Confessions of a newbie on 2nd activation

Undertook my second summit activation last Thursday 21st / March at Rhos Ymryson GW/MW-035 near Gorsgoch (about 8 miles from home). I chose the day as I was hoping for my first S2S with Barry MW0IML and Ricky MW6GWR on 40m but things did not go to plan as they were late in getting to their summit due to the high winds and extreme conditions.

I initially went to the farm to ask permission to go up as there is no public right away to this location. No problems there and the farmer’s mother said ‘carry on’. Easy walk up, then setup up my little pop up tent but had to tie it to the Welsh Water compound fence and weigh it down with my rucksack (bothy bag next time) as it was ‘floating’ due to the ferocity of the wind!

As you know Rhos Ymryson is only 327m and a reasonably ‘safe’ 1 pointer but I had great difficulties on my own in setting up

The Sota pole was secured to the fence with the dipole center on it but as I went to secure one leg to a post the pole bent to horizontal and blew the center off so had to start again with a little insulating tape as a stopper!!. A tangle had appeared on the other leg… Grr… I’m glad nobody was filming this as it was an ideal piece of footage for a TV viewers video clip show. Tx time was fast approaching so decided that the pole was not going to work at full height so it was left considerably lower with a higher than usual vswr due presumably to the proximity to the chain link security fence. Had left my little auto ATU at home as fully erected the 2 band dipole is resonant on required freq. and can be fed straight in to Tx.

Got in the tent and set up giving a call out on 7.124 Mhz dead on my estimated activation time. G6TUH answered immediately as I had emailed him the night before to say that I would be activating. A brief QSO with Mike and the info came back that I had already been spotted by MW0BBU (Steve) which brought a pile up of 45 chaser in about 35 mins.

Loads of thanks ensued for the summit as it was a new one to many on 40m SSB. By now the farmer had joined me and he laid down half in and half out of the tent to listen. He was one of my ex-pupils so he had a pleasant experience listening to ‘Sir On The Air’. By now not only did I have a gale force wind that was getting more intense but rain/sleet started to fall horizontally! I told G6TUH that I was going QRT and he informed me that there was still no sign of Barry and Ricky but he had heard that they were having similar or even worse problems than me with the high winds.

The farmer said he was going to check the stock and that he would be back shortly to help me take my stuff back down to the car. Everything was packed away with difficulty in the now worsening weather - cold hands, fast release knots that will not release, insulating tape that would not unwind etc. - you know the score.

I was disappointed that I failed to get a S2S as Barry and Ricky came on briefly about 30 mins later but delighted with all the contacts, the lessons learnt, and meeting an ex-pupil who said to use the summit as much as I wanted. It’s going to be a great place to experiment, fine tune and test things out.

I can tell you now that there are quite a few more activations in the pipeline within the GW/MW xxx locality. A big thanks to all the chasers and to Mike and Steve.


Allan GW4VPX

In reply to GW4VPX:

Excellent report Allan. I did warn you that it was addictive…!

73, Tom M1EYP

In reply to GW4VPX:

Thanks Allan. I think any activators working in such harsh conditions deserve a medal besides sometimes some info assistance from chasers :wink: Hope to speak to you again when you are on your next adventure!
Best wishes
Mike G6TUH

In reply to M1EYP:

Thanks Tom,

Really, really enjoyed the activation despite the weather. I hope the report will benefit some of the ‘newbies’ like myself when considering activating a summit with just a little insight into the possible pitfalls and dangers of changing conditions.


Allan GW4VPX

In reply to GW4VPX:
Hello Allan,

Nice report and I can well picture where you were, been there… anyway most likely bump into you on one of the MW SOTA’s sometime, enjoy the hills, great fun…BTW looking to do Mynydd Carningli soon, if you fancy it drop me a mail (QRZ)and we will go from there.


In reply to Mike G6TUH

Thanks Mike. Have sent you an e-mail. Speak soon.

In reply to MW0BBU:

Thanks Steve. Carningli is on my list so will e-mail you tonight for a chat about activating it together.


Allan GW4VPX

In reply to GW4VPX:
Hi Allan,

Fine job, catch you soon.

Steve MW0BBU.

In reply to GW4VPX:

Everything was packed away with difficulty in the now worsening weather … you know the score.

Apart from those that are entirely dedicated to fair weather activating, I can say most of us do know the score Allan. I never fail to be amazed at how inaccurate the Met can be at times with their forecasts. :slight_smile:

I hope the report will benefit some of the ‘newbies’ like myself…

… and a reminder to us all - even those with a decade of experience!

Thanks for the report - most interesting. Good to see we have a friendly farmer. I enjoyed Rhos Ymryson back in 2008 - surprisingly not that bad on VHF.

Hopefully work you on the next one.

73, Gerald G4OIG