Fourth NA-EU S2S event
The suggestion of us getting some extra value out of the day was purely down to Paul G4MD (G6GGP). He suggested that we “warm up” on a summit during the morning in readiness for the main event in the afternoon. The only downside for me would be that the first event would inevitably take some of my battery capacity, but I estimated that with careful management I would be able to run for around 4 hours on the second summit.
With the two summits accessed from a single point, we would operate from separate summits and swap over after lunch back at the car. We arrived at the coll to find all the best parking spots occupied, so we had to park on the verge which was very soft and deeply rutted. Thankfully we were using Paul’s Land Rover for this outing which has much superior ground clearance to my Quattro so this was not an issue.
Mynydd Llangorse GW/SW-015
Operation period 08:35 – 09:35z excluding initial S2S.
With an easy walk of around 2.4 kilometres and 170 metres of ascent, I enjoyed the walk which is initially steep, but once on the top it is very easy. For much of the ascent I could see Paul climbing his hill across the valley. I reached the highest point on the track at 07:56z and before setting up gave Paul a call on our usual talkback frequency of 433.550MHz. He had already arrived on his summit and so the first S2S of the day was in the bag:
Paul GW6GGP/P on Mynydd Troed GW/SW-009
The set up on Mynydd Llangorse GW/SW-015 with Mynydd Troed GW/SW-009 in the background
After setting up, I decided to operate on 10MHz CW, setting the FT-857D to 10 watts to minimise the battery drain. It took a number of calls to get a response and then the caller promptly disappeared. Knowing there had been a coronal event, I feared the worst and I was not greatly encouraged when Jack OH3GZ called me. The reports were not our usual 599 each way. Indeed, contacts were slow in coming and there were only 6 made on the band, though 3 of them were S2S:
Roger F5LKW/P on Montagne des Regagnes F/CR-209
Juerg HB9BIN/P on Wurz HB/AG-011
Bernd OK/DL2DXA/P on Decinsky Sneznik OK/US-024
Moving to 20m at 09:05z, I managed just 2 more contacts on CW, one of which was an S2S:
Ivica 9A6CW/P on Sveti Jure 9A/DH-007.
My final session was on 432MHz SSB. After self-spotting and then calling in all directions produced no response until Paul called me once more. We decided that it was time to move on, but as usual I couldn’t resist a few more calls on the band and this produced contacts with Stewart G0LGS and Matt 2E0MDJ. So just a total of 12 contacts for the activation including the two with Paul.
Mynydd Troed GW/SW-009
Operation period 12:00 – 15:45z excluding initial S2S.
Mynydd Troed GW/SW-009 - the ascent is steeper than it looks!
After meeting for lunch, we set off for our second summit. It was now rather warm and I had to take several stops to cool down… and let runners past as there was a race now taking with part of the route going over the two summits. This summit is only just over a kilometre from the parking spot, but has 260m of ascent. I was at the trig by 11:30z and a few minutes later took a call from Paul for the first S2S from this one.
Antenna set up on Mynydd Troed GW/SW-009
After setting up I quickly found Juerg HB9BIN/P (still on Wurz) so gave him a call. Moving up to my usual frequency of 14.064MHz and setting the rig to 50 watts out brought an immediate response from Les K4DY. Signals appeared to be quite good, so I was encouraged. There were a lot of gaps between calls after an initial run of 5 contacts and with calls coming from European chasers I decided to drop the power to 10 watts. Ironically I then picked up 3 European S2S contacts and Rich N4EX.
Checking the spots I saw Kevin AC2KL was on SSB. I moved up band and found that I could copy him, but he was not really strong enough to work. This suggested CW was the better mode to be on for a bit of S and P. It was approaching 13:00z and I found Evan KN3O who was 529, but unfortunately he couldn’t hear me and I was not successful in making contact with him before he went QRT to go to work. So near yet so far!
I set up the VFOs on the 857D for the SSB and CW sections of 20m and checked the SSB section to find Kevin AC2KL was now strong enough to work – 41 both ways. I called Paul on the talkback frequency, but Paul was not copying Kevin as well as I was. Later on I copied Kevin at 53. A combination of S and P and the occasional call on CW netted me further S2S contacts, with Barry N1EU in the log at 13:33z. I kept checking the spots and heard copyable signals from the VE6 guys at 13:48z, but their frequency 14.047MHz was soon swamped by a contest station.
The S and P approach picked up an S2S with Neil GW0WPO/P. I listened for Mark NK8Q at 14:22z and could copy his callsign, but little else. In hindsight I should have called him, but I decided to carry on with 50 watts for a while and monitor his frequency. Unfortunately conditions between us got worse rather than better. Another might have been. In the mix of S and P and calling on 14.064MHz, Les KG3W made my log at 14:42z to give me my third fixed station across the pond. Further S2S contacts included one with Jordan MW3TMX/P on 144MHz which gave me time to stretch my legs.
At 15:00z I could copy Malcolm VE2DDZ very well at 529, but there was another station on the frequency and my calls were not copied over in Canada. Shortly afterwards, I saw a spot for Pete WA7JTM who should have been workable with some effort, but I couldn’t break through his pile up, most of which I could copy. In the hope of picking up some of his chasers, I moved up a little and called. I was surprised to work Allan GW4VPX and then Les K4DY called in to give me an updated report of 579. He was now 599 with me. After another contact and a lot of calling, I decided on S and P again which picked up another 3 S2S, one being on 144MHz.
At 15:45z, I called Paul to see how he was getting on to find that things had ground to a halt at his end. We therefore decided to call it a day and get off home. My battery capacity had almost expired, so this seemed to be the sensible thing to do.
So 18 S2S from this summit:
Paul GW6GGP/P on Mynydd Llangorse GW/SW-015
Juerg HB9BIN/P on Wurz HB/AG-011
Ivica 9A6CW/P on Sveti Jure 9A/DH-007.
Colin M1BUU/P on Rombalds Moor G/NP-028
Yovcho LZ1JG/P on Kaloyomov vrah LZ/RO-144
Igor OM3CUG/P on Holica OM/ZA-065
Kevin AC2KL on Ripley Hill W2/WE-062
Michael OK2SAM/P on Cihadio OK/JC-068
Jurij S57X/P on Marutnik S5/TK-024
Barry N1EU on Utsayantha Mountain W2/GC-026
Neil GW0WPO/P on Tal y Fan GW/NW-040
Stavros SV2RUJ/P on Palioxwri SV/MC-049
Adrian YO8AZQ/P on Dealul Vulturesti YO/EC-035
Zoran E70AA/P on Motika E7/BO-049
Jordan MW3TMX/P on Ysgyryd Fawr GW/SW-016
Borut S52AU/P on Sivka S5/TK-022
Georgi LZ2OQ/P on Dupevitsa LZ/KV-021
Robert MW0VFC/P on Aran Fawddwy GW/NW-007
2 NA S2S, 16 EU S2S, 3 NA chasers (K4DY twice) and 7 EU chasers
Overall conditions were very variable. There was a lot of QRN and thunder crashes at my end, but there were only a few drops of rain. QSB seemed to be slow on DX signals and more rapid on those from closer stations. I am certain that I got the better deal on the day and that Mynydd Troed has a superior take off which gave me the edge over Paul. However, we are going to undertake an extended joint activation at some point to enable us to compare our set ups.
The excellent take off from Mynydd Troed GW/SW-009
Once again I really enjoyed the event and the weather was absolutely brilliant. I am certainly looking forward to the next one in late September or October. As has been suggested, we should call the next one the Trans-Atlantic S2S event. Many thanks to everyone who took part in this one.
73, Gerald GW8CXK/P