Such Joy!

To have a mobile phone with Interweb capability and the ability to spot myself.

Finally, I’ve dragged myself away from the clutches of O2 after 14 years and took a good look at the mobile phone deals that are out there. Quite frankly, I was more than pleasantly surprised. I plumped for the 3 network with a HTC Desire, 2000 minutes, 5000 texts, 5000 3 to 3 minutes, 1Gb of Interweb and free Skype…all for thirty quid a month!

At first, I was a bit sceptical about the 3 coverage, however, I needn’t have worried. This morning, I walked up the Gun, set up my station and then logged straight into SOTA at warp speed and spotted myself. Within a minute, I’d made contact with GW7AAV. No more messing about with spots for me. Such a joy to have this sort of technology at my fingertips… My only regret, I wasn’t born 30 years later :wink:

I’d be interested to know how you find coverage of the SOTA hills on your mobile network.

Many thanks to all who worked me on the Gun today, and look forward to working you all from shining Tor tomorrow.


In reply to 2E0YYY:
Orange Coverage in Wales and Welsh Border land is excellent! Interestingly if you are an Orange or T-Mobile customer you can sign up for dual coverage via their websites completely free of charge.

The SMS system by Andy is so good, so my £15 a month, Bomb proof Nokia will still be my choice of phone!!

Matt 2E0XTL

In reply to 2E0YYY:

I plumped for the 3 network with a HTC Desire, 2000 minutes, 5000 texts,
5000 3 to 3 minutes, 1Gb of Interweb and free Skype…all for thirty quid
a month!

On 3, 900mins any network, 5300 3 to 3 minutes, 2053MB internet + plus the free stuff: email to phone, Skype, Twitter rx, MSN etc. etc. for £10/month exc. VAT

If only I could move the XYL and harmonics to 3 but they’re all wedded to other networks for reasons I can’t comprehend.

Now coverage can be fun from the hills. I very seldom used Spotlite, there was always someone listening on 5MHz to spot me. However, when I tried I found getting data connections on 3g from the summits in GM to be difficult even when there was a decent signal strength reported. SMS/phone calls was another matter. They were much more likely to work. That’s why I did the SMS>Spotlite gateway, if I had a signal I could send an SMS but not always get a data connection.

Coverage can be spotty indeed, even at some height up a hill. When I’ve not been able to get a signal it’s been predictable because of the terrain. e.g. Beinn na Gainaimh (NN836345) is 730m ASL. But if you look at its situation you’ll see the main roads (where the networks try to get coverage) are in steep sided valleys. There’s no population centres nearby, nearest are Creiff and Aberfeldy. The cell sites there will be geared to cover the towns not up to the summits. So whilst it’s not remote, you can’t see anywhere the networks target with coverage. So there was nothing, nada, rien, zilch on the top. Move upto Creagan na Beinne (NN744368) and coverage is much better simply because you can see into the Loch Tay basin, yet you’ve moved only 10km. A lot of traffic uses the North Loch Tay road (for the area) so there is good coverage. I’m sure some of the signals are reflected of the likes of the Ben Lawers ridge.

Now the riddiculous is by Ben Stack Lodge (NC267436). This is the middle of nowhere in a dip. It’s got Arkle and Foinaven to the North, Meallan Leith Choire Mhic Dhugaill (grey rounded hill of coire MacDougal!) to the SE. Ben Stack to the S and the North Atlantic to the NW! Here I was able to get 430kbps EDGE connections via Orange roaming on my 3 phone. It was weird to be so isolated yet be able to browse the net with consumate ease. The secret is there is a cell covering the valley as the clients at the lodge include seriously wealthy dudes and they need to be able to calll their flunkies!

So a good blimp at the map before hand will suggest the chances of sketchy or brilliant coverage. Main roads, wee towns are all likely to increase the coverage chance as are places frequent by heads of state!

You can also improve coverage with something as simple as some cardboard covered in aluminium foil. Richard G3CWI made a corner reflector and uses that with the phone hanging at the focus to improve reception. It also helps the network so it only sees your phone at 1 or 2 cells not hundreds! Also, being able to use 900MHz networks will be a plus over those of us stuck with 1.8GHz/2.1GHz phones.