Other SOTA sites: SOTAwatch | SOTA Home | Database | Video | Photos | Shop | Mapping | FAQs | Facebook | Contact SOTA

500 up

With poor WX the last 3 weekends I was getting cabin feaver not being outdoors. So when I saw an alert by fellow local SOTAist John GM8OTI that he was planning to take his homebrew 23cms transverter out up Allermuir Hill for the activity night, I thought I’d nip out and give him a S2S on his 1st time out on the band. The only problem would be where to go that I could get to in no time at all. Well the most trivial summit in Scotland is Cairnpapple Hill SS-254. For a start the car park is in the AZ! It must take almost 3 minutes to get to the top, it’s LOS to Allermuir and is about 15minutes drive from my QTH.

At 1910z I was setting up the 23cms handy. For good measure I grabbed the nearest 2m set (Icom IC80) and threw that in the bag with a scrap of paper and a pen. My aim was 1 QSO on 23cms and possibly some on 70cms/2m. Cairnpapple is one summit I did when I first started on SOTA. So not unique but the point would be nice. There was a chap filming the views for a daytime property program coming on the BBC soon when I got to the top. The view up to the Highlands was really good with Ben Lui clearly visible never mind Ben More, Stob Binnein, Ben Ledi, Arrochar Alps, Ben Vorlich etc. etc.

I could hear 2 different stations on 23cms, they were both using SSB and the Icom X21 I have is FM only. However, I was sure I could send some chirpy morse by keying the radio and get them to QSY etc. Except I couldn’t :frowning: I wasn’t sure who was who with no SSB RX but sending my (chirpy) callsign didn’t get any response back from either. I tried calling on 1297.5. Now VHF can be a wasteland devoid of contacts here in the Central Belt but 23cm FM without a sked (even on activity night) is a non-starter. I pushed out a spot via my SMS bot and left that rig monitoring and started calling on 2m. It was quiet but after I sent a spot for 145.5 I was able to work 4 stations including SOTAists Ken GM0AXY and Christine GM4YMM who were LOS to me in Edinburgh. Christine has been a little unwell these last few days so I’m sure you’ll all join me in wishing her a speedy recovery.

So why 500 up when I have 658 points to my activating score? Well that includes the winter bonus. If you go out enough times during 3.5 months when sometimes the WX can be a bit rough you can rack up a massive bonus. But tonight I reached 500 real-honest-no-bonus-points. And that’s really half-way to true Goatdom. Of course at 658 points Goatdom is a lot nearer, but 500 points from climbing up stuff means something. Well it does to me. And you couldn’t ask for a nicer person than Christine to be the 4th contact and thus the one who took me to 500 points.

I never did work John and I think the X21 maybe poorly too. That needs a coat of looking at but it will have to wait till after Friedrichshafen. Still 500 up… that put a smile on my face. As I’m off to the diabetic clinic tomorrow to learn how to give myself injections I needed something to lift me up.

Andy
MM0FMF

In reply to MM0FMF:

Now that’s a shame - if I’d known you were going to be out I would have looked. The transverter will of course transvert FM as well, and the FT-817 can produce the stuff.

I did hear some 599 morse later on, but didn’t even bother to listen to see who it was (it takes me several goes through the call, I’m not a proficient CW op), I just assumed it would be Ray GM4CXM since I know he uses CW a lot on 23cm, and I had already spoken to him on SSB.

From my end, a very good evening, 5 GM 23cm contacts on SSB including Jon GM4JTJ again at 95km who gave me 59 for my 400mW. So the summit was qualified for SOTA! - as well as me getting a few more points for the club.

I didn’t have any skeds for the UKAC, but got my contacts through others hearing me in QSO rather than CQ, which is never really a starter with QRP. Eventually I’ll have a much more potent erp! I’m “proper chuffed” that the homebrew kit works so well though. Robert GM4GUF/P was an absolutely cracking signal from Tinto - he was running 25W to 2 x 15-ele, roughly 100 times more erp than me!

Yes, the views were great - as I closed down around 2030z the sun was stil shining through gaps in the clouds, illuminating the Forth bridges and various bits of countryside - a lovely evening, made up for being eaten alive by the midges earlier on as I was setting up.

Good luck with the clinic tomorrow.

73
John GM8OTI

In reply to GM8OTI:

All I did was get eaten by midges.
Not a squeek in IO87; without going very high it is really impossible to squirt 1296MHz RF over the hills especially as nobody ever beams North (Yes, I’m sulking!). I would not call my gear portable but I guess I could make an antenna that was man-portable, leave the Heliax and linear behind and try running the transverter off the LiPo cells, then head for ES-001 or something similar.

In future I will just have to admit defeat and head east to Cairn O’Mount and fight with GM4ZUK if he is there before me.

Barry GM4TOE

In reply to GM4TOE:

Barry, Jon GM4JTJ tells me that using his 20W and a 35ele at 10m agl he only managed the two of us (myself and Robert GM4GUF) out portable, so it’s definitely about “location, location, location” as Jon says.

