3 days in GW/SW

A recent clear period of work gave me the chance to escape to GW/SW for a few days of SOTA. My primary target was to activate the remaining multi-pointers which I hadn’t got around to so far, namely, GW/SW-009. GW/SW-011 & GW/SW-015, although I hoped there would be the chance to activate at least one or two more as well. This is quite a long report!

Day 1
A fairly straightforward drive from my home QTH in Surrey down the M4 saw me arriving at the parking area between GW/SW-009 & GW/SW-015 in good time. I was greeted by fairly cloudy and windy conditions, which is what had been predicted by my various weather apps. I decided to tackle GW/SW-009, Mynydd Troed first.

The ascent was reasonably straightforward, although as you might expect from the above photo, visibility was in short supply at times. The paths were a little muddy and slippery in places, but more than passable as long as one was paying attention. I didn’t encounter anyone else during my time on this summit. As you can see from the following picture, there wasn’t much of a view!

The wind was pretty strong at the summit, but I found a handy bunker close to the trig point to bed down in and operate from. I started off on 2m FM and made 3 fairly quick contacts. Then I moved onto 40m SSB using an end-fed halfwave. After getting a buffeting setting it up, it was back to the bunker to put some calls out. The band had sounded quite lively when I had a quick spin-around, and I was quickly called by a 2E0 station. Possibly @2E0AGB. Unfortunately, he mysteriously disappeared, and I couldn’t raise any other stations despite repeated calls. A quick peek out of the bunker revealed that some of the sections of the mast had collapsed and the antenna was now lying on the ground. After a bit more battling with the elements, I was on the air again, and managed 5 contacts on 40m. I switched to 20m and couldn’t understand why the SWR seemed higher than usual. Yes, you guessed it, same problem as before. As I had more than enough contacts to qualify, I decided that was enough and packed up.

A fairly uneventful decent, and after grabbing a bite to eat in the car, I was ready to tackle GW/SW-015, Mynydd Llangorse. The weather had cleared up by now, and I even enjoyed a little bit of sunshine at times on my ascent.

Once again I had the summit to myself. 2m FM yielded 2 contacts, and I then once again tried some 40m SSB. The band seemed in great shape and I had a nice run of contacts. The weather was sadly not so compliant with heavy winds and driving rain arriving just as I started the activation! I would have stuck around for more if the wx had been playing ball, but that’s the way it goes.

There was still plenty of daylight left, so I decided to have a go at GW/SW-023, Allt yr Esgair which was only a few miles down the road. I parked up at the Llangasty Village Hall and started my walk in what was now warm sunshine. Unfortunately I didn’t get too far before I found the fairly narrow path blocked by a couple of bovine companions! They didn’t really look in the mood to move, and I didn’t really fancy trying to squeeze by, so I reversed course! I had noticed on my OS app that there was a bridleway that ran parallel to the path I was on, so I tried that one. Sadly I didn’t make it to the top. It was much steeper than I expected, and after hitting a particularly slippery section, my legs started to cry enough, so I decided to leave this one for another time.

Day 2
I decided to head for GW/SW-005, Fan Fawr first of all. A summit I have activated before, but I was keen to try the route up from the Beacons Reservoir this time (as opposed to the Storey Arms). The early morning rain storm had pushed on through, but strong winds certainly made the going a bit harder than it might have been on a calmer day. Still, I enjoyed the walk and here are a few pictures from it.

Thankfully the wind eased off a bit by the time I reached the summit. I had a great hour+ playing radio here with plenty of contacts on 40, 30, 20 & 2. Conditions seemed great, and I was quite surprised to be called by a few G stations on 30m. Also great to get some S2S contacts in the log, especially MW/@PA9CW who was “across the road” from me activating GW/SW-001.

Once back at the car I had decide on where to go next. I thought about GW/SW-001 (which I have done before), but as I suspected the path looked pretty busy (it was just after lunchtime on a half-term week), and I didn’t really fancy being in the crowds. So, I decided on a repeat attempt of GW/SW-023. I’m so glad I did, as this ended up being my favourite activation of my trip! This time I parked on the opposite side of the hill, in the large parking area off the A40 - just in case my cow friends were still in situ! The sun had well and truly broken out, and it was pleasantly warm. I had a lovely walk up. Once again, I had the summit to myself:

Band conditions seemed great. I had a nice run on 40 SSB, followed by a couple on 20 CW. I noticed that there seemed to be some activity on the higher hf bands, so thought I would try my luck there. I first tried some cw on 15m, and managed 4 contacts there. I was especially pleased to be called by @VE1WT & @K8LJG for my first trans-atlantic contacts for some time. Thanks guys! I then finished off by putting some calls out on 17m SSB. I managed a further 6 contacts here, and I was even more thrilled to be called by @WX1S (who was a strong signal with me) & @N4EX (more of a struggle, but we made it). Wow! I’m sure that there was first time I’d been called by North American stations using SSB. I hope I never get to the point where I get blase about these kind of contacts! One of those “magic of radio” moments. This was a perfect activation. Lots of contacts, with some DX in warm sunshine on a beautiful summit. What could be better!

