(Written by M6BWA) We have just started a 2+ week tour of GM land - mostly based North of Dundee in ES-land. Currently in Edzell we move to near Banchory (W of Aberdeen) on Sat 13 May and then into Speyside (15km S of Elgin on the distillery trail!) on 20 -27 May. From there it is 3 nights E of Stirling and then the long drive down to the Welsh Borders. M0JLA has worked hard on preparing activation maps for a large variety (50+!!) hills that a) are not too strenuous to walk up, b) are fairly likely to get at least one VHF contact (for me with 2m fm and 70cm) c) are not very far from our base to cut down on the driving. R will be doing HF as usual unless the weather is too challenging when he will join me on 2m. We will also be visiting a number of historical sites and castles (especially when we need to keep dry!)
Since our arrival in the area yesterday we activated GM/ES-044 and GM/ES-076 from the gates of Balintore Castle and (needing a rest) the small summit of GM/SS-271 Turin Hill today (My apologies to those who I worked who had to endure my describing it as the ‘Hill of Tirin’ but I think I got the reference right.) Grateful thanks to MM0GLM,Jim for the 2m s2s from GM/CS-017 (on the telescopic RH770) and for then waiting for me to erect my dipole before a 70cm s2s. So far I have qualified each hill on 2m fm and all but GM/ES-076 on 70cm (where I got 1 70cm). An amazing result (thanks to the hard work of Fraser MM0EFI on mobilising the local chasers and alerting the WhatsApp group) but things will get much more challenging one we move into Deeside. So far the weather has been surprisingly warm but with a noticeable wind which has driven the many squally showers along at high speed.
We will endeavour to post updates during our stay (when we can get the wifi to work) and hope for some more s2s when possible. We will post alerts as early as possible but have already found that estimating times can be rather challenging as yesterday we had to turn round at a flooded road and then got caught in roadworks on the A90.
Glad to hear you are off to a great start. My chase of MM6BWA on Cat Law was my first ever 70cm SOTA QSO, Im ashamed to admit.
When you move to Lumphanan, we’ll really be able to get the jungle drums going. The (non-SOTA) NE guys use a groups.io page, so as much advance info as possible will help your cause.
Then when you move further north, I have a few other cards up my sleeve, including Peter 2M0SQL, the Satellite King, who would be very happy to swing his Elgin based beams in your direction!
As for the weather, we have been experiencing unusually heavy cloud bursts and thunder storms this past week. I was about to key the mic. to chase Rod on Mile Hill when I heard him tell a caller there was thunder and he was going QRT. The wx looks better going forward, especially Saturday.
So it seems the snow I brought up last month has finally melted, flowed east and presented itself as flood water… or did a bit of my misfortune (I don’t believe in luck) rub off on you both when we met on Upper Park? Hopefully the remainder of your trip will go smoothly without any further issues. I should be able to catch up with Rod at some point, though currently at my daughter’s at the other end of the country without any radio other than the in-car entertainment.
Good to work you yesterday Viki from GM/CS-017,a monroe located in Glen Lochay,NW of Killin.Pleased to be able to have a QSO on both 2M and 70cm.Readability was better on 70cm,just when we both thought it was not possible.
I will look out for your alerts when you are back down in the Central belt.
The Scottish weather is unpredictable,I hope it pans out in your favour.
Good Luck with your activations up north
(M6BWA again) Thanks everyone for the replies it looks as if am going to need all the help available - to cope with the weather changes as well as the radio challenges. Today we pencilled in the ‘easy’ GM/ES-085 Hill of Gavroch. which is supposed to an toddle up a grassy slope after parking at a picnic site inside a hairpin on a very twisty road. We had been warned about the bull notices and I eventually got over the gate and up we went in low cloud/mist and (relatively) very cold conditions. There we found the cows, calves and the bull. We kept as quiet as poss and set up our masts and I called and I called … and was rescued by MM0HRI -Ian from nearby Arbroath who could barely hear me but we had a contact on 2m but repeatedly failed on 70 cm. The only result of the rest of my calling was that the cows came in force to observe M0JLA at close quarters and, as he had qualified on 40m and I was obviously flogging some very dead airwaves, we hurriedly took down, vaulted the gate and headed to the RSPB reserve at Crawon for a ‘puffin-fix’ to cheer me up - but they weren’t around either but thousands of other sea birds were (a fantastic sight) and the sun gradually came out and we ended up with a lovely warm late afternoon and evening. I had said repeatedly that all I really wanted on these hills was 1 contact on VHF or UHF and this I had achieved - thanks to MM0HRI so 'mission accomplished. However I was sad to hear that Ian reckoned he wouldn’t be able to hear me at all when we move N tomorrow so I will have to hope from other ‘saviours’ around Aberdeen (thanks to MM0EFI) next week and further North the week after. Some s2s with Sutherland hills between 18 and 22nd sound sfun MM7MOX - hope you have a good trip, Andy.
