Carn-mon-earn on a driech day
The plan today - Simon @GM4JXP would climb Hill of Garvock GM/ES-085 and I’d do the above summit. Both 1 point Uniques for us and the summit to summit between each others hills would be Completes for us both. Simples!
Things didn’t work out as planned…
The weather forecast wasn’t the best today and there was a shower forecast at 1300. However, at 0900, when I stepped out of the car at Durris woods upper car park, it was into a steady drizzle.
My ascent was short, straightforward and all on forest roads. Which was just as well, as there was constant WhatsApp chat back and forth between Simon and me. I was in woods, but Simon was sitting in an exposed car park and feeling the full force of the wind and rain. He eventually set off on his short hike just as I was approaching my summit, some 45 minutes after setting off. We’d both agreed “quick and dirty” on 2m FM would be the order of the day. Enough people knew we were coming. We’d forget about HF. Get the point, get the summit to summit and then bale.
His story is here:
GM/ES-85 Hill of Garvock fail - a Victor Meldrew moment
The summit was grim. At least five masts adorned the plateau, their tops disappearing into the gloom. I too now felt the wind and it pushed the fine drizzle into me, quickly wetting. There was still tree cover, but small and thin, yielding no cover at all. I spied a raised stony mount behind one of the mast compounds. Closer inspection revealed a trig. Crouching down at one side with my back to the trig gave enough shelter. It would have to do. The mast went up on the opposite side, jammed in rocks and supported by a single guy, it also jammed in between rocks. The FT-857d came out last, just as I was ready to spot. I was able to shelter the radio and phone with my body. I was rigged for 2m FM.
Yay! This is going to be fun…
I had a good run on FM, getting nine in the log fairly easily. Three had been pre-warned. Simon would and should have been the fourth and qualification, but if you read his story, you’ll know why there was no sign of him. Anyway nine in the log, which is good for this part of the world.
I commented to my last caller that I might go down now, but had planned to do some 2 m SSB. He asked me to QSY to 144.300 MHz for a quick QSO. As he only had a white stick antenna, I left my yagi vertically polarised and we made the QSO.
I had to leave my shelter to re-rig. The aerial and feeder was soaking wet, although the drizzle had stopped now. Briefly. Everything still worked, so all good.
set up for SSB
I put out a couple of calls. One of my FM contacts came back for a QSO and thanked me for operating on SSB. A couple of more calls. Then a voice in the back of the box, just above the noise floor. I picked up a call sign. Holy Moly!, it was Don @G0RQL! The QSO wasn’t completed. He disappeared.
I re-spotted myself and put a message in the comments, “I can hear you Don”. Shortly after he came back and we completed. WOW! 694 km to North Devon, that’s 432 miles. I really wasn’t expecting that! Later, in an email exchange between us, Don told me that there was QRM at his end and he had asked me to QSY. I didn’t hear this, so Don held on until it was a bit quieter.
When it came time to pack up, I realised how cold I was, having been sat in the rain for an hour. I then spied the tea mug I’d carried with me and left on the trig. Still nice and warm after 4 hours. Happy Days!
Hot tea, made by Mo at 7am
I was rather happy on the way back down. The wind eased when I entered the forest plantation and I may or may not have sang a few choruses of Foo Fighters on the way down. “Done, Done and I’m on to the next one…”
Eleven points left to Goat. I’m in no hurry now, having too much fun.