It’s been a long time but we’re back! Had a very pleasant walk up Broughton Heights GM/SS-128 but sadly the bands weren’t really playing. Saving grace for me was 60m, which yielded 18 contacts including a very welcome s2s with Colin, G8TMV/P on High Willhays.Thanks to all who fought the QSB, QRM and QRN to make a reasonable total for me I did call for a few minutes on 80m, more in hope than expectation, with predictable results given that I couldn’t hear a single station on the band; and 40m though carrying some moderate continental signals yielded no replies either. Gerald too found 2m hard going, and sends his thanks to all who kept the faith and were listening for him. 30m was little better.
Let’s hope tomorrow brings more encouraging radio conditions, and weather to match…
73 de Paul G4MD
Glad to get the contact, thanks Paul.
Vicki just managed 4 on 2m FM and I only made 3 on Broughton but we did both qualify Trehenna. (That was in my pre-HF days.) (Lacked the energy to do Penvalla as well - and on the recent visit we went to Dawyck instead.)
Hope to catch an s2s on Thursday.
You’re very welcome Rod
We’ll be looking for Vicki and yourself tomorrow, have a good day out.
We thought the three were a bit much for a day, hence picking off Broughton Heights now leaving the other two as a pair for when the days are slightly longer - watch out for our traditional February “Birthday Bash” !
73 de Paul G4MD
Good to work you Paul. Conditions were definitely up and down, but I managed 22 contacts on 60m from High Willhays. Had originally planned on doing 40m too but decided that I was getting too cold despite the sunshine.
Stopping early turned out to be a good plan because the M5, the M4, the M25 and the M11 were all broken to some extent and the journey home took almost 7 hours!
73, Colin G8TMV
I spent ages listening for Gerald on 2m but not a peep. Confusing as I have a good take-off in that direction (I thought). Then Robin GM7PKT was on a hill just 17 miles away and I couldn’t hear him either (same heading). Now I know I have a blackspot on 193 degrees (GB3NGI on 220 degrees was fine!).
Will listen for Gerald tomorrow if you could ask him to swing the beam north.
You were just on my noise floor on 60m - not a hope of working you today
Barry GM4TOE (IO87)
A path plot from your new QTH to Broughton Heights goes directly over Hill of Foundland. The path plot suggests the first major obstacle on that path is in fact Hill of Foundland but there’s nothing obvious blocking it before.
Thanks for the contact yesterday, Paul (and Colin!). Yes indeed 60m seems to be the saving grace at the moment. 80m could have been on if I’d known where to look for you. A few of the WAB lads are monitoring 3.760 these days as the 11 yearly migration to 80m from 40m is under way.
Yes yet again 60mtrs was the band Paul saved again.Unable to hear Gerald on 2 both myself and Don gw0plp were calling in turn for him but to no avail.
If Paul goes to 80 he will normally be found around 3.660 to 669 where clear. Don.
NJ670599 Hill of Alvah at 170m compared to my 60m and only about 4Km away is my problem
It was great to hear the 5Mhz band was busy over the last few days of activating NW-066 and NW-067. I thoroughly enjoyed it, as a change from the upper HF bands.
The cw qrp freq on 5.262 yielded a fair few qso’s too.
Thanks to everyone that made it happen.
Many thanks for the contacts over th last couple of days Hope to catch you on my last hill if the year today!
As Don says I try to get within a few kc/s of 3.666 on 80m, though on Wednesday with not a single signal I could attribute to an amateur transmission audible on the band I think the chances of a contact were remote:-s
Thanks for the tip on 3.760, I’ll bear in mind that a few good pairs of ears may be found there!
73 de Paul G4MD
Many thanks for the s2s from Garn Boduan yesterday, very glad you migrated from the upper bands! 5MHz has certainly been the saviour of LF activations over the last couple of days - I don’t think I’d have qualified any of my summits on 80/40.
HNY and look forward to catching you in 2017
73 de Paul G4MD
Hi folks, (Paul/Gerald)
Was determined to get a final activation in before the end of the year. So it was quick ‘pop-up’ my local GM/SS-064 (Tinto) yesterday. Day looked good but when I parked, looking up at the summit it was shrouded in mist. Emmm? The intention was to try a S2S with Gerald and Robin PKT. At present my 817 is faulty so no 60M and any SSB, but did have my HB9A (cw only rig) and Vx8.
Getting out the car things were looking ominous. There was a steady southerly ‘zephyr’ of about 40k/H and as it was from the S/SW it presented a nice head wind for me. Phew!
At about 500m into the mist with the wind now about 50K. Reaching the top it was hourendous. Temp 2.5c with the wind now about 60K. Luckily I always carry a plastic sheet which I draped over a suitable fence to provide a windbreak. Without this it would have been a ‘no-go’! and quick retreat off the summit.
