A few months ago I ordered a portable 6 band hexbeam from Ant, MW0JZE and this was its second use to activate a summit. I’d done some testing in my garden - learning how to set it up etc and had tried it 10 days earlier on Ben Newe but the wind gusting occasionally at ~40mph scuppered that attempt as I hadn’t bothered to figure out how to use the storm cords. A few days later I took it up GM/ES-070 Hill of Fare, my local 1 pointer, but I was only QRV for 30m due to heavy rain incoming.
Anyway, wx on the day was great - sunny all day and almost no wind.
Ben Newe is in Strathdon, about 35 minutes drive from Aboyne and the path up is waymarked from a small parking area off the single track road to Glenbuchat, off the A944.
Parking and route up: ©Crown copyright 2022 Ordnance Survey. Media 041/22
The path shown is a decent ATV logging track until the final stretch, which is a shortish “Route 1” close to a boundary fence. There is another path up the south flank but I did not explore that.
Equipment: 857d, hexbeam, al mast, DxComm 7m mast, 5 el 2m yagi, Sotabeams linked dipole 40/20 - note that the latter never got used. Apologies for that…
Hexbeam build was delayed by a failure of the coax pigtail feed (ring connector snapped off) which I had to fix, then was interrupted by a phone call which lasted 15m
Hexbeam on mast - the trailing guys are for steering.
Starting at 1105 utc, with the hex pointing SE, 20m brought a run of 41, all EU with a few very strong G stations from the S coast. 5 S2S including 2 from EA6.
Went to 15m for a S2S with HB9BTI/P and had an additional chase from SP6KEP who heard the S2S and asked me to QSY up 5. As 15 seemed relatively quiet I checked 10 and found it pretty busy. Pointed the hex W and a spot brought a short run of 8 including PZ1EL, a new country for me and MM7MWL, Mike, a very close local.
Went back to 15 with the hex still W and a spot brought another 4 chasers including K2CZH in NJ - he spotted me as well but more calls didn’t produce any more chasers so I quickly QSYd to 20m for a S2S with GW4TQE/P before going back to my 15m spot freq - having 6 bands instantly available makes S2S chasing much easier and no ATU needed.
17m, hex still W, brought a run of 12 chasers incl VE1WT NS, K2DJN Maine, Brian MM1HMZ, Allen 2E0AGB and Jak OH3GZ who was using his 80m dipole.
A spot on 12m produced 3 chasers, all from Spain.
After picking up 2 more S2S on 20m I went back to 10m which was really buzzing. Signals audible from 28.350 up to 28.600. A spot brought a run of 12, including KI6EAB/W4 Fla, VE1WT again, K2CZH again, KC1BBU Mass, WX1S NH, K1RO NH, KC3OP Del, KC1JUD NH, W3DF Md. Chasers then dried up, so I went back to 20m for a S2S with LB7PC/P. Back on 10m another spot brought 3 EU including Dave F4VPL.
I then took a break from HF and tried 2m FM. I’d put the yagi up hoping for a S2S try with Fraser MM0EFI/P over on Mull, but he had baled out early due to cold. 5 minutes of CQs beaming S brought zero.
Back on the hex I had a look at 6m and was surprised to hear beacons and F5JRX calling CQ. I had a quick QSO with him and put out a spot. This brought 2 chasers: F4VPL again and CT2IWW again. Great stuff.
Had a final spot on 10m which brought 6 more chasers including KI6EAB/W4 again with 59 both ways this time- our previous QSO had been 57 57, N4MM Tenn, WA2VUY NJ and KD4LT Tenn last in the log.
102 QSOs for the day and 10 S2S. Thanks to all, especially the US chasers - it is great to hear 10m starting to really open up.
I had 2 visitors plus dog during the day, a young English couple on hols and I took a photo for them while they stood on the trig point.
As a first real outing for the hex I was pretty pleased. It is however not something for long hikes or very steep ascents due to weight (just over 6Kg) and you wouldn’t take it for a quick up/down activation. I’ve got the build time down to 45m, with break down time much the same. Handling is easy - no issues one-handed and putting it up on the al mast was easy. The only tool needed is a 7mm wrench for one jubilee clip. The wire used for the elements is nice - similar or identical to that used in my Hyendfed. The elements come with ring connectors but I swapped those out for forks to avoid having to undo/redo 12 butterfly nuts and washers.