Shining Tor and my first HF activation

I checked and rechecked the weather at the start of the week and Friday was looking good, so booked a day off work and decided to head to Shining Tor (G/SP-004). Having done a solo activation the previous weekend, it was good to get my usual SOTA buddy John @M7RTB out to get the double-act back up and running. John wasnt operating today, but was my chief tech support and call sign decipherer - more on that later.

Parked in the layby/pull-in between the Cafe and the Cat & Fiddle and set off up the track. John was testing the APRS out on his newly acquired FT5D, so we were surprised to hear Andy @M1CJE from G/WB-004 Titterstone Clee Hill - nice to make the contact, but as we weren’t quite in the AZ, no S2S offered or claimed…

Onwards towards the summit, sunk in a few boggy places but otherwise got to the top unscathed. Listening in to Andy it was clear there was quite a bit of activity on 2m, so up with the Slim-g and FT70 - 9 2m contacts in quick succession, including Tom @M1EYP/P on the Cloud celebrating his 4,000th activation, great to be part of your celebration Tom!

Today was a struggle as I was activating as M7MWZ and not MW7MWZ, which I found very difficult to day for some reason!

Also a sincere thanks to John @G0MHF who had seen my post in the GW SOTA group with my planned activation and messaged to say he was thinking about Shining Tor too, but politely decided not to, so as not to cramp my style - John you are a gent :smiley:

Back to the main point of this activation, to break my HF activation duck. Down with the Slim-G, and out with the Xiegu G90 and a 41’ random wire/9:1 unun/17’ counterpoise set-up.

Put a spot on SOTAwatch on 40m and called CQ - welcome to the world of pileups! How do you guys manage these?! My brain was frazzled trying to pick out call signs when many stations are speaking over each other. Great that John was on hand to help me through it capturing call signs and helpfully bringing up QRZ pages so I could try and see who I was talking to.

40m seemed ok into Europe, but wanted to try my luck on 20m. Quick spot on SOTAwatch and called CQ. Nothing, not even a crackly signal. A minute head scratching and figured out that the G90 (or more probably me) hadnt changed it from LSB to USB - a few button presses and… PILEUP! This is hard work… :sweat_smile: Cue John laughing at my lack of pileup skills, but managed to get a load more in the log, including 2 S2S with Uwe @DK8OA and Chris @DL1CR who were on DM/NS-122. Managed a few contacts into the States, which feels like a good result with the G90 and 20w.

Many thanks to all for your patience with me trying to deal with the pileups, and apologies to those I must have missed - I am hoping I get better with practice! If anyone has any top tips, let me know.

M(not W)7MWZ


Nice one Mike! HF pile-ups can be rather intense at times. I always enjoy those ‘and breathe’ moments when there are no more stations to work!

73, Matthew


I had a huge pile up on 20m last Monday on Meikle says law GM/SS-148 with lots of stations talking over each other. Sometimes I just caught the last two letters of a callsign and would just reply “station ending in xx please go again”. Summit to summit calls sometimes stand out because it takes longer to say and you can hear the second word summit after the callsign cacophony has died down.
I’m still learning how to deal with them myself. I was lucky on Monday with no time pressure and reasonable weather, if a bit windy.
A year ago I was very wary of putting out spots on 20m like that but I’m a bit more used to it now.


You did very well. Thanks for the S2S.
EDIT We had only one contacts on 10m with NE1D suffering very badly atmospheric? S5 noise. but Uwe enjoyed an endless pileup on 20m SSB with 2 oversea qsos (Don't forget the 20m band!)

73 Chris


Hi Mike,
it has been a plaesure for me to come in contact with you. Thanks for S2S ans Park to Park.
I although had an big pile up yesterday, hard work but very much fun. I like it.
Best 73 and hope to hear you again soon.


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Thank you for your kind words, Mike and thanks for the qso on 2m. Glad the hf side of things went well, though I could barely hear you on 40m, so didn’t pursue it. 73 John


Thanks for trying John, much appreciated!

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Hi Mike,

congratulations, first activation on HF and DX at once. (I had to wait years for DX from a summit.)

73, Ludwig