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Ben Nevis 2008


Hi All,

I just want to put out a feeler to see if anyone would be interested in helping me out. I have an ambition to climb Ben Nevis, but I’m a little intimidated by it.
The ambition has come from the fact that in 1996 I went on a school trip to Ireland and climbed all the Munros (14?), including Carrauntohil, which I believe is the highest mountain in Ireland.

When I discovered SOTA in 2003, I started walking up hills again and really enjoyed it. I went on to climb Scafell Pike and Snowdon, which leaves me having climbed Ireland’s, Wales’ and England’s highest peaks. I would love to add Scotland’s highest peak to that list.

I was reading Trail magazine the other day and a quote said something like ‘don’t put off your ambitions, you may never fulfill them’. This has prompted me to explore the possibility of summiting Ben Nevis next year.

I just wondered whether anyone could give me any info, about which month is best to climb (obviously in summer) and what bands to use - at present I only have VHF, but hope to get my 817 repaired.

Would anyone be willing to join me. I wouldn’t describe myself as a mountain novice, but I’m not a mountaineer! I’m 28 and reasonably fit.

Colin M0CGH, West Yorkshire


Hi Colin,

Yes, Jimmy and myself are also looking to do WS-001 next year, and would be happy to join you for a joint activation if dates, timings etc worked out. I understand that the tourist track from Fort Williamis probably best for debutantes. We were thinking of staying in Glen Nevis YH, or a B&B in FW otherwise, and possible catching the sleeper train from Crewe.



In reply to M0CGH:
Go for it, Colin, the Tourist track from near the Youth Hostel in Glen Nevis is long but not at all difficult and there is another popular track up the side of the waterslide accessed from the car park at the end of the Glen Nevis road, simple and direct but a bit of a grind. The best months are generally May, June and September but there are no guarantees! July and August seem to be the monsoon season. There may still be some snow on the zig-zags and the summit plateau as late as June but it is rarely a problem.

VHF might not be too successful, though there are more people listening than there used to be. You might be lucky with sporadic E on 6m.

What is the problem with the FT817?


Brian G8ADD


In reply to M0CGH:
Hi Colin, Yes go for it, what an ambition, I for one will be doing the 3 national peaks next year, So if any of the Scottish station could help us out please, I’m looking for any B&B’s near to Ben Nevis for 17 people, on a Saturday night, Also what’s VHF on a handy like from the summit, For those enquiring I will be doing it for Charity again, 3rd May or 24th May 2008.

Steve m0sgb


In reply to M0SGB:

“Also what’s VHF on a handy like from the summit”

Steve, last time I was up there, I used ft857, 50w & 3 ele sotabeam. I really struggled to amass 14 contacts on 2m in over an hour. 4 of those 14 had to be raised on the mobile phone and asked to beam North. This was in stark contrast to the Glencoe summits where I had good signals on 2m.

Colin, the “tourist route” should present no problems to you at all. It is very handy for the Glen Nevis Youth Hostel as well. The only danger with the route in decent weather is the possibility of being bored to death. One thing to remember is take plenty of fluids with you. We did it in September and started in 25C heat at the bottom. People were dropping like flies all the way up due to lack of fluids. If you dont mind ridge walking (similar to Striding/Swirral edge but longer & much less crowded) there`s a fantastic route over Carn Mor Dearg, (a 10 pointer itself) then over the “Arrete” to Ben Nevis. This way you get a fantastic view of the Ben. In terms of wx, I would recommend May or Sept, however Jon or Robin may offer more local advice. Whenever you go, enjoy it!

ps - Munros in Ireland ?

Steve G1INK.


In reply to M1EYP:

Hi Tom, that would be great! I’ve got nothing planned in 2008 in terms of trips away, so anytime will suit me. Thanks! my email is m0cgh@blueyonder.co.uk

Brian- my FT817 has a power supply problem and uses lots of current. After speaking to Yaesu, it seems likely that a PA transistor has gone. I was hoping to send it off for repair, but paying for car repairs has taken priority!

