Ord Ban - SOTA with Friends

Ord Ban GM/ES-074

We decided to escape to Aviemore today (30th November) to escape the perma-frost of Deeside. Mo would have some retail therapy and I’d nip up Ord Ban, annoyingly the most out-lying GM/ES summit that I had yet to activate. With a low number of sunspots and K/A indexes fairly high, I didn’t have high expectations of anything more than a few contacts on 40 m SSB.

Mo dropped me off at the car park for Loch an Eilein (£1.50 for parking and worth a visit) at 1020. I’d been in this area in summer and failed to spot any track up this small but steep hill. However, today, with shorter and frosted vegetation, it was easy to pick out.

Ord Ban

I spotted a gate in the deer fence, just behind the stone cottage in this picture. A track led back along the other side of the deer fence and soon zig-zagged up the hill. Eventually I popped out on top and walked the last 150 m to the summit on easy ground. Time taken - 20 minutes.

Higher Cairngorm summits remained in cloud

Trees - just what I needed. One for the mast and one for each end of the EFHW. I always feel so American when I’m stringing a wire up in trees. And then immediately worry about how I’m going to get them back down. The antenna was arranged like an inverted L, except the horizontal(ish) part was at the feed point and the vertical part down the far end. I didn’t expect to see anyone else up here, so commandeered the rather fine trig as a pedestal for my KX2. Today I’d be operating standing up, which was a nice change.

KX2 on the trig, EFHW suspended above a nearby rock and through the trees

When I turned the radio on, it was set to 14.285 and IU3OJA was calling from a summit. We exchanged details. On up-loading my log later, it kept returning an error for his summit. I think it may have been one of those “unique” Italian ones - SOTL.as tells me it was deactivated in 2016.

A spot on 40 m. @GM4JXP was waiting. 5/9 both ways just over the big hills to Deeside. Then…

Well, I titled this “SOTA with Friends” because over the next 30 minutes, I think I worked just about everyone I know and who has ever worked me on 40 m! Ok, not you Gerald @G4OIG because you always miss me :wink: It was wild - just never stopped. I made 40 QSO’s, with couple of summit contacts too. Many Chasers commented on the pile-up too. The most fun I’ve had on a 1 point summit. Brilliant, brilliant fun.

That done, I wandered around the summit for a few moments, just trying to get my brain untied. At 1140 I decided to go back on the radio - 20 m this time. I’d expected it to be marginal today, but it wasn’t too bad, with another 17 in the log and some nice summit to summits too.

I was about to pack up, when I decided to “swipe left”. No, not Tinder but VK-Port-a-Log. It showed that Phil EA8/ @G4OBK had just spotted on 20 m SSB from EA8/FU-036, just a few clicks up the band from me. I re-tuned called “summit to summit” and aided by @EA2DT who let Phil know I was calling, we made our QSO. A brilliant finish to a great hour spent on a cracking wee hill.

I’ll bet @G4OBK had less clothes on than me!

Twenty five minutes later (1225), I was back at the car and being collected by Mo, having spent a great couple of hours in fantastic surroundings, with friends.

Thanks All, 73.


PS Both @SA4BLM and @EA2DT made my log today. Welcome back Guys!!


Hi Fraser, It was great to chat with you again today, s2s from GM/SS-176 Steele’s Knowe. I was a bit overawed by the huge pile-up when you put your spot out on 40m, but it was fun listening in the sunshine and then joining in towards the end.
73 Andy

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'tis a wonderful wee hill. I have it as a “great drive North” diversion. It’s just far enough from home to make a nice break when on my way to Sutherland or Assynt. Drive, bag Ord Ban, then continue driving.

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I’d have to agree. Many of the GM/ES 1 point summits have for a lot more going for them than the 4 pointers. I really should have ticked it off before now. We are past that way often, but always on the way somewhere…

Great to have another summit to summit contact with you Andy!

I’m not sure if you called me several times before I worked you, but if I heard you I would have worked you immediately:
a) because you are Foundation
b) because you were on a summit.
@2M0WNA Mike runs QRP from his home QTH in Aberdeenshire and he was third or fourth in my log today. You had the advantage of being on a summit as well.

Here’s to the next one!

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Yes Fraser, but I did climb my first hill this morning with lightweight fleece on. T shirt the rest of the morning. Great to work you S2S from a different continent down in “Africa” (So say ARRL - DXCC EA8 is Africa). Manuel was a good lad today hihi! Yes, Lars too, he’s back!

I was fairly early on the first summit (0830z) and the stronger stations with beams from France and Germany on 20m had a long path seventh of a second echo on the signals, it tends to stand out in CW and can make the sigs hard to read.

73 Phil

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So say SOTA MT as well! EA8, CT3, EA9 and FR I think are our African associations.

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Glad I got in first ahead of the rush! Looks like a great hill.

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Hi Fraser. Thanks for the summit today. I could hear that you had a massive pile-up so I went to do some work. You were still there when I came back to the rig and a nice 5/9. Sorry the contact was a bit short but Ben @GW4BML was phoning me…must remind him not to phone me when I’m chasing😁. 73 Allan

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Nice report Fraser, I got you in my SWL Log on 40m, I listened to your pile up almost wincing on occasions, you did well to control the Alligators !!


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Cheers Tony and thanks for the report. I actually worked a couple of mobile 40 m stations yesterday too!

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Sometimes one-pointers can be the most fun, which is a testament to the folk involved in this hobby that a QSO is the most important thing, not the points off the back of it.

I am in the early stages of planning a highlands tour for next year, and will almost certainly want to pick your brains @MM0EFI Fraser and others. Also planning to complete my Shetland Islands visit that never happened because of Covid. It is completely ridiculous that I live in Cumbria but have never made it further North than Pitlockry - and that was a full lifetime ago.

Regards, Mark.

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Some of the ES ones are horrendous too - harder than some of the 10 pointers

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Beautiful motif for a postcard! :heart_eyes:
THANKS for sharing another entertaining report, Fraser. :+1:

73 de Peter, DM7KN

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Hi Mark, will that tour be on 2 wheels or 4 ? Getting between the hills on 2 wheels can be fun up here as well as the SOTA.
73 Andy

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Nice one Fraser. Sorry I missed you. I did have a brief listen in before I got called away from the radio to deal with something & it sounded like quite a pileup you had going there! Sounded like great fun.

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2 would be the ideal. Should I fit some nobbly tyres to the R1? :kissing_heart: I’ve been thinking it’s time for an adventure bike, any recommendations and advice much appreciated.



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Rear knobbly, front slick should cover you. I can sell you a rare Yaesu 2 m and 70 cm radio that’s designed for bikes. Has bluetooth, a handle bar bracket for the head and everything else you need. :call_me_hand:

I bet that’s amazing. I have had one ‘Motorbike Mobile’ (ie whilst moving) contact through a repeater on the R1. It has been known to sport a VHF antenna and an ATAS antenna once in a while.

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