Trip up North March 23rd to 27th

Not a lot of luck today, just one contact on 4M FM from Ros Hill, and he wasn’t a SOTA member.

Got to parking point OK. Climb a bit of a scramble in places. Started with 4M FM and made a contact with a GM4 station, then nothing. Tried 2M FM, no replies. I put out spots as well. I then put up a fishing rod vertical and tried 40M. Heard a German station CQing on 7.030MHz so moved up a bit, spotted myself, but no replies heard. Tried SSB but too much broadcast stuff.

Tried 4M and 2M one last time and packed up.

Treck back down was a bit difficult as it was dark and footings were difficult in places.

May have to rethink the rest of the weeks activities as this was supposed to be the “easy” one!

Just getting dark too early for an evening activation I guess…

Sorry I missed you - I could have drummed up some support - unfortunately I was cooking/eating at the time of your spots. Eventually looked at the spots only to find you had gone. I am afraid that NE England can be a radio desert after early evening.
73 Jim G0CQK

I’ve realized, this morning, thst I have left an aluminium angle support, which pushes into the ground, behind on the hill. :frowning:

No great money value and easy to replace, but annoying. Oh, and no towels in the bathroom at the hotel.

This week has not started well…

And it’s not getting better either.

As I drove up the A70 to Ayr the weather was a mix of sunshine, rain and hail so I decided that walking through boggy ground was a non starter.

However, I decided to go up to The Carrick Hills just to take a look.

The GPS wanted to send me up a private road but I doubled back and found the public access road. I found the toposcope, but the road to the radio station is blocked by a padlocked gate.

After a drive round looking for a good spot I ended up back at the toposcope. I put magmounts on the car for 4M, 2M and 70cm. I put out spot on SOTAwatch and called CQ on each band for several minutes on each band.

Absolutely no replies…

Drove back to Ayr and had dinner whilst adding this update.

Not sure if I will bother tomorrow.

Wouldn’t have been valid for SOTA anyway. Nowhere on the public road is within the activation area for this summit. Even the radio station area looks marginal.

Also use of a vehicle as part of the station is not permitted.

I realised that it would not have been valid, hence the reference to not going across boggy ground and the fact that I put ‘not at summit’ in the spot.

Not sure that I would have got enough replies even if had been at summit.

I guess it gets dark too soon this time of year for evening activation so today, Wednesday, I wont be on a summit bit msy try a HF mobile and maybe 4M or 6M CW.

You’ve arrived a few weeks too early. It’s just gone equinox and that means our daylight start getting longer than England quite quickly. It doesn’t actually go totally dark here in mid-Summer, just official Naval Twilight, as the sun doesn’t go far enough below the horizon.

Yes, come to think of it, I noticed that spot. Since SOTAwatch is targeted at chasers, being “not at summit” is not going to attract them! The spot was for 4m FM, which is in itself a bit of a niche.

There are summits you stand a good chance of qualifying on a weekday evening on VHF/UHF even without a spot, but I reckon Brown Carrick isn’t one of them. Caroline and I activated it in September 2008, also fairly late in the day. It was a bothy bag job.

We got just 2 contacts each on 2m FM, and both of those were the same person (own and club call). HF was needed. I got 8 contacts on 60m and Caroline got 5 contacts on 80m. First contact to last took us around 1hr 40min in total.

Obviously this is just one sample but this isn’t a trivial summit to qualify.

BTW, inside that bothy bag is a just-qualified quarter-goat.

Martyn M1MAJ

For me, a barbecue has to be involved in the above.

did you? If so I would give Benarty a go when you finish your job on Thursday, quick to get to and an easy walk up.

I think we warned you about about 6 and 4! I run 350W on 6 and 160 on 4 and struggle for a qso normally… (except by MS).

Finished early by not having lunch break. Company PC wont connect to hotel wifi so I’m giving SOTs this week more go…

Probably Bishop Hill.

Will post spot when there.

I put ‘not at summit’ in the spot.

