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Pointless on Scald Law GM/SS-125

I’ve decided that I shall do a Tom (no, not fall and descend Red Screes on my bum) but start activating Scald Law when I have no other summits to activate or am short of time. It’s about 40mins drive and 50 mins to the top and so can be squeezed in when time is tight. It was today’s choice because I started the day slow and the WX tomorrow is for very heavy rains and so nip up Scald Law. I need the exercise and I get to play radio.

We survived the two big storms with nothing worse than the chairs in the garden getting blown about. Then when 30cms of snow was predicted we had about 3cms which quickly melted. The WX for today was for lots of sun and blue sky and a bit of wind. What wasn’t predicted was about 2cms of snow which had melted then frozen. Took a few minutes to clear the car and my drive and road where very slippy… queue lots of orange lights on the dashboard as the wheels spun. Traffic was heavy and there was lots of salt on the roads, my car is horrific and needs a good clean now.

The WX was really good, sunglasses weather. In Scotland! When I got to the parking for Scald Law everyone had had the same idea and the parking was full. I went to the next car park and that was full but I saw some cars leave the previous parking in the mirror. me and another driver did rapid U turns but she beat me to the spaces and driving a small hatch back she picked the biggest space to park in. This meant I had to parallel park into a space that I measured as being 1.5m longer than my car. I never parallel park so I am rubbish at it and I was reversing back on a road where the speed limit is 60mph but cars are often hammering along this bit of road. I thought I was going to do a real Reginald Molehusband here but for once, I just went back in nice and central. I was shocked, shocked I tell you that I didn’t make a mess.

Anyway, out of the car, boy was it cold in the wind and on with boots etc. I forgot the big hat but threw extra Buffs in the bag and my instep crampons. If I’d have known how much snow there was here I’d have brought the proper crampons. But the path on Scald Law sees so many boots the snow gets compressed and turns to polished ice quickly.

View from the car park looking NW. Scald Law in the centre, car said it was 1.5C. You can see a path running up the front, I was operating from near the path. That slope faces SE and thus Europe and is the sweet spot for HF bands. Also it was mainly out of the NW wind!

The lower slopes had lots of run off from the rains earlier in the week and the now melting snow and with the hundreds of people were a complete muddy mess. It was very wet and gloopy in places. As I climbed the ground did improve and by the time you start the climb to the beallach, there was little to no run off. At the beallach it very icy. From there up the zig zags. I did my best to stay upright. The snow had some sun on it and was melting on the path…that will be fun later when the sun moves and it starts to freeze.

I got to the top and got out of the wind and setup, 20m first and wow there was a big contest on. I spent a few minutes hunting for somewhere clear, none found and so found the quietest spot near the QRP centre. I should have really turned off the IPO and maybe turned on the attenuator but I struggled and managed to work 8 chasers with ODX being 9A1AA before the contest madness got too much. On to 30m and some sanity returned. I just like 30m CW more and more and more. It is one of my favourite places to operate along with Gerald G4OIG, Andy G8CPZ, Victor GI4ONL and no doubt many more. I managed 19 QSO in 35mins. Signals were really good but the band faded a bit during my period on air, it had come back by the time I stopped but there were few chasers. I’d been mainly out of the wind but sat in the snow and sub zero weather for 45mins and that was enough. Pack away, some quick phots and back to the car. When I got back the driver’s side of the car had been facing the road and it was thick with stickly salt/mud, I could hardly see through windows! I called at my favourite hand car wash on the way home but they’d packed up early and gone home. I’ll take it to the drive through tomorrow.

Trying to smile for Brian at the operating position!

Here’s a repeat of a photo in Show Us Your Antenna. This a 5m pole, Inv-V dipole at 4.75m for 30/20/17m. The red / white “flutters” are at the wire/cord insulator and 20m/30 link. They make the antenna very obvious to walkers/bikers. There’s a 4.5 turn choke balun on a 125mm former at the top. All fed with RG-174. n.b. the wire and cords have been highlighted in this photo.

20m CW: 8 QSO, ODX 9A1AA
30m CW: 21 QSO, ODX LZ3SM
30m S2S EA2WX/P EA2/BI-055 and SP9MA/p SP/BZ-011

A nice little activation and some calories burnt off :-).

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Seems like it went well so why was it pointless?
73
Ron
VK3AFW

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Blimey, is there a smile under that lot?

I activated it a few weeks earlier, so no activation points or winter bonus.

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Hi Andy,
Many thanks for S2S QSO.
I tried on 20m but no chance, on 30m was much better :wink:

Summit of SP/BZ-011:

View from the summit area (SP/BZ-001 right on the background):

73, Jarek

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Planned to go skiing but not enough depth of snow. No wind, blue sky so activated GM/WS-300 instead. Third ever activation, short approach and nice winter bonus.

Not like Scotland at all; if it is not raining, don’t worry it will be shortly!

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The story came from French Normandy: on a rainy day, old man asks a young man he meets in the street: do you know how long it has been raining this rain ? The young man replies: I don’t know, I’m only 18 years old :wink:

73, Jarek

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:rofl:

I see your humour (via your icon) has changed from the toilet and is now a children’s TV character. Is this a move upwards and is further development expected? What is the prognosis? :slight_smile:
73 Andrew VK1DA/VK2UH

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Sadly as this is a family show I cannot show the full picture from where the Banana head has been taken but it 's not a kids TV character. I thought I had lost the original picture of toilet character smoking a cigar but it was safe along with many other avatars I have used on here.

