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.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

3rd June 2017. GW/NW-035 SOTA Activation visit.

GW/NW-035 3rd June 2017.
Grid SH 724447. Altitude 661M.

This weekends SOTA Summit was Manod Mawr near the village of Ffestiniog North Wales. We left our home location of Telford at 08:12 a.m. and arrived at our car park location at grid SH 73269 45601 around 10:35 a.m. We collected our equipment and started our ascent, the walk up took around 30 minutes and was not too hard.
We arrived at the summit and decided where to set up our little camp as it was very windy. We settled on two larger stones that were just a short distance from stone ring as the stone ring was full of nettles. I set up my 2M dipole and Jamie set up his cooker and frying pan. I had a little flick around the band and found it very very quiet, I started my QSO's with MW0KCB/P (Darius) he was working on his third Hump I believe he said of the morning. He also informed me that he had struggled with the band.
I managed to log 5 QSO's and tried very hard to add 2E0LKC (Peter) with the aid of a good friend M0CQE (Paul), as seen in the centre photo above Jamie tried to raise the antenna height a few more feet, this improved my transmission to Paul from 4/4 to 5/5 but Peter with his new antenna still could not hear me. Sorry Peter we tried but we only have 5 watts. Overall this is a very nice summit with amazing views of the surrounding  hills and valleys.

We decided to call it a day at around 12:10 a.m. as it did not look like we were going to get any more contacts, so we packed up and headed back to the car. The way back seamed steeper than when we came and took us the same 30 minutes to get back to the car as it took to arrive at the summit. Once back as the car boots off and a steady drive of 2 1/2 hours back home, until next weeks summit I hope you all enjoy the info and hope it helps you with your activation of this summit.
73's from me and Jamie.