Just noticed this!

Got to ask, if you’re not doing SOTA, then why spot it on SOTAwatch at all? If you wanted to advise people you’d had to cancel your activation, you could have simply deleted your alert and possibly added a note to this thread.

I assume you weren’t actually trying to misuse the SOTAwatch Spots facility to attract callers to your non-SOTA activity, as that would be rather naughty. :wink:

Internet connection via mobile phone takes more off mobile connection thsn SMS and, after todays climb and these sorts of comments I might take the hint and just not bother anymore!

I had hoped that, even if not qualifying it might get someone to at least talk to.

So far, this week, total conitacts = 1 non-SOTA station and that was from a summit…

Bishop Hill should have given you a clear path into much of the Scottish Central Valley - you should have been able to get into so many repeaters and persuaded listeners to migrate to a simplex frequency to give you a qualifying QSO.

I got to 1.6km of the summit. I would post pics but PC wont connect to hotel wifi again! Sending this from my phone connected to wifi at City Walls pub.

Found Scotlandwell car park and the path up to the woods. Stsrtrd out at 16:20. By 17:00 I was still climbing. At 17;20 I was still 1.6km from the summit looking at a similar climb to the one I had just done. I watched s couple heading for what looked like crags (again photo when I get a wifi signal on the PC).

I reckoned, for me, that was at least another 40 mins minimum, taking me to 18:00 then set up time, CQ time etc would take to getting fark time again so aborted and went back to car.

Oh dear you came up that way,. One hour in and 40 mins to go - I did it from the east and it is a gently climbing but swift steady walk, you could almost run much of it, much easier than from the west/south west.

He’d be pushed for time to get to the east start of that walk, driving in from the west.and it is a longer walk.

I keep suggesting Benarty, Benarty Hill, near Ballingry - Route Map only a mile in and 188m up. Ez. But use HF.

I think my reply must have got lost last night. I did get part way up Bishop Hill, within 1.6km, before I assessed that it would be at least another 40 minutes and another stiff climb. That would have meant 18:00 earliest getting there, set up and CQ plus working stns time.

Then pack up and get down again in the dark. My experience on Monday night told me that would not be a good idea. So I stopped there and went back to the car.

Weather today doesn’t look good, and I would need a place to change from work wear to hill wear (supermarket toilet prove useful here) so, whilst I might drive to parking spot I doubt I will climb today. I wont use the sms either, of course.

Heavens man, strip off in the car park, thats what we do up here :slight_smile:

That’s a shame Dave. I hope this isn’t a case of GM/SS 1 ::: G0DJA 0…

Activating in GM certainly has its challenges, particularly if you intend VHF only activations. Some summits are particularly difficult. I can second Martyn’s comment about Brown Carrick GM/SS-260 and, from experience, others along the west coast are similarly difficult, but there are locals around on 2m FM and they are happy to give you a call if you are fortunate enough to find them in their shacks. I usually run 25W on 2m SSB and sometimes struggle to get more than 6 or 7 contacts on the band, indeed I had a bit fat zero on 2m from the densely wooded Cademuir Hill GM/SS-219. As some have said, having HF capability certainly takes the worry of not qualifying the summit out of the equation, though even then the sky can refuse to work. Nothing is guaranteed.

Rest assured that there are many “highs” for every “low” that happens and I hope therefore that you will give GM another go at some time in the future. I certainly love operating from north of the border and being able to roam relatively freely without having to stick to prescribed routes brings another dimension all of its own.

73, Gerald G4OIG

It’s quite a climb for 1pt from Scotlandwell Dave. IIRC there are lots of paths around the craggy bits which can be confusing in poor light and mist. Once past the crags there’s a large flat plain lacking features. I wasn’t paying attention when I went up and coming bacl when the mist had come down was intimidating at first. It taught me that I need to pay attention even on small hills.

When I did it that way it seemed hard work, 3kms and 322m ascent. I started from the church car park about 1/4mile outside of Scotlandwell.