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 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.