It’s the end of another SOTA weekend. One which combined enjoyable radio with a few frustrating experiences. I’m writing this report for myself as much as anyone, just so I can have something to remember about it in years to come!
Saturday 27th January 2024
First up was Waun Rydd, GW/SW-004.
My first frustration of the weekend was getting caught up by the road closures on the A465, which added on 30 minutes to my drive. Partly due to me taking some wrong turns! I used the car park by the waterfalls at SO 05564 17491. The driving frustrations were soon forgotten however as I made good progress to the summit and actually made my alerted time. I really love the scenery up there!
2m FM was the order of the day, and I had an great run of 19 contacts, including a S2S with Tim @M7TSU who was on GW/SW-009. Thanks Tim for the complete. Radio conditions seemed excellent, but the wind was fierce! 20 minutes of operating was enough for me.
Back to the car, and a short drive to Pontsticill for my walk to Cefn yr Ystrad, GW/SW-008. I parked by the water works where there is room for a few cars. I enjoyed the walk to the summit, with some nice views over the Pontsticill Reservoir
It can be hard to find your way to this summit as there is an absence of distinctive landmarks, and paths seem to come and go. I don’t think I ended up taking the most direct route, but I reached the summit in about 70 minutes.
The icy winds did make it a struggle by the end, but I’m glad I persevered and worked everyone who called.
Time to pack up and get moving again!
I was staying in the area, and arrived at my accommodation feeling happy about an excellent (if cold at times) day on the mountains. However, upon unpacking my rucksack I was rather annoyed to discover I was missing the battery that I’d been using for my 817! Darn it! I could only assume that I’d left it on the last summit. I decided that I would go on a retrieval mission the next day.
Sunday 28th January 2024
After a very good night’s sleep, it was back to GW/SW-008 to see if I could find my battery. And I did!
Happy Days! And it seemed, at least from an external inspection, to have survived its night out on a summit! Time to find my way back to the car in the foggy weather.
I drove off to activate Fan Fawr, GW/SW-005, parking by the Beacons Reservoir at SN 98814 18111. No views at all on my ascent with the heavy fog. I can’t say it was my most inspiring walk with soggy ground, high winds and a fog-out! I was glad when I got to the top and could get back to playing some radio!
I started off on 2m FM where I made 5 contacts including a S2S with Jared @2E0JFJ. Then I tried some CW on 17m, 12m and 10m. I made 11 contacts in all across the 3 bands, including two US stations on 12m, and a S2S with Stavros @SV2RUJ on 10m.
As with yesterday’s activations, the wind made things challenging at times, and by the end I was glad to get off the summit and head back down to the car. The fog did finally start to clear by the end of the walk.
I decided to try and activate one final summit, which was Cefn Eglwysilan, GW/SW-025. This summit only needed a small detour from my drive back home. Unfortunately, and most embarrassingly I managed to get my small car stuck in some slippery mud on the side of road that runs just below the summit. I had found a strip of grass parallel to the road that looked innocent enough to park on. The ground was obviously not as firm as it looked. I almost managed to make it back on to the road at one point, but not quite. It wasn’t going anywhere under its own steam.
At this point I would like any 4WD owners to refrain from any smug comments!
I was able to get some road assistance out surprisingly quickly and get towed back on the road, where I decided I would leave GW/SW-025 for another day!
A final moment of drama occurred on my drive back when I nearly got rear-ended by another car who hadn’t realised that the traffic in front of me was stationary. Thankfully they just stopped in time…
I was mightly relived to make it back through my front door. Certainly a weekend of ups and downs. At several points I did ask myself why I put myself through all this, but I know like every other SOTA-addict, I’ll be back for more soon!
Thanks to all stations worked this weekend and 73,