Went the day goodly... GM/SS-064

After last week’s fun when I forgot a battery and nearly fragmatised the 817 it was time to pop out again. Again the reason for choosing a Friday rather than my usual SOTA-Sunday was Andrew G4VFL was coming up to play 13cms. Andrew chose Cairnsmore of Carsphairn GM/SS-038 which would be an all 13cms complete for me. Jack GM4COX sprang into action and chose Earl’s Seat GM/SS-126 which was another complete for me. Phil G4OBK was meant to be on Broad Law GM/SS-029 for a third complete… that seems a good reason to burn up one of my many unused vacation days. WX forecast was original for a fairly fine day with a front bringing rain (heavy) for later on in the evening. As it was the front moved faster and conditions were on the decline when I set off.

Tinto is popular… 37 cars in the car park when I arrived at 9.40. Social distancing means different things to everyone… to a lot of people in the car park in meant all crowding about each other. I took my time getting ready and kept clear. It was meant to be OK WX but I didn’t expect to see the top shrouded in the clouds, nor for the wind to be so strong. Darn!. It takes on average 1hr15 to get to the top but I’m still slower after lockdown (and fatter) so it was about 1hr30. As I was on the final slopes the cloud started to lift. The wind was quite fierce but not too cold. A single fleece was enough to make it bearable.

The plan was 2m FM to start with then 13cms then finish off on the last day of the challenge with 17m. I was setup sharpish with a 2m J-pole and the double-double-quad for 13cms. Andrew G(M)4VFL was on early on 2m. It’s true LOS so he was loud on 2m. So where plenty of stations from Ireland and Wales. I heard Andrew work Simon G4TJC on GW/NW-020 plus chasers from N. Wales. There had been tropo/lift conditions on 6cms/3cms early in the day in the South of England… 2m did seem to be a bit lively. I worked a handful of stations waiting till we all due on 13cms.

In the chat on the gm13 group Brain GM4DIJ was going to be active from Edinburgh, John GM8OTI/P was going to chase from down near Gatehouse of Fleet, Martin GM8IEM was chasing from Clashmore, NW of Lochinver in IO78 square if there were suitable planes for aircraft scatter. Finally I had a sched with Jim GM3UAG in Ellon, north of Aberdeen. Things were looking good.

Onto 13 and I failed to blow up any equipment. GB3CSB was loud, all systems go. First was Brian who was much louder on 13cms than 2m. Then Andrew GM4VFL was easy for a complete as was Jack GM4COX for another complete. I left them all coordinating with each other trying to work Brian whilst I went looking for Jim up North. I called a few times on SSB and nothing… whilst I was busy setting up the paddle I heard some “watery” CW and a quick tweak of the antenna and there was Jim. 559/569 over a 221.3km path… very nice thank you and it qualified the hill on 13cms.

I signed and went looking for the others to hear Andrew finishing with Brian followed by Paddy MM0JOX breaking in. After a QSO with him I had worked 5 on 13cms. Jack had been sat in some awful rain during the activation and I had a look about to see some very ominous weather coming my way. My plan to take down the 13cms and put up 17m was abandoned and I packed away fast. The gear was safe but I got quite wet. Damn. The rain was just on the top and as soon as the cloud passed over it was just drizzling on the lee side. It was noticeably warmer in the lee and I was dry when I got back to the car.

Tinto GM/SS-064 summit… quiet with only 13 people on the cairn. It is not a place for solitude.

MM0FMF and 2m / 13cms antennas. So Buff doubled and a fleece… must be August in Scotland! You can see how miserable the sky is.

Phil G4OBK was unwell and so didn’t do Broad Law.

5x 13cms QSO
1x 13cms complete
1x complete
1x 221.3km QSO, my best GM-GM distance on 13cms

Thanks to all the chasers on 2m as well, nice to work in to England for zero effort on 2m with just a J-pole and 5W handy.

A grand day apart from the WX spoiling my 17m plans. Best of all I succeeded in not blowing anything up.

I never worked Martin GM8IEM but he did managed a 271km QSO with Jim GM3UAG over a very obstructed path. Good all round.