Failed activation of Caer Caradoc G/WB-006

After a failed activation of Pole Bank in a howling gale in January, I finally got around to my second attempt at SOTA. This time I had a Slim-Jim on a fibreglass roach pole and a Baofeng UV6R.

I have had a long running chesty cough and have not been out for a long time, so the climb was a fat boys struggle. The weather was sunny-with-showers and pleasant enough apart from a pretty strong breeze. I gave myself enough time and was at the summit in good enough time to walk around the fort and admire the view. I am from that area, an yet I realised the last time I had been up there was some decades back!

I found a spot against a rock where I could sit out of the wind and bungee my pole to a spike of rock. It was all going so well. Then I called CQ and…nothing. I waited and tried again…and the faintest hint of a crackling station came through. I fiddled with settings for a while and then decided that my slim-jim must be suspect. I had my little SWR meter in my bag, which I thought would show me if I had a broken connection. It replied 1:1.3…so not that.

I screwed on my 1/4wave whip and stood up in the wind and tried again, nothing. I walked onto the SW slope, nothing.

I switched into memory mode and called the GB3LH repeater (about 7 miles north) on 70cm and got an instant reply from a very helpful G6UYG. He spent the next 15 minutes trying to help me get a simplex contact on 2m and 70cm, all the time it was barely audible, yet the repeater was clear as a bell.

I wanted to come on and say thanks to everyone because I heard a number of stations try and call, but nothing readable.

I came to the conclusion that my Baofeng just has a poor receiver. I have had 2m simplex contacts on it, but mostly with a tape-measure yagi, which I guess adds some selectivity as well as gain. I was pretty disappointed, but mostly I feel bad for the chasers who were trying to call. I will be out again but with a different rig…maybe my FT290 once I have had chance to prove it.

Sorry to hear about the failed activation OM. Self spotting on SOTAWatch using a smartphone may have helped you qualify. Don’t let it put you off - better luck next time, possibly with a better receiver on board.

73 Phil

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Hi James,

Sorry I missed you, though if you weren’t hearing Steve G6UYG, you probably wouldn’t have heard me either…

My first activation was from Pole Bank and resulted in no contacts. The second was from Caradoc, and on that occasion I managed one contact. Keep going, it gets better!


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Hi Adrian,

Thanks for the message. I haven’t seen you since I got licensed, I must come down to the club one night. Since starting the new job, with all of the traveling it involves, I have become pretty poor at doing anything in the evening!

I think you are right I wouldn’t have heard you. I had the faintest signal from a mobile station, but only heard the ‘mobile’ part of his call.

I will try again. I just need to work out how to smuggle a new radio past the XYL…

FT-65 would be easy to hide, but then so would an FT-817/8…

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The summit page shows a lot of 2m QSOs so it is possible. I haven’t activated that summit, I wonder if there is a nearby radio transmitter that is de-sensing your Rx?

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There is a mast on Hazler hill 1.8 miles south, but according to this it is a relatively low power FM broadcast tower

But the effect was certainly similar.

I have done ok with the Baofeng receiver in the past, I used to chase informally as a SWL, which makes me wonder if it is damaged.

The photos in your link show a lot more antennas than that link suggests. I think it’s only listing the public broadcast stations.

I’d bet on a de-sense problem. Easily solved with a bandpass filter for 2m.

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You make a good point. I will get hold of (or build) one and pop up there again and try it out.Thanks. Does anyone have a recommendation for a filter?