September 23, 2010

Hello Folks,

Thursday was not the best day for operating for either those staying on site and operating the DX-pedition stations or the people who decided to make Thursday their day out to explore the Isle of Arran.

This picture was painted by Sally Morton and hangs in the lounge where the 80m ragchew radio is located. The paintings are of the lighthouse and fog horn at Ailsa Craig.


The first Sota activation failed to reach its objective of activating Cir Mhor, a SOTA site which was attempted by Andrew G0LWU and Steve G1TLQ. Conditions during the climb deteriorated and it was decided to abort the activation.

A second activation from Goat Fell took place on Thursday. Unfortunately one of the team had to pull out at the last minute due to heath issues which left Hughie G4UME and Paddy to attempt the climb but a bad weather front moved in preventing them from reaching the summit.

Paddy is a seasoned and widely experienced walker and climber and made sure both Hughie and himself were clear of danger at all times in what can be treacherous walking conditions.

Hughie G4UME on Goat Fell on the Isle of Arran

The weather was fine when they set off but can change very quickly

Although they never made it to the summit, they managed to climb to 2,300ft before turning back to more sheltered land and an eventual pickup by Andrew G0LWU at a pre-arranged time.

These pictures were taken by Hughie and Paddy on Goat fell before the weather closed in.

Upon his return Hughie filled his bath to the top and had a much needed soak and Paddy went to the lodge for a shower and change of clothes before checking the progress of the evening meal

After a drink and warm by the fire Hughie settled down for some 80m activity before our evening meal.

Focus on G4UME

Over the course of the blogs I have had a bit of fun at Hughie's expense and he has taken it really well. Putting the fun to one side, Hughie is a much valued member of the group and a true amateur in every way. During the week he has been active in setting the antennas up, operating on most of the bands learning to operate the K3 and FT-2000D and embraced data communications with a passion via PSK 31.

He is no longer the self proclaimed elder statesman of Sands Contest Group but acclaimed by all. Hughie has a wealth of experience in amateur radio to pass on and if you have time for a story get a fresh pint, pull up a chair and prepare to be amazed.

Mobile operations

Steve and Paul from Workington went out to operate from a mobile site, something that worked well on Jura two years ago when they had to close down for a short time to let the equipment cool down! They told me that they were disappointed with their trip out mobile with only a limited number of stations worked.

On the plus side a much awaited vertical mast for 80m arrived Thursday morning and they wasted no time in getting the mast and antenna erected for 80m. They put the antenna to good used later in the day upon returning from mobile operations and it was not long before they had a pileup.

Focus on Damien G0LLG

Damien joined the group at the beginning of 2010 and he has embraced the activities of the group from day one. Damien joined the DX-pedition at the last minute and has operated most of the stations including some early morning activity on 80m. Like many of the members Damien has learned a lot from the DX-pedition but also in experimenting with new antennas not previously used by the group.


We have all learned a great deal from the overall experience of the DX-pedition not least from the skills gleaned from the guys from Workington who were more than willing to discuss their thoughts and knowledge on antennas and operating techniques. We must not forget Brendon our CW operator who also setup the IT for the DX-pedition along with Ian so that every station could interact with the log, see what other bands were in operation and use the Internet as needed.

This is the final Blog from the Isle of Arran itself. The majority of antennas will be taken down during Friday ready for our departure on Saturday morning but more will be posted on what has been a memorable experience when we get home.

Brian G0RDH
(The Reluctant Contester)

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