on Boxing Day, the longer this went on, the more determined I was to get that final contact.
Finally after almost exactly 4 hours Iain, MM1DVC, in Keith which is only 17km away came back to a call with a 59 signal.
My thanks to all those who called me or tried to call me over the past few days and a Happy New Year to all.