My first real SOTA experience

My first real SOTA experience

First a little bit of background. I joined the hobby in July of 2009 when I passed the foundation license and got the call sign of MW6CSS. SOTA was one of the many things that interested me about the hobby, but it’s not something I really gave much thought apart from a brief activation of the Great Orme one Wednesday afternoon, and the occasional working of SOTA stations from the comfort of the shack.

With the weather getting nicer, and the fact I’ve wanted to climb Foel Fennli (NW-051)for a long time, it was decided to activate the summit today, with the possibility of doing Moel Famau (NW-044) afterwards if we wanted to. (I say we, my dad is also licensed as MW6SFB.)

So at around five to eleven we set off from the car up the path towards the summit, myself carrying the bag with the rigs in, and the PVC pipe we were going to use as a pole for the beam, and my dad carrying lunch and the beam.
It was quite a walk upto the summit, I didn’t quite expect it to be so steep, but we made it to the trig point around twenty five past eleven. We had a five minute sit down then set about setting up the beam ready for some FM work on 2M. So the beam was up, and the handheld was duly connected up, and I gave the first CQ of the day. As soon as I had dropped the key Steve GW7AAV came straight back to me with a 59, and the promise to spot me. Contacts came thick and fast on FM including a summit to summit with 2E0EDX/P on Robinson (LD/021), and when it finally went quiet we decided to switch to SSB to get another three contacts for the log. So that was nine contacts in the log, and it was time for lunch. Lunch over and we didn’t like the look of the sky so began the decent, twenty minutes later we’re back at the car, and don’t really fancy Moel Famau, so decided to go for Hope mountain (NW-062) instead. (Thanks again Steve for providing me with the SOTA reference.)

We arrived at Hope and headed for the trig, set the beam up and began again on FM, thanks go to Steve for spotting me; and then the contacts rolled in, 15 later; which we didn’t think we’d make after I managed to pull the BNC connector of the coax, and we decided to give SSB another try after Steve promised to spot me, sadly we didn’t get any contacts and decided to head home shortly afterwards.

A big thanks to Steve (GW7AAV) who was a big encourager for me to start SOTA after reading his blog, and all his help today with spotting me on SOTA watch.

So that was my first real experience of SOTA. Did I enjoy it? Yes. Would I do it again? Defiantly! Am I mad? Yes.
Has anyone got any good recommendations for summits close to Wrexham in North Wales I could go and do sometime.

Hope to catch you all on the air soon.


In reply to M6CSS:

Hi Karl,

Great to get you both from a Windy Foel Fenli!!

I sensed some nervousness in both your voices,and now I understand why, you reminded me of myself back in Feb 2009 when I went up Raw Head for my 1st activation.

Well done on your main debut to the life of SOTA, as every one will tell you once you get in you can’t leave. You are now a prisoner of the SOTA Spirit,the best advice is sit back, do your time and enjoy it!!

Welcome once again to your new life, and a very well done once again from a fellow prisoner(HiHI)

Hope to get you on a S2S soon

Best 73


PS as for recomendations make sure you do Cyrn Y Brain and Penycloddieu. a couple of my favs close to you

In reply to M6CSS:

I had my first proper SOTA experience today on G/LD-050 (Gummer’s How in Cumbria).
My first activation was last Sunday on G/LD-049 (Kirkby Moor, Cumbria), I only just scraped the 4 QSO minimum for that but up Gummer’s I has my very own pileup! I was a very happy chappy because my day started off slowly with piggy-backing on M0RCP/P’s frequency before hopping to my own once I was heard.

With 20 QSOs including 5 S2Ss AND keeping the parents (the dog didn’t mind)happy by not taking that long it was a very successful activation for me, with a speedy 5 minute pack-up and run down the hill (20 minute climb and set-up).

I was only licensed about a month ago but I am addicted. :smiley:
My friends at school take the mickey but I’m too busy having fun to care.

Hope to work you some day.

Tommy M6AIM

In reply to M6AIM:

Thanks Tony for the kind words, I think Cyrn Y Brain is next on the to do list, as it was another summit I tackled on my DofE last year, although I’m told QRM from the masts is bad on 2?


I’m still in school, I don’t really care to be honest about what people think, at least it gets me out of the house, plus doing Ham radio licenses is great Physics GCSE revision. HiHi.

did you work 2E0EDX/P on Robinson?

Hope to work you summit to summit sometime.

In reply to M6CSS:

Glad I could be of help Karl, I know how frustrating it can be at times when you call and don’t get a reply. What you probably don’t realise at the time is that everyone is involved in pile ups on some other frequency. Today was a great day for the chasers with lots of activity on all sorts of bands. Thanks for the points and all the mentions. I hope to get you in my log many more times in the coming months. Good luck with those exams.

73 Steve GW7AAV

In reply to M6CSS:

I think Cyrn Y Brain is next on the to do list, as it was another summit I >tackled on my DofE last year, although I’m told QRM from the masts is bad on >2?

Never had a problem using the following equipment on Cyrn-y-Brain over the last 20 years.

ICOM IC290 (2m)
Yaesu FT736 (2m/70cm)
Yaesu FT780 (70cm)
FT290 + MM144/70 (4m)
Yeasu VX170R (2m)
Yaesu FT817
Icom X21ET (23cms)

Antennas have included 8ele Yagi for 4m, 11/13/17 ele Yagis for 2m, 19&21ele Yagis for 70cms, rubber ducks, double quads and Jpoles. Assorted preamps have been used based 3sk97, cf300, bf981.

Of course YMMV but CyB is relatively benign unlike some sites I’ve been near with Alport Heights springing readily to mind.


In reply to M6CSS:

Pffft, don’t talk to me about GCSEs… Y11 and hating it, the best procrastination method I’ve found so far is SOTA.

Fancy a school-related discussion elsewhere?

I did not get the chance to work 2E0EDX/P, I was surprised I missed him.

Same with the S2S work.

In reply to M6AIM:

Tommy if you’ve got MSN add Or drop me an email at

Thanks for the kind words Steve, and thanks to Andy for that list of kit. Hopefully I’ll be out next Saturday doing another activation or two.

Congratulations to both SOTA newbies. Be warned - it is very addictive. My mates at school take the mickey as well - don’t worry about it :wink:

SOTA summits around Wrexham - the following are all recommended and are nice outings. Further details for all of them can be found on my site or by clicking on the Summits link above:

NW-039 Foel Goch
NW-042 Moel y Gamelin
NW-043 Cyrn-y-Brain (never had any problems from txers up there)
NW-044 Moel Famau
NW-047 Mwdwl-eithin
NW-049 Gyrn Moelfre
NW-051 Foel Fenlli
NW-053 Moel Gyw
NW-054 Penycloddiau

Have fun,


In reply to M1EYP:
Oh Tom, I have stumbled upon your site before, I play guitar! As you have done the pennine way, I may try the Cumbria way this summer - 10 weeks off :slight_smile: