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After Activation Report (AAR) for , Elidir Fawr, GW/NW-005













Well, low winds they said, mild temps they said…

Not a really early start, but a late night meant dragging myself bleary eyed out of bed for this one. Made sure that I’d packed the night before. Usual drill, all the gear no idea with big ambitions for the summit activation.
Decided to do the route that Ben GW4BML, kindly sent me, cheers pal. This would be a first ascent of Eidir Fawr and one that had been aborted twice in the last few weeks, once because of bad WX and Covid Booster symptoms and the other because IOL MW7IOL had beaten me to alerting it first :wink:
So, I set off from the car up the metalled road, had the usual stares from other walkers, probably because this time I had the 7-meter pole sticking out of the side of my pack, together with a two element yagi stuck to the back as well. Reason? Well, I’d seen that Fraser MM0EFI, had alerted for GM/ES-012 Glas Maol in the Eastern Highlands and he was going to be on 2m with a beam. Fraser has a cool u tube channel where he posts videos of his activations, which I came across when I was looking for some info on Landover’s. His channel is called The Radio Rover, I like Radio and Landover’s so I guess I had to subscribe :wink: Anyway Fraser is pretty active up in Scotland and I’d chased a few of his activations lately, with a negative result on some from the home QTH, so I thought this could be the moment to get a good QSO, as doing a summit to summit even with a weak signal I might be able to get priority over the stronger stations and not get lost in the noise.
This route to Eildir Fawr is straight forward, with a steep climb at the end over a boulder field, which in normal dry conditions would be fine, however it was below freezing from 700m metres and the rocks were covered in frost and ice, which made moving fast a bit sketchy. Oh, and have a mentioned the white out, so no views from the top for me today. I arrived at the cairn from the car in 1hr 20 mins and quickly set up. A few delays in getting going with a number of people turning up and wanting to know all about what I was doing, even an in-depth conversation with a woman who was an ex-navy signaller.
I don’t really like setting up the station in the cairns, but I had a look round the summit and, in the conditions, and wind it was the only realistic option, as I wanted to be there for a couple of hours. I set about on 2m and could hear some other Summits out there, so I chased them down first. Ended up with S2S with John GW4TQE/P on GW/NW-061, John GW0MHF/P on GW/NW-043, Adrian GW/MW-009, Iol MW7IOL on GW/NW-026 and Shaun G6WBS on G/NP-010. Also got four of chasers ITL included the ever-reliable John GW4ZPL and Frank MW0OFA. I’d set up on the Yagi when I managed to get Shane with the S2S and then just managed to work Ben GW4BML, when we synchronised our beam pointing! :wink:
I checked Sotawatch3 and saw that Fraser was on 2m ssb, I’d set up the yagi for 2m FM and could see that it was frozen solid from the moisture that was now frozen on it and I didn’t fancy re-rigging it for horizontal with that amount of ice on it. Well, I say that I could see it, what I mean is that I could see the ice after I’d been hit in the head with chunks of it, that was coming off in the wind!
I decided that I would crack on with some HF and set up for that. Just as I was about to connect the HF antenna, I heard Fraser come onto S20, I had to listen twice as he’d surprised me with his signal strength so didn’t initially think it was him. I attempted a QSO, but the other stations calling in were stronger than me. I waited five minutes and then managed to get heard by Fraser, it was a short QSO, I gave a 5/1 and received a 1/1 from Fraser, never less we managed a short QSO, which was great.
As a sat there chomping on a Scotch egg and a cup of coffee, realised that I’d been pointing the yagi South towards Ben and not towards Fraser in the North. So, I gave it another shot at working Fraser again and received a better report back this time and had another nice little QSO with him. I was pretty chuffed with that contact into Eastern Scotland on 2m and I’m looking forward to when the Sota activations map updates with my log entry, to see how far it actually was.
HF time was a bust though, when a large number of school kids turned up from Wiltshire, so it was time to go, but not before the 6m carbon pole snapped! Wouldn’t normally mind, had it not been its second only outing! Anyhow, I scrapped the ice off all my gear, packed up and was back at the car 35 minutes later, after a little run back down the road :wink:

I must thank Peter GW4UWD for giving me the yagi, it was my first trip out with it, and it worked a treat, thanks Peter.

