Sunday 19th February 2018 - Moel y Gamelin GW/NW-042
I decided to be a bit more daring - or you could say lazy - or even downright foolhardy - for this expedition. I parked opposite the Ponderosa, finished the coffee in my SOTA travel mug, and set off for the slog up Moel y Faen. However, I did so without a rucksack. I was carrying my FT-70DE handheld in my coat pocket, and was confident enough in the well-known and relatively short easy walk, that I wouldn’t require food or drink.
I enjoyed the walk to Moel y Gamelin summit, and was looking forward to using my new Yaesu FT-60DE handheld with its Fusion capabilities.
I didn’t succeed in getting any response on 144.6125MHz C4FM though, not initially anyway. Activity down that part of the band had been excellent the previous night, but I suspected many of those people would have been otherwise engaged at the Nantwich rally.
I did get three QSOs on normal (analogue) 2m FM though, including S2S with Jordan M3TMX/P on Kinder Scout G/SP-001. Then my 4th and qualifying contact was on Fusion courtesy of Tony G4DEE in the Bolton area.
Four 2m analogue QSOs were added, culminating in a S2H - “SOTA to HEMA” - but as I explained to Phil GW1CJJ/P, I am banned from that programme and have had all my activator and chaser logs deleted by Rob G7LAS when he took over the running of it from Mike G4BLH.
Next it was the return walk for one of my favourite lunches of the year - the homemade steak & kidney pie, with chips, and two veg. As ever, a complete triumph! (And there was a few of those outside too…).
I usually leave this one for the “post-lunch constitutional”, it being rather shorter and easier than Moel y Gamelin. I remained with the road track all the way, easily avoiding the “tempatation” to cut across the public footpath and take in that rather scary (for me) edge!
Initially, nothing was heard on 2m, nor any replies coming back to me. I was concerned that the nearby masts might be desensing my rig, especially as I hadn’t brought any alternative - radio or aerial - with me! The rucksack was still in the car - I was having an easy day!
I then did hear MX0YHA, and managed to call in and work Kevin M0XLT who was operating. Five more analogue 2m FM contacts quickly followed, including S2S with Carl M0SER/P on The Wrekin G/WB-010 and Jordan M3TMX/P, now on Shining Tor G/SP-004.
Jordan advised that he was going to be moving on to Gun G/SP-013, and finally The Cloud G/SP-015. I figured out the timings and suggested that I may meet him on The Cloud. Jordan sounded pretty keen for this, so I made up my mind it was going to happen. On Fusion, I added George G0MIT to the log, and set off on my descent.
Back in the car, I phoned Jimmy M0HGY and tried to cajole him out to meet Jordan on The Cloud G/SP-015. It had been nine years since we had all done a SOTA day together, up on Baystones G/LD-039 and Loughrigg Fell G/LD-047. Meanwhile, Jordan was now up on Gun G/SP-013, and I managed to work him while driving back to Macclesfield. As I got closer to home, I heard Jimmy working him from our home QTH.
The Cloud G/SP-015 (some photos by M0HGY)
I picked up Jimmy from home, and drove over to Cloudside. After only a couple of minutes, Jordan arrived in his car, and we set off up the hill.
Jimmy was keen not to QRM Jordan’s 2m FM activation - but also keen to collect his activator point - so he quickly got QRV with his handheld while Jordan was setting up his SOTA Beam - an original 3 element SOTA Beam I noticed!
When Jordan was ready, Jimmy went QRT having qualified. I went on 2m Fusion, and operating on digital from around 900Hz down the band, it seemed that Jordan and I caused each other no issues at all, despite being only 80 yards or so away.
I made three QSOs on 2m C4FM, then passed the rig to Jimmy so he could record a Fusion contact for himself. Initally, I didn’t think to edit the outgoing callsign on the rig, but the lesson was soon learned and put into practice!
The joint activation closed with Jordan having a go on Fusion, then Jimmy having a second go. We walked back down and shared directions for which pub we were going to.
The Robin Hood Inn on the A54 was surprisingly closed, so we continued down towards Congleton and went in the Church House instead. We had a good natter and I was very interested to hear all about Jordan’s job working as a radio producer. I told him about Liam’s work with Upload Radio, and Canalside 102.8.
Anyway, as ever, the Ponderosa Pair made for a most enjoyable day out, and the extra summit and surprise meet-up with an old friend was a great way to end it.