Mad people

I was looking at Bothy Bags online in the last couple of days and then thinking, do I really want to buy and carry this for the odd occasion I might need it? Is there something lighter, simpler and of course cheaper (Hey, I’m from Yorkshire - cheaper is always good…) and came across this on ebay:

at UKL2.39 plus UKL3.99 shipping(to DL) ; I’ve ordered two, I’ll report back what I think of them once they arrive and I can try setting one up on a summit. These cost 10% of the cheapest Bothy bag I have found and most likely will show this the first time I set one up! With it’s small size, it’s a lay-in rather than sit-in set up, so one may get used as the ground sheet under the other.

73 Ed.

The bothy bag came in handy on Tuesday13th January 2015. I originally intended to return to Shining Tor G/SP-004, but the forecast wind and snow up there was way worse than the predictions for The Cloud G/SP-015. I was tired as well after a couple of poor nights of sleep, so I reverted to the more usual contest location.

It was 3 degrees Celcius indicated on my Acctim 60kHz (Anthorn) radio clock as I went QRV just before 8pm. This was bearable, using the topograph as backrest and shelter, and so I operated in the open night air. Conditions were not great, and only 9 UK squares were worked all night. Gerard F8BRK was heard CQing from Northern France, but I couldn’t get through to him.

Gradually, the temperature indicator on the clock fell from the initial 3 degrees, and once it hit zero I began to feel a little uncomfortable. I wondered about deploying the bothy bag to warm my hands up a bit, and then the decision was made for me anyway as it began to snow. Inside the bothy bag, the temperature read out crept back up again, peaking at a balmy 4 degrees by the end of the contest at 10.30pm.

A total of 48 QSOs was made on 70cm SSB, with contacts made into G, GW, GM, GD and GI. As I emerged from the bothy bag, I could see that the summit now had a dusting of snow. Packaway was completed quickly, as was the descent.

Here is the map of my contest QSOs:


With all these mentions of shelters, tarps and bothy bags, I do wonder what happened to the old orange survival bags? They used to be an essential part of my mountain gear, I threw my last one away some years ago, it had got brittle - the only one that I owned that died of old age! They were ideal for sledging downhill on wet grass, though this led to severe wear and tear both to the bags and tender posteriors! They were just big enough for two people - a mountain leader that I used to know said that if anyone in one of his parties ever showed signs of hypothermia he would put them straight into a bag to warm up, if it was a severe case he would put another member of the party in with them to accelerate the warming up - preferably female as they produced more heat! Come to think of it there were several females in the climbing club in those days that would have been fun to share a survival bag with - I married one of them…!

I must pay a visit to on of our local climbing shops and get another one (bag, that is!) they used to be dirt cheap but I doubt that they are now!


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Still carry one in my pack on every activation.
Tom’s first picture needs a session with Photoshop to include the bottle of cheap wine (or Buckfast) to match the rather inebriated look on his face!

Yes, the kit definitely takes priority. I am hardly likely to sit in a shelter and leave the 817 out in the wet, am I? Now that would be mad!

I have one too. Goes with me on every activation.

Like this one taken earlier :smile:


I wonder how long a tarp would have lasted on Ben Nevis this morning wind up to 126 mph recorded.
Think that would be more daft than mad.

Use my old army basha as a tarp, probably due for change has a view wholes appearing. May have a look at the backpacking light tarps, they have some other good items got myself a meth stove and titinium mug.

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This lacks realism because

  • the empty bottle has not been smashed on the floor
  • Tom is not in a Celtic/Hibs/Rangers/Hearts football top
  • Tom has not been stabbed
  • Tom is not wearing a cheap copy of a Burberry baseball cap
  • there is no “hard” dog in the photo (pitbull of somekind)
  • no discarded chip papers


This correction provided by VisitScotland and the Scottish Tourist Board!


Sorry I’m completely unfamiliar with the stuff myself (Google was my friend) or the culture of those in the far north.
I’m sure I could add additional features to the photo if requested.
I would however not wish to tarnish Tom’s impeccable reputation (he’s done enough damage by labelling himself mad).

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This mad person planned for a long activation on Saturday 17th January 2015, incorporating the 4 hour RSGB AFS contest event. As it was the SSB event, I would be participating while combining with a SOTA activation so as to leave the home shack free for Jimmy M0HGY to contribute a further entry on behalf of the Tall Trees Contest Group.

