Monday, 30 August 2021

GM/SS-154 West Lomond and GM/SS-198 East Lomond - August 2021

On our penultimate day in Edinburgh it was worth driving for an hour across the Forth Bridge into Fife to get two easy completes. The two summits were catered for well with free car parking, picnic tables and public toilets on both. We took the easy option and drove round to the East Lomond car park at NO 252058 after our lunch, which reduced the walk distance somewhat, however one could easily activate both summits from the West Lomond car park at NO 227061. This map shows the summits and also the nearby GM/SS-187 Bishop Hill, a summit I plan to visit later in 2021:

It took exactly one hour to reach the summit of West Lomond, on a good path over a distance of 2.5 miles. My new boots were extremely comfortable I'm pleased to say.  They are over 300 grams lighter than my leather Scarpa's. This made quite a difference in my speed and my stamina.
A grey day on West Lomond - yet there were many visitors on foot and mountain bike
I started operating with my FT-65e handheld and whip and worked Ken and Christine (GM0AXY/GM4YMM) straightaway followed by GM0GAV, GM0VEK, GM6ZAK and MM0JJQ. HF conditions were pretty good too, with 45 contacts completed in less than an hour, including my friend from York, Terry, GM0VWP/P who was staying in Shetland on his holidays. We made S2S from both West and East Lomond as Terry remained on GM/SI-177 for several hours. K4DY called in at 1141z on 20m CW. Leslie is one of the regular USA stations that can be be worked from the UK with QRP power. I was using the usual KX3 at 10 watts and inverted vee at 5m AGL. 

We walked back to the car park to have our lunch and then drove through Falkland (Nice looking touristy village - we must return) to reach the nearest parking place for East Lomond, GM/SS-198. 

East Lomond

A short 18 minute walk took us to the topograph and the highest point on GM/SS-198 East Lomond:

Topograph on East Lomond GM/SS-198

On 2m FM using my cheap FT-65e, I was getting a lot of de-sense from the relay station by the car park making difficult copy of the callers. Moving behind the top of the hill helped and I managed to work the same GM guys that I worked earlier on from West Lomond! Maybe I should have kept hold of my old VX-170 and FT-270 handhelds, but the FT-65e has a better battery pack and is lighter. Condx were typical late afternoon on HF - fairly poor and after 30 minutes I packed up. Judy XYL came up to the summit with me, but having climbed it, went back down before I went on the air:
This was our last full day in Edinburgh - we planned to activate Meikle Say Law GM/SS-148, near Duns on our way back south the following day...  

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