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VHF/UHF on GM/SS Summits near Langholm

On 14th October 2017 I was activating G/SP-004 Shining Tor using Mike 2E0YYY’s ground plane and qro with the FT-857D and I worked over one hundred stations on 145-FM so I wouldn’t say that it was dead. It was a great consolation prize as we were originally looking for and without success VK/ZL dx on Mike’s HF set up. However, I know that GM/SS is somewhat different. Good luck Viki and Rod, hopefully I will have some success contacting you on HF from sunny Scarbados!
73
Nick

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If you want an alternative not far away, don’t forget my other suggestions:-

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

Thanks Andy, the only problem is that they are so pleasant (except for very high winds on Dungavel which tangled my guys before I could grab them) that we’ve done them both so want to look elsewhere. I also believe we won’t be going that close to them as we are turning east towards Langholm soon after crossing the Scottish Border. My apologies for not replying to you before.
Viki

Know what you mean! I’ve had some ‘destructive testing’ of my pole guying rings on a few GM/SS summits.

73 Andy

Update on the VHF/UHF tour of LD-026 and selected GM/SS summits: I am pleased to say that the flippers and snorkel (scuba gear too heavy) have not yet been deployed but the inflatable was useful when returning back down the track from Tarn Crag to Sadgill! We got up to Tarn Crag before the rain really came in but the gusts on the way down to the track were quite impressive and I hung onto the stone wall beside the track on a couple of occasions to avoid being blown back up to the pass. As expected the contacts were fairly easy with 12 x 2m and 7 x 70cm (including MW0ISC in Mold).

We have now started the GM/SS activations in uncertain weather with Roan Fell GM/SS-132 (8 x 2m and 2 x 70cm) yesterday which I was happy with as it is a flattish hill and raining much of the time. I was interested that most of the contacts were on Tyneside as I hadn’t realised I’d get that far but I couldn’t make the distance on 70cm in light rain. Today the forecast was rain from12 noon so we opted for (the infamous) Grange Fell GM/SS-249 as the quarry was closed as it was Sunday, We toiled up through the bracken and the nettles oin the rides following faint tracks through the wet grass of previous Marilyn baggers (and the wise words from the Hill-baggers and OBKs accounts) and we finally turned up a mossy ride with low branches here and there and, with a whoop of triumph, M0JLA moves aside to disclose a close view of the trig point in a neat circle of 20’ trees (I’d hoped they would be lower),

Out came the slim jim (rather than the trusty dipole in deference to the height of the trees) and I was just extending the fishing pole when a call sign came over the VX-7 with stick antenna on the ground so I replied quickly and 2m and 70cm contacts with G0CZA (Mark in Brampton) and also GM4WHA (Geoff in Annan) were in the log, Did I really need to erect the slim jim?? I decided to continue and called on 2m on the slim jim and on 70cm with a reduced length dipole held as high as poss (the guys were holding up the fishing pole). After 40+ mins I’d spoken to 2 more people (GM3VMB in Lockerbie and M1LSD in Carlisle) and the 4 contacts were in the bag for each frequency. A great surprise and very welcome but I know I was helped by the fact these 2 activations were over the weekend when more listeners are available. If the forecast remains hopeful we hope to attempt, probably, GM/SS-136 and GM/SS-118 tomorrow so I will be able to see if my current luck holds. If it remains dry then M0JLA will be operating on HF as usual, he was quite busy on 60 and 80m this morning, Please listen out for us.
Viki M6BWA

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Very pleased to get the complete for Roan Fell with you yesterday. Now both of tomorrow’s planned summits would be completes and I’m at work :frowning:

Might have to take the handy with me and make escapes out of the office if I can.

Well done! A hard-earned one-pointer.

Reading your account, I was reliving my August activation of Grange Fell. At least you didn’t end up crouch-walking your way up the hill in a narrow row under the lowest branches of densely-planted giant conifers as I did.

I agree that activating at the weekend helped you get that number of 2m contacts. I struggled to get three on a weekday morning and was lucky I took my HF rig to secure the activation.

73 Andy

Thanks to you, Andy, for the Scald Law complete on Saturday. Not sure about the timing for Monday - we might be a bit late starting and I will update the Alerts when I can.

Thanks to all for HF contacts today and hope WX is good for HF again tomorrow.

73,
Rod

I have just uploaded an incorrect log - apologies to those who worked me on Larriston Hill.

No time to correct it now; will do so later.
73,
Rod

Noting Rod (MM0JLA) & Viki’s (MM6BWA) alerts today I see they are bound for Greatmoor Hill GM/SS-114 this morning and Cauldcleuch Head GM/SS-106 this afternoon

There are only 17 summits worldwide which I have not chased complete out of 918 uniques I have activated, and SS-106 Cauldcleuch Head is one of them! Needless to say as a serious SOTA Completer I am desperate for a QSO with Rod today on SS-106, and 60m gives me the best opportunity.

The only other Scottish summit I have activated but not chased is GM/SS-082 Capel Fell.

73 Phil G4OBK

Well, we did it today but it was a close run - 8h 45min on the hill. Not at all sure what we will be able to do Friday.
Apologies for the number of single band activations (60m) on this trip, including Greatmoor today, but the going has been very slow and we have been running seriously short of time.
The logs for SS-199 and 161 will get corrected when I am less tired - if I do it now I will doubtless make things worse. Many thanks for all the contacts (36 today).

M6BWA will update when she is less tired but 2m and 70cm have been surprisingly good.

73,
Rod
PS It was a Complete for me too - I managed to chase either Paul or Gerald when they were here in 2013.

