'CB Guy’ causes stumble on Moel Famau

Activation Date: March 3, 2024

by: @M0RWX (MW0RWX/P)

Summits Activated:

GW/NW-042: Moel y Gamelin
GW/NW-043: Cyrn-y-Brain
GW/NW-051: Foel Fenlli
GW/NW-044: Moel Famau

On the North-East of Wales along the English border lies the Clwydian Mountain Range (or Bryniau Clwyd), one of five designated Areas of National Beauty in Wales (recently renamed as National Landscape) which carries the status of a conservation area.
It runs from the Northern coastal Town of Prestatyn on the Irish Sea to Llangollen some 30 miles further South-East.

It is a very popular outdoor destination as it can be easily reached from the densely populated towns and cities in England to the East.

It is also the home of the four most activated SOTA summits in Wales.
Even more frequently activated than Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon) or Pen y Fan in the Brecon Beacons.

All four are 2-pointers, and not surprisingly the winter bonus months attract the largest number of activations.
They are clustered together in pairs. You park at the bottom of the half-pipe, go up one, come down again and go up to the other, then drive a relatively small distance and do the same again with the other pair.

What’s more, at the time of writing, around 60% of the all QSOs for GW/NW-042 & GW/NW-051 are made on 2m. For GW/NW-043 it’s 52% (still the majority, but somewhat lower mainly due to the nearby Transmission towers) and for GW/NW-044 Moel Famau, 2m is used for nearly 70% of all QSOs.

(GW/NW-044 - Moel Famau - QSOs by band) 70% on 2m

Similarly, further South, along the Welsh Borders are 5 summits (colloquially called the ‘Favourite Five’ or ‘Five Peaks Challenge’) that are also in close proximity, also two points and therefore also very popular as you can obtain 25 points in a day during the winter bonus months.
Whilst the four that I activated on this day have a circular or figure of 8 feel to it, those along the Welsh Border have more of a Car Treasure Hunt feel about them.

So for this trip, I left my HF gear in the car and only took my Yaesu FT65 with a roll-up slim Jim and a small 4m mast which I either pushed into the snow, in between some stones or wedged into my backpack. As backup I carried my VX-6E with RH-770.

The 2.5 hour drive to North-East Wales from my home QTH was uneventful but the moment I reached higher ground and was nearing my parking spot at the Ponderosa cafe on the Horseshoe pass, the landscape changed following the recent snowfall.

Summit #1: GW/NW-042: Moel y Gamelin

The sun was out and I should have worn sunglasses but as I got higher, it became noticeable that the thaw had started but also that hardly any snow had fallen east of the range.

(Operating position on GW/NW-042: Moel y Gamelin)

I managed two S2S contacts with Ben & Tim who were activating in North-West Wales at the Rhinogydd (Rhinos) Mountain Range.

(View towards the next Summit: GW/NW-043: Cyrn-y-Brain with the Transmission Tower in the distance)

Summit #2: GW/NW-043: Cyrn-y-Brain

After the first activation, I made my way down and then back up to the second one of the next one. Just before the final part of the ascent, I came across an overzealous dog with its owners unable to control it, yet off the lead.

(View towards the first summit with the Ponderosa Cafe in the middle of the image)

I made it to the top unscathed and picked my operating spot wisely as the nearby transmissions towers can sometimes cause interference.

(Transmission Tower on the summit)

I made S2S contacts again with @GW4BML Ben & @G5OLD Tim as well as @M0OVW Gillian & @G4HQB Philip who were on GW/NW-022 Moel Eilio.

I made my way down after the second activation and wanted to press on, so did not stop at the Ponderosa Cafe for lunch, but instead made my way to the parking place for the next set.

I paid for four hours of parking which meant that I had to be back at 17:11 according to the ticket; enough time to get up and down both summits.
In the back of my mind was the Parking Charge Notice I had received the day before.
I had overstayed my welcome the previous Sunday evening in Asda Carpark in Swindon whilst out with the family at Nando’s, which is part of the larger ‘out of town’ shopping complex.
I was therefore surprised that according to the letter, I had exceeded the maximum stay of 0 hours and 0 minutes. :hushed:

Summit #3: GW/NW-051: Foel Fenlli

As I started making my way up to GW/NW-051, I noticed the thaw had melted most of the snow by now, creating a few slippery patches. Conscious of the time constraint, I made 11 contacts in a little over 10 minutes operating. I had a brief chat with Paul @M0CQE and apologised I had to move on, as I would turn into a pumpkin in case I got back to the car at 17:12.

Peter, @MW0PJE told me during our QSO he had managed to get down and back up to the next summit well within the hour. But Pete is normally in lycra shorts, either running, cycling or hiking; but this provided some re-assurance I would make it in time.

I made my way down around 14:15 making sure I did not slip on the muddy bits and marched on towards the last summit of the day, following the mainly stoney path without stopping; a good workout for about an hour.

(Operating position on GW/NW-051: Foel Fenlli)

Summit #4: GW/NW-044: Moel Famau

At the summit of Moel Famau stands what’s left of the Jubilee Tower which was built to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of George III. There is plenty of room to activate on HF away from the tower, but I wanted to be as high as possible using 2m FM.

