Activation report GW/NW-044 & 051

After forgeting my co-ax on Saturday, I decided to get some winter bonus action on Sunday & to my amazement discovered I hadn`t yet done the Clwyidian pair.

I arrived at the parking spot of Bwlch Penbarras at approx 0930 (I was supposed to be on summit by 1015 - oops). It was minus 1C in the car park and quite windy. I decided to do Moel Famau (044) first and set off up the track. Approx 40 mins later I was on the summit and set up for HF on the North side of the summit to try and keep out of the biting Southerly wind. Temperature on summit was minus 3C and more like minus 10C with wind chill. A good run on 40m and 80m produced 40 contacts. I was contemplating a shout on 60m when Keith G(W)8HXE showed up. Keith had already activated on 2m, so after a chin wag I was much too cold to do 5Mhz and packed the station up. My hands were completely numb by now so I was keen to get walking.

Back at the car I exchanged batteries, said goodbye to Keith and set off up Foel Fenlli (051). I couldn`t go directly up as it was a sheet of ice where the run off had thawed and re-frozen, nevertheless I was on the summit about 15 mins later. Again I set up on the North side to try and escape the wind. This time I did 40m/60m/80m and logged 52 contacts with a s2s with John GX0OOO/P on Birks Fell. When the calls finally stopped I packed up and made good time back to the car.

On the way home I had a quick detour to the Horseshoe pass to check on something, then a flying visit to Mike DSP in Connahs Quay.
I was amazed on both summits today to hear those 5 magic words “Thanks for the new one” - this despite both summits being activated well over 100 times each! A short video has been put on You tube :- SOTA in the Clwydians. - YouTube
And one blurred photo on flikr (I was shivering at the time)
92 contacts all ssb - 40m - 51, 80m - 33, 60m - 8.

Thanks to all who called / spotted. Steve G1INK.

In reply to G1INK:

A good video, thanks Steve. Not sure what I enjoyed most, the video or the background music.

73 Mike

In reply to G1INK:

It’s a nice easy stroll up the path to Moel Famau. Sounds like it was cooler than when I was up there with Brian the other week. But it’s not bad if there’s no wind. I have to say I’m most envious of you and everyone else who got out this weekend. I’ve had a stinking cold today and most of the weekend. Hence the cancellation of Sunday’s advertised walk. I was going to try for something up in Perthshire today but I felt awful and it was a little cool. At 10.00am the car thermometer said -5C, my QTH is about 200m ASL facing North. It’s not got above freezing all day. We’ve had a wonderful blue sky and bright sun, yet even in direct sunlight the frost didn’t melt on the ground. Yikes!


In reply to G1INK: “On the way home I had a quick detour to the Horseshoe pass”

You should have called us on the radio Steve, G0AOD, M0JDK and me were in the area doing the two summits, 42/43, we could have bought you a cuppa in the cafe.

In reply to 2E0KPO:

Hi Steve - I think I was probably too late to see you & John. I went to check the lock on the gate up to NW-043 as I recognised it from Andy`s (FMF) photo from many moons ago. It was the same lock we use at work, so I reckoned I had a key. However when I got there, I was amazed to see the gate had no fewer than 10 padlocks on it !!!
Steve G1INK.

Yes, I was surprised to see so many locks on the gate. Shame as there is quite a good road up to the summit it could make for an easy 5 points in the winter pending no ice on the road

In reply to 2E0KPO:

C-Y-B used to be our contest site back in the 70s and 80s. I was quite shocked to see all the masts that have appeared on the summit since I was last up there - and yes, we used to take our cars up there even then. My Mini even made it once or twice. The gate was always good fun. Locating the key always imparted an unwanted element of uncertainty before a contest.

73, Richard

In reply to G4ERP:

The lock design is wonderful. There are 8 padlocks and you only need to remove one padlock to gain access. However, the design is such that 8 different people can have their own lock and thus access arrangements without hindering anyone else. The gate was put in place around 1996 and all the normal tricks to stop you forcing access have been implemented. Every single nut and bolt used has had some weld applied so that you cannot dismantle the gate to gain access. The problem was not amateurs doing contests (like Richard, I used it as a contest site in the 90s) but from oiks riding motor-cross bikes tearing up the ground.

We never had any problems with breakthrough on 2m from the on-site equipment. Even when running bigish antennas (2x 17ele) and a high-gain preamp. We did have a some issues with one of the 70cms preamps becoming unstable. That was caused by the high level of R3 at the input to the preamp. A notch filter made from coax cured it.

Getting the key was always fun. You were never sure you’d be able to gain access after all the effort of getting the contest gear together and getting there nice and early. However, we found that some suitable application of “Christmas Cheer”, the kind that comes in 70cl bottles from Speyside, given to the correct people made getting the key a lot more reliable!