At the meeting on 13th February 2019 LRS member James Gentles GM4WZP talked about "Munros on the Air".
Long before SOTA (Summits on the Air), Amateurs were out on the Scottish hills activating them. Whilst James Gentles GM4WZP wasn't first, his story is of the first Amateur to systematically activate every Munro in the 1980s, making at least one QSO from each of them, using repeaters if necessary. He was accompanied on many of these climbs by his fiancee, Lyndsay.
As well as a nostalgic look back at the trials and tribulations of this radio marathon he reviewed the highs and lows of line-of-sight propagation and 'the little lifts' (both radio and otherwise) that made it possible to activate all 277 Munros.
With some statistics for the numerically-minded as well as a summary setting the achievement within the modern day concept of SOTA, the talk was a radio and photographic tour of Scotland.
5-ele beam operating
Navigation Equipment - Essential!
Winter Equipment - also Essential; note sharpened crampons!
Belay 1 - safety rope to hold other climber in the event of a slide down the snow.
Belay 2 - retaining other climber.
BEN TARMACHAN looking towards Ben Lawers
BEN TARMACHAN sub-top
BEN NEVIS from Banavie
BEN NEVIS from south
BEN NEVIS from CARN MOR DEARG
BEN NEVIS Trig point in typical cloud with typical number of visitors!
BEN NEVIS Observatory Refuge & Memorial
WHITE MOUNTH - James's Personal Rules, including use of Repeaters when absolutely necessary!
An Coileachan "Ski/Tent/Hang-glider" - JOKE!
LIATHACH looking to ASSYNT
LIATHACH looking dangerous!
BEN HOPE – most Northerly Munro, shortest night on mainland UK
BEN HOPE - Sunrise
BEN HOPE - Trig Point
Loch Mullardoch – ring of 12, snow in June on CARN EIGHE!
West of BEN EIGHE, camp at 2700ft
Most difficult Radio Munro, diminutive AN SOCACH. Could only raise GB3HI repeater (Mull) with beam,
nothing else. (GB3HI was >100km away).
Looking back at “green little” AN SOCACH
The emergency way out of Mullardoch, race against triggering a rescue.
BUACHAILLE ETIVE MOR – Glencoe
Brocken Spectre and Glory near Glencoe ski lift.
Torridon Village Rainbow and CAIRNGORM Solar Halo.
(Nah - he was running QRO but won't admit it)!
AONACH EAGACH, Glencoe
AONACH EAGACH Spectres and Glory
Arnistale TV repeater and unknown military pop-up repeater
BLACK CUILLIN on Skye
CUILLIN, SGURR MHADAIDH looking south, NO 5-ele beam carried here, very precipitous!
CUILLIN, SGURR GHREADAIDH, operating handy-talkie from narrowest part of ridge.
CUILLIN, from SGURR BANNADICH south to THE PINNACLE
CUILLIN, THE PINNACLE from the South - shoulder blade of rock
CUILLIN, THE PINNACLE (right), overtops the main mountain (left of shot)
Climbing up THE PINNACLE, operating through the GB3HI repeater on Mull.
James abseiling off THE PINNACLE
CUILLIN, SGURR ALASTAIR from south. Compass was useless, rock magnetic!
Final Munro, LOCHNAGAR June 1990. Total distance travelled: 2200 miles and 750,000 feet.
L: James with soon to be XYL, Lyndsay
SMC Entry in Journal #790
Worked all Britain, FAILED!
The 2 life-saving repeaters, and the Munros where no repeater was raised.
Rate of Climb
The 11 stations that were heard on 110 summits
Best and Worst DX-chart
GM-G curvature map
GM-PA Contact – tropospheric
GLYDER FACH, CANTILEVER STONE WALES=15 Radio operate tops
MOUNTAIN RAILWAY to Llanberis - this is SNOWDON
Lyndsay at GALTYMORE SUMMIT CROSS, completes the Irish 3000ft in 1992
HELVELLYN Completes the “furth” in 1995. THOUGHTS ON WHERE THIS FITS?
George Burt GM3OXX - a pioneer of Munros on the Air.
Montage of GM3OXX - many talents
There is a comprehensive Silent Key of GM3OXX, by Alan GM3PSP on the LRS website:
SWAMP (Scottish Worked All Munros Project), precursor to SOTA
SOTA builds on what has gone before
Take a rest!
You deserve it, James. Many thanks for a most interesting talk illustrated by your beautiful photographs.