Sunday, 6 August 2017

5th Aug 2017. G/WB-010 SOTA Activation visit.

G/WB-010 5th Aug 2017.
Grid SJ 628081, Altitude 406M.

Today's visit was my local 1 point summit of The Wrekin, this is a quick 30 minute walk but fairly steep in places. This is a well used summit and I saw maybe 100 plus people during my activation. Today was going to be a play radio day for me on HF and finished with 2M FM with a special event call sign for the YOTA week.

The journey only takes 10 minutes from my home location to the car park. I arrived at 7:00 a.m. loaded my gear and headed off up the hill. I saw 2 or 3 people on their way down and passed pleasantry's. I arrived at the summit at 7:29 a.m. and started to sort out my antenna's for the activation. Jamie had packed away the guy ropes last time we used the mast and it took me 20 minutes to untangle them (lesson learnt, pack away yourself).

The QSO's came in fairly fast once I had set up. I had a problem with my 2M Yagi and after 15 minutes I decided to leave it and phoned Jamie to bring up my 2M Dipole as he was coming up later after he had managed to get out of bed.

The green icons are the S2S's and red the chasers. This was all on my Yaesu FT 817, homebrew end fed and 5 watts.

I managed 30 contacts and 4 S2S's on HF. When Jamie arrived with my 2M Dipole I set this up and started with our club special event call sign of GX3ZME/YOTA this was at 11.27 a.m. local time. I managed to log another 12 contacts and Jamie held greetings with most of these.

Sunday, 30 July 2017

29th July 2017. GW/MW-004 SOTA Activation visit.

GW/MW-004 29th July 2017.
Grid SN 798771, Altitude 610M.

Another new summit for us today was Pen Y Garn, this summit is about 3 1/2 miles to the East of Devils Bridge Falls. We had a few problems before we left home (family problems) and managed to leave at 08:40 a.m. and arrived at 10:45 a.m. the journey from Telford was straight forward. After looking at M0JCQ's (James) blog I decided on parking at Grid SN 80091 77685. As James said this only leaves a 15 minute walk to the trig point.
I have never before been so close to any large wind turbines and didn't realise the gigantic size and  noise they actually made.

We arrived at the summit and I quickly set up the new 2 M Yagi I had built a week ago and Jamie had already started to cook. Our usual SOTA Sandwich Bacon and Black Pudding roll with brown sauce. (it goes down very nicely before operation starts). During eating I decided to quickly test the Yagi before I set up my mast, I had a very quick reply from GW4VPX (Allan) and said every thing sounded ok.
Once I had set up the mast with my end fed (20M & 40M) and everything tested ok on the SWR I started calling CQ. This was a very slow process and I thought there was a problem with the Yagi so had a little play with the connections and then made a few more contacts.
Once the summit was qualified on 2M I went to 20M made 5 fairly quick QSO's and then tried my luck on 40M and made a further 5 contacts. I had managed 2 S2S's and  PA1H/P doing Flora Fauna, the S2S activation's were GW4TJC/P (Simon) GW/NW-034 and GW0PEB/P (Rob) GW/NW-067.

This was a good day out and we both enjoyed it. This will be on my re-visit list for next year and maybe a winter summit to add a few more points.

Sunday, 16 July 2017

15th July 2017. GW/SW-041 SOTA Activation visit.

GW/SW-041 15th July 2017.
Grid SO 255350 Altitude 703M.

Today's SOTA Activation was going to be the Black Mountain on the edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park. We left home (Telford) at our usual 08:10 a.m. and headed south west towards Ludlow, then onto the A49 towards Leominster. Then eventually following signs to Hay-on-Wye, we eventually made it to our car park spot for today at grid SO 23954 37339. This is the car park for Hay Bluff, we managed to arrive at 10:10 am and just a quick warning when you turn left in Hay-on-Wye eventually you get to a choice in the road to go down two lanes to get to the car park, don't turn right as we did it looks shorter but is single lane all the way. We were lucky and didn't meet another car but if we had its a long way to reverse to passing points.
From the moment you leave your car you are climbing, just follow the Offa's Dyke Path past the Hay Bluff summit stone and keep going. As you get to the top of the first rise just as you turn sharp left towards the Hay Bluff summit don't do what we did and try save 2 or 3 hundred meters of walking by going due East across the heather it is very hard going and lots of bogs (Bad Choice). Once past this summit the track is a gradual climb and very easy on the legs, there is one more part of climbing roughly half way to the summit but plenty of stone steps.
The weather was kind in a way as it didn't rain but visibility was not great because of the cloud covering. I had left my HF mast and gear in the car as it was very windy (as seen above) so had decided on my hand held and my new 2M Yagi made from plastic conduit and 5 mm aluminium solid bar. The antenna had a good try out and I was getting some very nice reports. I had managed a S2S with G7LAS/P (Bob) on G/SP-004 Shining Tor (96 Miles).

I had 14 QSO's with various new and old friends and made contact with GX3GEI/P a special event station hosted for a cub scout event, the contact was initially established with G4BBT (Roger). After I had finished my activation I heard them calling CQ and there was very little activity coming back to them so I decided to help them out. I held 5 or 6 greeting's  with a few of the cub scouts and helped them get their communication 's badge I hope.

Sunday, 2 July 2017

30th June 2017. GW/NW-001 SOTA Activation visit.

GW/NW-001 30th June 2017.
Grid SH 609544 Altitude 1085M.

