SOTA – Bengray GM/SS-238

This was a short SOTA outing on 2.3GHz in the somewhat vain hope (given the conditions) of contacts to the north. However I was hopeful that I would get at least one contact – which is what happened.

2.3GHz station
The 2.3GHz station on Bengray summit

The weather was not wonderful – lots of cloud – though not too cold. Looking generally north it was clear the clouds were down on even the lower summits such as Cairnharrow – I was glad I had picked Bengray. Cairnsmore of Fleet was definitely in the clouds when I arrived:

looking NW
Cairnsmore of Fleet with its head in the clouds (top right)

Arrival was in time to allow me to set up for the alerted time of 1100Z, so I self spotted and noted my arrival on the GM13 group (the phone signal is fine there) and I was soon calling and listening on 2320.200MHz, with the antenna beaming south as Andrew G4VFL had indicated he was likely to be around. I also had a listen for beacons, but the Telford beacon GB3ZME is a long way away and GB3CSB at Kilsyth definitely behind hills and crud. Neither was heard.

I kept calling and listening and was rewarded at 1120 by Andrew G4VFL/P coming on from near the Bigrigg TV mast at IO84FL. Andrew was an enormous signal with the beam pointing in his direction, and I didn’t have to worry about pointing at him at all to get a very clear S9 signal. Thanks very much to Andrew for coming on and giving me a contact!

The beam was then swung round to the north to see if I could hear or raise any activity. Nothing at all was heard, though with the amount of cloud around I’m sure my RF was heating up the clouds rather than getting through. I saw from the GM13 group that Roy GM4VKI could hear me but had equipment troubles – so after calling a few more times I packed up and set off back down the hill.

View towards Gatehouse of Fleet. Cairnharrow has cleared but the rain is coming in!

By the time I arrived back at the car I was glad I had packed up – the drizzle had started and it got steadily worse. Only one contact but hey, who cares! The walk was good as it always is – this has become my favoured quick summit when at Gatehouse.