Mona Gowan GM/ES-034 First HF from a summit

My first time off the leash activating hills that involve a short drive within Aberdeenshire since restrictions eased. I chose Mona Gowan because I know the hill well and it would be ideal for testing my newly assembled, but not new QRO kit on a reasonably easy hike. The WX forecast was for 40mph winds, so all the better for the test.

Radio kit: Yaesu ft-857d, home made W3EDP, home made linked dipole for 20m and 40m, ldg Z11pro tuner, 6m section of fibreglass mast, 2m section of fibreglass mast and a homemade 2m “100 gramme” yagi. LiFePo4 4s battery. Also, Ft-3d as a back up and for APRS.

Here’s the tale of the day, inspired by ZL4RA!

The WX and ground conditions had changed so much in the three days since Simon GM4JXP had activated Creag Ghiubhais GM/ES-067, just 7 miles to the south (see his report), that full winter kit was required. The summit temperature was -2°C with significant windchill.

Amazingly, I got the mast and W3EDP up and guyed first time, and I managed to find a calm spot behind the summit cairn.

20m ssb was open but dead except for big stations, so I flipped to 40m ssb and surprised myself by finding a vacant frequency. I quickly spotted myself and called CQ. Then the pile up commenced…

I worked 13 stations in quick sucession, from Norway, Sweden, Spain, England, Czech Republic, Italy, Belgium and Ukraine. Happy days and all on 20 Watts.

I didn’t realise the true extent and general rowdiness of the pile up until I got home, as was just thrilled to be making contacts and got carried away in the moment.

When I got home, there was an email waiting for me from my friend Jonathan 2E0KZN, who’d spotted me and recorded a good chunk of the activation via a hack green webSDR. My goodness, hearing both sides, as well as a few stations I couldn’t hear at my end…does anyone work split frequencies on summits?

I’d brought the VHF kit too and I really fancied doing some 2m ssb, but despite my spot, no joy. I guess I may need to arrange a schedule for this to work?

FM was tried next, as hypothermia hadn’t quite set in. Brian GM8PKL quickly came back, 100 miles and S3 in Edinburgh, off the side of my beam. A quick rotation and he was S9. Rag-chew time!

All in all, a pretty successful outing. An hour to hike up, about two and a half hours up top trying stuff out (I didn’t deploy the dipole, but tried the W3EDP north-south and west-east). It was just a 55 minute walk back to the Landie.

Mona Gowan could be biked by a fit biker on any mountain bike in summer and has brilliant 360° views, so no excuse not to give it a try if you’re in the area!


Greetings, great report and photos. Well done.

73 de Geoff vk3sq

Thanks for the report!

Nice report Fraser and thanks for the name check :wink:

Cheers, Simon

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Great report Fraser. Hopefully catch you on 2m SSB sometime when I am permitted to drive past the border guards, maybe later in the year. I will need to work out whether this summit is within target range from my base in Northumberland… maybe a wee bit too far for a single day outing. It will depend on the availability of suitable accommodation.

73, Gerald


Of the order of 203 miles 4hr15min from the A1/A1068 junction at Alnwick to give a starting figure

Happy to arrange a 2m schedule with you (or anyone). I can be at the top of Morven (871m) an hour and a quarter after leaving my QTH. I could be persuaded to drag a larger beam up there too!

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Make that 210 miles and 4hr 30 min from base… eminently doable, but certainly not VFM. ES-012 and ES-037 last September was a 378 mile round trip and that was okay. Maybe I will do a two or three day sortie once accommodation is opened up. Something to plan for. :grinning:

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Certainly sounds like a plan. There are quite a few GM/SS summits to the north of the Glasgow - Edinburgh line that I need to do as well as getting stuck into the ES region. Will put a note in my planning file to give you the heads up. 2m SSB kit my side is 25W to a 5 el yagi. Working Don G0RQL down in Devon is usually the best DX, though from some summits the path hasn’t worked. :hushed:

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