Kerloch is a 2 pointer located about 25 minutes drive from my home QTH. I picked Sunday 23rd as the weather forecast looked marginally better than Saturday and the Propquest Es forecast looked encouraging - I wanted to try and get some QSOs out of the 6m moxon which had been my first lockdown project. I also wanted to see if the upper guy I added to the DX Commander vertical would work as intended.
The morning started with a delay as I had to spend some time cleaning up the kitchen after one of our dogs had an “event” during the night - only problem with labradors is that they eat anything, especially if it is nice and rotten and smelly.
The approach to Kerloch is initially an easy stroll along a well-maintained forestry track from the starting point which has parking for 4 or 5 cars. After passing through a field of cows and two walker-friendly gates, the track starts to head up. The track to the summit branches off the main path and it is however more like a river bed than a path, mainly composed of small granite boulders and stones. The recent poor weather has evidently taken a toll as parts of the “track” were quite deeply eroded by running water. A minor hurricane had also passed through, leaving broken branches strewn around and one large tree had fallen across the track and had to be ducked under - I managed OK on the way up but my mast got snagged on the way down, causing much swearing. So even though this last bit was relatively short, it contributed to my arriving at the top quite a bit behind schedule.
With a strong breeze blowing from the south I set up the vertical first and was happy with the upper guys - the antenna looked more like a vertical than on my last activation. Ground surface presented no problems - just short heather. As rain appeared to be threatening, next up was my tent and I eventually got the 857 going at 1115 local - the rain thankfully held off but the tent was good protection from the wind anyway.To ensure qualifying the summit I made a quick spot on 40m and had a good run for 15 minutes, with F4WBN being first in the log and including a S2S with DC5LY/P. I then checked 6m - the DX Commander is not far off resonant on 6, enough at least to give an idea of what the band was doing and it sounded lively. I therefore took a short break to put up the moxon.
My first QSO was with 9A9R 59 both ways, which confirmed the antenna worked, Woohoo! This turned out to be best DX of the day on 6 at 1155 miles. I put out a spot, called CQ - nothing. Then OE5HDN called, followed by a S2S with S57MS/P - very happy to get that one. I QSYd up a bit, put out another spot and got a few more in the log -9A, DL, OE,although I think most if not all were chasing squares rather than SOTA. Another QSY and another spot brought a good run, again I think mainly from square chasers - F, ON, DL, I, SP.
With 26 in the log on 6 I decided to move to 10m which sounded busy. A spot brought a good run of EU with quite a few short skip contacts with G-land and a S2S with HB9CDH/P. After the run dried up I picked up a couple more S2S with HB9 and then moved to 20m, where short skip was also the order of the day, with lots of G-land coming in 59. A S2S with SV3IEG/P was best DX of the day. Hearing a strong W4 on 17m I tried a spot there and got a short EU run, again featuring G-land. Then QSYd to 15m where short skip also put G-land in the log.
With the wind starting to pick up (there is a reason why a wind farm has been built right beside Kerloch), I decided it was time to pack up. I took a final look at 6 and got F4GCU in the log who was furthest south in France for the day, down near Perpignan. Last QSO was a S2S on 20m with HB9HGQ/P.
While I was packing, two walkers stopped for chat and asked if I was running a weather station…The sun finally appeared as I started on my way down. A runner passed me going up and passed me again going down, just like last week on Craiglich.
Overall, a good day, with 111 in the log including 8 S2S and very happy to have finally got some 6m action.
Thanks to all and see you next time.
Operating position, looking south
DX Commander with upper guys
6m QSO map