I am now on Facebook. See lots of pictures and news there.
I will upload as many pictures as I can. On Tour, I will try and keep you posted about times and places I visit to make it easier to follow me. I depend on wifi being present at my overnight stays. This cannot be guaranteed, though. Some hotels will let you use their wifi if you buy a drink in the bar.
Please Read> Operating mode under pile-up conditions
As in previous years, I will adopt my mode of "silent pile-up" and call stations by number. Not to put anybody at a disadvantage, I will alternately call in ascending and descending order. I will only send my call and data when I move to the next number. Calling stations should only send suffixes and the complete call and report when they hear their suffix repeated by me. This silences 90% of the pile-up and allows me to work faster and also gives a chance to QRP and DX stations. It takes the stress out of the procedure. The only exception from the numbers rule are real DX stations, i.e. VK, ZS, CE, PY and the like who are welcome to call in the gap between numbers when I listen for DX. I thank everybody for the co-operation and observation of this practice.
Do not send a second QSL if you are still waiting for mine. Send me an e-mail with the data. I will go through my log and verify it. The likely reason is that I could not read my own writing which was done out in the wind and in pile-up conditions. I will TAKE ALL INCOMING QSLs via buro as answered (except SWL).
QSLs of other QSOs outwith DXpeditions are processed immediately.
SWLs should prefer direct QSLs with SASE or SAE plus greenstamp. I have a limited supply of excess QSLs as leftovers from my printing jobs, yet I don t want to go to the trouble of making an SWL QSL by program outside of normal mass print jobs. It is far easier for me to use up my QSLs first which our club will not handle.
QSL info ends
Trained teacher of Physics and English. Worked as technical Writer in PC-industry, Consultant for DTP systems software quality manager. Now I am in the automotive industry.
Ham since 1995, first call DG2MNK upgraded to DH5JBR in 1996 Preferences are SSTV from home and portable work from islands, mostly EU008, EU010, EU123, EU120, possibly EU092.
I travel to Scotland to execute my hobby
WW #1 activator by RRC in 2002 for 19 islands (I really was on 29 - just like every year since, except 2004). I just move too fast.
The motto is 30 islands in 30 days.
The following link takes you to the Google Earth Community. Each QTH is described and if you scroll to the bottom, there is another link with the place markers which will show up in Google Earth if the branch in the side bar (of Google Earth) is selected.
Looks like this:
Play the tour with the button in the side bar under the branch of my place markers.
The tour will play for 45 minutes depending on settings.
Google Earth has a free client version.
I have been on tallship "Deutschland" I also enjoy portable work from the site ("Hohe Reute" near Dinkelscherben) depicted on my QSL This is where I test my expedition equipment for workability and completeness before I set out.
View Google Earth at 48 deg 20´12.81" N and 10 deg 34´3.13" E to see the very tree in the picture.
Music that really fits our common hobby by Scottish artist Runrig, a band from Skye which the waitress I was speaking to in the Portee hotel still remembered playing in the bar before they became famous: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Y70FmGDbPA
This is not Runrig, but works. (transmitting, transmitting . . .) That is, what I am doing.
Please, also read the poem "Song of the Open Road" by Walt Whitman and look at the picture below.
The poem is rather long, but it begins like this:"Afoot and light-hearted, I take to the open road, Healthy, free, the world before me, The long brown path before me, leading wherever I choose.
Henceforth I ask not good-fortune - I myself am good-fortune; Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing, Strong and content I travel the open road." . . .
I am not the first person to link my travellings in Scotland with this poem.
There is movie footage of a trip of Scotland in 1926 titled "The Open Road". I include a clip from it about the ferry at Ballachulish and one of my pictures from the spot.
"Allons! after the GREAT COMPANIONS! and to belong to them!"
The slipway is still there and also the opposite one near the hotel and the splendid construction that replaces them and saves some miles on the A82 road.
