With storms coming and zero days off work before Christmas, I thought that would be it for the year SOTA wise. Then my team at work started dropping like flies resulting in an enforced late shift on Tuesday. A sunny forecast with ever strengthening winds got me thinking I’d just about have time for a quick activation of local summit Pressendye GM/ES-047, then back home for a quick turnaround.
I put a message on the WhatsApp group. Simon @GM4JXP was planning on a UKBOTA (bunker). Mike @MM7MWL said he’d think about it. I knew that meant yes.
Tuesday 19th December 2023
I left home at 0810. Around seven minutes later I was parked up alongside Douneside House Hotel, just outside the village of Tarland. From there it takes me about an hour to reach the top of Presendye. I hadn’t been there since the new mountain bike trails opened, so I was looking to see what impact they had on my route. Not much, it turns out. The strip wood I walk through was forbidden to bikers and therefore the track that led up from the end of that was too. The main track up the hill is a rough vehicle track and it is now intersected in three or four places by MTB trails, however there are plenty of signs. Due to the early hour and frosty conditions, I had the place to myself.
this lot was white a couple of weeks back. The snow has had a huge shift
The sun decided to rise around 0910, when I was on the upper reaches of the hill. Perfect timing to get my breath back and grab a few phone shots. I was wearing light windproof clothing today, rather than warm items. It was breezy, but the speed of ascent kept me warm.
Completing the haul up the stony track revealed a summit bathed in early morning sunshine. And a stiff westerly, however not as bad as the 40mph/60kph forecast. I’d brought my KX2 and W3EDP because I’d remembered that it is an ideal length to stretch from one of the summit fence posts back towards the summit shelter. I just had to pick the correct post!
Pressendye summit and handy fence
Mike and I had arranged for a 10am start, but I’d sneaked up early, hoping to be done on HF by the time Mike was ready. However, I know he sneaks up early too, so I sneaked up even earlier. I was QRV on 40m at 0935 and after an initial struggle with QRM on a nearby frequency, I had an excellent time, filling my log with G. GM, GI, GW, EI and ON stations, twenty in all. Seasonal greetings were exchanged, with WAB and trig chasers made happy too. I do like operating at this time of year. Everyone is in a nice mood.
QRV on 40m SSB
Mike was good to go at 0954, just as my contacts were drying up. We exchanged 2m FM 59 signal reports both ways, hardly surprising given our close proximity. I then left him to his activation and set about speedily dismantled my HF station. I had a lovely walk back down under clearing skies and warmish sunshine. My ISS app pinged at me at 1040. I tuned the HT to 145.800 MHz, hoping to pick up the promised SSTV transmissions that were supposed to have started on Saturday, but no joy. Ah well, next time maybe. Amazing they can put all that technology in space but they can’t get a radio to broadcast SSTV on 2m…
the final section through the strip wood
I was back at the car at 1100 and home shortly thereafter. Thanks to me training Mo on how to follow me on aprs.fi, there was hot coffee and warm scones waiting for me on my return. Lovely. Shower, change and off to work. It always feels amazing when I can “steal” an activation during Christmas week when I’m so busy at work.
Oh, and Mike, well he’s the one who is easily led .