I had a small job to do for someone in Bathgate today unrelated to radio and had been advised previously that the Cairnpapple summit was a very easy one, a short walk from the car. Stopping by to complete the activation was a no brainer, I was joined by Brian MM1HMZ for this activation.
My first mistake was arriving there ahead of Brian and setting up the antenna at the wrong summit! 🤦♂️ I remember Brian telling me when I started SOTA that the activation summit isn’t always the same as the commonly known or signposted summit. In the example above you can see that Cairnpapple Hill SOTA is at a different location from the signposted Cairnpapple Hill. I was in the process of securing the first dipole element when I received a call “Tell me that isn’t you mounting an antenna on the wrong hill, look to your south…” I’ll not make that mistake again.
So, if you arrive at the parking spot above to complete your SOTA activation – you are at the wrong place. Head south and look for a farm gate on your right hand side. This is where you want to be. There is a trigpoint at the summit. There is a small parking area about 100 yards south on the road.
I quickly set up the antennas and made four contacts on 2M FM. The person I travelled to Bathgate for initially offered to meet me at the hill and got lost so I had to deal with that but returned and got on 40M HF. There was a lot of noise on the band and even with a spot on SOTAWatch I was only able to achieve three further contacts.
I could have stayed longer and worked at it but I’d activated the summit, completed the job I had travelled to Bathgate for initially and with the forecast predicting rain within the next hour I decided at that point to call it a day with seven contacts.
Overall a very easy activation and one I’d recommend for those short on time, in the area or those who physically struggle to access some of the more challenging climbs. If you can climb over a 4ft gate you can access this one. No link to Strava today as it wasn’t worth tracking as a workout.