Till next time

73
Richie MW7RJO

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It was 435km, 270 miles Richie, so a decent effort off the back of your beam. :wink:

Your audio was raspy. I had (two) reports of that too. I was told I was shouting or over-driving the mic. How was my audio to you? Maybe the conditions - who knows?

Anyway, I think I won the weather yesterday. Well deserved IMO, after nearly being blown off my previous summits three these last few days!

Cheers, Fraser

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270 miles thats great, think that is my furthest 2m activation to date. There was some raspyness to the audio, but not much, which I put down to the distance, but was was also picking you up on my handheld which had a small whip on it, and you were 5/1 on that as well, so brilliant audio I would say, certainly more than workable.

You certainly did have the better weather and after just seeing your last video, certainly deserved on this day lol

I’d be interested to know the design of your beam, as my yagi is a bit bulkier that I would like.

Out of interest how many watts were you using?

73 Richie

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It’s one of these Richie.

I sacrificed a section of fibreglass fishing pole to make it and then used another couple of sections for the mast. The elelents go inside the boom for transport and the boom goes inside the mast. You need to make a simple choke too.

I was jrunning 40 watts from my ft-857d through two metres of rg8x. Height is anout 2m. Yours must have been a lot higher?

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That’s excellent Fraser, I’ll take a look and have a go at making it. I was 5 watts through a FT817ND. The yagi was on a 7m pole, which due to the wind wasn’t fully extended, so I think it may have been about 3m, you can just about see it on one of the pictures sticking out of the cairn on the right. Even when I turned the yagi into the correct direction, I know for you that my audio got better, but yours stayed the same. So I’m thinking that maybe your signal was bouncing back to me from the Snowdon Massif or Glyderau?

I can use it handheld with my hand held radio too. Always looks cool in the photos, however impractical for logging.

I’ve started using the record facility on my yaesu ft-3d when doing this. It works well and it’s fun to listen to back home, noting down the callsigns as you go. One time I gave Mo the notepad and she logged for me.

Well done with 5 watts. Last year I worked into Wales using my handheld attached to the beam from Lochmagar, a similar distance. 5/9 both ways. If there’s a lift on, it makes all the difference.

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Great report Rich and pleased you got up into Scotland. Weather conditions weren’t good for loitering. I’d ridden / fought with my bike up Mynydd Mawr so was toasty to start with. Like you, plenty of action and support. I can’t compete with Scotland but contacts as diverse as Swansea & Pen y Ghent were pleasing. Here’s my base yesterday, posted elsewhere a bit randomly.


By the end my hands were so cold my log looks like it’s been written with the pen between my teeth. The ride back down to Fron was a little hairy, I was struggling to feel the brake levers!

You probably know this. Cut the break in the pole cleanly then send the tip through the base of the section. The rod will still function but shorter. It’s a total horror when good gear gets damaged.

All the best and I’m sure we’ll log each other again soon
73
Iolo

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Hi - I was on G/NP-007 and could hear both you and Fraser - weakly. I was only using a jpole and a hand held - but your signal was readable. Thanks for the report. Paul

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I haven’t tried hand holding the yagi yet, I saw the picture you posted and was wondering how you’d log at the same time. Nice idea with the FT-3D, I’ve just got the FT-5D, no SD card yet but I may try recording the contacts on it, unless Mo wants a holiday in GW land to be loggist lol

73

Far play getting up there on your bike, I need to sort mine out after a wrecked the back brake last time I was in Llandegla. Was the track ridable all the way?
Yes good to get you ITL again and today 22/01/22.
It was certainly cold on this day and Fraser was reporting sunny conditions in Scotland lol

Hi Paul, thats a shame it would have been good to get you ITL. It always surprised me where your radio waves can go, Fraser’s audio was better than some stations I worked only 20 miles away.

