GM/ES-021 Ben Rinnes 23rd Aug 2022

Ben Rinnes, a 4 pointer, is a well-known tourist attraction outside Dufftown in Moray with its own small dedicated car park just off the B9009 SW of the town. A very visible track leads all the way to the summit from the parking area, which took me about 1 hour 30m to walk up. I had previously avoided activating Ben Rinnes due to its popularity with walkers and went up on Tuesday in changeable, breezy weather. Even so, there was a steady stream of visitors, including a large group of about 12 German-speaking tourists. The top is dominated by a granite tor, which the trig point sits on. The South side of the summit ends in a steep drop but the North and East sides have flatter areas and I set up just North of the track up, to get as much shelter as I could from the strong Westerly wind.

Track from about 2/3 of the way up

Summit tor and trig

My activation start was delayed by a problem with my 2m yagi. For some reason, one of the driven element feedpoint screw-holes was misaligned and I struggled for some time to get the screw to go through. After much bad language I got it sorted though.

Activation:

Gear: 857d, 5el 2m yagi, Sotabeams linked dipole for 40/20m, wire delta loops 17/15/12/10m

Starting at 1112 utc 2m FM brought just 2 QSOs, with MM1FAS in Elgin and 2M0PVP in Edinburgh.
40m was in better shape to EU than on 21st Aug when I was on ES-028 and brought 12 QSOs, including a S2S with OE7RDI/P.
20m brought 12 EU QSOs including 3 S2S, one with DM5RE/P whom I hadn’t been able to hear on 40m.
At 1300 I got a text from Fraser MM0EFI who was up on Millstone Hill, GM/ES-077, 45Km SouthWest of me and we made a good S2S 59 both ways on 2m FM.

With rain looking likely, I put up my tarp in tent configuration and this time got it to stay up, unlike my attempts on ES-028. This was by the simple expedient of bunching the tarp tent “roof” round the handle of my walking pole and then securing it upwind with a guy line. Rock solid!

15m was quiet and brought just one QSO, a S2S with Armin, HB9/DL6GCA/P.
For the final 30m of the activation I went to 17m, which, after a slow start proved quite productive, with 19 QSOs, including another with Fraser, Barry GM4TOE and a S2S with Stephan F/HB9EAJ/P who found me just by tuning around as he had no phone signal up in the Pyrenees. I knew the band was open to the Far East but it was still a nice surprise to be called by JA3CYY, Mori in Kyoto, for easily best DX of the day.

47 QSOs in total. Thanks to all.

More views from the top:

Looking NW across the Moray Firth


Looking SouthEast

9 Likes

Hi Simon,

Thanks a lot for the S2S from Puig dels Pradets, F/PE-357!

It’s always great to find another activator by chance, when there is no mobile network coverage. Fortunately, I could use APRS, but it’s always a struggle (the fist spot for 20m was wrong, thanks to @OK2PDT who made me aware of).

Since you told me that you lived for some time close to the Pyrenees, I thought you like to see where I was, by providing some pictures.

First, I activated Neulós, EA3/GI-024 and then hiked in the baking sun to F/PE-357, about 7km along the French/Spanish border, as you can see in the picture below (France on the left, Spain on the right side).


View to to F/PE-357 on the left, picture taken just a bit below EA3/GI-024.

I didn’t see anybody along this very nice way. Somebody who is so stupid to hike at this time of the day must be a crazy tourist :sweat_smile:.


View back to where I came from (the summit with the antenna, EA3/GI-024).


I found some shadow on the summit within the activation zone!

On this summit, I made the one and only 2m FM QSO during my stay in EA3/F, with a ham in Montpellier, that is about 150km away (5/9+ on both ways).


View from the summit towards the coast along the border, with France on the left, and Spain on the right side.

As always, I add important notes and pictures of every summit I activate to SOTLAS, in the hope it might be useful to the next activator. This applies especially to first activations that were 5 this time.

So if you’re interested in other EA3 summits that are mostly close to the Pyrenees, just have a look at my SOTLAS activation page or look at the activation map for a quick overview.

SOTLAS is such a great tool!

Have fun and 73, Stephan

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Cracking piccies Simon ! Thanks for the contact take care and best 73

3 Likes

Many thanks for another interesting and useful report Simon. Another potential winter bonus summit for when I get organised. :grinning:

73, Gerald

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Hi Stephan,
Thanks for the pics and the info. Looks like a really nice area. You were quite a long way from where I used to live though - Serres-Castet, just outside Pau, which is on the western end of the Pyrenees. Probably the closest SOTA summit would have been F/PO-044 Pic du Midi du Bigorre. While there I also visited the much drier Spanish side - spent a week or so on a geology trip around Ainsa. Great days. I must go back before I get too decrepit to get up the hills.

73 Simon

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Thanks Simon, there are so many cities/villages called Pau I know of, both on the French and Spanish side of the East Pyrenees. Your pronunciation sounded Catalan to me, so I interpreted wrongly that it should be in the Eastern Pyrenees (some also speak Catalan on the French side).

73 Stephan

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