On holiday, I gladly drive around Loch Leven. There are many beautiful views on that road.
These people have come to know me over the years and can be asked to verify my journeys.
This lady works for the ubiquitous ferry company Caledonian MacBrayne in Port Askaig on Islay. I see her when I leave for Colonsay and Jura.
Very dedicated to the job. Casting off those massive ropes (what will it be like in winter?)
Always wearing a smile when the job is done (or is it a grin?).
This gentleman will take me across to Ulva. He is a bit worried about my radio gear interfering with his phones. He is used to me now and I greet him with "My annual chore!" The Turus Mara people usually spot me on Iona the previous day, so he gets fair warning of my visit. When I blew my trusted FT-817, he even gave me a lift back to get my back-up rig, a Tokyo High Power HT-501BF that helped me complete the 2010 tour successfully.
Ulva is famous for fresh seafood like below:
Elizabeth and her husband (off picture in the kitchen prepairing the tatties for my meal of local smoked salmon + salady bits) run the Westford Inn in Kirkibost on North Uist. Elizabeth has received a full lecture on ham radio and now knows the tap to use (Blackthorn) to provide my beverage as soon as I put my nose through the door. This is about as local as it gets. This is the Westford Inn. The bar entrance is on the left.
But not only common people know me. The following picture shows Duart Castle, home to the clan McLean whose chief and family know me from my radio activities on their car park. One of their ancestors was in the secret service and served as the model for the ficticious character James Bond.
This car park also has a view. The ferry, Lismore Lighthouse, Connel Bridge:
This ferry, MV "Lord of the Isles", is bound for Coll and Tiree and does not call at any port on Mull any more. I went for a cruise on it in the nineties, when it still called at Tobermory on this run.
I have found this nice rendition of a song of a boat going to Barra. It sounds a bit like Polynesian, but is Gaelic. Nowadays, I only go to the northern end of Barra, but I have been in "Kishmul´s Castle" the McNeil stronghold in Castlebay harbour.
Enjoy this one!
The house on the lake below used to belong to Ian Fleming who invented James Bond. I once proceeded onto the premises in 1979 while I was passenger on the Dalmally Post Bus that had to make a delivery there. Unfortunately, I did not know these facts at the time. Today it is "Strictly no Admittance" or wait for the Post Bus and board it for a round trip.
The more panoramic view is this with Blackmount Lodge on the right,
This house is the Minch View B&B in Scourie (Scouriemore, to be precise), the nearest village of size to Handa. I have used it for literally decades. There is tea and home baking at half past nine p.m. as well and then this view when you turn around:
This house is called "Craigard" and used to be a B&B under the management of Mrs. Mary-Jane Scott who has hosted me for 25 years before she died in 2005. She also hosted the twin actresses of a re-make of a German movie according to the famous German children's novel "Das doppelte Lottchen" translating to "The double Charlotte" where two twins of separated parents meet in a holiday camp situation only then becoming aware of each other's existence and decide to go back to the "other" parent in an effort to re-unite them. Carbisdale Castle and the Ardnamurchan light feature in the movie and the West Coast railway line with the Glenfinnan viaduct. Even the Scottish teacher later also appeared in the Harry Potter movie.
Sadly missed Mary-Jane and her dog Sandy taken in her last year. Her daughter is a nurse in Fort William. She certainly will remember me.
From the breakfast table, you enjoy a spectacular view up the Sound of Mull. Sadly, the B&B is no more. Just the view.
I go to islands and mount my radio station. Here on Handa.
Or Jura, the Island of the Stags. You can do with a bit of Gaelic, but it is not really essential.
This is the passenger ferry from Appin to Lismore´s northern end.
This is the bus shelter on Bute which I use for sheltered operation.
The ferry is heading back for Kintyre. It will return and leave again once before I need to take it to be in time for the Islay boat at Kennacraig. This is the time I have on Arran. In fair weather, I do not need to carry chair and table. 2009 was miserable, but there was a bus shelter and some contacts to JA.