Today's Summit is Snowdon, Jamie my son did say about 2 or 3 months ago Dad why don't we activate Snowdon for your Birthday. We set off from home (Telford) with Amy and Richard additional family members at 05:30 a.m. and headed towards Wales on the A5 as most of our SOTA Activation's have been over the last 2 months or so. We arrived at Pen-Y-Pass car park at 08:00 a.m. and paid the £10 car park fee, I used coins and didn't risk the notes.
The map above shows our ascent up the Pyg Track which took us 2 1/2 hours with a few rest stops including taking a few photos and our descent down the Miners track which also took 2 1/2 hours again with photo stops. The weather was not great and we went into cloud covering at around 650 Meters, this made our journey not so exhausting as it kept us cool. We were lucky and it didn't rain until we made the summit and then it was only a very light shower.

Once we arrived at the summit I set up the 2M dipole and also a 2M beam I had made earlier this week, My main Birthday present was a new Hand Held (Yaesu FT 270 R/E) and this was its first proper airing. I managed 20 QSO's with a lot of my usual chasers and a few club member's from TDARS. The beam seamed to be working well with some good working reports, M0CQE (Paul) informed me it added 2 S points extra to my dipole. 
I have not been up Snowdon for 18 years and it would have been better with scenery but we cant always have what we want. Again another great SOTA Visit and as always I enjoyed talking to everyone. The end of the activation was getting very cold with the damp from the clouds and the wind chill, I would have loved to have stayed longer but as we all know our health and safety is more important than our hobby.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

24th June 2017. GW/NW-015 SOTA Activation visit.

GW/NW-015 24th June 2017.
Grid SH 837194 Altitude 779M.
Today's revisit to Glasgwm after our failed attempt two weeks ago. We set off at 08:10 a.m. and made our way down the A5 from Telford and then followed the A483 towards Welshpool then A458 towards Dinas our final destination. We arrived 09:50 a.m. making better time than our last visit and also planned on a different car parking area. We parked outside the gates to Gesail on the grass just off the track. There was no one around to ask and we saw nobody all day.

We started our Ascent at 09:55 a.m. and started to follow the path, soon finding out this is not an easy ascent, very steep most probably 90% of the journey.  We entered the cloud cover at around 500 meters and stayed in it until we came back down to around the same place. I have added our route on the picture below, as you can see the route is not the marked route on the map as this does not exist.

I followed the route suggested by M0DFA (David) and as he said follow a compass bearing once you leave the fence line near the top SH836188. Especially in bad weather, our visibility was about 20 meters at best. A word of WARNING the lake can be very dangerous in bad weather as seen in the pictures below it just appeared out of the cloud cover and you could easily fall in.

We activated the summit on 2 Meters with a mixture of QSOs on my Yaesu FT 817 and my new Handheld Yaesu FT207E I had some very good reports on the audio of the handheld, I must admit that I had tested this a week earlier and had bad audio reports. After doing a little surfing on the net found that there was a problem with the water proofing covering the mic, so I had removed this earlier in the week. (warranty gone but good reports on audio).
We logged 10 calls and enjoyed our bacon and black pudding as usual,

Sunday, 11 June 2017

9th June 2017. G/SP-004 SOTA Activation visit.

G/SP-004 9th June 2017.
Grid  SJ 994737. Altitude 559M.

Today we had our very first visit to Shining Tor a 2 point summit near Buxton in Derbyshire, We were on our way back from a works trip that took us to Scotland so thought why not take the opportunity.

We arrived at 12:15 a.m. and found a place to park on the side of the road as the Peak View tea rooms said parking for customers only, the parking area suggested by others had a locked gate.
The walk up took about 25 minutes and is a nice easy walk, we were not alone and saw maybe 4 or 5 groups of walkers. I set up my 2M dipole and started to call CQ SOTA and had 9 QSO's over the next 20 minutes. This time 2E0LKC (Peter) was the first and with his new antenna he was a booming 5/9+. 

I also had a S2S with M1EYP/P (Tom) who was on G/SP-015 The Cloud, a pleasure as always. No Black pudding and Bacon rolls on this activation as this was our 2nd day out working and we were on our way home. The next summit is GW/NW-015 but that is a different matter all together.

10th June 2017. GW/NW-015 SOTA Activation visit.

GW/NW-015 10th June 2017.
Grid SH 837194 . Altitude 779M.

Today's trip was going to be Glasgwm a 6 point summit near Dinas Mawddwy North Wales. We set off at 08:15 a.m. and made our way down the A5 from Telford and then followed the A483 towards Welshpool then A458 towards Dinas our final destination. All was going fairly well except most of the journey it had been raining. We arrived 10:20 a.m. found the car park at grid SH 85247 18848.
There is a portaloo behind a wall at the far end of the car park, after a quick visit we were ready to start our walk which we thought 1 1/2 to 2 hours, we headed south back down the road which we had just driven up to grid SH 85353 18466 were we followed the track towards the house Gesail as mentioned by (M0DFA). This is were our problems started as there is a small ford to cross, did I say small lol well maybe normally it might be small.

As seen from the video link below today after what looks like maybe 3 or 4 days of rain the ford was not really cross able on foot. We walked up and down as far as we could and could not find any safe passing spots.
We had no mobile phone signal so I could not warn anyone and could not cancel my SOTA Alert, so I am sorry to anyone that was waiting to make contact, Jamie and myself liked the look of the hill, so we will be returning in the next 3 or 4 weeks fingers crossed.