Monday, 26 March 2018

13th March 2018. Pen y Garn SOTA Activation visit.

GW/MW-004. 13th Mar 2018.
Grid SN 798771, Altitude 611M.

Today's activation was my second trip to Pen y Garn in Mid Wales, this was going to be a chill out morning accompanied by a good friend of mine G0UFE (Simon). We set off from Telford at around
8 a.m. and headed towards Wales on the A5, we had decided on Welshpool, Newtown and via Llangurig. The journey took us 2 1/2 hours to reach the car park area at grid SN 80089 77686. This is the same spot that I parked last year and makes the walk to the summit an easy 20 minute walk.

Simon set up his mast, Yaesu FT-817 and a slinky, then started operating on 40M, I set up my mast, 20/40M HWEF and my homebrew 2M yagi. I started by having a quick check of the band and heard MW0KCB/P (Darious) on GW/MW-012 so went straight in with a S2S, a good start I thought then ended up with 3 out of my first 4 calls being S2S's.

After qualifying the summit I went onto 20M and my first contact was RW3XZ (Alexei) near Moscow, this kept on for another two hours, with contacts all over Europe.

The weather held out and was a great day out, plenty of contacts for us both and as a usual Telford Radio club outing we had a debrief on the way home at a nice public house in Welshpool.
Thank you Simon for accompanying me for the day.

Sunday, 11 March 2018

10th March 2018. Great Orme SOTA Activation visit.

GW/NW-070. 10th Mar 2018.
Grid SH 767833, Altitude 207M.

My first SOTA Activation of the Great Orme, The journey through Llandudno was very busy with a few road works and I thought I was here in mid summer with so many tourists about.
I had heard that there was possible Pager break through so I opted on my Yaesu FT-817 just in case. I parked at the Summit car park and paid £1 for up to 2 hours parking.

Looking at the photo I think I forgot to shave this morning lol. The walk from the car park to the summit is only a few minutes, when I arrived I found out how windy the summit can be. I decided to set up slightly down the hill out of the wind as seen in the middle photo above.
I managed to only get 7 chasers logged but that was enough to finish the day off with another new unique summit bagged for me.

Maybe one day I will spend a lot more time there with HF and a vertical like (Mike) 2E0YYY. That is for another day in the future. 

10th March 2018. Tal Y Fan SOTA Activation visit.

GW/NW-040. 10th Mar 2018.
Grid SH 729726, Altitude 610M.

This weekends activation firstly took me to Tal Y Fan around 4.5 miles South West of Conwy North Wales. I had planned to leave home at 7 a.m. but I woke a little earlier than expected and left home at 6.40 a.m. This gave me a nice start to my route, most of the way it rained and I was thinking of all of the summit to summit activators that had planned to start at 6.30 a.m. ( glad I was in my car).

I parked up at Grid SH 73181 71478 and started my ascent at 8.52 a.m. It took me about 10 - 15 minutes longer than last year but my health and fitness levels have dropped a little.

The weather was not too bad, there was a lot of low cloud cover but at least the rain had stopped. Most of the snow had melted and the temperature was about 10 degrees when I left the car. The summit was a little windy so I set up on the seaward side of the wall near the summit. I started my CQ SOTA calls at 9.42 and was answered right away, this turned out to be a very nice activation with 18 chasers, 2D0FHG (Frank) & MDOIOM (Mike) both from Isle of Man and I think the furthest contact was G6ZET (Dave) in Bolton-le-Sands Lancashire some 75 miles.

I spent just under an hour and a half at the summit with setting up, operating and pack away, it didn't seam that long and this put me a little behind schedule for my next summit Great Orme. So I made my descent carefully as the cloud cover was starting to get bad and the ground was very wet from the melting snow. The descent took me nearly 30 minutes as I didn't want to end up with an injury. I did spend 5 minutes talking to two small groups of hill walkers as they were very interested in the poles sticking out of my rucksack. Public relations for SOTA & Amateur radio lol.

Sunday, 25 February 2018

24th February 2018. Titterstone Clee Hill SOTA Activation visit.

G/WB-004. 24th Feb 2018.
Grid SO 591779, Altitude 533M.

We had left Brown Clee at 10:13 a.m. and arrived at  SO 59350 77566 at 10:50 a.m. This was our third activation of Titterstone and the first time we have had visibility of more than 20 yards. We headed up and took a few photos, again the wind was bitter cold, I would guess at -5 to - 10 Degs.

It took us 15 minutes to arrive at the summit, this time I had taken my homebrew 2M yagi aswell. We managed to log 14 contacts in a short period of time. I think the yagi worked really well. The only problem I had was the ground was too hard for my pole spike to go in. I ended up with the 20mm plastic conduit held between my legs, this seamed to work well.

