Properly Cold GM/SS-125

I was last out activating at the beginning of December. Then we had loads and load of pish weather, huge amounts of rain and more rain. With Christmas etc. I was short of time. The WX over the Christmas break was even worse. Then came January and I now only work 2 days a week, surely I can get out now. No we had more wet then snowy weather. We also had a customer at work who wanted “The moon on a stick” and so I’ve been doing some overtime (I’m getting more time off in lieu). So no SOTA for Andy.

Last Friday was a peach of a day… no wind, below 0C but blue sky, ice and snow on the hills but roads OK. And I couldn’t get out to play :frowning: So as the WX looked fair to miserable for today I was determined to get out. Well when I finally woke up and got out of bed that was.

YASLA (yet another Scald Law activation). Well if I’m not going somewhere special I may as well do something. It took a while to make sure I’d collected everything and bagged it. I Shanghaied Mrs. FMF to help me check . Gosh, she’s worth it as she said “battery?” as the last thing. No, I didn’t have a battery and went and grabbed one. OK parked up, spaces but people out walking. It was grey and cool and windy. 4C at the car park and the wind had a real bite to it. I was going to grab the Grivel instep crampons but forgot. The first part of the track had about 1-2cm of thawed grass/mud but below that was frozen. Nothing tricky TBH. I’ve done the initial steep bit and really needed crampon but just managed to get up and down. No problems today.

The main ascent from the col with Carnethy Hill was not good. You could see how thousands of boots had polished the snow to ice. Still it wasn’t too hard to get up. I was pleased with the time. Considering it was icy and progress was slowed by routing past the worst bits and chatting to a few people I got to the trig in 50mins. Now I tried to eat all the Turkey, Ham and Christmas Pudding in the UK this Christmas (we wont mention drink) so that time was really good. I think my record is 41mins.

At the top the wind was a killer. I found somewhere a bit sheltered and setup. I knew it would be windy so I brought the heavier Lifes-a-Breeze 5m pole as it’s pretty bad-ass at resisting wind. It wasn’t a day to change antennas so up went the 40/30/20 trapped EFHW with an AA5TB matchbox. This has switch able 3/4 turn primary and switchable 24/28 turn secondary. The antenna was a 5m vertical with sloper down to 1m point SE. Tune up was painless on all the bands I tried, 817 SWR meter could be got down to showing nothing.

SOTAwatch showed people on 10m including EA8/M0EFI. Well 10m SSB worked for some QSOs but Fraser was inaudible. ODX on 10m SSB was SV2OXS. Then 15m, again no EA/M0EFI heard, on to CW and lots of SOTA chasers OE, DL, SV, S5, SM, EA, OH, and KF9D (@KF9D) in Illinois. He was the only stateside station I heard. After that 20m CW brought in DL, ON, HB9, LA.

I was QRV for 55mins as the mist came down. It went from cold in the wind to stupidly cold in the mist and wind. I have not been this cold for a long time. If it was 4C at the car and I climbed 300m then it was about 1C at the top but well below 0C with the windchill. The mist was getting thicker and the wind stronger so I pulled the station down, packed up and descended the way I came up. Which was “interesting” :frowning: Talking to another walker we both concurred that the surface which had been wet snow and soft ice along with wet grass was freezing up. It was much slippier coming down. So whilst there was another hour’s light, I made the right decision to stop when I did. Especially with nothing spikey for my boots. Back to the car and the Red Bull clone in the boot was nice and cold and refreshing.

I was still cold when I got home and that was with a heated seat and steering wheel. In the shower for 20mins to warm and blow the cost!. But by heck it was good to be out after 7 weeks even on a hill I can now climb blindfold. Hey, I got points this time :slight_smile:

SM5LNE, SA4BLM, EA2DT, OH3GZ all worked so only noticeable absence was Eric F5JKK. I must do more tests with this antenna as I think it’s quite directional when rigged this way on the higher bands.


This SOTA stuff,…you ugh, do this for fun, eh?

Best, Ken


Two of us, MM7MOX and MM7FEE were next door on Black hill GM/SS-167 yesterday, it was the bitterly cold wind that made us stop eventually. The road past the reservoir was very icy but the track up the hill wasn’t as slippy as it sounds like Scald law was. Certainly earning that Winter bonus !


Sorry I missed you Andy. I qualified the summit on 10 m that day and managed to work UK stations on 10 and 15 m.

We managed to escape Scotland just before the snow hit and I’m guessing most of it will have gone before we return.

Roque del Conde EA8/TF-010

We’ve done some nice hills and an absolute brute. May fit another one or two in before we come home. I’ll do a report with route maps when we get back.


I have a feeling that the antenna was quite directional and was pointed more towards SE Europe (SV/S5 etc.) on those bands. If it had been a more pleasant day on the top I’d have swung the sloper to point SW. Tenerife is one of the Canary Islands we’ve not visited yet so I was looking for a possible future complete :wink:

Well you’ve got about three hours to get up a hill. We’re off up Baracan EA9/TF-009, a nice easy one.

I was planning on something but I have other things to do now so no more SOTA till Friday at the earliest :frowning:

1 Like

Scratch that. The wind at the parking spot was so strong it almo took me off my feet. The drive over was entertaining!

This retirement lark…… I don’t know how I found time to work!

Well today so far… I fixed up one guy who had created 2 SSO accounts then took the timeshare hound for a walk.

Next I have the following jobs to do…

Radio club event this week is ticket only so I have 20+ emails to send confirming tickets
Another 2 multiple accounts to fix, one has QSOs in both accounts.
7 SMS and InReach spotting accounts to set (must automate this)
GM3VLB SOTA award results to write up
Buy some Arduino stuff for the 122GHz transverters
Finish building a QCX and see if it works (the QDX worked first time)
Book a boiler service
Arrange to collect a lightweight parabolic dish and feed (maybe light enough for SOTA 3cms/QO-100)

I don’t know how I found time to go to work 5 days a week.


Hi Andy,

To add some “flavour” to your description, the “view” at the top of Tinto on Saturday. I wasn’t as hardcore as you or the guys on Black Hill, my time on summit was less than 4 minutes. Radio would keep for another day. Nice to get out on the hill though,


Pity about that Andy. I decided that a trip from Northumberland to activate a couple of GM/ES summits was a bit too risky… a 180 mile drive followed by being unable to get to the parking spots would have been an absolute bu**er. Anyway, I decided on a wee hill in a NNR not far from the border which owns a WWFF reference, a fairly rare WAB square and a trigpoint. Over a three and a half hour activation (including lunch) I bagged myself a cracking view of the Cheviots, 5C, sunshine and a light suntan… plus the activation started with Fraser on 15m! It looks like he ended up with a better tan than me. :grinning:


Thanks for another one today on 15 m Gerald! EA8/TF-005 Montaña del Cedro was one of those summits that we could have stayed on all day. A magical place.


I was hoping for an s2s with Fraser on 15m today from GM/SS-280 Berwick law. Although I could hear you 3 3 with a lot of fading, you didn’t hear me when I called in towards the end of the pile up. The antenna came down in the wind a couple of times. It was nowhere near as cold as last weekend, but then the wind shifted and Moxie the station dog started to protest so we packed up and headed home. It was nice and sunny though.


That would have been nice. Conditions did improve towards the end and G/GM started coming in, however with 48 in my log and my neck getting sun burned, I decided to call it a day.

1 Like

It turns out that the screen on the feeder cable has broken at the antenna connector, it must have got tugged when the pole came down. That will be why it wasn’t working yesterday. Oh well, time to get the soldering iron out.