Weather is no problem if I can take a car with me. This well known picture was taken in 2002, the only year I took the car over to Arran. In the distance you can see Ailsa Craig. It is difficult to reach and unsafe to climb and offers poor radio conditions on the beach. They make curling stones from its granite which is the claim to fame of this little island. I lost half a day waiting for the pre-arranged ferry man who did not even show his face. I leave it to the local hams to activate it.
The isle of Gigha and the other end (thanks to Diego, EC1CW/p who heard me from A Coruna in NW-Spain)
Diego uses the device that I will use as primary rig from 2011 on: The Yaesu FT-897D.
This is Benbecula in EU010. Near the Atlantic Ocean and no obstacles of any kind. I open the bonnet to get at the battery with jumper cables.
This is the car park at Neist Point on Skye. Most people walk down to the lighthouse which takes an hour and a half.
If you go UP the hill this way for about two minutes you get this view. Needless to say that radio conditions are far better from UP the hill.
At night, there is the chance of a ceilidh at the Gaelic Centre near Armadale:
The Isle of Seil is reached by the "Bridge over the Atlantic". The round plaque on the rock in the foreground was put there on its 200th anniversary a few years ago.
Here a bit more of the "Atlantic"
This is Raasay, looking across to Skye. The weather is almost always bad here, forcing me to retreat into the waiting room of the ferry. It is heated but also illuminated. The energy saving bulb is causing an enormous noise so I can only hear louder stations. They are building a new pier there, closer to the village which is very promising. This is not a very pretty spot apart from this view.
The new pier and building are very nice and the entire area has been neatly landscaped with lots of EU-money. The waiting room is very modern and even has a power plug.
The radio-noise in it, however, is even worse than in the old waiting room. It has not been established if it is caused by the installations in the office part of the building or the transformer on the right.
Not on everybody´s itinery is the Isle of Ewe. I have had the best of connections to get on. They are no longer available, but my established lead still exists.
An English island is also part of the tour if there is time for it: Lindisfarne or "Holy Island"
And also English Lighthouses, such as Paull on the River Humber (Eng-099)
Spurn Head (three individual Lighthouses at the mouth of the River Humber)
I do activate some lighthouses that I find on the way. This is Stoer Head, now featuring a snack bar van. Another of my acqaintances. The proprietor recognized me from the year before - not really surprizing with a 10m pole on the car.
About half way up (or down) the West Coast is the nice lighhouse Ardnamurchan Point on the tip of that spectacular and remote Ardnamurchan peninsula, westernmost point of the British mainland.
It is really beautiful out here, but can be very wet and windy.
The nearby Sonochan Hotel offers sheltered refuge.
This below is Uig Bay on Skye with the MV Hebrides ready to depart for Tarbert on Harris.This is the end point of a spectacular bus journey you can have on a service bus. It will leave Glasgow and pass wonderful sights on the way here.
My QTH is where the pier hits the land on the marshalling area. This way, I cannot miss the ferry while operating the radio. The same is true for Lochmaddy and Port Ellen Ferry terminals.
However, I do not travel to Scotland just for radio work. It is a really beautiful country. Of literally 1000s of pictures here but a few:
Slioch Mountain on Loch Maree.
Stac Polly and the Inverpolly Nature Reserve
The Village Cove on Loch Ewe
A standard shot taken each year from the lay-by on the A83 Campbeltown Road looking up West Loch Tarbert. A different lighting makes a different picture:
Two pictures from the beautiful Ardnamurchan Peninsula to follow. They show the "Small Isles" Eigg and Rum and these two islands again plus Muck Island and a bit of Skye at the back.
And you can see the road I tavel upon on so many pictures.
If you have not completed reading the poem, you definitely should do that some time.
Here is another quote and a picture of a stretch of road to illustrate it:
"Why are there trees I never walk under, but large and melodious thoughts descend upon me?"
