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7 days, 48 summits

I decided to clear off on my own for a week and get a load of activations done. Jimmy @M0HGY plotted me a kind of circular route kicking off around Welshpool, working across Mid Wales and down towards Pembrokeshire, back across South Wales, then into the Mendips, Exmoor and a brief stop into Cornwall, before moving back across Devon, into the Forest of Dean and Herefordshire. He kindly programmed a huge number of parking spots from his memory into my satnav. There was an ambitious longlist of 64 summits to work through, although that was decidedly unlikely!

In the event, I did start to skip out a few of the longer walks in Wales, and ultimately I ran out of time to finish everything hoped for in the Midlands at the end of the week. Nonetheless, a total of 48 uniques summits were activated in the week. Accommodation was a mixture of camping (3 nights), sleeping in my car (2 nights) plus one guest room in an otherwise closed pub, one Travelodge, and a night in a spiritual retreat (with a free bar!).

Here’s the results:

There were a few interesting experiences! The only antenna carried was the 17m GP for the Challenge flavour. On a couple of activations, I had secured a 17m QSO for the Challenge but then couldn’t get a contact on any mode on 18MHz or on the 2m handheld - but still needed QSOs to qualify the summit. The “exit strategy” was to go to 20m FT4 where the band was still open after 17m had closed - and work the QSOs needed despite the high SWR!

There was an activation where I had qualified for the SOTA points - but hadn’t managed a 17m QSO. CW and SSB produced no responses, and indeed those portions of the band were completely silent. The FT8 frequency 18.100MHz was buzzing away but getting quieter and quieter. I called and called on there, getting nothing, until eventually a line in the RX window went red - and I was being called by YV Venezuela! Ukraine or Italy would have done - but I was happy to accept some South American DX!

Accommodation decisions were always made late in the day. Richard @g3cwi pessimistically advised me that getting accommodation in these Covid times would be difficult, but I was much more relaxed, knowing that I always had the options of my backpacking tent or my car if needed. The choice to go for paid booked accommodation was influenced by when I needed to recharge my 16Ah LifePO4 battery - and when I really wanted a proper wash and a good night’s sleep!

So it’s around 9.30pm and I’m about to go up Mynydd Allt-y-grug GW/SW-032 and thinking I need somewhere to stay. I went on Booking.com and found an ideally-situated single room for £30. I gave them a ring to check if an 11.30pm arrival would be acceptable. It was, so I booked.

After the activation, I looked up a bit more about the place - chiefly to put the postcode in my satnav - and discovered that it was a spiritual retreat. I assumed that it would be a “dry night” therefore, but on arrival and filling in the check-in form, I spotted a healthily stocked sideboard with beers, lagers, wines and spirits. I asked if it was possible to buy a beer to take to my room. The young lady replied “Oh that’s just stuff our previous guests have left behind, feel free to help yourself”.

I almost wished I wasn’t planning on an early start and another full-on multi-summit day, but fortunately my SOTA-obsession won through, and I restricted myself to a can of Stella and a large Baileys… It didn’t half make the £30 room rate incredible value though!

I must make a special mention to Jan @OK2PDT - not only the world’s leading SOTA activator, but one of the world’s leading chasers too. Jan worked me on no less than 27 of the 51 activations - very impressive!

I guess I better get on with entering the logs…!


Thats a fair whack of summits in one trip!

Is that an ordinary Spread Sheet formatted (by you) for SOTA? I’d love to do a weeks trip and get that many activations in but a lot of driving to do so. The only thing I’d not be looking forward to is the logging when I got home!!


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Yeah just MS Excel from a blank workbook.

Well done Tom.

I dream of 1 activation in 7 days. We are in Stage 4 lockdown because 1 in 5 infected people have been ignoring their diagnosis and doing their thing. So much for solidarity.

I would not have been brave enough to head out on that sort of summit carnival with a monobander, albeit you had 2 m.

I don’t suppose you had time for pictures?


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You know me better than that Ron!

