SOTA Activation Report for Tal-Y-Fan, GW/NW-040 on 29-07-13.
G(W)4YSS using GC0OOO/P. HF/ VHF. Unaccompanied.
All times BST (UTC plus 1).
HF & VHF QRO: ICOM IC706-2G with CW key in mic.
Link dipole for 80m thru 20m on a 5m CFC mast with 1m end sticks.
Home-Brew tuneable loading coils for 160m.
Vertical SOTABEAM for 2m-FM.
Jingtong JT208 H/H for backup and one QSO from summit to car.
1 x 13.2 Ah Li-Po for IC706.
This was the first activation during a 1 week family holiday in Llandudno. (See further reports for NW2 & NW1). Though it took some doing, Hazel kindly used her phone to put an alert on SOTAWATCH for me. I had to make the choice between callsigns; namely GC0OOO/P or the RSGB anniversary variation of GV0OOO/P.
This hill is not only very easy to activate but has a summit wall for shelter if required and is close to Llandudno. It overlooks the coast to the north and big mountains to the south and the grass, bilberry and heather top makes it very user friendly. I could see all of Llandudno and the windmills and gas rigs out to sea. Within the last three months or so, Tal-Y-Fan has been resurveyed and found to be a few inches over 2000 feet. A TV programme showed the work.
Forgetting to go via Castell, we took the gated road to Rowen (SH758720), which is a short-cut but a very narrow road with two gates to open. After Grandson Jack had explored the ladder stile, I set off walking at 11:36 while the family drove off to the zoo at Conwy.
The route up is via a grassy path through gorse and heather; easy to follow and not too steep. There were stiles to climb at the start and at SH 7278 7222 & SH 7272 7236. There comes a point where one must lose height but it’s only 5m or so. The trig-point is at SH 72945 72657.
Especially considering the hot, humid weather, the QRO pack seemed quite heavy but there’s not far to go. It was a sticky sunny day when I set off but a rain shower developed just after the dipole was deployed. I settled down on grass on the north side of the wall behind an umbrella.
After suffering a hefty electrical ‘belt’ off the BNC plug, I earthed the rig and waited for the rain to die down a little before making a second and less painful connection attempt.
TAL-Y-FAN GW/NW-040, 610m (2000ft) 4 pts, 12:02 to 15:41. 21 deg C. Sunshine/ overcast. Half-hour rain shower at first. 15 mph wind. Receiver static crashes on all HF bands. Orange (EE) phone coverage from road to summit. (LOC: IO83BF, WAB: SH77.)
1.832 CW - 4 QSO’s:
Using 100 Watts to the loaded dipole a phone call and spot from Roy G4SSH enabled a pleasing tally of four QSO’s on Top Band as follows: G4OBK; EI2CL; G4RQJ and EI7CC. Phil, Mike, Rob and Pete. Incoming reports ranged between 339 and 559 and Phil was 579 to me. Hidden behind the Pennines as he was, that is testament to the efficiency of his antennas and ERP. Because of the proximity of Wales to Eire, the Dublin stations struggled far less than they often do with my LD or NP Top Band activations.
A fifth station was received at 559. This was Geoff G6MZX calling in slow CW from Thornton in Craven but sadly I couldn’t get my report over to him. Nevertheless, what a brilliant start this first session was, though it was not made easy due to constant static crashes! Without the alert from Hazel and the real-time spot by Roy, this might have been disappointing.
3.557 CW - 3 QSO`s:
80m preceded 40m in case the skip was too long for the UK on the latter. It seemed that 80m wasn’t up to much, though better was to come on SSB. With the rig set to 100W, I worked Roy G4SSH, David G3RDQ and Gordon G4FGJ.
3.724 SSB - 14 QSO`s:
Initially 50W but for the most part, 100W of SSB brought in 14 stations in 25 minutes. Distances worked ranged from Lancashire to Cornwall with most incoming reports avaraging around the 57. Many stations had problems with the QRN which was obscuring individual words, callsign characters or RST figures. Nonetheless, 3.5 MHz was in fact working well which proves it’s certainly worth trying even at noon in summer.
7.033 CW - 8 QSO`s:
7.032 was in use but Roy spotted the alternative QRG. 40W was used to work the following: G4SSH; DK7ZH; HB9CIC; DL1FU; HB9AAQ; OE7PHI; DF5WA and HB9CGA. Incoming reports were down around 559 or less (with QRN) but all were good signals to me except Hans OE7PHI. My guess is that the QRN reported from Europe on my signal was down to static crashes as per the lower bands.
7.128 SSB - 19 QSO`s:
Skip was short on here. With the output set to 60 Watts, nineteen stations were logged in a leisurely 50 minutes. UK chasers G; GM and one GI formed the vast majority with just EA2CXX; PA3GGB and PE2GRT/P representing Europe. Once again the session was blighted with static crashes and having to ask for repeats of callsigns.
145.400 FM - 9 QSO`s:
After packing up the dipole, I set up the vertical 3-ely beam on a 2.5m mast. Without recourse to Roy for a spot, a 10 Watt CQ on S20 brought in Sue G1OHH in Lancaster. Other stations worked were: MW0NQZ Wyn in Anglesey, GD0VIK/P Dan S2S on GD/GD-005 Mull Hill; MI0GDO Rob; M6ANX Peter; 2E0XYL Karen; G4UXH Colin; G0NAJ John. (Many thanks to Karen for correcting my error in Wyn’s callsign and to Roy for a similar mistake in MI0GDO’s).
Using my Jingtong JT208 H/H to a rubber duck, I also worked Hazel MW6YLH/M on her way to pick me up and just before I left the activation zone. She was using my IC-E90 with 5 Watts to a 5/8 & magmount on my XYL’s car.
I had to make a very rapid departure from the summit folowing a phone call from my XYL. They had finished entertaining young Jack (5) at the zoo and were just leaving to pick me up. In the event I managed to pack up and descend the path in 18 minutes, beating them by 30 seconds at 15:59.
Walking: 235m (771ft) ascent, 3.2 km (2 miles) up & down.
1.832 CW - 4
3.557 CW - 3
3.724 SSB - 14
7.033 CW - 8
7.128 SSB - 19
145.400 FM - 9
THANKS TO ALL STATIONS WORKED and invaluable assistance from G4SSH for telephone liaison and spots from Sue G1OHH. This was an easy introduction to a three-summit SOTA week.
73, John G4YSS (using SSEG Club callsign, GC0OOO/P)
(See later reports for NW2 & NW1)