Tom Read - click to email meBDXC ISWL WAB SOTA RSGB IOTA - see my radio page for more detailsLiam & Jimmy

Big Collin 2008


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A short drive through the lanes from Tobernaveen Hill GI/AH-009 brought us to the B94 Ballyclare to Ballymena road. A short distance down here was the lay-by and picnic area we were heading for.

After parking, we climbed over the 'secret stile' (an short unbarbed section of fence) and headed off up the grassy slopes. These are quite steep and unforgiving initially, but once the first crest is reached, the land opens out for a gentle amble all the way to the summit.

Jimmy sending a spot    Tom on the key

The weather was most pleasant this afternoon. Gentle breeze, dry and lovely sunshine. After a couple of abortive attempts, the 80m antenna was eventually in the air, and I sat down to connect up the antenna feeder, microphone, Palm Paddle and SLAB to the FT-817. Jimmy was checking the SOTAwatch Spots and shouted out "GC0OOO/P on Snowdon, 3.557 CW, waiting for M1EYP!". Anticipating an exciting CW S2S, I quickly tuned to 3.557, only to then hear the sound of the SOTA Pole crashing down again!

I re-erected it and improved the guying angles at the speed of light, and then, sat back down on my mat, slightly breathless. Perhaps a good job I was opening on CW!  3.557MHz had John GC0OOO/P in full flow, so I waited for a 73 and sent my callsign in. John came back immediately, and the activation was off to the best possible start. After completing the GI to GW CW S2S, John left me the frequency, and I worked 16 further stations in short order.

Wind farm on Big Collin    Looking across to Slemish

The sending of "NW QSY 3.660 SSB" worked perfectly, for many stations were instantly lined up for Jimmy on 3.660MHz. A run of further S2S came courtesy of Rick M0RCP/P and Thomas M3OOL/P on Seatallan G/LD-025, and John GW4BVE/P and Pete MW0COP/P on Myarth GW/SW-035. This completed a perfect three S2S GI to GW with the BVE/COP team, and gave us the opportunity to congratulate John on his completion of activating every summit in GW, becoming the 12th person to have activated an entire association.

After packing everything away and donning the rucksacks, I switched on the VX-7R for a quick call om 2m FM. There on 145.475MHz was a 51 signal from John G4YSS, operating GC0OOO/P on Snowdon! I had already got my 10 chaser points from the earlier 80CW contact, so I passed the handy to Jimmy to try to call him. To my surprise, John heard Jimmy first call and worked him straight away. I made two further local 2m FM contacts, and we set off down the hill, highly satisfied with an excellent activation.

Our portable station    Looking across to Agnew's Hill

Big Collin is one of those hills with a terrain and gradient such that the descent is quick and easy, taking perhaps only a quarter of the ascent time. We were in the car by a quarter to five, and just about in time to squeeze in a fourth activation and get ahead of schedule. We drove out towards Carrickfergus for Carn Hill GI/AH-010.  Many thanks to the following stations, all worked on 5 watts:

GC0OOO/P Snowdon NW-001 John 80m CW T
G4SSH Scarborough Roy 80m CW T
EI2CL Dublin Michael 80m CW T
G4OBK Pickering Phil 80m CW T
G4OWG Rawdon Roger 80m CW T
G4RQJ Walney Island Rob 80m CW T
G3CWI Macclesfield Richard 80m CW T
G3TJE Highbridge Peter 80m CW T
G4USW Barrow-in-Furness Bill 80m CW T
G3OHC Selby Graham 80m CW T
G0NES Hollywood Don 80m CW T
ON4ON Dadizele Danny 80m CW T
ON4CAP Oostkamp André 80m CW T
G0ANV Girton Daryl 80m CW T
GM0AXY Edinburgh Ken 80m CW T
GW0DSP Connahs Quay Mike 80m CW T
DL1FU Biedenkopf Fred 80m CW T
2E0PXW Ellesmere Port Barry 80m SSB J
G6MZX Thornton-in-Craven Geoff 80m SSB J
G4BLH/P Brierfield Mike 80m SSB T, J
G4OBK Pickering Phil 80m SSB J
GM4YMM Edinburgh Christine 80m SSB J
G4JZF Willenhall Graham 80m SSB T
GW0VMZ Merthyr Tydfil Alistair 80m SSB T
G3OHC Selby Graham 80m SSB J
G3VKF Macclesfield Keith 80m SSB T, J
G6WRW Kidderminster Carolyn 80m SSB J
GW7AAV Connahs Quay Steve 80m SSB J
M0RCP/P Seatallan LD-025 Rick 80m SSB T, J
M3OOL/P Seatallan LD-025 Thomas 80m SSB J
GW4BVE/P Myarth SW-035 John 80m SSB J
MW0COP/P Myarth SW-035 Pete 80m SSB T
G3RDQ Stockbridge David 80m SSB J
GC0OOO/P Snowdon NW-001 John 2m FM J
GI3TIJ Moneymore Fred 2m FM T
GI7JGT Roslea Martin 2m FM T