Yeah there’s photos from each of the 51 activations. They will be on my website http://tomread.co.uk in due course, but are already published on my Facebook timeline - feel free.

Sorry to hear about the lockdown. Various areas here in G are being placed into tighter restrictions daily.

Well done Tom - happy logging!!!
Alastair, M0TYM

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The thing was, it was the 17m Flavour week in the 2020 SOTA Challenge. So I simply HAD to have at least one 18MHz QSO from every activation. That was non-negotiable! As you say, I had my VHF handheld as a sort of back-up (probably more of a back-up in G/GW than it might be in VK3), plus, if in real trouble (as I was twice), I could force a QSO on 20m through the 17m antenna.

Well done Tom, a great effort. 73 de Geoff vk3sq

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Updates - photos and activation reports - on http://tomread.co.uk for Day 1 of this trip:

Saturday 1st August 2020

Allt y Main GW/NW-059 - http://tomread.co.uk/allty.htm
Y Golfa GW/NW-061 - http://tomread.co.uk/ygolfa.htm
Stingwern Hill GW/MW-030 - http://tomread.co.uk/stingwer.htm
Heath Mynd G/WB-007 - http://tomread.co.uk/heath.htm
Caeliber Isaf GW/MW-031 - http://tomread.co.uk/c.htm
Garreg-hir GW/MW-017 - http://tomread.co.uk/garreg-hir_mw-017.htm
Bryn Amlwg GW/MW-015 - http://tomread.co.uk/bryn.htm
Bryn y Fan GW/MW-018 - http://tomread.co.uk/bryn_y_fan_mw-018.htm

Unusually for a batch of my updates, all these report on activations in which I actually gained activator points!


48 gurning selfies - no thanks.


Updates - photos and activation reports - on http://tomread.co.uk for Day 2 of this trip:

Sunday 2nd August 2020

Bryn y Fan GW/MW-018 - http://tomread.co.uk/bryn_y_fan_mw-018.htm
Cefn Cenarth GW/MW-039 - http://tomread.co.uk/cefn_cenarth_mw-039.htm
Mynydd Eppynt GW/SW-018 - http://tomread.co.uk/mynydd_eppynt_sw-018.htm
Hafod Ithel GW/MW-029 - http://tomread.co.uk/Hafodithel.htm
Rhos Ymryson GW/MW-035 - http://tomread.co.uk/Rhosymrson.htm
Brandy Hill GW/MW-037 - http://tomread.co.uk/BrandyHill.htm

Updates - photos and activation reports - on http://tomread.co.uk for Day 3 of this trip:

Monday 3rd August 2020

Mynydd Llangyndeyrn GW/SW-039 - http://tomread.co.uk/mynyddllangyndeyrn.htm
Mynydd Sylen GW/SW-036 - http://tomread.co.uk/mynydd_sylen_sw-036.htm
Pen-crug-melyn GW/MW-036 - http://tomread.co.uk/Pencrugmelyn.htm
Mynydd Cynros GW/MW-034 - http://tomread.co.uk/MynyddCynros.htm
Trichrug GW/SW-022 - http://tomread.co.uk/trichrug_sw-022.htm
Mynydd y Betws GW/SW-028 - http://tomread.co.uk/mynydd_y_betws_sw-028.htm
Mynydd Uchaf GW/SW-031 - http://tomread.co.uk/mynydd_uchaf_sw-031.htm
Mynydd Allt-y-grug GW/SW-032 - http://tomread.co.uk/mynydd_allt-y-grug_sw-032.htm

Thanks to Jimmy @m0hgy for the proof reading and advising corrections!

