SOTA saved by 2m

It’s been a few weeks since my last activation and I wanted to go out. I didn’t have much time as I was meant to be sorting out the garage, so I picked a summit close to home, Cairn-Mon-Earn (GM/ES-080).

SSE working on one of the towers

It’s quite an easy walk following the loggers roads up to the summit. There are multiple towers there for mobile phones and other networks. The local repeater, GB3GN, is also here. The weather was dry, and I had the occasional blue sky, but showers were forecasted.

It was windy too, so I hunkered down by the cairn, however, this probably wasn’t the best place being so close to the towers. I setup my slim G 2m on the mast and called CQ. I didn’t get any response so setup on HF. The ground slopes away with heather and bushes, so I decided just to go for the random wire vertical. It has a 5.5m radiator and 2 counterpoises. I started on 20m, and two stations replied, Spain and Finland. This turned out to be my lot on HF. I tried other bands and calling other stations but no one could hear me. It was a shame as there were several other summits I could hear.

Slim G on the carbon 6 mast

I managed to get MM0EFI on the HT, and so I was at 3 contacts. A SOTA summit needs 4 to activate. It had been about an hour and the rain started to come down heavily. I dashed across to some nearby trees and setup underneath one of them. After trying all the bands I came back to 20m, put out another spot and the same Spanish station came back to me…well at least I knew it wasn’t operator error with the radio or antenna!

This was meant to be a quick activation and I’d now been there for over and hour, and so decided to pack up HF. I could see the TV mast in the clouds and so walked over to get a better look. I then found what would be a great spot to activate (if it wasn’t raining) as it had clear views all around. I thought I might as well call on 2m and see if I could get anyone.

I spoke to Fraser again, MM0EFI, now /M as he was driving to work. We made a contact with his intermediate callsign, 2M0EFI/M, so technically I’d activated the site. However, I was determined to get four different people, and in my next CQ, George, MM0SAX/M, replied.

View across the to TV mast

George was driving up from Glasgow on the A90 and has a radio in his work van. We had a nice chat for about 15 minutes, and that turned my “this has been a waste of time 🤬” attitude into a “that wasn’t so bad 🙂” one!

I enjoy HF and setting up different antenna, but if I could reliably activate with just 2m/70cm I’d love to go up the hillside with just my HT.

Before I knew what the activation would entail

It was back down and back home. The kids were soon home from school and the garage didn’t get sorted out. I’ll try again next week…