Steve M0SGB - Was loosely thinking of going to Mull in May, so maybe Ben Nevis could be an add-on to family holiday.

Steve G1INK - Not sure what you meant by Munros?

Here is a list of Ireland’s Munros -

Rank Peak Elev (ft) Range
1 Carrauntoohil 3409 MacGillycuddy’s Reeks
2 Beenkeragh 3314 MacGillycuddy’s Reeks
3 Caher (East Top) 3284 MacGillycuddy’s Reeks
4 Cnoc na Péiste 3241 MacGillycuddy’s Reeks
5 Caher (West Top) 3199 MacGillycuddy’s Reeks
6 Maolán Bui 3192 MacGillycuddy’s Reeks
7 Carrauntoohil Tooth (The Bones) 3146 MacGillycuddy’s Reeks
8 Cnoc an Chuillin 3143 MacGillycuddy’s Reeks
9 Brandon Mtn 3123 Brandon Group
10 The Big Gun 3081 MacGillycuddy’s Reeks
11 Cruach Mhór 3058 MacGillycuddy’s Reeks
12 Lough Coimín Móir Mtn 3038 MacGillycuddy’s Reeks
13 Lugnaquillia 3035 Dublin/Wicklow
14 Galtymore 3015 Galty Mountains

Thanks to all for positive comments, it’s been great to read and I feeling much more confident now.

Colin M0CGH


In reply to g1ink

noticed you said you used 50w and a sota beam , is this posible as it said on my instructions up to 10w for the 3 ele so will it take moor ??:

73 dave


In reply to G1INK:
In all honesty I think the CMD - Ben Nevis horseshoe requires a high degree of fitness, if you have that fitness it is a fantastic day out!

Another option which I had forgotten is to drive to the end of the Glen Nevis road and take the high level track along the ravine (picturesque and very Himalayan!) emerging on a flat area facing the fantastic Steall Waterfall (worth the walk for that alone!), walk along the left side until opposite the falls then follow the valley round to the left (vague track) after a while the Arete will be the left skyline, find an easy way through the vegetated low angle slabs to the skyline at its lowest point and follow the arete left to the Ben. A nice route with a pioneering feel (no track to the arete) avoiding the crowds!

Steve, off the top of my head I think there are four honorary Munros in Ireland. The rest are tops.


Brian G8ADD


In reply to G0AOD:

Dave - the 10w into a SOTA beam is purely a “rating” from the specifications. This was probably arrived at by the supplier of said equipment (G3CWI) so you`d have to ask Richard how he arrived at that figure. All I know is, my SOTA beam is quite happy to run 50w.

Colin - thanks for taking the time to list the 3000`ers in Ireland, however to my understanding, by the very definition - a munro has to be in Scotland. Similarly Snowdon, Scafell Pike etc are not munros, although they do qualify on their height.

Were sat here in the office in Buxton at 1050ft asl watching the palm tree in the beer garden oppposite being ripped apart by the wind. Were taking bets how long it lasts hi.

73 Steve,


In reply to G0AOD:

I have the 3 ele sotabeam Dave and have also run 50 watts through it, a tad more even and it handled it well.

73 Mike


In reply to GW0DSP:

I have run 150 watts into the SB5 Dave which has the same dipole arrangement as the SB3 and it didn’t arc over or burst into flames. The spec of 25 watts (for the SB5) is a guaranteed performance figure rather than an absolute max.

73, Gerald


In reply to M0CGH:

Brian- my FT817 has a power supply problem and uses lots of current.
After speaking to Yaesu, it seems likely that a PA transistor has
gone. I was hoping to send it off for repair, but paying for car
repairs has taken priority!

It seems that the 817 PA is quite prone to being damaged, so you may be yet another member of the blown finals club.

Whilst I have repaired a FT817 it was not exhibiting the same problem as you describe, but was producing very low RF output level (one of the pair of output transistors had blown its top).

