Chris Bryson

GM/SS-222 Duncolm SOTA Activation

Looking at the map to select my next SOTA Summit I decided to go with the next closest to my home which is GM/SS-222 Duncolm. I was happy to do this walk with a local club member Doug MM7DCD who lives nearby and knows the area very well.

The weather most of the week and the night prior was miserable with the forecast looking pleasant for our walk, we struck lucky and had outstanding weather conditions.

We set off from the Kilpatrick Braes Car Park at Mount Pleasant Drive and started the well signposted walk up to Loch Humphrey. You are awarded with outstanding views here, many times I’ve looked at these hills driving over the Erskine Bridge but this was my first time walking up them.

Once at Loch Humphrey the track towards Duncolm is clearly laid out, it’s boggy at times but not awful. This was a much better walk than the one up to Hill of Stake. As you walk along you’ll pass Little Duncolm and Middle Duncolm before coming to the climb shown below that takes you up to our 401 meter summit Duncolm. The walk details can be viewed here on Strava.

Once at the summit we set up our gear. Doug had taken a telescopic pole with a three element yagi antenna and achieved 12 contacts with his Yaesu FT-60, the first four came through almost instantly. Doug had activated the summit before I got my first antenna erected.

I took a Spectrum Communications Slim G antenna for 2M/VHF and hung this from a 4.1m telescopic pole, connected to my Yaesu FT-65 I managed 8 quick contacts with the extremes being in Edinburgh and Irvine.

My focus however for this walk was on HF. I’d recently purchased a Xiegu X6100 QRP SDR specifically for SOTA and portable operation. I have borrowed a Sotabeams 7M tactical mast and Band Hopper II linked dipole which covers the 20M and 40M band. I achieved a healthy 17 contacts on 40M working a pileup following a spot being posted, the highlights being a contact from Belgium and a summit-to-summit (S2S) contact with an operator in North Wales.

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