Good on you Rod & Viki for pushing the boat out this week with some tough walking, especially today’s circuit. Really good to see Viki has done well on VHF/UHF also from an area where using FM it isn’t so easy to qualify.

73 Phil G4OBK

As you may have gathered we both found today tough - lots of bog and tussocks but also sunshine (!) and beautiful views. Couldn’ t stay long on either summit as we knew daylight was limited (we reached the car at 1900 the other day - and it really was dark by then) today it was 1830 but both of these walks ended in a longish track walk so it wasn’t quite as silly as it sounds) and there was a biting wind which cut through me. I was very grateful for the stone shelter round the trig point on GM/SS-114 but there was no such facility on the higher one. I did try briefly the trick of putting my dipole down the hole in the trig but it disappeared altogether without touching bottom so I hastily hauled it out as I could envisage losing the vital piece of overflow water pipe for ever!

A quick look at my scrawled log looks like 2m -7, 70cm-5 on GM/SS-114 and 2m-4, 70cm-5 on GM/SS-106 (this has changed now I have both eyes open!). Don’t imagine that people were queueing up to chase me on these frequencies as it took a lot of calling over about 30 mins - and a lot of luck. I have twice had people (not SOTA chasers) leave the motorway and stop so they could help me qualify a summit. I call that real service! There have also been disasters in that I got no 70cm contacts at all yesterday (on Calkin Rig GM/SS-196) and only managed to qualify a couple of summits (196, and 199) on 2m by starting with S2S from LD!! I think this highlights the unsurprising fact that it is difficult to qualify the lower hills on VHF (let alone UHF) in GM/SS during the week, but you may be more lucky at the weekends (GM/SS-249 2m and 70cm - 4).

My thanks to everyone for their help and my apologies if this is rather disjointed but I am very tired. Only one local hill left - will we make it?

73 Viki

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Hi Rod,

I worked you from both summits, (40m ssb) and you may well have worked Gerald too! In July our main problem was heat and flies - but it’s a long hard walk whatever time of year, congratulations to you both for doing the pair in a “short” day :grinning:

Sadly I’ve been totally invested in moving my youngest daughter out of the family home and into her first flat this week so haven’t been able to chase you, thereby missing out on a considerable number of completes myself :roll_eyes:

73 and hope you have the strength for something on Friday!

Paul G4MD

I find the same. I used to only activate on 5MHz and so it was easy to work all the chasers then move to the next summit. Once you start activating on multiple bands you find there’s no time or everything is a real rush. Throw a long walk into the mix and it becomes hard work and less fun.

When I did these two, I spent an age reviewing maps and Google maps aerial images to figure out how to drop off the ridge through the forest back to the track that leads to Priesthaugh. I think I saved over 1hr walking doing that. It was dodgy though as there was much more stream in the forest firebreak and the trees had grown so there was a lot less ground to walk on. It got a bit dodgy on the way out and I was one relieved puppy when I saw the track appearing through the trees in the distance.

The good point to a long forest road walk in or out is you can more easily walk on them in the dusk/dark. Well easier than stumbling through a forest firebreak!

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We started (and finished) by walking up the farm track from Braidlie (after a fairly long discussion with a herd of cows on rights of way at the very first gate!) so had a look at the 2 fords that were available on OBKs route (done with frozen bogs - lucky devil) and I didn’t fancy either so we came down (eventually) to Braidliehope where 2 burns meet and crossed them individually (just a short wade) and then walked down the whole length of the track as the light started to fade -and we could see the car when we arrived at it this time - but not all of the potholes on the road as we drove back to Langholm.

Just trying to work out when it will stop raining to give us a chance at GM/SS-146 (legs permitting). BTW I have updated a few of the stats on the no of VHF/UHF contacts in my previous post as I couldn’t count!

Viki

That’s the long way! Priesthaugh at the North to Cauldcleuch Head then along Windy Swire, Starcleuch Edge, then Greatmoor Hill. Then back to Starcleuch Edge and down through the forest rides… even if it is a bit “entertaining”. Loads of parking at Priesthaugh quarry too.

Make those bands 2m SSB and 30m CW (my preferences) and there is a whole raft of additional “work” to do on a summit.

Like Paul, I’ve been largely otherwise engaged this week so have not been able to work Rod for those Completes. Chasing on 60m is difficult from here anyway and signals have been masked by the high noise level at the home QTH - just couldn’t copy well enough to warrant making a call. Hopefully further opportunities won’t be that long in coming. These are excellent hills and not too far to travel into Scotland. :grinning:

Interested to see that route but we were based in Langholm (highly recommended) and not sure I fancy fighting my way up forest rides any more than following cow paths through rushes and tussocks endlessly - however all academic as it will not be high on our ‘must go back for another visit very soon’ list!!

Now back at home QTH and I apologise that my log has not appeared although virtually ready to upoad but we returned to find my Windows 7 computer was dead (complete with all passwords, email address book and sent files etc etc) and has defied all attempts at CPR. Replacement arriving by courier today and then M0JLA will be rebuilding what he can. Only away for 12 days but battery died - yes I have some backups but now discovering what is missing. Taken a few attempts to find this password and getting into any other part of SOTA is defeating me at present - and we might as well wait for the new system. Please check that you have backed up email addresses and sent emails so this doesn’t happen to you - and have a list of passwords NOT on your dead computer!
Viki M6BWA

Just an update. glad to report that the email address book and sent emails have been rescued :smile: but having no success in getting into SOTAWATCH etc - except this Reflector :-:cry: Have sent a ‘please help’ message and await assistance - but not from the local emergency services as they are evacuating people and closing roads as the River Wye rises to near its record level. So far the railway line to Newport will be closed for 5 days while they look for the ballast and replace it. Stay safe.
Viki M6BWA

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