G4YSS Acn.GREAT ORME, GW/NW-070, 07-04-10

SOTA activation Report for GREAT ORME, GW/NW-070 on 07-04-10.

G(W)4YSS - VHF only. (GC0OOO/P - Club call was not used on this SOTA).
VX150, 2m FM only H/H. 5W to set-mounted normal mode helical.
All times BST (UTC plus 1). Unaccompanied.

This was simply an afternoon walk from our hotel & back during our conference week in Llandudno.

I can’t remember being equipped more basically for a SOTA than on this occasion but no matter, it was only a one-pointer and I usually ignore those, going instead for maximum efficiency in terms of points gained versus miles driven. That was a decision made years ago based on the distance of my QTH from the major centres of high ground. If I failed today to get 4 QSO’s or ran out of time it mattered little; this was no more or less than a bit of afternoon exercise with the prospect of a chat with the locals on 2m.

The Great Orme dominates the western end of Llandudno Bay and is easily accessible on foot from the seafront there. It was a cloudless, cold but sunny day. I had a couple of hours to spare and Gt.Orme seemed the obvious place to walk to as I‘d done the Little Orme in 2002. A 2m-FM H/H was slipped into my top pocket and off I set from ’our’ Grafton Hotel at 13:50.

The hotel is near the east end of the seafront so the first objective was the town (west) end. From there you fight your way through the tourists (in this case I was one of them) and head for the tramway terminus. After that the road becomes very steep, eventually opening out onto the hill which is grassy. I crossed the railway by the half-way station and headed up grass paths and under a chair lift, to the summit. The trig point is just up from the summit complex and car park, where there are toilets. Beware if you drive up. I took my XYL & her friend up there in 2007 and it cost me real money to use the road.

GREAT ORME GW/NW-070, 207m (679ft) 1 point, 14:23 to 15:10. 8 deg C. Sunshine and 15 mph cold wind.

2m FM - 5 QSO’s:
The nasty noises on the band here were probably emanating from commercial antennas at the summit but there is also a 70cm repeater up there which periodically sent its locator and ‘wiped me out.‘ Thankfully nobody struck it up while I was there.

After scraping the battery terminals on the VX150 in order to make it work, I was about to call CQ on S20 when I heard…….CQ CQ CQ from MD1AVV/P….

QSO’s as follows:

  1. ……I could not get the PTT pressed quickly enough to give my call but when I released it another signal had overwhelmed mine. Simon gave the caller a QSY QRG of 145.475 Mhz so I followed them down and was able to make a rapid but successful exchange / S2S. Simon was on Bradda Head - SOTA GD4. What a good start I thought. Only three more required to qualify and an S2S in the log.

  2. It didn’t take long to get a second QSO which came in the form of Peter calling CQ from G8UVC in Oldham. He expressed surprise that two stations went back to him and luckily he prioritised me. Good job too, I had omitted to bring a coat and was gently shivering in a thin fleece by now. Unfortunately I could not hear the other station ‘in the group.’

  3. My CQ was answered by Ross in Bangor running MW0BYT. We had a nice chat about the area for a few minutes whilst I struggled to log using a pen and scratty bit of paper, on the rough top of a tiny low building which lurks at the summit. I was so distracted by this and trying to control the radio that I gave my call as GM4YSS. Ross quickly put me straight on that ‘little’ mistake!

  4. A second CQ brought in M1MCW - op Stuart overlooking Morecambe Bay. It turned out that Stuart knew Scarborough Amateur Radio Society members 2E0ITT and Doug (who does the raffle). I promised to pass 73 on to them. Despite being now ‘qualified’ I hoped I could get one more QSO.

  5. The final QSO was with Ken in Prescot Lancs, who was in conversation with Stuart M1MCW. I was envious when both these ops told me that they would be at Blackpool Rally at the weekend. I walked while I finalized the activation. Apparently my signal increased several fold as I descended off the summit and down the eastern facing grass slope a little way. I now know where to sit next time; out of the cold wind too.

Incoming reports apart from a single 51 were between 53 and 58; not bad for a duck and 5W!

I was back at the hotel in 30 minutes. This must be as ‘low a pressure’ SOTA activation as you can get; not even a rucksack, just a handie, a Mars Bar and an orange!

Walking: 206m (676ft) ascent, 7.4 km (4.6 miles) up & down.
Time: 63 minutes net walking time.

2m FM: 5 QSO’s.

THANKS TO ALL STATIONS WORKED…and to Kevin G0NUP for the loan of his excellent country!
73, John G(W)4YSS.