The holy mountain of Scotland: Shiehallion and Loch Rannoch.
"Going where I list, my own master total and absolute."
Spectacular sunsets to be enjoyed from McCaig's Tower in Oban. Visible Kerrera with the Hutchison Monument, Lismore coming in from the right and Mull on the far left.
Now for a movie location:
This is a sunset from Camusdarach Beach south of Mallaig and Morar with the islands of Eigg and Rum.
This very lovingly made little comedy is a "must view" for everybody interested in Scotland and its inhabitants.
Watch this for comparison:
When "Mac" returns home he puts the collected shells on the kitchen table. And now look:
Also note that when the village appears in the picture the phone starts ringing. (Would it be a "homesick" Mac from Houston?)
The film music is my constant companion on my journeys together with folk music by the Corries, Capercaillie (Dr. McPhail's Reel) and Runrig (e.g. The Wire).
I hope that you understand the reason why I come here each year. Tell me on the air how you like the pictures or write to email@example.com.
Thank you for reading this and 73s.
And you can have your favourite castle as well as nobody has seen it before:
Most people take this shot of it:
If you know the Carr Brae Road, you can even take it from there:
In the vicinity, you can also see the famous "Five Sisters of Kintail", but you need to know the Glenelg road.
The Glasgow to Uig service bus passes on the road at the foot of the first sister (Shiel Bridge).
When I first set out, my plan was to use the GM prefix in front of the call to denote the country I was working from. I was then told on the air that MM had to be used - as seen on my QSL. This, however, led to QSLs reaching me with DH5JBR/mm. People felt compelled to advise me that MM for "maritime mobile" would go to the end of the call sign, not to the front. Me working from so many islands can easily lead to the assumption that I travel by yacht or boat. This is not the case. I travel by car and ferry and MM is the proper Scottish prefix and goes to the front.
I discussed the probability of using the less ambiguous prefix GM with a retired member of the UK police force and holder of a GM license and he saw no reason why I could not do it. To be on the safe side, I wrote to the proper authority in Britain - OFCOM - to enquire the matter. People were very accomodating and I was even offered a GM call proper for the DX-pedition . It needed another exchange of mails to make the point clear that all I was proposing was to use GM - instead of MM - as country identifier. OFCOM had no objection. They seemed to be surprized that I even asked permission for such a small matter. GM has been a Scottish prefix and there are no plans for it to be phased out and used for another country. GM is the perfect prefix for someone who wants to make it clear that he is in Scotland but not maritime mobile. MM is rather a poor choice in that respect as I found out.
Returning those cards and explaining the MM/ versus /mm issue to those ignorant beancounters would be my responsibilty, if I needed the QSLs towards a diploma. There is yet another army of beancounters out there who would never accept cards as MM/ with /mm calls on them.
Some OMs have taken issue with this practice of mine, claiming that the law says that as of 1996 no GM calls but only MM calls were to be issued. Good. I do not want to have a GM call issued to me. I have a German call. The law requires me to use a prefix if I am in a diffeent country. GM is a valid Scottish prefix. It is on every list of DXCC prefixes. I have obtained official approval to use it. I am not intruding into any UK licensing practices.
Using the GM prefix on the air went very well. Even my ODX from South Africa identified me as being in Scotland without problem with something of a 3by3 report.
It has been brought to my attention that those OMs who take issue with my practice of using the GM prefix have used the word "illegal" in conjunction with my call on the DX cluster on the internet. I resent that. The LAW requires me to use a prefix. It is merely a RECOMMENDATION that MM is to be used. This recommendation is impracticable and leads to ambiguities - as I have demonstrated. This is a fact.
I use the LEGAL prefix GM to conform with and abide by the LAW.
I do not follow recommendations if they are impracticable.
They claim that they know the law, but they are - to my knowledge - not judges.
Even here quotes from Walt Whitman are applicable:
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