Having attempted this hill on 19 January with zero QSOs I thought it was time for another go. The combination of a decent weather forecast, and an alert from Robert GM4GUF that he would be on Tinto this morning caused me to get things sorted out ready for a little walk.
Seeing the alerts from Paul G4MD and Gerald G4OIG as well I did my best to get up there reasonably early. It turned out to be a lovely morning, very cold but initally a clear blue sky. It stayed that way until I got to the summit at about 1015, by which stage it was clear there were some dark clouds gradually moving in from the north east. However there wasn’t too much wind so I set up without fingers becoming too frozen.
I had 70cm ready by 1030, using the 6-ele SOTAbeam, but there was no response to 10 mins of CQ bearing south. I tried 2m using my 5-ele homebrew for the next 10 mins with the same result. Since Robert had alerted for 433.220, that’s where I next moved to, waiting for him to come on, which he duly did at 1055. Tinto to Scald Law is line of sight 35km so Robert was 59+ off the back of the beam with his wee linear; I was using a bare FT-817. It was then I discovered that Robert had set up some skeds for 70cm which I was gratefully able to participate in to qualify the summit, the first time I’ve done that entirely on 70cm. Many thanks to Alan GM0USI in IO75UV (63km), Jim GM3UAG running 10W in Ellon, Aberdeenshire (188km) - a weakish signal most of the time, with a lot of QSB, but copyable - and Ian GM0UHC (IO85FW, 18km). I could also hear GM8IEM in Lochinver but unfortunately he couldn’t hear me - 100W vs 4W, and well over 250km away with a lot of Highlands in the way. Scald Law has not usually been much of a success for me on VHF and up, so this was a great day - and even better for being able to chat to a number of others interested in some 23cm operation as well; we had the net going for over an hour, though eventually Robert (especially I think - he had a lot more wind than I did) and myself were feeling the cold of altitude!
Robert gave a couple of final CQs bearing south but without any takers; I also gave a last few CQ calls on 2m but again no takers and went QRT at 1204.
Sorry that there was no HF - but after the long chat up on the summit I was too cold to start messing around with long bits of wire.
One success of the activation - I tried using 10 NiMnH cells in a Maplin holder as the power for the FT-817, to give more volts than the internal supply. This seems to have been reasonably successful; I ran the rig on full (!) power, and this was OK much of the time, with occasional flickering of the lower power indicator on long transmission periods. Maybe eventually I’ll go LiPo but for now that’s a lot lighter than a SLAB.
Many thanks especially to Robert for alerting in the first place.