I was beaming north for a while from 2000z as Robert had arranged a sked with GM3UAG Jim in Ellon (IO87XJ). Robert was able (just) to work him from Tinto - he had 2 x 15ele to play with - whereas I could only just hear him and couldn’t have worked him. All very interesting, but the summits clearly are the answer. I can’t wait to have a go from the Galloway hills where I’ll have a clear takeoff over the Irish Sea!

73
John GM8OTI

In reply to MM0FMF:

I could hear 2 different stations on 23cms, they were both using SSB and the Icom X21 I have is FM only. However, I was sure I could send some chirpy morse by keying the radio and get them to QSY etc. Except I couldn’t :frowning: I wasn’t sure who was who with no SSB RX but sending my (chirpy) callsign didn’t get any response back from either.

I’m not sure everyone that uses 23cms is switched on Andy. When I was on Maesglase GW/NW-029 last year I worked someone on 70cms in the UHF / SHF Contest who asked whether I was QRV on 23cms. They were extremely strong on 70cms so I said yes as long as they came onto FM as I only had that mode. Can’t do they said, so I asked what their set up was on 23cms. Oh, a 2m multimode plus transverter came the reply. Doh! I wasn’t able to convince them they had the mode.

73, Gerald

P.S. Any LOS summits that would work with Knott G/LD-023 or Binsey G/LD-041 next Sunday?

In reply to G4OIG:

Any LOS summits that would work with Knott G/LD-023 or Binsey G/LD-041 next
Sunday?

Well I was intending doing something up North in GM/CS-land assuming I didn’t need webbed feet. But I’ll have a butchers at the uniques down in GM/SS and see what looks promising. There’s a pair that are reasonable to do together that haven’t been on for years that may suit. I’ll also need to purloin John’s SOTAbeam again!

Andy
MM0FMF

In reply to MM0FMF:

Andy,

It was just a thought - no pressure. If you decide to do a summit that offers LOS, then that’s fine. It might prove the X21 is okay or otherwise.

73, Gerald

In reply to G4OIG:

Well, the driving is about the same so it makes little difference TBH. The two nearby would make a decent amount of exercise and be worth 4 points which is the same as doing something bigger further north.

Andy
MM0FMF

In reply to MM0FMF:

I sent a spot for 145.5 I was able to work 4 stations including
SOTAists Ken GM0AXY and Christine GM4YMM who were LOS to me in
Edinburgh. Christine has been a little unwell these last few days so
I’m sure you’ll all join me in wishing her a speedy recovery.

Yes, get well soon Christine. Martyn and I will be staying near Killin next week, near the GM/SS and GM/CS border, so hope to work you then. Weather and legs permitting we’ll manage to get up high enough hills so that I’ll be able to reach chasers on 2m, but if we end up on little hills I expect I’ll need HF. We’ll have the antennas/rigs for 80m, 60m, 40m, 20m, 10m, 6m, 4m, 2m and 70cms, but aren’t likely to use all of them - what gets used will depend on conditions.

Caroline M3ZCB.

In reply to MM0FMF:
Congratulations on getting half way to goatdom, and good luck for the next 500.

Adrian

In reply to G4OIG:

P.S. Any LOS summits that would work with Knott G/LD-023 or Binsey G/LD-041
next Sunday?

Quite a few looking at Johnathon de Ferranti’s panorama site!

Knott:

Cairnharrow, Pibble Hill, Bengairn, Cairnsmore of Fleet, Lamachan Hill, Fell of Fleet, Merrick, Coreserine, Criffel, Cairnsmore of Carsphairn, The Cheviot, Sighty Crag, Peel Fell, Larriston Fell, Fanna Hill, Greatmoor Hill, Caldcleuch Head, Ellson Fell, Wisp Hill, Pikethaw Hill, Windlestraw Law, Dun Rig, Ettrick Pen, White Coombe, Hart Fell, Culter Fell, Tinto, Hods Hill, Quuensberry, Cairn Table (bleuch!), Cairnkinna Hill, Blackcraig Hill, Windy Standard

Binsey:

Cairnharrow, Bengairn, Cairnsmore of Fleet, Lamachan Hill, Merrick, Coresrine, Criffel, Ettrick Pen, White Coombe, Hart Fell, Culter Fell, Hods Hill, Quuensberry, Cairn Table (bleuch!), Cairnkinna Hill, Blackcraig Hill, Windy Standard, Sighty Crag, Peel Fell, Larriston Fell, Caldcleuch Head, Roan Fell, Pikethaw Hill, Dun Rig

Have you got a rough idea of when you expect to be on the summits and I can look into being QRV at the same time?

Andy
MM0FMF

In reply to MM0FMF:

… and they say these summits may be hard to qualify on VHF!

Have you got a rough idea of when you expect to be on the summits and
I can look into being QRV at the same time?

I’ve posted the alerts for the next sortie. Knott might be a tad early for you, but it offers slightly more options. Perhaps you were looking at two possible skeds - could be interesting!

73, Gerald