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

Druim na h-Earba WS-339


Druim na h-Earba, GM/WS-339 - 288m ASL - NN 090 713 - OS Explorer 392 - 1 SOTA point       Map & summit information from SOTAwatch      Click to return to summit index


We had only resolved to do one other hill, what with this being a family holiday.  We only actually had advance permission for the one SOTA activation expedition  - The Ben - but Jimmy had spotted Druim na h-Earba GM/WS-339, a low summit with easy access, just south of Fort William. Hence we also alerted for this one, figuring that we could 'bag' it with an early start one morning, and be back at the holiday apartment in time for breakfast! After a most enjoyable evening out with SOTA legend Robin GM7PKT, we set our alarms...

Looking towards the summit from the road    The picnic area and viewpoint by the parking spot

So, at 5am on Thursday 7th August 2008, we were up and cooking ourselves an early breakfast of white puddings and beans, and in the car shortly after 5.30am BST. The drive took us back around Fort William town centre, and up the hill signpost Auchintore. We parked alongside the picnic spot and viewpoint at NN097722, and set off through the gate opposite.

The grassy path was initially steep, but we were soon into our stride, and soon atop flatter land leading up to the trig point. I nominated a spot a little further on to maximise shelter from the Northerly wind and started setting up. Only to find, to my horror, that I hadn't brought an aerial with me! Thank goodness it was only 15 minutes or so back to the car. Jimmy and I retreated to the edge of the summit plateau, when I had a brilliant idea. "You are much faster than me" I said, "Why don't you take the keys and get the 40m dipole, and I'll wait here? That way we'll save loads of time". Jimmy accepted my reasoning and toddled off down the hill.

Looking down on Fort William from the summit    Jimmy MM3EYP/P

At the car, he called me on the 2m handheld to confirm that he had found the aerial and was on his way back up. I timed him, and was mightily impressed to discover that he completed the descent AND ascent round trip in exactly 15 minutes. That had probably saved us 15 minutes from if I had gone with him!

Tom MM1EYP/P    Jimmy MM3EYP/P

So poor Jimmy had to ascend and descend this hill twice over - thank goodness my preparations were tighter for Ben Nevis GM/WS-001 three days earlier! The 40m SSB/CW combo did the business again, and we enjoyed a good activation. The 2m SOTA Beam wasn't carried as back-up this time; it would have been completely pointless. The only place VHF signals were going from here was down into Fort William, and the handies would have taken care of that - if anyone had been out of bed - which they weren't!

Druim na h-Earba    MM1EYP/P on GM/WS-339

We were back at the holiday accommodation at 9.15am, where Marianne and Liam were still in bed. A perfectly executed plan - almost!  Many thanks to the following stations, all worked on 40m with 5 watts as follows:

G0VWP York Terry SSB J
S57XX/P Blegoš CP-003 Vranicar CW T
HB9RE Zurich Fritz CW T
DL6UNF Guben Frank CW T
S51ZG Gorenja Vas Jesenko CW T
DF5WA Mainz Berthold CW T
SF4J Kumla Lennart CW T
SM5CBC/P Sweden Einar CW T
G4JZF Willenhall Graham SSB J
DJ5AV Heiligenberg Mike SSB J
GW7AAV Connahs Quay Steve SSB J
G0TRB Tamworth Roger SSB J
OK1KT Hradec Kralove Vratislav SSB J
G4CPA Crosshills Geoff SSB J
G0TDM Penrith John SSB J
F6GEO Le Quesnoy Michael SSB J
LA1TPA Skien Mads SSB J
EI2CL Dublin Michael SSB J
MW0IDX Kinmel Bay Roger SSB J
DL5WW Neubrandenburg Guenter SSB J
G4OWG Rawdon Roger SSB J
G4OBK Pickering Phil SSB J
G4OBK Pickering Phil CW T
DL5WW Neubrandenburg Guenter CW T
G3HKO Scarborough Des CW T
ON4ON Dadizelle Danny CW T
G4HOM Birmingham Fred CW T
SM7BUA Ljungby Mats CW T
SM6BSK Halmstad Nils CW T
G4WSX Chichester John CW T
F5NEP Argentan Lionel CW T
DJ5AV Heiligenberg Mike CW T
F6GEO Le Quesnoy Michael CW T
G4SSH Scarborough Roy CW T
F6ENO Rilly la Montagne Alain CW T
DL7VKD Bavaria Gerd CW T
DL6UNF Guben Frank CW T
G4CPA Crosshills Geoff CW T
G4OWG Rawdon Roger CW T
G4ZIB Kidderminster Tony CW T
DL3BRA Angermünde Horst CW T