We travel tomorrow up to N of Banchory and have alerted for 1230 on GM/ES-059 Kerloch when the weather is forecast to be good (danger of sunburn…??) and are looking for a quick 1 pointer on Sunday morning (ES-065??) before the deluge from about 1100 BST - preferably a gate and cow free one!
GM/ES-065 is a quick one pointer but I’d say that GM/ES-068 is as quick to climb, less steep and has a much nicer view. Anyway, I’m sure you’ll do them both!
068 - Park in the big layby at the top of the hill on the road to Tarland. Cross the road and go straight up the grassy track that goes right, through another gate and into woods. Look out for a short steep path the the left. It soon eases off and takes you to the top.
065 - At the top of the hill on the B9119 (MS on OS mapp). I park in a dirt layby which leads down to a rusty gate. Climb the grass bank here. Follow the fence, soon becomes a track. Eventually passes behind a copse of trees and climbs a quad track to the top.
Simon drives directly up the white road to the south, parks beside the steading at Upper Broomhill and goes round the east side of the hill on a track, then climbs to the summit from there.
I know you like a Complete, so name a hill and I’ll activate it tomorrow morning. Then maybe you can do it later in the week.
I had reasonable weather this morning on Allermuir (GM/SS-171), with just a few spot of rain until it got cold and really windy after 1pm BST. 2m was very quiet despite a spot and calls, I only got four QSO’s and one S2S to G/SE-008 on 40m. Lots of interference on 20m between 14.310 and 14.340, OTH Radar ? Lots of fading on 17m so no QSO’s there either.
Hopefully the weather further North was ok.
(M6BWA) Have to admit we ducked out today as we believed the forecast which said wet at 0900 but actually we would have been OK until 1100 and then soaked at 1130 BST, Having another try at GM/ES-065 at 0915 UTC tomorrow with the faint chance of another small one some hours later (perhaps 1330UTC??)
Nothing is likely to be better for 2m and 70cm on this trip than our activation of Kerloch GM/ES-059 yesterday with 9 contacts on each band (11 people in all). It was Saturday which usually helps as more people are listening at the weekend (especially if alerted by MM0EFI!) and the sun shone but cooled by a cool wind. We could see a line of cloud on the near hills and thought it might be haar but were told it was sunny in Aberdeen. A longish walk on forest tracks and path but the latter had been very badly water eroded (and with just a few fallen trees) which slowed us down but we were grateful for shade from the trees. Quite a pull up to the shapely summit which gave good take-off. A 2m contact with Newcastle was the longest. Certainly that summit will be recording its first 70cm contacts when my log finally goes up. Fingers crossed for later smaller hills.
Sorry Barry - I missed you, especially on the third one, with only 2 contacts on Hill of Fare Gm/ES-070 at 1715! (A spur of the moment effort as the sun came out briefly). I discovered nobody listens on 145.500 except a mobile who I got on the 1st and last hill. Please look for late alerts and spots - and listen!! Present plan is GM/ES-049 at 1000 ish UTC to catch Fraser and then possibly GM/Es-053 quite a bit later as rain forecast somewhere between 1330 and 1530 UTC I should guess but I am a bit footsore!
Hope to hear you as I will be desperate on the last hill.
Not sure if you are aware of this or not, but in the area of Scotland that you are in, most people monitor 145.575 FM rather than 145.500 FM as this is the ghat channel for this area so I would suggest calling on 145.575 FM as well as 145.500 FM from SOTA summits in this area going forward. Also just wondering for for the SOTA summits that you haven’t managed to qualify on VHF during your current trip, did you go onto HF to qualify or did you just give up. Whenever I am unable to qualify on VHF, I always go onto HF to qualify as I never like to leave a SOTA summit without qualifying.
This must have changed since I was last on the area. Back in 2009 and 2010 when I was in the saw 145.575 FM was the Inverness chat channel and was the frequency that most people in the area monitored also.
I listened up and down from 145.400 to 145.700 FM whilst waiting to hear the folks activating to the North of me but didn’t hear anything today. Especially after I saw the spot. I’m probably too far South for 2m from where you were to Edinburgh, it was a long shot but I thought I would try. I was pleased to catch you on 40m though Fraser but the rain didn’t sound very pleasant !