Well, low winds they said, mild temps they said…
Not a really early start, but a late night meant dragging myself bleary eyed out of bed for this one. Made sure that I’d packed the night before. Usual drill, all the gear no idea with big ambitions for the summit activation.
Decided to do the route that Ben GW4BML, kindly sent me, cheers pal. This would be a first ascent of Eidir Fawr and one that had been aborted twice in the last few weeks, once because of bad WX and Covid Booster symptoms and the other because IOL MW7IOL had beaten me to alerting it first
So, I set off from the car up the metalled road, had the usual stares from other walkers, probably because this time I had the 7-meter pole sticking out of the side of my pack, together with a two element yagi stuck to the back as well. Reason? Well, I’d seen that Fraser MM0EFI, had alerted for GM/ES-012 Glas Maol in the Eastern Highlands and he was going to be on 2m with a beam. Fraser has a cool u tube channel where he posts videos of his activations, which I came across when I was looking for some info on Landover’s. His channel is called The Radio Rover, I like Radio and Landover’s so I guess I had to subscribe Anyway Fraser is pretty active up in Scotland and I’d chased a few of his activations lately, with a negative result on some from the home QTH, so I thought this could be the moment to get a good QSO, as doing a summit to summit even with a weak signal I might be able to get priority over the stronger stations and not get lost in the noise.
This route to Eildir Fawr is straight forward, with a steep climb at the end over a boulder field, which in normal dry conditions would be fine, however it was below freezing from 700m metres and the rocks were covered in frost and ice, which made moving fast a bit sketchy. Oh, and have a mentioned the white out, so no views from the top for me today. I arrived at the cairn from the car in 1hr 20 mins and quickly set up. A few delays in getting going with a number of people turning up and wanting to know all about what I was doing, even an in-depth conversation with a woman who was an ex-navy signaller.
I don’t really like setting up the station in the cairns, but I had a look round the summit and, in the conditions, and wind it was the only realistic option, as I wanted to be there for a couple of hours. I set about on 2m and could hear some other Summits out there, so I chased them down first. Ended up with S2S with John GW4TQE/P on GW/NW-061, John GW0MHF/P on GW/NW-043, Adrian GW/MW-009, Iol MW7IOL on GW/NW-026 and Shaun G6WBS on G/NP-010. Also got four of chasers ITL included the ever-reliable John GW4ZPL and Frank MW0OFA. I’d set up on the Yagi when I managed to get Shane with the S2S and then just managed to work Ben GW4BML, when we synchronised our beam pointing!
I checked Sotawatch3 and saw that Fraser was on 2m ssb, I’d set up the yagi for 2m FM and could see that it was frozen solid from the moisture that was now frozen on it and I didn’t fancy re-rigging it for horizontal with that amount of ice on it. Well, I say that I could see it, what I mean is that I could see the ice after I’d been hit in the head with chunks of it, that was coming off in the wind!
I decided that I would crack on with some HF and set up for that. Just as I was about to connect the HF antenna, I heard Fraser come onto S20, I had to listen twice as he’d surprised me with his signal strength so didn’t initially think it was him. I attempted a QSO, but the other stations calling in were stronger than me. I waited five minutes and then managed to get heard by Fraser, it was a short QSO, I gave a 5/1 and received a 1/1 from Fraser, never less we managed a short QSO, which was great.
As a sat there chomping on a Scotch egg and a cup of coffee, realised that I’d been pointing the yagi South towards Ben and not towards Fraser in the North. So, I gave it another shot at working Fraser again and received a better report back this time and had another nice little QSO with him. I was pretty chuffed with that contact into Eastern Scotland on 2m and I’m looking forward to when the Sota activations map updates with my log entry, to see how far it actually was.
HF time was a bust though, when a large number of school kids turned up from Wiltshire, so it was time to go, but not before the 6m carbon pole snapped! Wouldn’t normally mind, had it not been its second only outing! Anyhow, I scrapped the ice off all my gear, packed up and was back at the car 35 minutes later, after a little run back down the road
I must thank Peter GW4UWD for giving me the yagi, it was my first trip out with it, and it worked a treat, thanks Peter.
Till next time