GM/SS-191 Cairnharrow

The note from Andy MM0FMF suggesting some “Easter 23cms fun” had me keen to get out to take part. Gerald G4OIG and Paul G4MD had alerted that they would be on Seatallan LD-025 on Easter Monday, Gerald having the UHF gear.

So this was my second trip up Cairnharrow this “season” - the first on the UHF fun day was most unproductive. Today was very different.

The weather was fine, cooler than of late (good for walking up!) and the recent heavy rain had not caused any real problems on the hill - the usual boggy bits were really quite dry. I was at the summit in plenty time and set up for 23cm (first, the crystal needs to warm up!), 70cm and 2m. I had a good chat on 2m ssb prior to the alert time with Gordon GM3UCI (who hopes to be QRV on 23cm and 3cm before long) and Mark 2M0LEW/P near Dundee - 203km using 2.5W at my end and 25W (if I remember correctly) at his end, with lots of hills in the way!

Then I hunted for Gerald - no problem with his usual frequency! - and completed contacts with G4OIG/P (S2S), Brian G4ZRP in the Wirrall, Bob G6ODU near Ormskirk in my old stomping ground of Lancashire, Dave MW0VMC/P on GW/NW-014 (S2S), Malcolm M0XAT in Seaton (not too far away near Workington) and Robert GW0PEB/P on GW/NW-024 (S2S). A fine haul of S2S contacts there.

First attempts at the 23cm contact with Gerald failed (and Brian and I couldn’t hear each other on 23cm either), so we moved to 70cm to set up for another go. Once Gerald had swapped to his collapsible quad antenna (I think that’s what it is) we had no problems - solid copy both ends, he was almost fully quieting using 250mW to the quad. I was using the usual 5W from the Mark 2 homebrew transverter

to my 15-ele homebrew DL6WU Yagi. Hooray, success! Only a 79km path though … much longer ones are clearly possible even with FM.

We went back to 70cm and I completed with Robert GW0PEB/P and Bob G6ODU again, as well as Gerald. I could easily hear Karen 2E0XYL calling on 70cm, but sadly she couldn’t hear me.

I noted in the log that Brian G4ZRP was also “in the group” but in my haste to get on to the 23cm sked I’d arranged with Jon GM4JTJ I’m afraid I didn’t complete the 70cm contact - sorry Brian. I didn’t really expect to get anywhere - the path to GM4JTJ from Cairnharrow is long and obstructed, but it was worth a try - these things always are! No joy this time, I’ll find another summit with a better chance of a contact. I’m still trying to increase my DX on 23cm with a QRP station.

The time was getting on and we had to head back to Edinburgh today from Gatehouse of Fleet, so I packed up in the sunshine and headed down the hill, with some very satisfactory contacts made. Sorry I didn’t have time to get back to 2m as I’m sure there would have been more takers - but UHF is such a great challenge that I really enjoy. Hope to catch more of you up there in the future!