Friday, 25 December 2015

SOTA - Cleeve Hill - G/CE-001

Cleeve Hill - 330m, 1 point

Association: England Region: Central England
Latitude: 51 55 11 N, Longitude: 2 0 21 W
Grid Reference: SO 996245, QTH Locator: IO81XW

Cleeve Hill! There's a surprise. My 26th activation of Cleeve, maybe I should have waited until Boxing Day :-)

Anyway, it was hard to climb out of bed, look out at the cold, damp, dark morning and drum up  the enthusiasm to go up the hill. Tempted as I was to just return to the warmth of the duvet, I got dressed, threw my kit in the car and set off in the dark.

Surprisingly, when I arrived at the car park at 0730, there were already three cars parked and their occupants out on the hill with their dogs.
I trundled across to the gorse bushes to set up in the their lee.

Called CQ at 0800, just as it was getting daylight.
An hour and seven minutes later I packed up with 28 QSO's in the bag.
It was a leisurely affair, QSO's taking longer with the MX and HNY exchanges!



By the time I got back to the car, just after 0940, the car park was full and people were still arriving and parking on the grass verges. I headed home to see what awaited me from Santa.

That's it for 2015. I'm having surgery on 29th so will be out of action for a while...

Friday, 11 December 2015

SOTA - Craig y Llyn - GW/SW-010

Craig y Llyn - 600m, 4 points
Association: Wales  Region: South Wales
Latitude: 51 43 0 N, Longitude: 3 35 0 W
Grid Reference: SN 907032, QTH Locator: IO81FR

A scheduled trip to Swansea, to pick up my daughter from University, gave me the opportunity to detour slightly off route and pick up the easy summit of Craig y Llyn. Being within the winter bonus meant it was worth 7 points!

A very wet drive ensued to the viewing point car park, and it was still wet and miserable as I set off for the short walk to the summit.

Grey and miserable

This is one of the easiest summits in South Wales, and certainly the easiest to pickup 7 points. The ascent is a mere 450' over a distance 0.75miles of easy track. 

Easy ascent

By the time I'd reached the trig point and set up, the blue skies started to drift in from the west and it turned out to be a dry, although cold, activation.

Brightening up!
As no one was around, I set up (as usual) on the trig point. This one usefully has the top plate missing which allows a quick pole set up.
Shack on a stack
 Band conditions were reasonably good with a good run on all bands worked; 40, 30 and 20m, ending up with 49 QSOs in the log.


Nice to have Stateside chasers back in the log after a bit of an absence over the summer months.
Thanks to K4DY, K4MF, KG3W and N1GB for the contacts from across the pond, and the solitary S2S with Heinz, HB9BCB/p on HB/BE-156, which, knowing Heinz, was probably also an ATS4 - ATS4 contact :-)

A refreshing walk back in the sunshine and cold northerly wind. Then it was off to Swansea and then home. A 250 mile day.

Back at the car

The western Beacons

Heading for Swansea

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

SOTA - Graig Syfyrddin - GW/SW-020

Graig Syfyrddin - 423m, 1 point

Association: Wales Region: South Wales
Latitude: 51 53 3 N, Longitude: 2 52 7 W
Grid Reference: SO 403210, QTH Locator: IO81NV

The next summit, Graig Syfyrddin, was a new one for me. I'd often passed close by on the way home from Wales, but this was to be my first activation. I duly found the single parking spot by the gateway, kitted up and started the easy ascent to the summit.

Parking spot
The 0.7 mile ascent was 420' and took just over 10 minutes to arrive at the trig point.

I set up close to the weather station next to the fence so I could use a fence post for the pole support.
I was rapidly on the air on 40 metres but the pile up lasted only a few minutes.

20 metres was in poor shape and on trying 30 metres, I discovered the entire band was swamped by QRM, I expect, from the adjacent WX station. With 30 metres a non starter, I went back to 40 metres and picked up a few more stations however 15 QSOs was the sum total of a 50 minute activation.


I had planned to activate Garway Hill, G/WB-013 next, but it was already 1700L, the band was in poor condition, I was hot and dehydrated and the attraction of spending another few hours out without getting some food was starting to wane.

Garway Hill
I cut my losses and headed back to the car and continued on the 70 mile journey home.

