Firstly a huge thank you to the SOTA MT on my behalf. I wasn’t involved in the organisation of this event, however I did make sure the participants involved saw lots of radio on the mountain tops. DX-15 - an event organised by the RSGB Youth Committee to promote amateur radio to the up-coming amateurs in our hobby. The event was sponsored to my understanding generously by SOTA, the RCF and RSGB. Kenwood supplied equipment for the event and sponsored it as well. We had nine youngsters, well 8 youngsters and one old one at the event (me) + Mark M0NCG + Mike 2E0MLJ and the Camb-Hams !. The shack was based at the foot of Waun Fach (GW/SW-002) in a large bunkhouse with the front dining room converted into a radio room. The camb-hams had joined us with Flossie and by Thursday afternoon we had full band coverage on 80 , 40 , 20 , 15, and 17 meters. The callsign for the event - MC0RYC.
Pen-Y-Fan (GW/SW-001) Saturday 25/07
Dom (Camb-hams) MW0BLF - Standing. Me on the left, Josh, Mike, and Taylor.
Activation equipment was somewhat spread out, with the most common item being the humble 2m/70cms HH, I had my KX3 and associated activating equipment from many previous outings. Rob MW0VFC had his also. The organizers had bought a wealth of equipment from SOTABeams, which throughout the week I had the pleasure of using and taking some of it home. One can never have enough linked dipoles !
Started out from the standard route at the side of the A470 and took the very boring plod up the National trust path. Rob elected to take a slightly larger group up GW-SW-009 at the same time for the s2s, this was much closer to the bunkhouse. The TXFactor elected to go up the bigger one with us, having a camera on you is a somewhat strange experience. I think they went away happy to the pub afterwards…
Numerous locals made the 2m contacts - too many too mention! HF the rest made it on 20m, 40m was hopeless. The weather was perfect, but the sky was pretty broken.
Rob VFC was taking most of the children through bracken high enough to almost make them disappear up to the top of GW/SW-009 (Mynydd Troed). I went up this on the following Tuesday night to have a go in the 6m contest which proved to be great fun, including a nice rag-chew with Tom MW1EYP/P on Cadair Berwyn. I can not put too many words to this activation, but the smiles seems to suggest fun was being had.
Rob, Milo, Matt, and Connor
I wish I could run to the summit !
Mynydd Llangorse (GW/SW-015) Sunday 26/07
This was a slightly wet one, Rob had got slightly stuck behind with Will 2W0WOD on mid ascent upon crossing the top plateau I lost contact with them on 2m, we pressed on to the summit with me now currently monitoring the groups safety in thicker mist. All of the nine had came on this one activation, we combined later on with Rob taking a slightly different route to the trig point.
After SW-001, I had given up hope with 40m and went straight for 15m. I managed to bag my four. Will eager and young took the mic to gain a few more. 15m dried up and a prompt link switch to 20m ensured the rest of the group got four each. Some opted for 2m and a mix of HF. G0LGS made good work of getting each operator on 2m. The themed Joke was this should have been a IOTA activation … rather a large puddle.
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15 / 20m setup
Will - 2W0WOD - One to watch.
Black Mountain GW/SW-041 Tuesday 28/08
This was to be the last SOTA activation of the project. Again me Rob and Dom attended this. Connor and Josh came along. So the adults out numbered the teens on this. The bands had improved and local skip was now working on 40m. I worked four on 12W then immediately gave the mic to Josh so that he could qualify. Connor was with Dom on the other KX3 on the 20m band, Rob had a quick go on the key so that he could qualify and Dom followed. Job done, short and sweet.
Some other non-mountain photos.
ART-13 Bottom / BC348 Top in-action on 3.615 MHz AM.
The ART-13 has been on the air for roughly 3 weeks before this event. The Collins Autotune still brings the transmitter within 50 Hz of its set operating frequency on AM. One side of the hobby that is not often experienced with modern transceivers. It also made a brilliant sock warmer after SOTA !
Operating played a large part with the pinnacle being the IOTA contest. Construction, antenna building, washing-up and every other amateur group activity was experienced. Hobby at its best IMO.
Just my take on the weekend. I will remember this event for a long time, very tiring but worth every minute. SOTA made a big impact to the enjoyment of this event and I am sure it has encouraged some younger people to chase and activate. Is amateur radio dying as an interest ? not if this week had anything to go by.