Once I got back to the car I pondered about trying to squeeze in one more activation, but I was on such a high after GW/SW-023, I decided that was a good moment to stop for the day!

Day 3
I once again woke up to a fairly gloomy and rainy scene. The forecast was looking pretty uncertain for the day, but their appeared to be a window of potentially dryish weather, so I thought I would try and activate the one remaining summit that had been on my target list for this trip, GW/SW-011, Sugar Loaf. On arriving at the parking spot, the prospects from inside my car didn’t look great!

However, the rain did ease, so I decided to go for it! The walk up was in fairly misty and cloudy conditions, and unfortunately the rain returned with a vengeance once I got to the summit.

I set up for 2m FM praying that there be some stations out there to work. Thankfully there were, and I managed 6 rapid fire contacts whilst getting utterly drenched! A very quick pack-up and I was on my way back to the car.

I did consider going on to activate GW/SW-026, Bryn Arw, but despite the rain easing on my descent, it started up again, and I decided that one soaking was enough for me today, so that was it for my South Wales trip.

As ever, it was a total blast, despite the challenges of the weather. A huge thank you to all of the chasers and fellow activators for the S2S contacts. It’s always appreciated so much. I will give a special mention to Rod, @M0JLA for managing to work me on all 5 summits.

73, and until next time,
Matthew, M(W)0JSB


Hi Matthew, thanks for sharing your activation details with great photos. A great read. Well done. :+1:

Geoff vk3sq

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Nice one Matthew. Shame about the weather. It is the time of year when US stations can surprise you on SSB. Hopefully a sign of things to come for the summit to summit event.

Cows usually move if you shout and wave your hands in the air as you get closer to them. I had to help an old farmer shift his herd off a single track road a couple of years back. He showed me what to do and left me to it!


Thanks for the nice report and pictures!

73 - Tonnie - MW/PA9CW

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Thanks Geoff!

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Thanks Fraser,

Yes, the weather could have been better at times, but I’m well aware it could have been a lot worse for the time of year! Thanks for the tips on the cows! I would have tried harder if I’d been on a longer walk and/or was desperate to complete the activation, but as it was fairly near the start of the walk I took the lazy decision to turn back!


Thanks Tonnie,

I hope you’ve enjoyed your time in Wales, and you have a successful last activation.

Safe travels,

Matthew, M0JSB

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Good to see you enjoyed your time on our local hills despite the weather which looked rather familiar but, being local, we can afford to turn back and try again another day (or not stir from the fireside!) I’m not surprised that GW/SW-023 Allt yr Esgair ended up as your favourite as it is a lovely little ridge if you can see the views. You were well advised to be doing HF from there as VHF and UHF attempts can be rather prolonged, exhausting and (UHF especially) unsuccessful! Glad that you got safely up and down Mynydd Troed (the odd holes on top are a life-saver in the weather you got) as it has caused a few SOTA knee casualties on the way down. I now chicken out and go right round the corner on the cow path before descending and then have to work my way round and back to the car. Let us know when you are next coming and we’ll have a word with the weather!
73 Viki


Thanks Viki, yes, if you could sort the weather for next time that would be great!

73 - Matthew

Great report of some serious SOTA work. :slight_smile: I remember that wet bit on the path on Fan Fawr. We got past it by going above it but it wasn’t as wet as you found it.

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Nice one Mathew Yes it was me who was calling you when your antenna blew over, Thanks for the contact once you got back on the air.
Best 73

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Hi Matthew,

Nice report and images.

Thanks for both S2Ss on Friday from G/SC-004 <> GW/SW-005 and G/SC-011 <> GW/SW-023.

Weather indeed was fantastic yesterday - also down south - with large spells of uninterrupted sunshine.
Hope you made use of one of the ‘seats’ built into the wall at GW/SW-023.

73, Robert


Well done on what was obviously an enjoyable outing Matthew. It’s a great area with some super summits. I too like Allt yr Esgair GW/SW-023, enjoying both the walk from Llangasty Village Hall and the summit itself.

Is there any other way to operate this one?

73, Gerald


Don’t believe so.
73, Robert


Yes there is @G4OIG @M0RWX :grinning:

and then make use of the seats for a chat and chill with Mr Jones @GW4VPX


I have never used one of these seats - I leave them for the general public and sit on the ramparts or in the depression, depending on the wind direction.
73, Rod


Huh, nice conditions. But you enjoyed this and looking from the distance in time, really nice activations :wink:.

73, Ludwig

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Honestly, you southern boys and girls have it so easy. Seats on summits? I suppose Just Eat deliver there too?


Delivery? There’s a Farm Shop on the 2nd highest summit in the Southern England region (Leith Hill - G/SE-002). Picnic benches galore and they even serve hot drinks in ceramic mugs no less.
They were about to open up on Saturday morning after I activated the summit as I was getting ready for the arduous walk back to the car.



Thanks John, yes, it was rather wet under foot, but there had been a heavy rain storm a couple of hours earlier, so I was expecting it. Thankfully the rain mainly held off for my time on the mountain.
73, Matthew

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