To get back to radio, I’ve operated on Scald Law many times. It has a large-ish flat plateau top with quite steeply sloping sides. The last two times I have been on the steep SE face to escape the wind. When you operate on a slope the effect is that destructive ground reflections can be reduced. Whilst I need to do more tests due to the variable nature of HF propagation, antenna performance operating on 30/20m on that slope and facing towards the bulk on mainland Europe in significantly better than operating on the flatter top with the same antenna aimed the same direction. I gave and received significantly more 599 reports when on the slope.

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It looks much like one of the banana characters B1 or B2 from a childrens TV show in Australia. Hence my confusion.

I think your findings of better radiation with a sloping surface are consistent with mine.

I was out chasing on Saturday (the WX was terrible to start with but after 4 hours sat in the car it became rather nice, quite annoyingly as I’d have liked to be out myself) but couldn’t hear you, did try.

I desperately need to start down the healthy route, terrible WX keeps coinciding with weekends here.

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Mark Humphries, Andrew Rochford, Alexander Armstrong and Richard Osman would consider that a good thing.

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I can hear RAF VOLMET on 11.253MHz on most Scottish summits. It comes from either RAF Inskip (Blackpool) or St. Eval (Cornwall). Either way it’s a constant signal and doesn’t fade when I check it. That suggests ground wave but it’s too far at either Blackpool or Cornwall for ground wave. The alternative is ionoscatter which Walt G3YYN suggested. As they run somewhere between 1-10kW at VOLMET, ionoscatter is most likely. You’ll need more batteries and PAs Mark and then I may hear you!

Tell me about bad WX and the weekends, it’s why I was out on Saturday. Sunday was blustery with a good 5cms of snow at 165m ASL here. All melted by this morning. It’s a glorious windfree and sunny day but this damn job has me tied to the computer !

Never mind, every day brings retirement a little closer - tho’ don’t expect it to give you more free time! :grinning:

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Think I shall ‘do a Tom’ too. I need the exercise, am happy to re-walk local hills and I don’t care about the points.

With storms and/or very heavy rain / recent illness in the family (requiring me to be not far away), I haven’t done a SOTA in over a month (albeit I’ve done 5 small WOTAs) and I’m suffering withdrawal symptoms.

In that time, I have though now finished making a 80m/60m linked dipole – including my first enamelled wire QRP current balun. After field testing with my trusty AA-35 to trim the wire lengths, I got excellent on-air reports on both 80m and 60m with my 10W of SSB yesterday. What a joy to get S0 noise on 80m (S3 with pre-amp on). Such a difference from 80m at home.

My two nearest summits G/LD-058 and G/LD-052 are 10/15 and 17/30 drive/walk times (minutes) away. So, I’ve no excuse not to ‘do a Tom’ in a break between stormy winds and heavy rain and try out that new antenna on a local SOTA.

My alerts will probably be posted at short notice.

73 Andy

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It’s taken me a long time to truly appreciate how clever the rules are for SOTA. I can do my local SOTA for no more activator/bonus points and always have some chasers because the chasers get the points now matter how many times they have chased the summit. I don’t care about my points, I like the walk and like being the DX. There’s always S2S points to chase. When it comes to the walk I can start trying to improve my times up the hill, a new challenge to chase.

The above applies if I don’t want to drive further for uniques (they’re all getting far away now) or just for a change of scenery. And with having to parallel park, I may even get better at that :wink: I looked into getting a genuine reversing camera retro fitted to my car… sadly I need a loan from the IMF to cover a genuine unit. That’s the downside to buying “pre-owned” cars, you have no choice over the options fitted. But I do have the driver’s under dash storage bin fitted on mine, the joy! Oh, and heated front seats and heated wheel. Can’t believe they’re not standard but an option, still I do have them which is nice.

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Today G/LD-052 15:45 80m and 60m SSB

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Another pointless outing. The WX forecast was for showers and gales. Well it wasn’t windy when I decided I’d better go and do Scald Law again if I wasn’t doing anything else. Nor was it raining but was sunny. It was a little blustery when booting up and by the time I was at the top it was a howling gale.

Small world… on the way up a couple coming down said “Hey were you on Ben Ledi last week?” We had a chat as they were intrigued as to what I was doing but could see I was concentrating with Morse Code so they didn’t bother me. Very considerate I thought. We spent about 10mins talking about SOTA and their final question “Where will you be next week and we’ll go for a hat-trick of meetings!” :slight_smile:

OK the wind was gusting enough to make standing upright hard. I dropped down the North side to escape the worst of the wind and could setup. I still worked plenty of EU stations despite the rock between me and mainland Europe. Conditions didn’t seem to be buzzing, 15 on 30m CW, 10 on 20m SSB and 14 on 20m CW in 65mins.

At one point VE2JCW called on 20m SSB and was a good 56 but QSB’d away and was never heard again. I also think I was working KI4SVM on 20m CW, I got a 449 report but never confirmed the call or sent my report. 65mins was the limit, the wind was getting worse and worse and I had trouble getting the pole to collapse. Bag packed and a quick descent to the car. I didn’t think I had done enough exercise to have earned myself a chocolate bar and anyway there was a white sliced “Toastie” loaf at home. White bread is as bad as chocolate for us diabetics so I decided I’d have some toast when home for my lunch. In fact given the choice of an evening of debauchery with the Minogue sisters or a few slices of fresh white toast with a nice Seville Orange marmalade, then the marmalade on toast is going to win no matter what those girls are offering :-). I am turning in to Paddington I think.

3x S2S EA2WX/p, HB9AFI/P & SQ9BQW/P, I’m working so many S2S with Polish stations that I think an expedition out there for bagging completes may be on. Just need COVID and other madness to be resolved first.

Thanks to all the chasers who called in.

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Hi Andy,

No copy of You today on OK/ZL-041 but welcome if you wish to visit SP - any possible help & assistance will be supplied.

73, Jarek

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