Hope to get you ITL soon Paul

73 for now, Richie

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I’d suggest RF feedback. In fact I’d put money on it :slight_smile:

The transceiver is close to the antenna and you are running a bit of power. Placing a handy sack of salty water and lard (yourself) between the radio and antenna may help. In the piccy, the antenna is vertical and the feeder is hanging down amongst the elements. Ideal to pickup lots of RF current on the outside of the feeder shield and cause problems. The feeder hanging down in the elements is a common issue with amateur vertical Yagis and all solutions involve some engineering and thus add weight and usability issues for SOTA activators.

But 270 miles 2m FM is nice, ragged audio or not :slight_smile:

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Thanks but look closely, there’s a motor hidden in there……
The track from Fron is rideable, it just gets too steep for a short while. Even with an eBike a bit of pushing was needed to avoid a backflip or simply losing traction. Although it’s got powered walk-assist you still get the “feedback” your cajoling a 50lb bike uphill!! On an acoustic bike I’d say doable, some tough pushing in places and a cracking descent as payback. eBikes are bonkers. They still need you to put in a shift but you can climb over surprising ground. That one has been to the top of Carnedd Llewelyn. Last May, before my childhood interest in radio boiled over and led to SOTA

They also descend incredibly well, I dropped into Cwm Pen Llafar, totally off piste. Very hot brakes!

Now if I could just sort out a full licence and connecting my radio to the 500Wh bike battery I could run a 400w rig on one of the hills…….:joy: Nah, I like the QRP element.

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But not for SOTA :wink:

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I quite like the idea of seeing you up in the cairns sweating it out on the bike + turbo trainer, with a dynamo attached to the radio! :wink:

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So true. I’ll be sticking to my little LiPo for the radio. I’ve run the bike battery flat once, never again! Instant deadweight so every bike coulomb counts.:joy:

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It is something that I considered. Yes, in the photo the coat is in front of the reflector. I tried to keep it clear when operating. However, with the odd strong gust on the hill, it could have been the (intermittent) problem.

I was running 35 watts and was using a different choke at the feedpoint, six turns of rg-174, only because I couldn’t find my original one, which I think only had 4 turns. (Now found.)

On air feedback from the two other ops. who said there was an issue suggested the audio improved remarkably when I moved the mic. away from my mouth and spoke more quietly. This isn’t always possible on a windy summit and I probably have got used to talking louder and closer to the mic. on HF with the KX2, as I watch the ALC as I transmit. Clearly ALC isn’t a factor with FM.

Also, two stations I worked in G-land on FM emailed me to compliment me. When I asked them for feedback, they said the audio was fine.

Yes, I really need to extend the boom back a bit and drape the coax down from the end. This would unbalance the antenna, however I need to give it a try. SSB shouldn’t be an issue, as the aerial would be horizontally polarised.

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Extending the boom is what the commercial antennas do. The theory says you need the feed to extend at least 1/4wave before it hangs down. But the unbalance needs dealing with as your antenna now has the weight 50cm further from the boom and no balance. Fix one problem and introduce others, especially for SOTA.

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As I use 5D-FB semi-rigid on my 2m set up, it is easy to bow out a quarter wave length or a bit more before the cable goes down the pole. I ve never had any issues with it unbalancing the pole and no feedback issues either.

In windy conditions I tend to use my free hand to protect the mic, forming a chamber in front of the mic, then speak into the chamber across the face of the mic. The problem then is that the mic doesn’t get adequate ventilation and in very cold conditions this can freeze up and stop the mic working!

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That’s a new type of cable to me. I’ll look into that.

SOTA would be so much easier with three hands…

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