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First succesful activation on Gun 15/8/19

Third time lucky, I successfully activated my first summit today after two failed attempts. My XYL and older children wanted to go to Alton Towers theme park, and I really didn’t, so I dropped them off and went for a day out with the youngest at the nearby Gun G/SP-013. I had never been there before, but it was clear that Gun is a very easy if muddy walk to the top. Since this was an impromptu expedition I only took my FT-65 HT with a slightly improved ‘rubber-duck’ the only advantage. A small waterproof notebook and pencil was my only other equipment.

The wind was strong and gusty, strong enough to make logging non-trivial and hearing the other stations difficult. The heavy rain of the morning had cleared before we left the car, thankfully.

I could hear some local stations but had no replies on the calling channel. Eventually I heard GW4TGJ on Tal Y Fan some 76 miles away. A nice DX S2S (and a personal 2m FM record) to start me off. Some time later I heard a HEMA activator on The Lawley (a hill I know very well from growing up in the area) around 50 miles south. He was suffering in the wind too, but we had a good contact. I worked hard for my final 3 contacts, all locals, finally qualifying a summit. Some things I found useful:

  1. Persist. Keep calling. Keep replying to other stations.
  2. Logging well in poor conditions is a knack I don’t have yet
  3. Ditch the Baofeng. Even the relatively inexpensive FT-65 has a much better receiver.

Thank you to all of the stations who put up with my dodgy logging and windswept incompetence to get my first activation out of the way.
James 2E0XJM


Hi James,

You cracked it! Nicely done, onwards and upwards…


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Hi James,
Well done. You don’t mention if you self-spotted yourself on SotaWatch when you got to the summit. That can make a BIG difference (and is not only allowed but expected when possible by the chasers).

73 Ed.

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Well done James…the first of many I hope.

Allan GW4VPX

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Nice one James.

I’m sure you’re going to find plenty to keep you busy in Shropshire, between your home QTH and Ludlow. Lots of really nice summits there, and very family-friendly too.

Plenty of info on my website - http://tomread.co.uk/wb.htm

Thanks everyone

Ed:- yes I did self spot, someone else told me about that after my last failure! I didn’t however put up an alert due to the impromptu nature of the trip.

Tom:- Yes indeed, I grew up in Church Stretton. My choice of Gun was purely because I could engineer a bit of free time in my chaotic life by driving to the vicinity!

If you get caught by the SOTA addiction James, you will quickly become expert at creating time and opportunity within a hectic life!

Nice contact from The Lawley James, and congrats an the activation! I dont think the wind let up all day.


Hi Dom,

Yes great contact, it is remarkable how far you can get on 5 watts when there is line-of-sight.

There really is no shelter on the Lawley, is there! Still one of my favourite hills. I signed up for HEMA so I could log your contact. I will have to try it out!

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Well done James.
With 856 recorded activations, and at number 3 on the list of most frequently activated summits the words “first successful activation” are not often seen next to “Gun”:grinning:

Quite remarkable that 3 of the top 6 most activated summits are non-UK.

Tom being just about the best example of this - hope the touring doesn’t dry up Tom now that Joe Longthorne has passed on. Several obituries covering Joe’s amazing life this week in the Yorkshire provincial newspapers.

73 Phil

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HEMA is “OK” and I’ve climbed a fair few of those summits myself with the radio in the Lake District and Yorkshire, but the scheme doesn’t come close to SOTA for the challenge, organisation and IT infrastructure provided by our hard working MT.

73 Phil

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Just being outside and walking up a hill is good enough for me. Ive become more of a SOTA chaser than activator. I’ll do a SOTA summit at some point

73 Dom

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I agree Dom, Chasing is great fun. My first Chaser QSO was with SOTA Founder Richard G3CWI of SOTABeams on the first ever SOTA Activation, on Long Mynd, Pile Bank on 02/03/2002. By 2005 I was feeling guilty and started activating and chasing continually and I’ve never stopped since. There are plenty of easy SOTAs in the UK which can be reached from wherelyou live if you have a car. Using a 2m handheld, ideally with an external antenna in your rucksack or on a pole is best. A half wave end fed in a plastic tube can be made for a couple of quid, cheaper still if you already have sufficient 50 ohm coax. A bit of plastic conduit, a PL259 or BNC plug, some shrink sleeving and you are away. A good quality 5m pole can be sourced which fits inside the rucksack, for about £20.

73 Phil

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Cheers Phil. I hope so too! I’ve picked up a few tour dates with the 60s Gold tour, and been booked to play a show out in Bahrain (A92) amongst several other gigs. The diary is still relatively empty compared to what it was looking like 3 weeks ago though, and realistically, there might be rather more supply teaching up to Christmas than anticipated.

Still, no bother though. I always found a way to combine plenty of SOTA with my teaching career as well, so I’m sure the activating won’t dry up. Just need to get M0HGY up to GM and get a load more uniques done - thus giving me more scope for repeats when I’m there - a batch of tour dates has gone in and there will be some SOTA-free days as it stands. Boo!