My interest in this summit was piqued a few months ago by the following activation report by Gerald G4OIG:
As Gerald says in his introduction, this summit has been very difficult to activate in the past as it is on private land, and the Estate have not been keen to grant access to members of the public. So when Ben GW4BML put a post on the reflector saying that he had been able to arrange access for another SOTA group for possibly the last time for the foreseeable future, I couldn’t resist putting my name forward! At the end of the activation, Ben asked if anyone would be willing to write a report on behalf of the group, and I volunteered for the job. So, here goes!
Sunday 6th August 2023
After a period of unsettled weather, it was a relief to see blue skies and sunshine as we gathered in the parking area for an 8.45 start. There were 12 of us in total, and we all were all there in good time. After handshakes and exchanges of callsigns, we were on our way to the summit!
The walk up was a straightforward one along a forestry track. I guess for the majority of us, most of our SOTA activations our undertaken alone, or sometimes with friends and partners who might not be radio enthusiasts, so it made a nice change to be in a group of like-minded people and to be able to chat about our SOTA experiences. It certainly was great to not have to explain why we we had fishing poles sticking out of our rucksacks! After around 40 minutes we were on the summit, and ready to play some radio!
Once we had all made it to the summit, four of us descended down a slope until we were outside of the activation zone. We then acted as chasers for the rest of the operators. This cunning plan was devised by Ben, and meant that everyone had the chance to activate the summit in fairly quick order.
Here are Ben, Ian @2W0IWM, Matt MW0KAX (plus myself behind the camera), getting ready to chase the rest of the group on the summit.
Would we manage to work these guys?
Thankfully the propagation was on our side, and everyone was easy copy! Once the first three activators had qualified, they descended down the slope to replace Matt, Ian and myself so we could head back up and qualify the summit for ourselves.
We then had an hour or so of free time for those who wanted to try some other bands and modes. The activation zone on Upper Park is fairly large, so there was plenty of room for everyone to spread out and do their thing. There was a good mix of hf and vhf activity, and from a personal point of view I found it interesting to see the different antennas and radios in use. Here are some pictures from Ben showing most of us in action.
Ben GW4BML, Ian 2W0IWM & Matt MW0KAX
Myself, Matthew M0JSB, feeling like a bit of a lightweight with my handheld and rubber duck!
Ian 2W0IWM & Matt MW0KAX
Not featured in the above photos was Richard @M1HAX who had departed for other summits before Ben had the chance to take a photo of him!
The hour seemed to pass quickly, and before long we were being rounded up by Ben, ready for the trek back to the car park. We were all thankful that this rain storm stayed away from us during our joint activation!
An easy walk down with nice conversation, and then it was time to say our goodbyes once we got back to the parking area. Most of us then went our separate ways, though I’m glad to see that Ben, Ian and Matt managed to celebrate the morning in suitable style!
And so there we have it. A different and most enjoyable activation. It was lovely to put faces to many names that I have spoken to on the air and seen on the reflector. I’m sure all of us want to say a big thank you to Ben for all of his hard work in liaising with the estate to make this activation possible for all us. As to the future for Upper Park activations: Ben says that the current outlook is probably no more activations possible for the next two years, but hopefully at some point another one will be able to take place. I guess announcements will be made if the outlook becomes more positive!
I hope I have managed to capture at least some of the flavour of our outing. I’m sure in true amateur radio fashion, my fellow activators will be quick to correct me on any glaring omissions or inaccuracies!
Just to finish, here’s a group shot of us all on our way up to the summit.