We (Viki M6BWA and Rod M0JLA) are going to Dublin this Friday and driving up to the Mourne Mts for a week (5-13), followed by a week (12-20) at Ballycastle near the Antrim Hills. Rod is also hoping to activate at least 2 EI summits on HF (see alert for Friday 5) during our stay. I shall be using my usual activating rig which is a 5w VX-7 with a dipole supported on a rather flimsy waterpipes. This means that using a beam (2m or 70cm) means that the mast bends so much that the beam is not horizontal. I want to, as much as possible, get my own contacts rather than ask for HF help. Am I likely to be successful and what can I do to increase the likelihood of contacts?
I fully realise that using a fishing rod will hoist the beam (or dipole) up higher but I find the extra weight involved takes me over my personal limit. Even carrying a beam (or two) and a feeder adds to the weight and this is even more of a problem as I twisted my knee 6 days ago when descending Heath Mynd (G/WB-007) and I have yet to discover whether I can go up and down hills at all. (My apologies for those who were waiting for me to turn up on Corndon (MW-013) as I was a lot slower than expected.) I have a number of questions (mainly concerning the Mournes but also the Northern Antrim Hills) and would welcome advice:
a) will I find locals listening on 2m fm and/or 70cm?
b) will I find interference on 2m fm even when not on a hill with an obvious mast nearby?
c) will I be able to talk to chasers in England and/or Scotland with only 5w on 2m and just using a dipole (even if on one of the lesser summits)?
d) will we be able to spot ourselves on any of the summits (Orange and O2)? We are assured we have good wi-fi where we are staying so hope to alert the night before but details may change depending on weather and fitness.
e) have I any chance at all of getting even one contact on 70cm from any of the hills? I gave myself this challenge last April and I have had some very surprising successes (including talking to EI9GLB from the Rhinogs and Cadair last week) but also some disasters, especially in mid-Wales and other areas with small populations. Reminding listeners to remove the repeater offset has increased the number of chasers that I can actually hear as so many people only use 70cm on a repeater.
f) if I am on Slieve Gullion (G!/CA-001) will it be feasible for me to walk over to Crosslieve (G!/CA-004) (knee permitting!!) Will I have to walk to Forkhill - and then where do I go? I was thinking of trying Tievecrom (005) as it is nearer but this doesn’t seem to be a popular ascent!! (Thanks to EYP and HGY for their very helpful accounts). The car and Rod will hope to be activating in E! at the time.
Thank you very much for your advice (even if it is ‘don’t’!)