GM/ES second smallest Marilyn
I can see Brimmond Hill from my Westhill office window. It’s about 3km as the crow flies.
This year I’ve been taking in the various 1 and 2 point summits that I pass by on the way to work. I try to cycle to work once a week and have been activating these by bike. Brimmond was the last one on the list.
The Stars Line Up
A happy coincidence. John @G0MHF was up here on holiday and we’d briefly met at my work. Viki @M6BWA and Rod @M0JLA were also up here on holiday and all would be on summits that morning. We’d have some nice summit to summits on 2m FM and I’d just need to pick up a couple of locals to get the job done.
I almost didn’t pack the HF kit…
On The Day
I left home at 07:50 BST for the 52km ride to the hill. I used my gravel bike only because the first 2km was on tracks, as well as the last bit. It’s a good bike to cycle distance on the road though. Everything I needed for the day was in the rear bag.
10:00am and I was as the car park. The initial track was loose but I was able to ride a fair bit of the kilometre and a bit to the top.
short route from the car park
bike plus baggage at the start of the path
Brimmond Hill has commercial radio masts. More than I thought. Bigger than I thought, with more aerials than I’d imagined…
It also has a pleasant summit area, with a trig point and a nice bench. I was being spoiled today! Oh, and the views over the city of Aberdeen and out to the Shire are extensive.
I was an hour early. I was confused by the time John had posted on here for his planned activation of Hill of Fare. I’m sure he’d said 10:30am. I think he’d meant 1030z. Anyway, I had time to kill. After getting no response to a few CQ calls on 2m (I should have read the warning signs) I slung a 41’ wire over my carbon6 pole and got the KX2 tuned up on 40m SSB.
very civilised HF operating position, looking east to Aberdeen and the coast
QSB was the main issue today, but thanks to perseverance from the Chasers, I qualified the summit, with 14 in the log. I spoke with a few interested walkers. Got my first “Are you fishing?” comment. They obviously don’t watch Countryfile.
On to 2m then. The carbon pole was redeployed at the bench, set at 45° with the slim-G hanging freely from the top. This is how to use a vertical antenna with a carbon pole without de-tuning it!
I opened the FT-3d squelch right up. There wasn’t any more noise than usual. By now Viki had spotted. She was on GM/CS-030, some 80km to the west. Shouldn’t be a problem, but I couldn’t hear a thing. I knew my signal was getting out OK, as Simon @GM4JXP could hear me in Aboyne. However, he was having transmitter issues, so I couldn’t verify the other way. I was starting to suspect there was an issue.
I redeployed to the west side of the transmitter. I was as close to it as I could get, with a building between and also a chain link fence. I was also about 5m below the base of the tower now.
Suddenly I could hear John on Hill of Fare GM/ES-070. Only 19km away, clear line of sight, but an terrible signal. There was strong pulsing every couple of seconds. This was knocking out his audio. I had to ask for his callsign three times. John was having comms with Viki, who had asked me via John, to QSY to 145.475 for a contact.
Ok, I QSY’d. Time for drastic measures. I dropped the mast right down until the base of the slim-g was touching the grass. Suddenly Viki’s voice appeared tbrough the noise! We made a contact, a very sketchy one, but still it was a contact.
the final solution. Antenna on the ground. Fence as an RF shield
Again, apologies to Viki and John for causing so much drama on what should have been some really fun and rare Aberdeenshire 2m Summit to Summits!
A disgruntled me packed up and rode back down the ascent track. I was at work 15 minutes later. Not as happy as I usually am after a cycle/SOTA commute!
the final log from sotl.as
I’ve activated hills on 2m FM that have commercial masts before. There aren’t a huge amount in my area, but Morrone GM/CS-060 and Mount Blair GM/ES-035 come to mind. Morrone was the FT3d plus a hand held yagi. No issues at all. Mount Blair was the ft-857 plus yagi and I was working stations in England from there.
Viki told me to get a Sotabeams filter. Maybe I should carry one for those occassions. I have a Yaesu ft-60r at home. I’m really tempted to head back up Brimmond next week with that radio to see if there’s a difference.
Of course using the ft-3d with a stock rubber duck may have got me the summit contacts and helped with interference, but I’m not so sure…
Every day is a school day!