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First in a long time - and failed!

My apologies one and all for the non- appearance from GM/ES-084. A mere pimple, 320m high. I reached the summit in no real time, fell over in the wind (well there is nothing much between there and the Arctic) but succeeded in putting up the dipole with the mast like a one-string fiddle.

I was just pondering on the activation while chatting to a group of lovelies when a loud crack was followed by the mast breaking, hitting the trig point and breaking into four more pieces. The dog took off (he is gun shy) and that was that. Not a soul on 2m so I went home.

It will still be there another time


Barry GM4TOE

In reply to GM4TOE:

So Barry, it’s fair to say that you cracked it:-)

Seriously though, hard luck, especially after completing the climb. Such is SOTA and only those of us who have witnessed what the wind is capable of a summit can understand how easily such damage can occur.

The main thing is, you weren’t hurt by the flying fragments and as you say, the hill will be there for again.


In reply to GW0DSP:

Do you have any idea what the actual wind speeds were? I’d like to know what the poles are capable of handling, so I don’t break mine. So far the worst I’ve done is had one fall over with the sotabeam on it. Oh, and lost bungs.

In reply to M0FFX:

I’ve had the same pole on 103 activations now and the highest measured windspeed I’ve activated in was 51mph on Meall nam Tarmachan GM/CS-015. However, where I measured the wind was more exposed than where I operated from so the speed there will have be lower.

The problem is gusts more than a constant speed. I guy my pole at around the 1.5m level. It’s the most convenient way. That does leave the top exposed. If it’s a bit breezy (cf CS-015!) then instead of arranging the legs of the dipole to run E-W I’ll use them as guys and run one leg into the wind. I’ve been toying with the idea of taking a very light nylon guy with me to use to tie off the top of the mast into the wind. But that’s just even more weight to carry and I’m trying to lower the weight.


Thanks for the chuckle Mike (DSP) - not only cracked it but proved the dog is also a great feartie!

Wind Speed - to blow me over needs a gust in excess of 60mph and I would guess the steady state of the wind was about 40mph gusting to double that. Some wind gusts on the Cairngorm plateau have exceeded this during activations but I have always abandoned the attempt under those conditions. If you would like an indication of how strong the wind was I was unpacking my rucsac when the wind filled it and blew it about 10 feet away - it still had the 817, my lunch, 3 litres of water and a waterproof in it at the time!

I have now broken three masts (I think) excluding the one I stood on and damaged a section. I guy from the top with two legs being the dipole and the third leg a back stay, preferring to arrange the antenna east-west (with 120 degrees between the legs - not exactly accurate but you get the picture) and normally set the back guy to north. This then means that the wind bends the mast as described (one string fiddle). I think there is a picture on the database which shows this (with my older dog). This puts some downward force on the mast and perhaps guying it part way up would help but as Andy says it’s all extra weight.

What really hacks me off is that the Moray Firth Club were setting up for the Navy CW contest on an adjacent hill and I couldn’t raise a single contact from them on the handheld. Even using the SS repeater less than 2 miles away I still couldn’t get anybody to operate simplex! This possibly explains my lack of interest in 2m FM (rant over!)

I guess that I had better contact Richard (CWI) when I get back from holiday so I don’t miss all the winter bonus!


Barry (soon off to EA/4X/SU/JY for a well earned break - without a rig!)

In reply to GM4TOE:

< This then means that the wind bends the mast as described (one string fiddle …and perhaps guying it part way up would help but as Andy says it’s all extra weight.

I must admit that I often wince when I see Paul (G4MD) rigging his mast with his 60m dipole or doublet and it is bowed out by the wind. I only use 5 sections of my 7 section mast to avoid this happening, even when operating 60m. If I were intending to use the mast full height, I would always prefer to carry an extra set of guys to having the hassle of replacing a mast. Just call me scrooge.

Nevertheless, it appears that you have been especially unfortunate on this occasion Barry… perhaps you’ll always set up your mast downwind of the trig in future.

73, Gerald