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How not to do an activation (The Wrekin 29th April


Decided late Saturday night that I could squeeze in a quick activation on Sunday morning. I’d been wanting to knock off WB-010 for some time, so rashly posted a message saying I’d be up there at 8.30 local…

Having done the posting, put log and map by computer in study ready to pick up in the morning, went upstairs to shack and packed rucsack with radio equipment, then went to bed, remembering to set alarm clock. All seems under control, even got the fully-charged SLAB!

After a fitful night’s sleep, woken by alarm at 0700 local - I’d set it for the time I’d intended to leave home. Rush round in demented frenzy, washing and dressing at breakneck speed, grab rucksack and manage to get away (without breakfast)by 0720.

By 0725 realise log + map still in study, return home cursing, collect them and back on the road by 0730, carefully putting them on the front passenger seat so map would be readily accessible for the drive-in.

First part of journey takes me along familiar roads, so made good time to Much Wenlock, where I departed into unfamiliar territory; time to check the map. Unfortunately The Wrekin doesn’t feature on the Weston super Mare sheet - I’d picked up the wrong one with the log, leaving my only navigation aids the hopelessly large scale road atlas and my memory of the map I’d briefly studied the night before. I knew The Wrekin was somewhere near J7 of M54, so managed to get there and followed road off south until I got to a carpark and a large track up a steep hill. This was somewhat like I’d imagined, so parked up and set off up track at cracking pace. Watch said 0820, not too bad. 200yds later realised that log was still in car next to the wrong map, frantically searched pockets/rucksack for any scraps of paper, no luck so back down the hill, collect log and finally on way back up at 0830 - the time I’d said I’d start activating…

Virtually ran up hill, stopping occasionally to admire the view, take (mental) photographs and to reflect on whether I was actually climbing the Wrekin. Fortunately a spritely octogenarian confirmed that I was indeed on the right path as he sped past me on his way to the summit. Spurred on by my new-found certainty, I continued at full speed, encouraged a few minutes later by a call of “ye’re nearly there young 'un, you can mek it!” from the now descending pensioner. Sure enough, after a further slog up the final steep climb to the top, I collapsed gasping and heaving at the foot of the trig point. It was 0857. After a quick slurp from the water bottle I set up, (miraculously all the required equipment was in the bag) and was operating by 0903. Managed to lose 2E0NHM in the QSY from 144.300, but G4FUJ came back and started a run of 17 contacts over the next half hour, including eventually catching Nigel and finishing with an S2S with Richard GW4ERP/P on the summit dearest to me, Moel Siabod. By this time the haze was lifting, the sun was shining, the chest pains had subsided and I was able to believe it really had all been worth it.

After an uneventful descent and journey home, I was back decorating the bathroom by 1100!

Many thanks to all who worked me, and apologies to anyone who I caused to get out of bed unnecessarily early, take late showers etc.

Perhaps we all need the occasional reminder to keep us on our toes! Next time I really will pay more attention to those important little details.

Looking forward to catching you all,

73 de Paul G$MD


In reply to G4MD:

Hi Paul,

Excellent report. You have certainly earned your tee-shirt. I got mine for leaving my boots in the airing cupboard earlier this year… remembered 7 miles outbound.

I can recommend a Tom Tom and Richard CWI’s POI file for soothing frayed nerves. I have learnt to check beforehand where it is taking me, having arrived at the “wrong” side of Caer Caradoc last year, but apart from a mild panic when it had to be reset on one occasion, it has been a real bonus. I still leave home without it… but never on a SOTA activation!

73, Gerald G4OIG

Good to work you on WB-010 - my worst direction!


In reply to G4MD:

That would explain the slightly breathless sound then!
Well done and thanks for the point.

73 Graham G4FUJ