Variety on The Coyles of Muick GM/ES-050

I’ve had a good run of activities this last week, with Craigendarroch, Mile Hill, Mount Keen & Coliochbhar Hill all providing different experiences. Friday was an enforced day off due to storm Otto.

Saturday 18th February 2023
Awakening to a few cm of fresh overnight snow and a forecast for no winds but low cloud helped me decide on The Coyles of Muick (601 m) GM/ES-050. Just a 20 minutes drive from home and a nice easy grade most of the way, a route I’d used before and originally got from @GM4JXP Simon. It’s around 3 miles or 5 km one way.


my route

There’s enough parking space for three or four vehicles beside the double gates plus pedestrian gate that lead into the forest.


parking

After a couple of km’s on the Land Rover track through the woods, I popped out onto the moor, following the edge of the forest for most of the way. The path was beneath about 6 cm of fresh snow, but still easy to make out.


looking back down the path

Blue skies and cloud over the high tops. I could see the top of the hill which sits in front of GM/ES-050, so all good. For now…

Then the high top of Lochnagar GM/ES-008 appeared from the cloud, as the mist rolled down into the glen. Not so good - now my top was obscured.


clouds dropping into the glen, revealing the summit of Lochnagar

About eighty minutes after setting off, I plodded up the steeper slope which led to the col between the two tops of the hill - “The Coyles” I guess. A slippery scramble up snow covered rocks led to the top. A perfectly calm noon, but with zero visibility.

I jammed the 6 m Carbon pole into some frozen rock and strung up my EFHW, inverted V fashion. This was hooked up to the KX2 via a 49:1 and 5 m of RG-174. I wasn’t sure how things would be on the bands due to recent solar flares and CME’s.

Activation
40 m SSB yielded 18 QSO’s, first in the log was @MM7MWL Mike, with the highlight being MM0VIK/MM, who was using a full sized delta loop for 40 m on his boat , up near Shetland! The band wasn’t the best, and no surprise at that.

On to 15 m. The band sounded quiet (dead) but 15 m often does. A CQ brought a steady stream of traffic and 15 QSO’s. Highlights were summit to summits with SV1RVJ, SV2RUJ, SV4SWQ and @HB9EAJ and some DX with @KC1MXB. The cloud started to move round a bit, so I got up for a stretch and enjoyed some partial views.


summit selfie

10 m next. Eight contacts this time - some repeats from the Greek summiteers and then a nice 5 minute chat with VE3LOE, from Ottowa, who was experiencing considerably colder conditions than I was. I was happy with that haul, given the limitations of my coax and EFHW at 28 MHz.

I packed away the KX2 and took out a raspberry pi3b, a QDX transceiver, a battery and my andriod tablet. 20 m FT-8 was the plan. I added another 12 stations to the log, with lots of G’s, as 20 m was really short. DX was VE2JCW.


The QRP Labs QDX & Raspberry Pi

By now I’d been up on the summit for the best part of two hours. There was a bit of a thaw on - I could see my pole gradually leaning over as the rocks which held it slowly became unfrozen. My bum was now thoroughly numb and it was time to go. I took a final glance at recent spots on VK Port-a-log and I’m glad that I did. @M1HAX Richard (MM1HAX) had just spotted over on Sgor Gaoith GM/ES-009 over on the other side of the Cairngorms. I grabbed the handheld (which I really only threw in the bag against my better judgement) and we had a summit to summit - with a Complete for me and the fourth contact for Richard. Nice finish!


view of the summits, looking back on the descent. I operated from the right hand one

Summary
54 QSO’s in all across 40, 20, 15, 10 and 2 m bands. It’s great when the bands are open and the EFHW can do it all. It’s so much quicker not having to switch between antennas. As for the hike, well it’s the first time I’ve been on snow since December, thanks to our EA8 escape in January, so that was nice too. It’s just a shame that it will be 11 degrees C tonight and it will soon be gone.

73,

Fraser MM0EFI

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Many thanks for another great report Fraser. As usual I was on transport duty… and to think I used to have time to work!

I always like to have my miniscule handheld with me. It could be a life saver, both literally and in radio terms!

Ah, but I am bringing some more up from the south early next month. Just watch it, 60cm deep on every summit down as far as the Central Belt. :joy:

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TNX QSO, Fraser! Vy 73–

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I really enjoyed my visit. Drove the car down the road to Ballater like I stole it, did a longer walk through the woods than you and activated near the previous cycle’s maximum. Lots of easy US contacts on 17m ISTR. It’s just a very pleasant bimble about and the views are nice. It’s simply pleasing to activate. Nice haul you had.

WX was blustery here and has got worse now. So no SOTA today and looks like no SOTA tomorrow…I’ll take the dog wombling. I did finish and test a QCXmini for 20m that worked 2nd time. I’m ashamed to say after 51 years soldering, but there was a poor soldered joint to the Class E tank toroid. 4.5W on 12V will do nicely.

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Hi Fraser, what great report with photos. Well done; and a terrific day for you. :grinning: :+1:

cheers mate :beers:

Geoff vk3sq

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Andy, rumour has it there are a lot of wind blown trees down in the woods. In fact, they’ve only just recently cleared the ones from the track I used, only for them to be replaced by a couple of new ones after Fridays storm.

Cheers Geoff. It’s always a nice bonus when you get some nice DX, especially when just out for a quick activation using a simple antenna.

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We escaped the trauma of most of the big storms in the last few years here near Edinburgh. I keep forgetting that your part of the world got hit big style and that there’s lots of tree damage lurking still. In fact Storm Otto last week caused fun and games for many but it peaked for us around 4am when we were all asleep so it was just a bit breezy before and after and not really a thing. However, on my usual dog walk yesterday through ‘Spooky Woods’ I found 2 trees down thanks to Otto, so it was strong enough.

It’s drizzling now and blustery still. Definitely not going up a hill. :frowning:

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I finally got round to editing my video of this activation, and edit it I did! There are just seven QSO’s featured. All unique.

Incredible Portable Radio HF QRP DX Session! - YouTube

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