Monday, 7 October 2013

A one day Scottish Tour Part 4 - See Morris Hill GM/SS-274

The compact route by road activating 4 summits in Dumfries & Galloway October 1st 2013
A 22 minute drive took me almost right to the top of See Morris Hill SS-274.

Where I parked on See Morris Hill GM/SS-274
On my frequent visits to the area over three decades I have been aware of a prominent tower on a hill overlooking Dumfries. The shape of the tower always looked to me like an oversized Christmas Tree. The overall shape hadn't changed much over the years, although I imagine with changing communications technology the accoutrements fastened to the "Christmas Tree" have. 

The "Xmas" Tree on See Morris Hill 
Research on the website indicated that non radio ham Marilyn baggers often drive to the gate at the BT compound, which is what I did. Indeed, I was waved on by the farmer from Riddingshill after waiting on the uphill track whilst he herded his beasts into a field. There was an open combination lock metal gate part way up but I took my chance and drove on to park up within 250m of my final operating position by the trig point. The comms site did not appear to be manned as no vehicles apart from mine were present. 

Trig point with centre missing - you couldn't hope for a better support for your pole
I set up at the trig point, which had again the centre removed providing a smart support for my flagpole once I added some padding around it to prevent pole damage. A Berghaus fleece glove was again used for this purpose....   

It was most comfortable on the summit and I had pulled back some time through not having to walk far to the activation point.  After 60 minutes operating time I went QRT with 73 QSOs in my log. The VHF propagation lift experienced on SS-224 Bennan was no more by the time I reached SS-274, but I was satisfied to complete with six stations on 2m FM, the furthest of which was G4UXH, my friend Colin, in Milnthorpe. The other contacts were made on 40m, 30m, 20m CW. Only one station answered my CQ on 14.285 MHz 20m SSB before closing down at 5.00pm. This was S57ILF.

Using a Yaesu FT-857 transceiver I suffered no breakthrough on any of the four amateur bands used, despite the presence of the large commercial installation. 

Job done, with 243 contacts completed in the day, a steady drive via the A75 and M6 took me back to Keswick by 7.00 pm to enjoy a good home made curry dinner and a large glass of red wine to finish of a most satisfying and intense day of Summits On The Air!

A GPX track for GM/SS-274 from leaving the public road near The Grove to the trig point is available from the tracks section of the SOTA Mapping Site - thanks to Rob DM1CM. 

There are many more unique rarely visited summits left for me to visit in Dumfries & Galloway. I'm already planning for my next visit. 

0.2 miles walked with 75 ft ascent.

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