Until yesterday, my activations had all involved walking in and out again by substantially the same route.
This time, encouraged by reports and summit notes from others, I decided to try a circular walk taking in Arenig Fawr G/NW-011 and Moel Llyfnant GW/NW-018.
Parking at SH822393, Arenig Fawr is fairly straightforward with a boggy patch at the start of the steep climb, and a few metres of scrambling higher up. The tip from John G4YSS in a recent thread paid off here. Stowing my walking stick between rucksack and body freed up both hands for the scramble. Perfect!
Above 700m the cloud was down, and arriving at the trig point in these bleak conditions, I stood for a few moments thinking of the US airmen who crashed there in 1943.
Plenty of contacts quickly made on 2m FM with 2.5W to the wire Jpole, thanks to a spot by Karen 2E0XYL, and to all the chasers. S2S contacts made with Jimmy MW0HGY and Tom MW1EYP, who were on Arenig Fach, just across the valley. That guaranteed at least one 12m QSO, completed with Tom on SSB.
My Palm paddle chose this moment to throw in the towel and send continuous dashes, so it became a voice only day. I find it easy to get distracted from the main objective, which today was to qualify two summits, so I packed up and pressed on.
The way over to Moel Llyfnant, the lower of the two summits, was mostly visible from Arenig Fawr, as the the cloud had lifted by now. The curving route across the coll is fairly obvious, though I followed sheep paths and rough ground without seeing any boot prints. The varied terrain and impressive views made it an enjoyable walk.
The wind had increased somewhat by the time I reached the top, the walk over having taken 1hr 30mins, including a short lunch stop along the way. I sheltered by the rocks, which together with a bungy cord provided support for the pole.
Another little flurry of contacts on 2m FM, and 12m yielded 7 contacts running 5W of SSB. I was using the FT817 on internal batteries, but having by now qualified both summits I wasn’t worried about capacity. In fact there was plenty to spare. It was getting chilly in the wind, and once the QSOs dried up I didn’t hang about. Thanks again to Karen for 2m spot, and Bob G6ODU for 12m.
There being no apparent path off, I used traditional map and compass to set a course down to the start of the track out. To my pleasant surprise, after about 1Km the track appeared 20m to the left. From here it was a simple walk, though for a couple of hundred metres the path closely resembled a stream with grass growing in it. At least I now know that my boots are reasonably waterproof.
I noted, not for the first time, that paths marked on OS maps don’t always exist in visible form on the ground. I suppose it depends to some extent on how often they are used. I didn’t see anyone at all during my 7 hours away from the road today, which was nice.
So, what of the Palm paddle? Having established that it was the lead, I assumed that it was the three pin Molex termination that had shorted, as that end of the cable could be moved around to bring the fault on and off. I cut it off, peeled off the shroud, and re-terminated. The fault remained! A digital multimeter on Ohms confirmed that the short was towards that end of the cable, with the Molex plug removed. I eventually found that the white wire had a flaw in its insulation about 10cm back from the connector. No sign of stress or damage on the outer sheath. Weird. Anyway, I never liked the original, it was too stiff, especially in the cold, so a PC audio lead is about to be modified. Or maybe two. :o)
Thanks again to all the chasers who called me, and to those who provide summit notes etc,