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Creag Ghiubhais GM/ES-067 and first SOTA CW

First Saturday after lockdown eased and the weather was just superb. Not a cloud in the sky and little or no wind -perfect. Creag Ghiubhais is a 1 pointer just outside Ballater, just down the road from my home QTH in Aboyne. However, in terms of effort, as I carry a QRO pack it is easily the most difficult 1 pointer I have done. There are no tracks to the summit and the steep sides of the hill are covered in knee-high heather with frequent patches of scree. I had to pause frequently to view the way ahead and pick an ascent line. The tree line starts about 2/3 of the way up and frequent avoiding action was needed to prevent my DX Commander poles catching in branches. The summit itself is covered in trees with fairly limited open spaces. A little pile of rocks comprises the summit cairn (there are 2 cairns, one slightly lower than the actual top cairn). Before setting up, I stripped off my sweaty top layers to get them dried out in the sun. The only positive of the trees was provision of shade from the Spring sun. Along with my usual 4-band HyendFed,I tried 2 new antenna set-ups, a 20m vertical Moxon and a WARC fan dipole for 30 and 17m which I had constructed during lockdown. Also, for the first time I took a key to dip my toe into SOTA CW.
Given the low SFI number I wasn’t expecting the bands to be in very good shape, which is pretty much what I found. I started on 40m SSB with a S2S with HB15SOTA and had a reasonable run, but with very few G-land contacts. Switching to 30m CW, F5JKK gave me my first 30m QSO ever, followed by 13 others, all with pretty good reports, so I was happy the dipole was working OK. Apologies if some of my sending was a tad inaccurate.
Moving to 20m to try the Moxon, I found things pretty quiet, so the jury’s out at the moment as to whether the antenna is worth the effort. Noise levels seemed lower than with the Hyend. I did have a dry run with it the day before, setting up on a small hill within walking distance of home and I managed a good QSO with VK4KA, so I knew it worked.
After 10 QSOs I went back to 40m for a couple of S2S and then back to 20m again which proved more fruitful, including VE1WT. Seeing a spot for 5B4APL/P I went to 17m CW and had a good S2S with him for my first QSO on that band. I then did a lot of listening and CQ-ing on both 20m and 40m with little response apart from 2 SVs and KD2EJ on 20m and by that time the SP contest was in full swing. Just before I closed on 20m I had one contact which amused me: I gave the caller an initial 58 report and he objected, saying that as he was running 1.5Kw his report MUST be 59. As he came up to 59 on that over I kept him happy, but dearie me :roll_eyes:
I ended the day with consecutive S2S contacts with EA8/HB9HCS/P on 20 and 17m ssb, the latter being my first SSB QSO on that band. 69 contacts and 17 S2S for the day.
The return down the hill was very slow as I needed to be sure of my footing nearly every step. The aluminium mast came in very handy as a walking pole. I doubt very much if I will go back to this hill - lots of effort, not even a good view from the top due to the trees and unless you wear gaiters (which I didn’t), you end up with socks and boots full of heather seeds and twigs.

As usual, thanks to all chasers and activators and especially to those who responded to my first SOTA CW CQ. Happy Easter!

Simon, GM4JXP

Operating position with Moxon poles. The WARC fan dipole is in inverted vee configuration attached to the Moxon reflector pole. The Hyendfed is behind, running away from the position.

Creag Ghiubhais from below. The photo does not do the steepness justice :hot_face:

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Possibly the most difficult non-climbing 1pt (i.e. hill walking not needing ropes and belays etc.) summit in Scotland! The mention of it alone makes Barry @GM4TOE go all gooey. Nice WX for it!

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Thanks Andy. I’m glad someone else thinks its a tough one too!

Well done - and it is a steep little blighter as the map shows. :slight_smile:

©Crown copyright 2021 Ordnance Survey. Media 018/21

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The ground is horrible, loose rocks under the heather which means not only is there ascent effort but effort to not trip in the heather or on loose rocks. At least I didn’t get attacked by ants which happened to Barry ISTR. And yes, it’s nearly as hard to come down as go up :frowning:

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Hi Simon

Thanks for the great report, was a pleasure to fight with other chaser to catch you with nice report, please keep doing CW for us, it’s perfect :+1:

73, Éric

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Thanks Eric, hope to work you again soon

Simon

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As Andy said - the hardest 1 pointer on the planet, hateful hill with no redeming features . Once done, never to be repeated :frowning:

This shows the kind of ground, taken on the descent and starting to go dark. Most of that heather was knee deep.

Taken from nearly the same place as your photo.

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Yes, looks like the same big tree and the scree pattern matches :slightly_smiling_face:

Thanks Simon for letting me see “the other side” of our S2S QSO. Yes, this summit is not just for a Sunday afternoon activity.

Vy 73 de Markus, HB9DIZ (aka HB15SOTA from HB/FR-049, see here for an easy one)

Hi Markus, nice to hear from you and thanks for the link. I look forward to having many more S2S with you this year.

73, Simon

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Hi Simon,

I enjoyed reading the story of our QSO from your end. I never would have guessed from your sending that you were not a SOTA CW veteran – the signal came through unexpectedly loud and clear on my end.

My peak was nowhere near as challenging as yours that day, but I made my own difficulties :slight_smile: (see my report for that day on my blog).

Hope to run into you on many more summits!

73,

Jack
5B4APL

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I enjoyed reading your report.
Hats off on your perseverance and success!
Thanks for the 5 SOTA QSOs i.e. 5 different 5B summits you’ve given me so far.
73,

Guru

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Hi Jack, your report makes for a nice read, thanks. Funnily enough I did a similar thing last week when I walked up a hill from home to test some new antennas. Took a wrong coax with an N connector instead of a PL259, doh, so only managed to test one. You were easily my best S2S DX of the day and I must have been more relaxed by then - earlier on some of my sending was a bit random :laughing:
See you further down the log as they say

73 Simon

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Thanks Simon for s2s.
I do hope QSO you in CW too.
FORZA SOTA !
Roger
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Actually I was too hasty there - my best S2S DX was EA8/HB9HCS/P on Lanzarote. You were #2.

Thanks for the nice eQSL Roger. I have a question about that - I have emailed your QRZ address

73 Simon

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Hello Simon.
I answer via the reflector, it can interest other friends.
To send a specific eQSL for each activity, you have to create a new account.
You have to reproduce the operation as often as you wish.

  • 1 image
  • 2 image
  • 3 You select your last activity
  • 4 Go to down page and write information
  • 5 When your new profile is created, you choose your own informations.
  • 6 image
  • 7 image
  • 8 image
    But before to load your adi log, you have to upload your eQSL.
    Of course you must create ur card before all these steps.

To create my eQSL card, I open the picture and I insert text like this (Before I used photoshop)

I do hope, it will help you.
73 QRO
Roger

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Thank you very much for your quick reply Roger. Very helpful!

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