Unexpected 2m FM Dx on Bigland Barrow LDO-112

Unexpected 2m FM Dx on Bigland Barrow LDO-112

Bigland Barrow is one of those Wainwrights I enjoy walking to and activating every year. It was a short 15-20 mins stroll early this morning in bright sunshine and gentle breeze starting near a Cold War observation bunker with fine views of mountains and wooded hills all around.

At the summit is a small ruined concrete platform with rusty metal rods forming a crude ladder. It’s a technique to scale the ladder whilst holding my 9-year-old cocker spaniel (not to be recommended). The platform has shoulder-high concrete walls so ideal for observing the countryside and operating a VHF HT. In the past I’ve much appreciated the protection they afford from winter winds.

The 2m FM activation started as usual with local and regional chasers but then Dave M0GQJ called saying he was on the Isle of Wight. Thinking I had misheard him despite his clear 5/8 signal, I asked him to repeat his location. A brief discussion of tropospheric ducting followed.

This was I think my first proper experience away from the shack of tropo ducting, which for those not familiar with this phenomenon is the radio frequency equivalent of visual mirages. This was a personal dx record on 2m and not with a 10-el Yagi on Scafell Pike but using my usual Diamond RH770 half-wave telescopic whip on the 5W HT on a small summit (193m ASL).

Just to show it wasn’t a fluke, Kevin 2E1KJB, also on the Isle of Wight, called a bit later. Contacts with Duane 2M0DIJ/P on the Scottish Isle of Whithorn and regular chaser John GW4ZPL in Caernarfon were mostly over the sea and likely to be line of sight rather than via tropo. These different propagation modes all add to the fun of VHF radio.

Rick G3SR near Manchester airport didn’t understand what I meant when I called CQ talking of “Wainwrights”, so my brief explanation of Wainwright hills and the WOTA scheme followed.

Thanks to all chasers.



Hi Andy
it was good to get you this morning and well done on the DX the best i could do was Carlisle/Whitehaven/Lancaster with 30 watts and mobile antenna

regars reg

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Thanks for the QSO Reg, I hope you managed Hartsop Above How alright in the heat.

VHF tropo propagation is weird: many of my chasers this morning could not hear the two Dx stations I worked on the Isle-of-Wight (250 miles from Bigland Barrow). It seems that the air ‘duct’ often covers a narrow region so that stations to the side of it can’t make use of that mode of propagation.