OK, I thought we used CW and the Q-code because it crosses the language barrier? Obviously, Russians must use something other than PSE QRS because the guy with machine gun morse kept calling at some fairly fast speed. I tried to ignore him but he was a real 599 so in the end worked him after hearing the super speed call many, many times. I wont give you the call but still being a relative beginner and trying to control and work a pile up is hard enough without fast (and deaf) stations calling and calling! It was still a blast though!
I was out last night being deafened and woke up late, too late for what I’d planned now the days are getting shorter, The WX was not like the forecast said it would be for yesterday so I held little hope for today. But by 9.15 it was a nice but cold day and so I looked for something worthwhile near home. Broad Law SS-029 offered itself. I was hoping to get a view from the top, the last two occasions have been pea-soupers. I was out of the house by 9.30 and on my way to The Megget Stone. There are many ways up Broad Law, either from the Megget Stone or up the NATS VOR beacon track from Hearthstane Farm. The Megget Stone is the better route. So I was pulling into a parking spot by 10.40. The road here is horrible, narrow with big drops and few parking places. The best one by the cattle grid was gone so I parked in the back of a large passing space, well out of the way. The advantage of 4wd was I could get the car further off the road than 2wd would get you. I was all booted by 10.50 and off I set.
The route up from NT150202 follows the East side of the fence. There’s an obvious path and after all the rain it was very, very boggy in places. Navigation is a cinch on this summit, keep the fence on your left right to the trig point on the way up. Reverse for the way down. Although the path/bog/trench is obvious too. The temp was about 2C when I parked and it was very sunny with a lovely blue sky. All the peaks had a nice white covering too. The forecast was for the wind to rise up to gale force later with heavy rain and snow in places. But for now it was glorious walking weather. Initially it’s quite steep but after about 2kms the slope eases off with 130m climbed in 2km which is trivial. First snow on the ground was spotted at 635m and anything out of the sun was frozen including the boggy bits.
As you climb the view improves substantially. Both Tinto and Culter Fell looked splendid. I couldn’t get a good enough view to see how much snow there was further North. I decided that if I really gave it everything I had in the legs department I would get to the top with enough time to spend 2hrs activating. So I really pushed myself. Apart from a chat for about 10 minutes with some walkers I caught up with, I managed to get to the top in 1hr5 mins elapsed. If I hadn’t been gassing I’d have done it in under an hour.
At the top there was a gentle breeze and about 2cms of snow. I took a while setting up as there were 3 walkers who wanted to know about my aerials and all the other stuff at the summit, there’s an Omni VOR beacon plus PMR stuff etc. I was on the air at 1218 on 60m. I found Rob G4RQJ/p calling. Not terribly loud (Rob you need a speech compressor or a gainier aerial!) I heard Martyn M1MAJ work Rob and I got Martyn to drop down one channel and worked him and also got him to spot me. That stirred things up and a total of 13 QSOs followed including S2S contacts with G8XHE/p, LA1ENA/p and LA1KHA/p. So enough S2S contacts to qualify the hill, nice! Nobody wanted to work me on CW though.
Off to my now favourite band, 30m. I wondered which new countries would pop up today. Well it was Russia and Finland. Hard work as PSE QRS had now effect. Brrrrrrrrrrrp went the call, PSE QRS went the FMF, brrrrrrrrrp brrrrrrrrrp brrrrrrrp went the call. Lather, rinse, repeat! OK so I got it in the end but it was needlessly hard work. After that I worked another 19 contacts. I think this is the first time I’ve worked more on CW than on SSB when conditions have been good for me as a QRP SSB station. I think I’m beginning to recognise a few people’s fists. Certainly Steffen DL3JPN, Ambrosi HB9AGH and George HB9BIN seem to cut through the wall of calls more easily than others. I’m not saying other people send bad, just I seem to spot those calls in the pile up easier than others. It took me far too long to get Laci HA7UG’s call correct. Got there eventually. In total I worked UA, DL, HA, Z35, PA, HB9, F, G, OH & SM. But all of sudden nobody was calling anymore, I guess someone more competant had been spotted and the chasers were off for easy points.
I’m sorry to harp on but I find being able to just about have rudimentary, almost contest like QSOs and absolute blast. It’s just so much fun to have got a call out of the pile up. I could cry when I think of all the years I could have been having CW fun. In fact I was having so much fun I had ignored the fact the wind was now strong and very, very cold. Also quite a large amount of ice crystals/small snowflakes had fallen on me making things a little white. I tried 40m SSB and CW but nobody was interested. That was it, station down as fast as possible after 1hr35 on air. Not quite 2hrs but close.
It was very cold on the way down. I was double fleeced up and went as fast as I could to try and get some warmth into my feet. They warmed up back at the car! It only took 10mins less to get down than up. Back at the car I changed as it started to rain quite hard. Mixed in with the rain was a fair few snow flakes.
Time to drive home and warm up. Now about being deafened. The music for the trip there and back was provided by Glasgow’s finest: The Nimmo Brothers. I’ve been going to rock/blues concerts for just over 35 years. In that time I’ve seen a few memorable events, (Dr. Feelgood Leeds Poly 1980, Rory Gallagher Manchester Apollo 1983, Walter Trout 2006, Johnny Winter 2007, Rush Glasgow SECC 2008) but nothing and I mean nothing comes close to stunning show last night. Some examples:
Anyway, back to Broad Law… total ascent: 405m, total walked: 8.1km, total driven: 80miles.
Thanks again to all the chasers, especially those on 30m who put up with me pretending to able to copy CW.