Shetland SOTA expedition 2017

Having done some research into my ancestors, it seems that I am possibly descended from the Vikings. Maybe, but my nearer ancestors are from Shetland. I’ve wanted to visit since I was a kid but something always got in the way, something may still stop me this time. But I plan to be in Shetland in mid-August for some SOTA and trig-point bagging.

My SOTA targets include the following summits and I think there is a trig point in the AZ of all those summits. Summits in ref. order.

Ref    Name                  Island
SI-157 Saxa Vord             Unst
SI-160 Fitful Head           Mainland
SI-164 Scalla Field          Mainland
SI-171 Ward of Scousburgh    Mainland
SI-179 Sandness Hill         Mainland
SI-194 Scrae Field           Mainland
SI-195 Valla Field           Unst
SI-197 Hill of Arisdale      Yell
SI-213 White Grunafirth      Mainland
SI-215 Mid Ward              Muckle Roe
SI-219 Vord Hill             Fetlar

Bands will include 60m, 40m, 30m for SOTA, WAB etc. I will have my 13cms gear and a 67ele Yagi. It looks like a few summits may be possible to Barry GM4TOE’s new QTH on the Banff coast. (Computer says LOS sea path of 259km for Fitful Head). As the maximum of the Perseid Meteor shower is around the time I’ll be QRV on 6m with about 70W running some kind of JT meteor scatter mode.

The above are the rough plans, the ferry and accommodation is booked but it’s all subject to WX and who knows what.


Are you for it Andy? With your high gain array and my new high gain SOTA yagi (in progress >17dBd?) might go?

The Great GM Microwave Extravaganza

My dumb view is that with QRP power levels, more sea path is better, maybe. I think Lamberton Hill, which is a few km from the coast would be better than The Cheviot where there is 40km before you kit the sea. Certainly from the trig on The Cheviot is going to be noticeably worse than from the edge of the plateau.

I need six of those summits, Andy, so I will be listening for you, pinning my hopes on 60 and 40 metres, I hope you give SSB a fair crack of the whip!:grinning:

Looks like a ‘goer’ also Andy? The big advantage, you can almost fall out the car to activate it - barring the coos :grin:

Bumping this back to the top.

I should arrive in Lerwick on Monday August 14th around 7.30am after the overnight sailing. I’ve put placeholder alerts in place for the expected summits each day but as of now the times are wrong.

I expect to be QRV Monday morning from the more Southern summits from the Shetland Mainland and there will be some operation (gods, WX etc. willing) on 60m/40m/30m and 13cms. With a following wind, QSOs should be possible to GM4TOE/p (Banff area), GM4COX/p (SS-286/SB-001) and GM4BYF/p (Wick area) who will be out and about. An S2S would be uber cool. But any QSO back to the mainland will be brilliant.

2 summits activated, Scrae Field and Ward of Scousburgh. No luck on 13cms to assorted stations. WX in NE Scotland was not good which didn’t help. Jack went South to NP-001 I think and could hear the GB3CSB beacon. Band seem dead up hears. Scousburgh is a drive on an is fairly dire due to the abandonned buildings and antenna bases. Seriously rough as there’s no desire to clean up so there’s junk dating back to WWII still there. But got 5 QSOs before the heavens opened. I could see Fair Isle for a while. Once it vanished it was clear the rain was coming.

Scrae Field was done in partial sun with Foula visible. Despite the wind it was warm enough for T-Shirts.

So bad they named a band after it - “Wet Wet Wet”.

With all that rain about I would have been surprised if 13 cm worked and he was having some serious power pointed at him from Brora.

I can’t remember what you were running but Pete GM4BYF/p was running 100W to a 1.8m dish from the high ground above Wick. LOS apart from the earth curvature. I thought I heard something for a moment but nope, nothing in the end.

The rain today was “impressive”. And worse for tomorrow morning but showery in the afternoon.

You know you are quite far North here… there’s a sign on the road from Sumburgh marking 60deg N. Fantastic!

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I thought I had seen ‘monsoon’ rains near Bettyhill in 2014. But the rain today makes that look like drizzle. 23mm predicted for today. Possibly an understatement! Should be dry enough to try Mid Ward later.

Sunny spells forecast for tomorrow.

And thus at about 1300 the monsoon in Lerwick stopped. I whizzed up to Muckle Roe, a drive of about 1hr and parked in the parking place. The last 20mins were in the tail end of the monsoon. Then it stopped and there was patches of blue sky and the sun could be seen. Result!

Very windy at the top. When the sun came out it was hot even with the wind blowing. I look quite red, maybe windburn not sunburn! Shame the sky was rather broken. No QSOs on 60m. No QSOs on 40m CW and just 7 on 40m SSB. 30m was the money band… 13 QSOs.

Please note, early spots where for the wrong summit. My summit was GM/SI-215 Mid Ward.


Here’s a view from Muckle Roe today looking NW towards Iceland.


Listened on both 40m and 60m but nothing heard. I did hear the pile up on 30, but not the station causing it! Good Luck with the WX. Paul

Yeah, 30 was playing weird games here. Seems I could either hear Andy but not those answering him, or I could hear those answering him but not Andy. Situation changeable…

The bands were rubbish. 30m was the only band where there was any real life. 40m was very unstable. Both RAF and SHANON VOLMET were loud on 60m but there were no takers. I did work Phil G4OBK on 30m at 425miles but I think I was QSBing on him.

Early start tomorrow as I have to get 2 ferries up to Unst. WX should be dry and occasionally sunny.

Unst was fun, incredibly beautiful. I avoided any Bonxie attacks but it felt like being Hitchcock’s The Birds as they circled. Some interesting fun & games on Saxa Vord.

I was planning on visiting Fetlar today but the heavy overnight rain (and thunder & lightning) is taking longer to clear. So Hill of Arisdale later instead. HU58 for the WABbers.

If u get this 54 on 7.160. No ant on that bandwaiting on 60m for u
Rob gm4guf

Wow! And wow again!

A day that started with thunder and torrential rain morphed to the most beautiful blue sky with fluffy clouds and gentle winds. The views from Arisdale are awesome. For anyone confused, the trig point at Ward of Otterswick is 7m lower than the true summit and within the AZ. It’s also in the rather rare HU58 square. The true summit is in HU48.

QSOs on 40m SSB and CW, request to QSY to 60m brought more QSOs including one with John GM4SLV/m who was working at the TV site on Bressay. Sadly no 817 with him so the QSO doesn’t count as an S2S (which would be a killer S2S, Yell to Bressay :slight_smile: ). QSOs on 30m and then as the WX was so good, a QSY to 20m brought in several G SSB and CW contacts much to my surprise, many were S9++.

Shower time now then something to eat.

I hadn’t heard you on any band today, though I did hear a GM and an EI work you on 60. I’d given you up to summer conditions (there ain’t no cure for the summertime blues!) so when your spot on 20 came up I thought no chance - but there you were, large as life! In and out of the noise but a good copy, it made my day!

Moving to 20m was the best move I’ve done since getting here :slight_smile: