A Potentially Unhealthy Place!

Apologies to John (G0TDM), Geoff (G6MZX) and anyone else who was waiting to call me on the summit of Buachaille Etive Mor this afternoon.

When I first arrived on the summit and started setting up the VHF antenna a passing walker did say to me “You do know there is lightening forecast for this afternoon?” We both agreed that it looked extremely unlikely and I carried on working stations on 2 metres.

After drawing a blank on 6 metres, I set up the 5 MHz dipole successfully worked 5 stations despite many static crashes and splatter from what I assume to have been a fishphone. While trying to get a signal report to G0TDM I noticed a heavy looking shower just to the east which had appeared from nowhere. Suddenly the meter on the FT-817 went to 9+ and I realised that the hissing sound of the SOTA pole was actually louder than the radio. At that point I looked over to a walker who had just arrived at the summit; her hair which was 30+ cm long was all standing vertically. (I don’t have enough hair to see the effect!!!) It was time to kick the base of the SOTA pole to get everything on the ground immediately and stay low. I waited for about 15 minutes but although there was never any rain at the summit, as soon as I tried the raise the pole off the ground it started hissing. Time to call it a day!

I was hoping to get onto a summit during the backpacker contest tomorrow but the forecast isn’t looking promising. Looks like more of the same!

73s Robin. GM7PKT

In reply to GM7PKT:

We had some collosal rain and thunder sessions shortly before you appeared on 60m Robin. I didn’t see any lightening flashes though. The WX was just as MWIS forecast for today. Their forecast for Sunday is more the same but worse. Looks like I’ll not be up any hills either.


In reply to GM7PKT:

Ah! That explains why you suddenly went QRT Robin. I was listening while you tried to work John & Geoff & you were 57 here, I did give you a call but that must have been when the static arrived. Better safe than sorry, glad you got down in one piece.


Mark G0VOF

In reply to G0VOF:

An ice axe buzzes loudly enough, I can only imagine what an antenna sounds like! Petrifying! Glad to have been one of the lucky ones to work you on my favourite mountain, the Big Shepherd!


Brian G8ADD

In reply to GM7PKT:
Hi Robin no apology necessary, you took the only safe course of action.
The summit will still be there tomorrow.
And we are glad to say so will you.
73 John G0TDM

In reply to GM7PKT:
Sounds like you and I go to the same barber Robin. Nice to talk to you on SSB for the first time today, glad you made it off safely yesterday or I wouldn’t have got the 10 chaser points from you today! HiHi. Stay safe and speak to you on another summit some time in the near future.

Best 73, Roddy 2M0IOB.

In reply to GM7PKT:

By the way, since nobody else has picked up on it, nice pun!

Nothing heard from you today, unfortunately, which way did you go up, via the Lost Valley?



In reply to GM7PKT:
Good decision Robin but courageous to have waited the 15 minutes. It is the thing about SOTA that most scares me and another thing I don’t like about summer activating after having a handheld’s circuitry ‘redesigned’ by static, big blue sparks off the BNC and jumping between the carbon mast sections while they’re still in the rucksack. Carrying a grounding kit isn’t much comfort; far better to simply retreat.

Better safe than sorry but what a beautiful mountain; fortunate you got it qualified at least.

Many of us are in this ‘hair club.’ Is this the reason?

Hopefully CU on 2FM sometime this year,

Take care, John.

In reply to G8ADD:

Nothing heard from you today, unfortunately, which way did you go up,
via the Lost Valley?

No Brian, I allways go up from Achnambeithach onto the ridge west of Stob Coire nam Beith. I don’t like parking further up the Glen where there are too many drivers paying more attention to the view than where they are going. The chances of returning to a dented car are far too high!

Bidean turned out to be a good choice to climb. It was about 1pm local time before the first heavy shower appeared. I gave up at that point as given the forecast I thought that if I continued I might be in line for a Darwin Award!
I’m told that later in the afternoon the rain became incredably heavy in Glencoe but by that time I was sitting in the garden enjoying unbroken sunshine, only 15km away.

73s Robin.

Hmmm. I used to think storms were exciting. Now they are just a nuisance! Enthused by loads of DX spots on 6m, 10m and 12m, I drove up a local hill (Longmoss Top) while Liam was at the nearby leisure centre. I parked up, turned on, listened round, hearing only static - and then constant rumbling in the sky for the next 40 minutes. Needless to say, I turned off again and disconnected - and spent my waiting time having a nap instead :slight_smile:

The closest we ever got to a storm on a SOTA was on Helvellyn in 2004 where seemingly distant rumbles were heard as we passed Dollywaggon Pike (it turned out they were no more distant than nearby Seat Sandal where a fellow activator saw fit to abandon) en route to the summit. Some hours later, we had nearly completed the descent down to Dunmail Raise when there was a sudden bright flash and simultaneous deafening rack of thunder! Scary!

The following year, there was a forerunner to the Tuesday night SOTA scene, with simultaneous activations of Shining Tor, Gun and Cloud by members of the Stockport Radio Society - and me. I did SP-004 with M1REK and M1LOL. The wx was most un-July-like (horrid), but it was only when we met the other guys in the Rushton Inn later that we found out the Cloud activation was abandoned with lightning struck just 15 feet away from them as they were about to commence ascending from Cloudside!


In reply to M1EYP:

My closest encounter was on Striding Edge one winter, we were suddenly engulfed in a snowstorm, and just as the valley was vanishing in clouds of snowflakes I found myself looking down on a horizontal bolt of lightening and a simultaneous bang rattled our teeth! It made me think of the old acronym for QANTAS - Quite a nice trip, all survived!


Brian G8ADD