…played at a neutral venue in Wales, Sunday 19th October 2008.
The three Norwegian “SOTA tourists” met the two English daytrippers from Macclesfield at the car park in between Foel Fenlli GW/NW-051 and Moel Famau GW/NW-044. After a few introductions and photographs, we split into two groups. Jimmy M3EYP went up Foel Fenlli with Aage LA1ENA, while I (Tom M1EYP) joined Mads LA1TPA and Kjell LA1KHA on the walk up to Moel Famau.
Aage and Jimmy set a hot pace all day, and MW3EYP/P was heard calling CQ on 2m FM when we were barely halfway to Jubilee Tower. Atop our respective summits, Jimmy and I both worked on 2m FM, while Aage, Kjell and Mads used 40m CW, 30m CW and 40m SSB respectively. The Norwegian lads also had a dabble on 2m FM, while I accepted a kind invitation from Kjell to have a go on his KX1, resulting in some 10MHz CW QSOs for me.
We had only just started the descent from NW-044 when Aage and Jimmy appeared, nearing the completion of their own ascent. The wind, which had been strong all day, was starting to hit even harder. We took this meeting as an opportunity to pause for more photos, and make a start on the flask of Bouillebaise Soup.
Jimmy and Aage continued to force a fast pace, and they were QRV from Moel Famau before the three of us were even halfway to the car park. Nonetheless, we ignored them, save for mention that we would wait until we could get them S2S.
Heading over the car park and onto the lower green slopes of Foel Fenlli, I decided to push the pace on a bit, resulting in cries from Kjell and Mads behind me to ease off a bit. I did, and within seconds, Mads was overtaking me and leaving me for dead!
We pushed on to the right of Foel Fenlli, taking the more graded approach to the summit, by then cutting back and following the curving iron age ramparts upwards. At the summit, Mads was again QRV on 40m SSB, but Kjell had difficulty in getting his antenna upright. Eventually, he comprimised to have it slanting away from the fierce wind, but that was enough for him to be QRV on 30m CW.
Over on Moel Famau, Aage was making an impressive 32 QSOs on 40m CW, with Jimmy running his battery down on 2m FM on his VX-110. His charge expired just before his final contact - a S2S with me on the other hill - so Aage kindly lent Jimmy his own 2m HH to finish off.
After packing up, I decided to take the more direct descent down the wooden staircases and steep eroded paths. This was mainly to get more immediate shelter from the westerly wind. As we approached the car park, we could see Jimmy and Aage on the last section of footpath down from Moel Famau. So, somehow, we had made up the time and reestablished synchronisation.
The five of us then adjourned to the We Three Loggerheads pub for a couple of beers and a study of the road atlases and discussion about what they could do tomorrow. Y Garn GW/NW-004 and Snowdon GW/NW-001 were mentioned, but thought to be less than ideal if the same level of wind was likely to be around. Moel y Gamelin GW/NW-042 and Cyrn-y-Brain GW/NW-043 were mentioned as an obvious pair, but I suggested that Tal y Fan GW/NW-040 with Great Orme GW/NW-070, together with Conwy Castle and a visit to the seaside town of Llandudno might make a more rewarding complete day out. Good luck with whatever you decide to do lads.
A wonderful day out with great company. A real pleasure to spend a SOTA day with Mads, Kjell and Aage. UFB.