I searched the web and found a Document (PDF) by Mike Perry (PA7XG) which describes the replacement of the Complete Finals Unit (I seem to recall that the module costs around 30.00 direct from Yaesu).

If you have some soldering experience it is not a difficult task (but you do need a good soldering iron with a fine tip), otherwise you need only a few basic tools and a meter that can measure DC current (0-100mA range).


In reply to thread:
Details are in the files section of the Yahoo FT817 Group and I believe (from memory, might be wrong) on www.mods.dk but make sure you download the correct file, they only allow you one download a day nowadays!

Good luck!

Brian G8ADD


In reply to G8ADD:

they only allow you one download a day nowadays!

You may well find the info at http://www.moosedata.com/Manuals which doesn’t impose restrictions as mods.dk does.

The mods.dk site does not allow multiple downloads and as the content was provided FOC by average hams the fact the info now has to be paid for is not on if you want more than one file a day.

So clear your cookies and goto mods.dk and register as a new visitor. When asked for your email address enter something like multipledownloads1@mailinator.com and a simple password. Then goto http://www.mailinator.com and enter the same email address as you registered with. You’ll find the email to complete your registration waiting for you. You can then download one file from mods.dk.

Next, clear your cookies and goto mods.dk and register as a new visitor using multipledownloads2@mailinator.com. Goto to http://www.mailinator.com and get the email for multipledownloads2@mailinator.com. Get another file from mods.dk.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat. Until you have download all the files you need.

www.moosedata.com isn’t going to disappear so there’s no need for everyone to download every manual on there. Just take what you need when you need it.



In reply to G1INK:

I admit that I may be proven wrong, but the knowledge that comes out is only as good as the knowledge that went in! I was told that the 14 peaks I climbed in Ireland over 3000ft were Munros. The teacher who organised the trip was a keen mountain walker, and he taught us about Munros at the time.

To get the list of peaks I put ‘Irish Munros’ into Google and copied and pasted from a listed website onto the reflector.

I’ll do some reading and maybe correct the knowledge that went in!



I’ve just done some research on t’internet and it seems that both views about Munros are correct.

Yes, the term Munro relates to a peak over 3000ft in Scotland, however by using the same rules of classification, 14 peaks in Ireland (if in Scotland!) would be Munro’s, so these peaks have been coined ‘The Irish Munros’.

There are lots of websites that refer to these Irish peaks as The Irish Munros, so I guess it’s just of case of people using a phrase that has become accepted due to it’s frequent use.

All I’m really bothered about is that I climbed these 14 peaks in one week with no previous walking experience, I’m proud of my achievement.

73 Colin


In reply to M0CGH:
That was definately an achievement, Colin, in fact you are one up on me!

I understood that there were four peaks that could be classed as Munros by the admittedly rather vague rules that apply in Scotland, and the others would be classed as “tops”, subordinate summits not sufficiently distinct from the main peak to count as a Munro in their own right. However I came by my knowledge many years ago and it may be that different rules apply now. Of course, from our point of view the only important question is whether they count for SOTA!

Incidentally, I do not know if things have changed now, but when I visited Eire I found the lesser peaks very tough going, summits over 2000ft with no tracks and rampant vegetation, activations would take longer!


Brian G8ADD


How are your 2008 Ben Nevis plans looking Colin? As you may have seen on the Alerts, Jimmy and myself intend activating it in the first week of August. We will walk from the end of Glen Nevis near Fort William, down to the Youth Hostel, and then up the tourist route from there.



Sent the FT817 off for repair on 27/03/2008. Just had invoice for repair, it cost £80, including shipping back. Yaesu have replaced the PA board (£12.69 +VAT). Been charged an hour’s labour. I’m very relieved as I was thinking it would cost twice as much.

Yaesu is meant to be shipping the rig back to me today, so with luck I’ll have it tomorrow (they charged £15 shipping, which should be next day in my eyes! It only cost £7.75 to send to them, guaraunteed by 1pm next day).

I hope to get cracking on SSB (and possibly CW! =:-0 )before very long.

73 Colin M0CGH