Essential preparations of a flask of mulligatawny soup, purchase of a new SOTA Pole and donning of thick socks, I was off and away around 12:45pm. Ascent of The Cloud G/SP-015 was the slightly longer way around of up to the top of the farm track, then around the back of the farm and through the woods. I baggsed my preferred spot on the sheltered side of the topograph and set up the Bandhopper 4 linked dipole antenna.

The RSGB AFS SSB event this year was to be on 80m and 40m, rather than just 80m, hence the multiband option was taken. Fortunately, the only link needed to be accessed was just about reachable without taking down the antenna.

I was set up with a few minutes to spare, so I went for a nosy on the WAB net frequency of 7.160MHz SSB. I went on to offer the SJ96 square, and of course the trigpoint. I hadn’t planned this, so didn’t have the TP number to hand. No problem I thought, I’ll just get it off the trigpoint. I wandered over and made a note of the 2651 from the metal plate. It turns out that the TP references do not correlate with the metal plates, and “TP2651” is somewhere completely different! I found out later that The Cloud is TP6366; hopefully the guys on the net had enough other information to identify the correct trig.

Anyway, I quickly ran down 16 stations on the WAB net, then turned my attentions to the contest. In this, I did two sessions each on 80m and 40m, netting a total of 110 QSOs - after dupes had been eliminated! I discovered it is quite hard to spot the dupes when logging with pencil and paper (as opposed to contest software) on a hilltop at -1 degrees Celcius!

After 1600z, I spotted myself on 3.645MHz for any SOTA chasers, but only a couple took advantage. I noticed that I hadn’t worked Jimmy M0HGY in the contest, so arranged a 2m FM contact with him while on the 'phone finding out what the arrangements were for tea! Several others also called in on two.

The totals for the activation were as follows:

80m: 59 QSOs
40m: 70 QSOs
2m: 6 QSOs
Total: 135 QSOs

So in 2015 I am averaging 85 QSOs per activation. I must remind myself that I only need 4…

It was a pleasure to work you on 80, Tom, we don’t seem to get many activations on 80 nowadays - and it was nice to know that you haven’t been entirely seduced by the retro pleasures of CW! :wink: Perhaps we could do with a few low band Challenges as the sunspot cycle starts to wane…


Surely voice communications pre-date CW?
CW is a cutting-edge digital mode.

So are jungle drums! :slight_smile:


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Actually I have, as you well know Brian. CW is a more efficient mode and I generally have much more success with it. However, I am also still well into my contesting, most of which is SSB specific. Result - my SOTA activities are split roughly down the middle between CW and phone - and have been for a number of years - no headline news here.

That probably doesn’t tell the whole story. If I am away from home, I am probably ticking off uniques, and probably trying to get several done in a day - no surprise there. In such situations, I am highly likely to go for the quick set-up/low gear requirements/banker-to-qualify advantages of 20 or 40 CW compared to SSB. Hence although my phone/CW is split apparently equally, this includes high QSO contest repeat activations of my local summits vs lots of short CW activations of summits further afield. Then again, in the latter case, M0HGY is always there putting on some VHF/fone anyway, so it’s covered.

There’s nothing retro about CW - take a glance a the spots page if you don’t believe me!

CW is certainly retro:

““Retro” can be applied to several things and artefacts, for example forms of technological obsolescence (including, for instance, manual typewriters, cash registers, bulky hand-held cellphones, etc.) and also the resurrection of old computer games and the equipment on which they are played. But most commonly “retro” is used to describe objects and attitudes from the recent past that no longer seem “modern.”” (Wiki)

Retro is NOT intended as a gibe, guys - CW needs no more justification than sailing or horse riding, to name just two ancient technologies preserved for enjoyment. The fact that it goes right back to the roots of radio in no way detracts from either its efficiency or the enjoyment that it gives its practitioners. Never-the-less, to outsiders it seems quaint and redolent of Victorian technology and horse-operas!


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I wonder if anybody remembers the RX/TX programmes as supplied by Technical Software for the Commodore 64.
When I can find some room to set it all up I am going to see if this elderly piece of kit still works.

73, Derek


Talking of mad People.

Remember working Tor in Norway couple days a go.

Just had his QSL through E qsl.
thinks he qualifies. :slight_smile:
Good idea having tent and was -20.C at time


We called those orange plastic bags “Bivvy Bags” One that I had was branded by a well known rucksac and sleeping bag manufacturer.

I too got rid of most of mine (I also had one that was green) or used them to bag up rubbish.

Dave (G0DJA)

They sell Buckfast in the local corner shop as far south as Bolsover…