I was active for 1315hrs - just 2FM (HF would have been too hard in the conditions) looking forward to working Robin S2S. In the interim I worked a GI S2S, who was remarking as to how nice the wx was - a different planet or what? - hi!, along with G/GM’s, but no Robin?
Checking SOTAwatch noticed that Robin had spotted about 1330hrs. I had been working some stations around this time and I’m sure he would have heard me on the usual QRG’s. I called him on and off till about 1430 on the assumption that he might have been down the band waiting for Gerald? I also was watching for Gerald. Though I only had FM I was intending to try and work a local who had SSB capability to ask Gerald to QSY to an FM channel for a S2S. But by 1445 no show. So as I had been on the summit for almost two hours in terrible conditions (fortunately it wasn’t raining/snowing - hi!) it was time to call it a day.
Dropping out the mist on the way down the rest of the walk back to the car was a pleasant doodle with the wind to my back - hood up and listening to a bit of ‘Zepp’
PS - Gerald spotted at 1458 - c’est la vie!
Interesting because I couldn’t hear Robin either and he was within spitting distance! The day before from Braemar we were able to ragchew!
I did put lots of calls out on SSB in all directions from Hill of Foundland but obviously, despite being relatively local, that path obviously doesn’t work Barry. I did work GM0HTT in Orkney and GM4GUF who was about the same distance in the opposite direction. I could hear lots of other stations including one in IN99 but conditions weren’t good enough for my 5w and 3-element quad antenna to work any of the rest.
Given the lack of local FM activity, I was really hoping that I would get some SSB contacts on ES-057, Little Conval (GM/ES-057) yesterday. I had been staying near Aberdeen over Christmas and it was a nice mild, calm day when I started my journey home yesterday morning. Things were rather different when I parked up at the base of Little Conval, I could hardly open the car door for the wind, but at least it was incredibly mild for the time of year. I was hoping that the wind strength where I had parked was just it funnelling through the pass between Ben Rinnes and Meikle Conval, but no, it was even stronger on the top. I was knocked over several times while I tried to set up an antenna. And I had picked a flat topped featureless hill with no real shelter!
Eventually I managed to get the antenna up, albeit at about half the height that I would normally have it. Three FM contacts came within about 15 minutes which is pretty good going for a Highland hill. Then nothing! I did make an attempt at operating of SSB but I wasn’t able to keep the antenna pointing in any particular direction and in any case unless it was a very strong, loud signal, I wasn’t going to be able to copy it under these conditions anyway.
After a couple of hours with the antenna and pole falling over every few minutes I retreated from the summit to the trig point which is about 5m below the summit to the north. This still allowed a good take-off towards the Aberdeen and Inverness areas which I reckoned were the most likely sources of a contact and it gave me a little shelter. Having failed to activate ES-085 under similar conditions on Boxing Day, the longer this went on, the more determined I was to get that final contact.
Finally after almost exactly 4 hours Iain, MM1DVC, in Keith which is only 17km away came back to a call with a 59 signal.
My thanks to all those who called me or tried to call me over the past few days and a Happy New Year to all.
Yes 60m for me is very good, I only use 5wtts from the 817 on 60, but really enjoying the chase, many thanks for all the contacts…
Happy New Year .
Interesting you were around on FM, but as you say you where having problems keeping the aerial up/pointing in a specific direction. I wonder if you should maybe carry a second aerial (and I’m sure you do - your rucksack aerial?) like a ribbon Slim Jim for such conditions . Takes up to no room and weight in rucksack and is easy to deploy well up the mast by looping end through top loop of SOTA pole. Once up gives you 360 degree coverage with little strain on the mast - whilst you are ‘hunkered’ down (think I am teaching my granny to suck eggs here!).
Anyway here’s to our first S2S in 2017 which will be shortly - I am in no doubt - hi!
73 till then
Wednesday 28th was awful for 2m up in GM. I suspect some form of distance limitation on propagation caused by the shift in the pressure, but not exactly sure what. It was very much akin to the activation from Tinto a couple of years ago when it was like operating inside a huge Faraday cage.
As advised on the following day, all I heard from you were a couple of fleeting bursts due to aircraft scatter and even they were curtailed. Definitely an activation to forget, but the walk to Broughton Heights made up for it, even in the clag above 450m or so.
Just call me on FM using your VX8 and I will change mode. Simples. Anyway, pleased to see you have been Tinto’d and it was not just Paul and myself that evoke such horrendous weather conditions. It was hard to stand when Paul and I activated that one.
73 and a Happy New Year to all,
60m did not do it for me starting 2017. Very poor on 2nd and almost as bad on 3rd.
Hope for better next time I am out.
PS - Log not done yet.
Our report is now up on the Summitsbase website (www.summits.org.uk) within the rolling news. The next outing will be 25th - 27th February in the same area, so maybe a chance for some to add to their Completes. Thanks to David G0EVV, I managed a couple this week, including The Wiss GM/SS-122.
73, Gerald G4OIG