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Updates - photos and activation reports - on http://tomread.co.uk for Day 4 of this trip:

Tuesday 4th August 2020

Mynydd Drumau GW/SW-038 - http://www.tomread.co.uk/mynydd_drumau_sw-038.htm
Mynydd Dinas GW/SW-040 - http://www.tomread.co.uk/mynydd_dinas_sw-040.htm
Cefn Eglwysilan GW/SW-025 - http://www.tomread.co.uk/cefn_eglwysilan_sw-0.htm
Garth Hill GW/SW-034 - http://www.tomread.co.uk/garth_hill_sw-034.htm
Mynydd y Lan GW/SW-024 - http://www.tomread.co.uk/mynydd_y_lan_sw-024.htm
Mynydd Machen GW/SW-030 - http://www.tomread.co.uk/mynydd_machen_sw-030.htm

Thanks again to Jimmy @m0hgy for the proof reading and advising corrections!

Updates - photos and activation reports - on http://tomread.co.uk for Day 5 of this trip:

Wednesday 5th August 2020

Mynydd Machen GW/SW-030 - http://www.tomread.co.uk/mynydd_machen_sw-030.htm
Wentwood GW/SW-033 - http://tomread.co.uk/wentwood_sw-033.htm
Dundry Down GW/SC-010 - http://tomread.co.uk/dundry_down_sc-010.htm
Beacon Batch G/SC-003 - http://tomread.co.uk/beacon_batch_sc-003.htm
Wills Neck G/SC-002 - http://tomread.co.uk/will’s_neck_sc-002.htm
Periton Hill G/SC-006 - http://tomread.co.uk/periton_hill_sc-006.htm
Dunkery Beacon G/SC-001 - http://tomread.co.uk/dunkery_beacon_sc-001.htm
Selworthy Beacon G/SC-005 - http://tomread.co.uk/selworthy_beacon_sc-005.htm

Over to you Jimmy @m0hgy for the proof-reading!

*There’s a new circular walk in the “Lockdown walks” series too - a rather stunning route from Bamford station taking in Bamford Edge that me and Marianne did yesterday - including a bit of mild scrambling for me (Marianne took a longer walk around and avoided putting hand to rock!).

Updates - photos and activation reports - on http://tomread.co.uk for Day 6 of this trip:

Thursday 6th August 2020

Selworthy Beacon G/SC-005 - http://tomread.co.uk/selworthy_beacon_sc-005.htm
Kit Hill G/DC-003 - http://tomread.co.uk/kithill.htm
Christ Cross G/DC-005 - http://tomread.co.uk/christ.htm
Staple Hill G/SC-004 - http://tomread.co.uk/staple_hill_sc-004.htm
Cleeve Hill G/CE-001 - http://tomread.co.uk/cleeve.htm
Bredon Hill G/CE-003 - http://tomread.co.uk/bredon.htm

If you do take a look at my webpages, please sign the guestbook! (Link on the main home page - http://tomread.co.uk )

Rounding off the activation reports from this Road Trip with a mammoth 9-summit day on Day 7 and something rather more serene and habitual on Day 8:

Friday 7th August 2020

Worcestershire Beacon G/WB-009 - http://tomread.co.uk/worceste.htm
May Hill G/WB-019 - http://tomread.co.uk/may_hill_wb-019.htm
Ruardean Hill G/WB-021 - http://tomread.co.uk/ruardean_hill_wb-021.htm
Graig Syfyrddin GW/SW-020 - http://tomread.co.uk/edmunds_tump_sw-020.htm
Garway Hill G/WB-013 - http://tomread.co.uk/garway.htm
Aconbury Hill G/WB-024 - http://tomread.co.uk/aconbury.htm
Hegdon Hill G/WB-023 - http://tomread.co.uk/hegdon_hill_wb-023.htm
Burton Hill G/WB-020 - http://tomread.co.uk/burton.htm
Wapley Hill G/WB-016 - http://tomread.co.uk/wapley_hill_wb-016.htm

Saturday 8th August 2020 - although if you include these, it becomes 8 days, 53 activations, 50 summits

Gun G/SP-013 - http://tomread.co.uk/gun.htm
The Cloud G/SP-015 - http://tomread.co.uk/thecloud.htm

If you do take a look at my webpages, please sign the guestbook! (Link on the main home page - http://tomread.co.uk/ )