Pointless activation with superfast guying system ;)

Last Tuesday we had decided to go up Meall a’ Bhuachaille (GM/ES-027) while on a short stay in the Cairngorms. I didn’t have any internet access at the campsite, but SOTA Spotter app function for finding nearby summits was still working, so I checked it and found out that that summit was indeed a SOTA summit.

Between the weather and our various aches and pains, I needed to keep my pack light and the stay at the summit short, so I only packed my 2 m handheld, slim jim antenna and Tactical Mini pole.

We followed the path (not track) through the amazing pine forest to An Lochan Uaine (Green Loch) and then the track to Ryvoan bothy, where we took the path up to the summit. Taking the path to the Green Loch does add a bit of up and down before the serious climb starts, but it was so beautiful we felt it was well worth it. If you want an easier start to the walk, just follow the track instead.

I had no chance to send an alert until at the summit, before having a snack and setting up, so weren’t too hopeful. But Ron (GM4KJQ) replied to my CQ call almost straight away and gave me a 59 from Findhorn, so I felt justified in hauling the extra weight up the mountain. :slight_smile:

Sadly, that was it in terms of QSOs, eventhough my guying system was happy for me to try for a bit longer. By the time I was packing up, the clouds had lifted a bit and we got to see a bit of the other hills, before heading down the path that drops straight down from the saddle.

My guying system for this activation:


Hmm. Wonder if I could train the dog to do that…


Hi Sara,

Have you registered for APRS2SOTA so you can send a spot to Sotawatch from your handheld, and if you’re lucky a nearby igate will pick it up?

I also use a superfast guying system like yours, although it gets a bit tricky when the wind gets up.

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+1 for APRS2SOTA. it’s saved my bacon a few times.

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No I haven’t but maybe that’s worth looking into for spur of the moment activations. I think I’d have to set it up to link my HT (a Kenwood TH-K20E) to my mobile for that to work though, is that right?

I have signed up for SMS spotting and had the most basic version saved on my phone, so I could have spotted from the summit even if I hadn’t had 4G up there (which I obviously tried first). I’ve just got myself a Garmin GPSMap 66i, so once I’ve sorted it all out, I should be able to send texts from that too.

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Yeah, sorry I thought you had one of the other Kenwoods with built in APRS.
I haven’t got APRS working yet with my K20E but NI4JM here says it works well with APRS phone apps Kenwood TH-K20A

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My rucksack kit includes a couple of bungee cords from Poundland as essential gear, so I would have used them to fix the pole to one of those upright rocks in the background of your photo. They are great for fence posts, too.

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I’ve got some narrow bungee cord that I could use for that. I have two long velcro ties that I use for attaching the bottom sections to wooden posts, table /chair legs etc.

Normally, if I think I can get away with it, I just use the lower guying ring and lines (plus 4 tent pegs) from my SotaBeams guying set and that doesn’t really weight that much at all. But this was faster and even lighter :slight_smile:

I think my success eaqualled yours form that hill (on 2m). A single (pre-arranged) contact with Simon GM4JXP who was also on a summit. That was on a weekend as well.

You mentioned you couldn’t alert beforehand. To almost guarantee success on 2m from the Cairngorms you need to alert, tweet, whatsapp, email, phone-a-friend & take a full-page ad in the local newspaper!

It’s a nice hill though. Glad you had a nice day. :grinning:


:smiley: Yes, I see what you mean. I’ve never experienced 2m being so deathly quiet before - if it had’t been for the strong signal from Ron I would have thought something was wrong with my setup. But I got a to play radio and Ron got 4 points, so I’m quite content anyway.

If I’d been that keen on getting my points (and if we’d planned to stay longer) I could have brought my KX2 and its antenna up with me…


“2m deathly quiet” :slight_smile: that’s 99.9% of the time for 2m activation’s in EI (unless directly on the East coast where some regular GW Chasers will save the day and the very rare EI) What’s even more ironic is that an alert on the SOTA Ireland Facebook page will get 50 “likes” :slight_smile:



Hi Sara @MW7SRA,

Liking the superfast guying system, this is how I activate on 2m FM from most mountains using the 4m SOTAbeams telescopic pole - very light weight when on a hike. It was unfortunate that you didn’t make more than 1 contact, I’m also finding 2m FM very quiet in GW land at present. I think everyone is waiting for winter to come upon us and they’ll be back in their shacks :slight_smile: at least you had a nice walk - a lovely part of the UK the Cairngorms are, and there’s Fraser living right in the middle :rofl: hope to make a qso soon, maybe a S2S!

Take care and 73, GW4BML. Ben


I love it when I get a chance to chase the east cost of EI summits. Nothing but water inbetween them and me on the west coast of Wales! :smiley:

I’m pretty sure that I could hold it myself if it’s not too windy, as long as I get a clipboard or something to hold the notepad in place. I’m using a earpiece with clip on microphone anyway so the radio usually lies in my lap anyway.

I had brought the KX2 along on the trip as well (mainly for chasing opportunities, really) but we were too busy hiking and walking and sitting at lake shores admiring the view and feeding the midges that I never actually got it set up. But now we know better what to expect for our next trip. :slight_smile:

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I’ve tried it a few times when in a hurry using just a 5m pole and a wire J-pole for 2m. Wind is the issue mainly but if it’s not bad it’s still a problem holding the pole when trying to operate PTT and then log contacts.

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Yes, and it’s not like it takes long to guy it out properly anyway. But a good alternative for busy or rocky summits.

I always find a third hand would be handy doing this sort of stuff.

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Surely “a gripping hand”, no? :wink:

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I’ve always thought a prehensile tail would have been handy. For carrying shopping, holding onto trees when leaning out over rivers on fieldwork, holding stuff in the lab and so on. Shame that evolution didn’t agree on that one.

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