SOTA - Ysgyryd Fawr - GW/SW-016

 Ysgyryd Fawr - 486m, 1 point
Association: Wales  Region: South Wales
Latitude: 51 51 29 N, Longitude: 2 58 22 W
Grid Reference: SO 331182, QTH Locator: IO81MU

Next summit of the day was Ysgyryd Fawr. What a difference a few miles makes. I was lucky to find a parking space as all the spaces were full and parked cars lined the road. Luckily, just as I arrived a car departed and I quickly took the vacant spot.

It had really warmed up now and it was a sweaty hike to the summit. There was a steady stream of people hiking in both directions. It really is a very popular spot this one!

It took 35 minutes to ascend the 1000' over 1.5miles to reach the top.

Hot and sweaty
At the summit it was much too busy to activate right next to the trig point so I dropped down a bit onto the eastern flank and set up shop.

Busy summit

Operating position

Boots off, I settled down and called CQ on 7Mhz.
After a manic few minutes it all dried up so I went searching for any S2Ss.
This netted GM0BPU/p on GM/SI-184.
QSYing to 20 metres pulled in 20 more contacts in as many minutes including a further S2S with HB9BHW/p on HB/SH-002.
A brief outing on 30 and 17 metres brought things to a close, as I finished off my lunch and packed up.

All this took place whilst battling off a swarm of flying ants. Luckily I had my mosquito head net with me to give some respite!


Packing up, I now joined the crowds to descend to the busy car park below and make my way the few miles to the start of GW/SW-020, Graig Syfyrddin.

SOTA - Bryn Arw - GW/SW-026

Bryn Arw - 384m, 1 point
Association: Wales  Region: South Wales
Latitude: 51 52 46 N, Longitude: 3 1 0 W
Grid Reference: SO 301206, QTH Locator: IO81LV

A good day forecast, so I planned  a run down to south Wales to tick off a few one pointers.
First up was Bryn Arw, a delightful little hill to the north of Abergavenny.

The hike

A nice walk up from the usual parking spot took 40 minutes for the 1.5 miles and 715' of ascent.
It was a warm sunny morning and getting hotter all the time. The track was well overgrown with high ferns meaning it was necessary to keep to one of the many animal tracks (plenty of sheep up here).

I set up on the non descript summit in a clearing between gorse bushes.

Conditions were typically "summer" meaning the bands were not in particularly good shape!
26 QSO's in all with S2S with HB9BCB/p on HB/BE-017, HB9AFI/p on HB/VS-109, YO/PB2T/p on YO/EC-001 and YO2BP/p on YO/MC-052.


By 1300L I  was back at my car and making my way to the second summit of the day, GW/SW-016.

Sunday, 9 August 2015

SOTA - Cleeve Hill - G/CE-001

Cleeve Hill - 330m, 1 point

Association: England Region: Central England
Latitude: 51 55 11 N, Longitude: 2 0 21 W
Grid Reference: SO 996245, QTH Locator: IO81XW

A quick run up the hill again today to try out 10 and 6 Metres.
Conditions on 6m had been good all morning, so I quickly grabbed the KX3 and made my way to the usual spot in the gorse bushes.

As luck would have it, the opening had more or less died by the time I got setup so was confined to some fruitless calling and chasing.
I did manage 2 QSOs on 6m with ES6DO and OH2G.
On 10 metres I managed 5 more contacts one a S2S with Roger, F5LKW on F/AM-613.
Reverting to the "low bands" brought in a second S2S with Victor, GI4ONL/p on GI/SM-015.

Monday, 20 July 2015

SOTA - Slievetrue - GI/AH-010

Slievetrue - 312m, 1 point

Association: Northern Ireland Region: Antrim Hills
Latitude: 54 43 54 N, Longitude: 5 54 35 W
Grid Reference: J 347891, QTH Locator: IO74BR

A flying visit to Northern Ireland left little time to fit in an activation.
Seeing a possible weather window for the morning of my return flight, I jumped in the car and headed for Slievetrue. It was raining by the time I put on my boots, and it got progressively worse as I climbed the hill!

Finding some shelter tucked in behind a plastic water tank, I opened proceedings on 20 metres.

After 15 minutes and 11 calls in the log, I was soaked through, the horizontal rain was getting harder, and I'd had enough! I couldn't muster up the effort to try another band - sorry.

I packed up and went home to dry out before my afternoon flight.
Two S2S with F6FTB/p on F/MC-001 and S52CU/p on S5/JA-001 saved the day from being a complete washout!

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