VHF/UHF on GM/SS Summits near Langholm

We (M6BWA and M0JLA) are traveling up to Kendal on Wednesday 9 October for a 3 night stay in the hopes of activating Tarn Crag (Sleddale) G/LD-026 which is our last LD summit but the forecast is not encouraging!!) We then move just North of the Scottish Border to Langholm for a week when we hope to activate some of the little green hills in the area. I always aim to activate and, if possible, qualify any hill on VHF and, if I can with my 5w Yaesu VX-7R, UHF as well. How successful am I going to be as the hills are nearly all 1-pointers and the population is fairly sparse? Will anyone be listening out… and will they answer my (probably increasingly desperate) pleas for help if they hear me??

The summits on the (impossibly long) list include GM/SS 106, 118/9, 136, 146, 168, 179, 196 and 210 to give an idea of the problem. I realise that some of these summits also have masts to add to my problems so I was reading the comments on a possible super-light filter with interest. Like to send me one to test?? If there is any interference around then the VX-7 will find it!
Thanks. M6BWA Viki

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Most of them are bog-fests in the dry. After the rains, I’d suggest flippers and SCUBA gear!

Of them Ruber’s Law GM/SS-210 and Calkin Rig GM/SS-196 are the best. Caldcleuch Head GM/SS-106 is possibly the most wet. Are you not considering Greatmoor Hill GM/SS-114 along with Cladcleuch as they’re normally done as a pair?

I doubt we can walk that far as well as activate in a day now the evenings are getting a bit dark.

We did spend a while in Ireland during the summer so might cope.

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I think Andy is being a bit harsh there Rod. On Calkin Rig it was more a case of circumventing the cow excrement on the track, than avoiding boggy bits. I’ll have a look at my records and email you anything relevant. As for contacts on VHF, I never had an issue, but then I do run 25 watts and a 5 element (to which even Tom’s bête noire of Kisdon NP-026 succumbed). :grinning:

EDIT: I don’t seem to have your email Rod, so if you drop me a line to g4oig AT whisper88.co.uk (usual format) then I’ll get back to you. Thanks.

Personally, I would give Grange Hill, GM/SS-249 near Lockerbie, a miss.

I visited it recently looking for a ‘quick activation’ not too far from the M74. After talking to the (friendly) quarry office manager, he said my intended route (a direct one used by Phil, G4OBK, years ago) was no longer accessible and his suggested alternative was pleasant but much longer.

In any case, the summit is surrounded by ‘defensive rings’ of dense conifers and I gave up trudging through long wet grass to find the rides to the top. So, I had to semi-crouch (with 7kg pack) between close rows of giant conifers on the way up and beat my way through chest-high wet stinging nettles on the way down.

GM/SS-172 Lamington Hill and GM/SS-165 Dungavel Hill are pleasant ones not far from the motorway.

You should have little trouble activating Tarn Crag on 2m with all the keen chasers round here. I walk my dogs on Arnside Knott G/LD-058 most days so if you post an alert, I’ll try to sync my walk with you and take my FT1D for a S2S.

Sounds like pish to me… even if they had harvested the whole summit, Phil’s route through the rides would be viable. The route was trivial to follow, my problem being that I stopped following the GPS and followed my nose for a bit.

Awful for VHF… you can only see large trees from the summit.

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I enjoyed my Calkin Rig, though I operated from the AZ at the fence into the ride where the true summit is. That was the only boggish ground I remember. Best bit of Calkin Rig is you can drive home (for those where home is the near of Edinburgh) via the Budhist Temple. I was too late to have a wholesome snack and drink, but sitting the gardens and drinking in the tranquility was a good recharge of my inner self. Also, I walked around the place with prayers three times to ensure all my future selves would be redeemed.

Relaxed and at one with the universe I left the car park of the temple and spent my Zen reserves by driving back home like a man possesed. I think my Karma is now negative so I should go back again for a recharge.

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I don’t recall it being boggy where you and I operated from , but then I did have my lucky anvil with me with its highly effective water dispersal properties. :smile: On reviewing my report, I note that Paul and I did find a bit of bogginess on the descent as we cut away from the route up by the forest - nothing compared to the 15cm of a certain substance though. Even that was surpassed by Troweir! :roll_eyes:

"We started our ascent of Troweir Hill GM/SS-257 at 07:58, taking the track up through the woods and over the railway. We stopped briefly to look at the railway which has a steep gradient at this point and the curve is banked at quite an angle. It was a pleasant walk until we emerged from the woods into an area where a number of cows were standing around feeding mangers. Although it was around 3C, the ground underfoot was still frozen. We skirted around the cows trying to avoid the worst of the dirt, but in a couple of places the frozen crust broke revealing quite a depth of bovine excrement beneath – thank goodness for gaiters!

Well, that occurred to me too but as Phil’s route (at least as per his blog) went right behind and above the quarry offices, I wasn’t about to defy the manager and walk on quarry-owned land [Phil did it at a weekend when the quarry was closed].

He said walking behind the office area is unsafe after quarrying on that side. It looked okay to me as I drove passed it. But who knows?

In any case, I didn’t might his suggested route via mixed woodlands. My gripe is about access near the summit.

Yeah - especially as they were soaking wet! At least many of those large trees are about 20m away from the trig point and a convenient support for the other end of my HF EFHW.

We started the walk on Sunday 13 April 2014 at 1830 hrs, so the quarry was closed for business then. There was no one there at that time to bother us Andy.

The 2m operators and the band was good to us that day and we had S2S with Gerald and Paul on Cairnpapple Hill.


50 watts to an end fed vertical on a 5m pole at the end of a very long day, we went via Pendle Hill where I led a walk for my walking club, but we drove between the two summits hihi

73 Phil

Where as it took me 25 minutes to get three 2m contacts (using 5W to a dipole on a 3m pole) and then switching to my favourite band - 30m - for some easier contacts.
Also, you were QRV in the early evening / weekend c.f. me mid morning / weekday.

I do like 30m as it often throws up unexpected QSOs.

The interest in 2m for SOTA waxes and wanes. Some would say it is better now than it ever has been; my view differs. I looked at my log for Grange Fell. Only 5 of those that I worked back in 2012 remain active in SOTA.

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I’ve been doing SOTA only since 2017 so I can’t do a historical comparison. What I can say is, following my house move to the Lake District area I’ve done 19 G/LD’s since mid June and almost all of them I’ve activated with 2m contacts on 5W / RH770 antenna (although I’ve now got a Mirage B-34 35W power amp for those surrounded-by-even-bigger-hills summits).

What’s more, I activate only on weekdays usually mid mornings, which is asking a lot. I think however, that G/LD is probably the exception in the UK with having a great band of keen daytime chasers in Cumbria and north Lancashire.

Grange Fell is too far north for most of them.

It doesn’t surprise me that some people are no longer as active as they used to be on VHF. Neither does it that my VHF logs are filled mainly by people that weren’t licensed or weren’t chasing SOTA in 2012.

I do know that my 2m FM activation of Burton Hill G/WB-020 on Saturday was massively easier than my previous visit in 2006.

Many thanks for lots of helpful comments. Apologies for lack of response - both my laptops decided to die during the weekend. More in due course, I hope.

Thanks everyone for the wise advise and I’ve gone seriously ‘off’ Grange Fell SS-249 which was the designated summit for the drive in on Saturday (unless its another go at Tarn Crag in Sleddale - I agree that I would hope to activate OK from there on 2m). It is possible it’ll be GM/SS-196 (cows?) or somewhere similar.

We’ll let you know how we get on - and please keep those ears (and antennas) swivelled in my direction!
73 Viki