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Ben Nevis GM/WS-001 16 MAY 2022

Way back in ancient times I decided that I wanted to do Ben Nevis, not only for SOTA, but also to get a ‘tick in the box’. Although I looked in to organising a trip, I didn’t get very far with plans as it worked out too expensive whichever way I attacked it and I was newly wed at that point with a young child. Here is the the ancient thread -

Present day-
My wife and I have just celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary and my second son turns 10 this year. :open_mouth: Where did all that time go?

Ben Nevis GM/WS-001 has always felt like an itch that needed scratching. Life is moving onwards quickly, and the loss of good friends, like Guru EA2IF, at such a young age, really hammers it home that you have to do stuff ‘now’, don’t put it off, as you never know what is around the corner.

I follow The Climbers Shop on Facebook and they shared a post about a new YouTube channel by a young couple who decided to buy a van and live it in, touring Europe. I liked the videos and subscribed to the channel. The Covid pandemic meant that the couple were initially stuck in the UK and in one of their videos, they went to climb Ben Nevis.

I had a sudden ‘Eureka!’ moment. I can’t believe that I hadn’t thought about taking the motorhome to Fort William to use as base camp for Ben Nevis!

So hopefully I’ll be activating Ben Nevis GM/WS-001 on Monday 16th May this year. My thoughts are to pack my MTR-2B with 30m and 20m bands. I’m also planning to take an FT60 handheld and flowerpot antenna for 2m FM.

I’ve only done one SOTA activation in Scotland, but I’m led to believe that 2FM can be quite quiet. Hopefully the weather is good so that I can use HF, but if not, I’m hoping that 2FM will save my bacon.

As a warm up exercise, I’m planning to activate GM/WS-339 the day before.

The motorhome has been taken out of winter hibernation, MOT’d and taxed, and is currently on a shakedown trip in Garlieston, Scotland. So maybe, after about 15 years of dreaming, I might actually get Ben Nevis done!


My accommodation (pictured at Gretna Green).

73, Colin

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Excellent Colin!

Now you just need to decide whether you will knock off Carn Mor Dearg GM/WS-003 at the same time, for double points and quadruple adrenalin!

Best of luck for the trip.

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Best wishes for good weather! If you didn’t know there is parking for your motorhome at the start of the path to GM/WS-339.

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Yes, thank you, I’d taken a look at Google maps already! It’s a big old bus to park, so I do worry about it, it’s much bigger (wider and longer) than the standard Transit van that I drive for work.

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It’s tempting Fraser, but for this trip, I’m planning to do the Mountain Track. If I manage an ascent of the Ben and get 4 QSOs, that’s mission accomplished for me. Anything else is a bonus.

Absolutely. That will be a great achievement on Britains higgest peak. There’s also the fact that you have to walk up from almost sea level.

You should have fun on 2m from there!

Same here and elsewhere, Colin - so don’t worry about life! Nice story, thanks.

73, DIZ

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I’ve never activated Ben Nevis but looking at the summit statistics 2m appears to be the second most popular band just behind 40m.

Get up and get going as early as possible to avoid the crowds.

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G(M)6WBS and I had a 2m S2S when he was on the Ben in December. He had a nice spread of 2m contacts.

Height is might, as they say.

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Hi Colin

I climbed Ben Nevis on 9 May 2016 and only managed 3 contacts on 145-fm so I went back on 12 May 2016 and again only managed 3 contacts on 145-fm but I managed to qualify easily using hf. Good luck I hope that you get good weather.

73
Nick G4OOE

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Good Luck with the activation. I have done the Ben twice ( * I think* unfortunately in pre-sota days) once via the CMA but it is on the list to do with a radio - although I’m not sure my fitness will let me do the route I completed 30 years ago…

… I have also been looking at Campers … and with retirement and a lump sum on their way I have what I hope is a rather nice one on order, probably one of the few things that I will buy that makes ham radio gear look cheap… There is a bit … lot of a production delay…so with a bit of luck I might have a van, the time and possibly the fitness in a years time…

GL with the hike. Let us know how you got on with the hike, the activation and the van! 73. Paul

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I agree that a camper usually comes at an eye-watering price! I see so many campers just sat on driveways and I wonder how people can afford to keep them there!

I think retirement is probably the best time to get a camper as you can make good use of it.

I took the motorhome to the National Hamfest in 2018, in fact I was parked next to a certain G3CWI’s motorhome. It was pretty crazy to know that I had a comfy bed and hot water on demand, along with a hot shower to use! There’s a full size cooker and fridge freezer too! It’s pretty mind blowing when you’ve only camped in a tent before!


Lunch time at National Hamfest 2018

I keep trying to think of means to have a HF antenna for the motorhome, but I’ve drawn a blank beyond my ATX walkabout and magmount, although the body isn’t metal so I don’t know where I’d stick the magmount. I’d use a few radials on the ATX too. I guess a magloop might be an answer, but I don’t own one.

73, Colin

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Well that’s easy Colin, does the motorhome have a ladder at the back to gain access to the roof? If so you need to use the G4OAR patented motorhome mount.

  1. Take a piece of aluminium plate, make it square and such a size that you can use 4 u-bolts to clamp the plate to the roof access ladder.
  2. Drill the plate.
  3. Get a mount like this and fit in the centre of the plate 3" Ball antenna Mount For Long Whips/ Hamsticks/ Hustlers SO-239 stainless | eBay
  4. Mount the plate near the top of the ladder and fit the mount and your mobile antenna. Run the cable through a window.
  5. This important… the ladder will be fixed to the body which is not metal, so get a thick cable and attach the ladder to the motorhome chassis. In the patented G4OAR method, we used a jump lead, one croc-clip to the ladder the other to the chassis and some copious amounts of gaffer tape to hold both ends should clips come undone.
  6. SWR up your antenna.
  7. Job done.
  8. You can buy me a beer when you do this and find it works brilliantly :wink:
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Great to see that your plans have come together Colin. The concept of getting the mountain climbed and qualified mirrors my own thoughts - if it’s 4 contacts, then that’s just fine.IMHO the tick on the list is what it’s all about. There are many other summits in Scotland where time can be better spent.

Enjoy the trip and I wish you safe travel.

73, Gerald

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That’s a reasonable idea Andy, unfortunately I don’t have any hamsticks, I gave them away years ago. I don’t have time to implement anything like your idea for this trip.

The motorhome has a stainless roof bar (rack? Not sure what use it is!) Which could be a handy place to mount an antenna I guess. It also has the standard stainless roof access ladder. I suppose the ‘earth’ side is probably more important than the hamstick.

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Here’s what I used for earthing :- Perhaps you’ll find some on E-Bay.
Pretty sturdy too I’d guess. :wink:

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Did your hair stand on end when they transmitted?

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I had a look for surplus warships but the only ones I could find were for ‘recycling only’.

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I’d suggest it’s so you could place something over the solar panel and the roof bar will support the weight. I think the wing mirror mount a trucker uses for his twig on his chicken band radio would fit and do the job admirably. You’ll need to wear a disguise when you visit the breaker’s emporium in case someone recognises you :wink:

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