Another activation completed and time to pack up and head home. We headed home via Ludlow as this was going to be better roads than we came on. We arrived home at about 12:45 p.m. time to clean the kit and charge the hand held battery back up. Next week no time for activation's but the following week we will be back on air on another summit.

24th February 2018. Brown Clee Hill SOTA Activation visit.

G/WB-002. 24th Feb 2018.
Grid SO 593867, Altitude 540M.

I had decided to try and tackle two summits today as I feel my strength is returning. I still need to take it easy as I am not at my former fitness and health levels. To start with we left home 08:15 a.m from Telford. M6SZF (Jamie) my son was along for company and to keep an eye on me as usual, we arrived at grid SO 58546 86895. 08:43 a.m. which I think was good going. It took us 2 or 3 minutes to put on our walking boots and get our gear. We managed to climb the steep section in about 25 minutes with a few rest breaks.
We arrived at the summit at 09:20 a.m. so 37 minutes ascent wasn't too bad, then I had to try and find somewhere out of the very cold bitter wind. The only place was north west of the summit, the only problem was we were very close to the masts, I knew this was going to cause us a few problems and it did. Most people were giving me good 5/9 signal reports but I struggled to hear most people due to the noise levels from the local masts.

I had to try at the summit to get a contact with M1EYP/P (Tom) when he was S2S on G/SP-013 as the noise level was just too much. It worked so that was the main thing. It was a good overall activation with 12 contacts including Tom twice, once in his car and then again when he was portable.
Jamie wanted to test the ice (literally) at the end as seen below, the ice was 2 inch (50mm) thick at the outer edge but Jamie was not going to try any further out.

9:55 a.m. Activation complete and equipment packed up, time to head our way down and to see how I felt once we arrived back at the car. We arrived back at 10:11 a.m. and we were both feeling good so decided to head towards Titterstone Clee to activate G/WB-004.

Sunday, 11 February 2018

10th February 2018. Corndon Hill SOTA Activation visit.

GW/MW-013 10th Feb 2018.
Grid SO 306969, Altitude 513M.

My return visit to Corndon Hill for 2018, I decided to park a little closer this year and attempt a different ascent route. Last January we came down clockwise around the forest area and had decided to try ascending this route next visit.
We parked at GD SO 29989677 this is about 600 meters further down the track through the gate where we would usually park . I could not see any signs saying private and my map says road used as a public path. There was a farmer feeding his sheep and he just waved back as we waved to him.

We had planned to activate Long Mynd Pole Bank before this but again the Burway was closed due to snow and ice.The new route for us took about 20 minutes from leaving the car and if our fitness level was higher than it is at the moment would have been a lot easier than the near vertical climb that we would usually go up.
This is the route we shall use in the future and strongly recommended to any others.

The weather was cold and very windy, Jamie (M6SZF) had to have one hand on the small mast/pole we use for the 2M Yagi (Homebrew) that we usually use as if would have been blown away.
This was going to be my first activation with purely my Yaesu FT 270 handheld and my light weight Yagi. No FT 817 in the back pack as a back up. I had 11 QSO's from various locations.

After the 20 minutes of activation's we packed up quickly had a quick coffee and headed back to the car, we were very cold but ready for the next visit to a summit, maybe try Pole bank again if no snow in the near future.

Sunday, 21 January 2018

20th Jan 2018. G/WB-003 SOTA Activation visit.

G/WB-003 5th Aug 2017.
Grid SO 367986, Altitude 536M.

 It has been 5 months since my little rush into hospital with multiple blood clots too both lungs. My health has returned enough for me to take in a few smaller summits.
I had planned to visit 2 today but luck was against me with snow and ice. G/WB-005 was closed at the bur way. So we went around the Long Mynd to the Stiperstones as this was our planned second summit.

I had Jamie (M6SZF) with me in the car, (John) M0JZH and (Simon) G0UFE two very good friends of mine followed in Simon's car, they didn't want me to push myself too hard so they wanted to accompany myself and Jamie to make sure I didn't? or was it the debrief in the pub afterwards? We shall never know lol.

We parked at the usual car park GD SO 36943 97704 at around 10:05 a.m. and started our slow walk up. We managed to arrive at the summit, setup and start operating by 10:50 a.m. I chose my Yaesu FT 270 Hand held for 2M FM, john was using 2M ssb and Simon 20M ssb.

Jamie was our resident photographer as usual but decided on long range shots, you can see we had a little snow which made a very cold activation but our spirits were high, or would be after the debrief lol.

We managed to log 4 or 5 of our own club members TDARS (Telford & District Amateur Radio Society) they were there for long range support lol.

A quick thank you to Jamie, John and Simon for assisting me in returning to my favourite activity SOTA.