GW/NW-073 Day of disasters

Having completed 30 activations of Hope Mountain, I fancied a change of scenery and remembered the two lists of easily accessible summits that Tom, M1EYP and John, GW4BVE had sent me some time earlier, thanks again lads, I will slowly work through them all…
After a quick search through the lists, I was pleasantly surprised to see that nw-073 was only about 5Km from a friends house at Din Mael on the A5 and even more ironic, I had ascended this summit many years earlier, pre sota, so knew of it’s location.

Well, even the best laid plans can fall foul of the dreaded activator gremlins, as I found out today on my excursion to Mynydd Rhyd Ddu.
It could have been the Hope Mountain gremlins getting jealous of the fact that I had deserted my regular “perch” for pastures new.

The wx was perfect when I set out for the summit. I chose to go over Llandegla Moors rather than take the route through Mold, then Ruthin. When I was at the roundabout which leads to the Ponderosa and Horseshoe Pass the heavens opened and my windscreen wipers on my old Rover were struggling to cope with the deluge, even on high speed. However I decided to carry on regardless with the view that the activation could be cancelled and turned into a visit to my friends place instead.
The rain came and went, on and off all the way, but decided to stop as I neared the area of the summit parking spot.
Although the rain had stopped, the summit was in low cloud/heavy mist, but I thought I would give it a go.

Disaster number 1. When I turned right off the Corwen Road and decided to head for Ruthin, then take a left along the road to the south of the summit. I overshot the left turn and got myself well and truly blocked in at the roadworks with tempory lights, when a digging machine decided to get stuck half way across the road, It was 14 minutes later before we all moved!!
Disaster number 2. Trust me, it is not recommended to slip with one leg either side of a barbed wire fence!!
I should have taken Tom M1EYPs advice from his activation report and taken the alternative route via Bettwys GG and Melin Y Wig, then turn right and approach from Brynhalen. Although the ascent from the road wasn’t too difficult, there were a lot of barriers enroute.
Disaster number 3. This summit gave me the impression that 2m was going to be difficult, because it seems surrounded by bigger peaks, I was wrong, it was impossible. I found out why later when I hastily took my sotabeam down, during a downpour. In my haste to qualify the summit and prepare fore a hasty departure due to the dreadfull wx, I noticed that I had connected both croc clips on the same radiator!! Dooooh.

After the rain stopped I hoisted the linked dipole and opted for FE 5.398.5 Mhz where conditions were poor with many static crashes and general QRN and QSB and was so relieved to hear the voice of John GW4BVE, my first contact of the day, 5 others followed in rapid succession and the summit was qualified, the final 60m QSO being with Marc G0AZS for his first 5Mhz contact, nice one Marc.

A Qsy to 40m cw brought another nine contacts, with all of the regulars turning up and led by the superb 599 sigs of Cris GM4FAM who informed me that it was a new summit for him, nice one Cris.

I can confirm for you Fritz, DL4FDM that I did get your report ok on 40m cw despite the QRN and deliberate QRM, but was not sure if you had received my report back, so I have not entered the 40m cw contact into the database, however our QSO on 30m cw was a good contact and these details have been entered into the database.

I wanted to try 2m again after my initial mistake and set the beam up again, horizontal and called on 144.300 ssb. It was raining heavily again and had started to thunder. I was just about to drop the mast when I heard Barry M3PXW calling me and although I offered him a report, he wasn’t hearing me any more.
At this point I had had enough and again was ready for a sharp exit when Mick 2E0HJD came booming through and I expected to see a s9 sig on the FT817, we actually exchanged reports of 5/1 both ways.
Equipment packed I headed over the assault course and back to the car and changed my wet clothes and headed to my mates in Din Mael for a brew and some warmth.
After a refreshing cuppa, we headed for the Goat Inn at Maerdy on the A5 for a “Pie and a pint” I can recommend the resteraunt at the Goat and also a very warm welcome from the staff and regulars.

After a farewell from my mate Chris I headed East, back along the A5 with a view to take the route back over Llandegla Moor.

Disaster number 4. I had travelled no more than a kilometre from The Goat when I went to change gear and very near broke my hip when my clutch cable snapped, sending my left foot to the floor at a rapid rate of knotts.
The drive home was rather interesting to say the least, trying to time my approach to traffic lights, junctions, roundabouts etc.
On more than one occasion I Shuddered to an abrupt stop while pressing a none existant clutch pedal, luckily, being a diesel car, I could get underway again by preselecting 2nd gear then starting the engine, hi. My journey home was definately a white knuckle ride.

I would like do this summit again hopefully in better conditions.
Thank you to all for spotting me and to all stations worked…


Apologies to those stations lost in QRM/QRN/QSB

Good stuff Mike.

I don’t think NW-073 was on the list that I sent you. Everything on my list is a fair bit easier - so there’s lots of scope for activating uniques for you, without a risk of repeating the agony of Holyhead Mountain!

In reply to M1EYP:

Hi Tom, it must have been one that John suggested. I managed it ok but found it hard going with all of the gates/fences to scale, but will definately approach via the “recognised” route next time.

73 Mike GW0DSP

In reply to GW0DSP:

Sorry to hear that you had a torrid time on this summit Mike. It does work on VHF even though it is surrounded by higher hills. I made 11 QSOs in 40 minutes on 2m FM from there in April. including a QSO with you on Hope Mountain, another with Mick HJD and a couple up near Preston. A reasonable path exists out as far as the Lleyn Peninsula. All in all, I found it a pleasant summit - if you go back, I hope your experience is as good.

73, Gerald

In reply to GW0DSP:

Well done for sticking it out Mike. I was kicking myself 'cos I was in Ruthin yesterday but didn’t have the rig in the car! I actually lived on this hill some years ago, not very far from the summit, for a whole winter. It very nearly rained the whole time. We’d drive to Ruthin and it would be sunny there, but when we got back it would raining again. Yuk.

Not activated it myself yet BTW…

  1. Ian.

In reply to G4OIG:

Hi Gerald, the 2m problem was of my own doing unfortunately. A simple case of less haste more speed.

Because of the heavy rain showers and poor visibility I connected the sota beam up as a dead short, a simple mistake which could have cost me the finals in the 817.
To be perfectly honest, I should have called it off due to the quickly changing wx conditions.

I learned a few more valuable lessons on this summit.

My first and most stupid mistake was to underestimate the summit and wx conditions and I would say to any other would be first time activator, don’t make the same mistake!! 1 pointers can be deadly if you don’t show them any respect.

The only respite from the bad wx was for approx 10 minutes when the cloud/mist cleared offering a clear view across the valley to a tiny wind-farm with only three turbines on it, none of which were in use.

I definitely want to do this summit again but in better weather, but I also want to work through my lists of easily accessible uniques.

73 Mike GW0DSP

Hi Mike,
many thanks for the 1,5 QSOs…hi
Yes on 40m I was not sure on the report, but 30m was fine then.
QRN was terrible yesterday.
Tnx for your patience and achievement!
Vy73 es cuagn soon de Fritz

Conditions were terrible yesterday Mike, so I was very happy to work you despite the difficult circumstances.

I had a Kim Clysters “YES” fist in the air when the report exchange was succesfull :slight_smile: