I got my 2023 SOTA activations off to a start this weekend with a trio of GW/SW activations: GW/SW-012, GW/SW-010 & GW/SW-014 After a week of wintry weather, I wasn’t sure what driving conditions on some of the smaller rural roads would be like (not being local to GW land), so I picked these three as I knew they were all accessible by main road.
I enjoyed all three activations, but for this report I will concentrate on the second and favourite activation, which was GW/SW-010, Craig y Llyn. After a misty morning, the sun had broken out by the time I arrived at the car park. This summit lies within a forest and wind farm, and I really enjoyed the beautiful winter scenery on my walk up to the trig point.
This was the lovely scene which greeted me at the trig point, which as you can see is well within the trees. The trig point itself is just out of sight to the left of where I took this photo from.
I setup for 2m, but only managed one QSO, despite quite a lot of calling. I did have a successful 2m activation from the same point last year, but it wasn’t to be this time. I guess being in the trees doesn’t help with the RF takeoff. I might experiment with a different VHF operating location next time.
So, it was time to press into service my naughty Christmas present to myself.
For a while I’ve wanted to try using a small lightweight CW only rig, and having seen some favourable reviews of the SW-3B, I decided to order one a few weeks ago. This was my first time to use it anger. I was delighted with how well it worked. Paired with a small portable speaker and using the Sotabeams 3 band dipole, I managed 9 quick and easy QSOs on 30m. The last of those being a well-known SOTA operator hailing from GW. Once I got the correct country that is!
Thanks Allan - it’s always a pleasure to work you!
If it had been a different time of year with warmer weather, I would have tried some other bands, but it was enough for me on this day, so I started to pack up feeling very happy with life!
Why did this activation fulfill a SOTA fantasy? Well, like most us here, I’ve seen many lovely photos of winter activations and always felt it was a box to tick. Sure, I realise this was hardly a hardcore one in terms of the effort required to get to the summit, and also the weather conditions, but there was something magical to me about being in a beautiful snowy forest playing radio. On top of that, as I previously said, I had always wanted to try using a small CW only rig, so it was a double-win for me.
Just as I was about to head back to the car, I heard Kevin @MW0KXN call out CQ on 2m on my handheld from GW/SW-041 so I was able to finish off with a S2S. Excellent! I had manage to bend the rubber duck antenna on the handheld a bit earlier, so it was good to know it was still working!
With that, it was time to walk back to the car and soak up the views!
Overall, it was another enjoyable weekend of SOTA. I get so much out of my SOTA trips on lots of levels, and regardless of how well the radio side of it goes, I (almost) always seem to be in a happy space by the end of each adventure. So much of that is down to the camaraderie of the our fellow chasers and activators. Thanks as ever to everyone who worked me over the weekend. All the QSOs were very much appreciated. Apart from Kevin (as mentioned above), it was also great to get a couple of other S2S QSOs from GW/SW-014 with Kaan @MW0UCL & Robert @M0RWX Cheers guys!
73 all, and already looking forward to the next one.