As I arrived, the raised structure was very busy with people trying to identify landmarks in the distance and taking selfies. I opened the Peak Finder app to have a look around and orientate myself. A large group of walkers was just about to leave, so I sat down on the inner ledge and set up, pole tucked into my backpack, well away from the main outer walkway.

(Operating Position on the higher part of the Inner ledge on the top of GW/NW-044: Moel Famau)

Not long after I called CQ, it was all kicking off behind me.
First, there were two dogs having a scrap. Turned out that the owner, who could not keep up with his dog, let it run up the steps freely where other dogs sat quietly with their owners on a lead.
Lazy dog owners leaving their untrained dogs off the lead seemed to be the theme of the day.

When that had finally quietened down, a shouting match ensued between a mother (on the top of the structure), and what I believe was her son (at the bottom of the structure).
Some quizzing looks with raised eyebrows between people near me, including myself; but I continued to work the stations albeit shielding the mic as much as I could.

As I was noting down the latest callsign, I noticed from the corner of my eye that someone hadn’t noticed the step up and almost in slow motion tumbled forward. As her bodyweight moved forward, her legs were unable to make a correction.
Luckily the woman’s fall wasn’t too bad as she was able to take most of the impact with her hands. I was just about to chuck my gear when her friends helped her up. All seemed fine.

After there were no more takers, I packed up, added a windbreak and put on my SOTA hat and made my way down to the car. I wasn’t going to change into a pumpkin as I would make it on time back to the car.

In the distance, I noticed the group that included the woman who fell in front of me.
As I caught up with them and got beside them, I asked the woman how she was as I witnessed her fall.

Her friend immediately responded: “It’s all because of ‘The CB Guy’. She looked up to his antenna instead of looking down and noticing the step up”.

I fessed up and said that I was ‘The CB Guy’ and offered my apologies.
Her friend then grabbed my underarm in an apologetic manner and quickly said it was her own fault for not watching where she was going. A bit awkward, but luckily she was fine with just a couple of muddy marks on her jeans.

A voice in my head wanted to explain that I wasn’t a ‘CB Guy’ but a Licensed Amateur Radio Operator, but I quickly concluded it wasn’t the time nor the place.

After changing into some more comfortable clothes to start my long drive home, I got to the exit of the main car park about to join the main road, at the same time as the group including the women approached the exit from the overflow car park opposite.

We waved at each other at the junction and like the function Y = 1/X, those who thought I was ‘The CB Guy’ turned right, whilst the Licensed Amateur Radio Operator turned left.

Till the next time,

73, Robert


If you’d been in shorts, she would’ve been looking at your legs not the top of the antenna and would have been less likely to fall.
I’m always thinking about safety :smiley:

Fortunately for me it was a little quieter up on Moel Famau last night (and foggy) so nobody else saw my antenna.


Excellent report and photos! Glad you made it back to the car before your ticket ran out (bad luck on your recent PCN!).

Think that was a good call! :sweat_smile:


Nice report and nice to get 2 summits to summits while we did the Rhinogs.

It was almost three s2s’s with you while you were on Moel Famau. I could hear you, lots of people and an excellent amount of patience with an operator… but by this point I was also too distracted with another CB antenna to call back …. @GW4BML’s CB antenna on 10m !!!


The only thing that ruins the hills are people.

The only thing that ruins the hills for people are CB guys.


Nice report and images @M0RWX Robert - it was good to make two S2S contacts with you! It surprises me what things you see go on, on top of summits, at least everything ended well.

73, Ben


An excellent read Robert. Thank you for taking the time to write such an enjoyable report.


Another wonderful report from you Robert @M0RWX with great photos. I think I managed to scrape a contact with you on Foel Fenlli😁. Even with my beam those 2 are difficult for me.

73 Allan


Robert. Many Thanks for this Great Activation Report. and for the Excellent Photography. Thank You also for the QSO’s. Always a pleasure to speak with You my friend. 73 de Paul. M0CQE.

1 Like

You should see what goes on in the car park in the evenings :zipper_mouth_face:
If it’s rocking don’t come knocking kind of thing.


Experience talking?? :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:


1 Like

Yes, as an innocent passer by :face_with_spiral_eyes:


I thought I was doing the same setting up well away from the walkway. At least no-one tunbled down the stairs.

I was so tempted, but in hindsight made the right decision. :grinning:

Would have been great to have had the 3rd of the day. Hopefully next time.

Swotting up on CB etiquette…

Two years ago on the same summit I was nearly hit by a drone.
Busy hills attract many types…

Many thanks Kevin. As the most activated summits in Wales, I think they deserved a small piece written about them.

Thanks Allan. Indeed, I was surprised to hear you considering my location, but it was great to make contact! :+1:

Likewise Paul; always a joy to speak with you.

Glad now that my parking ticket expired at 17:11 …


Very enjoyable report, Robert, sorry I missed you. I’ve never operated from the top of the tower, too many people around, usually. 73 John.


Thanks John. Indeed, it was very busy when I arrived, but then the large group disappeared so decided to stay at the top.
73, Robert