SOTA NEWS OCTOBER 2007
Many thanks to the following for their continued input and support…
John GW4BVE , Roy G4SSH, Roger MW0IDX, Barry M3PXW, Glyn GM4CFS and Peter ON3WAB,
SOTA STATISTICS – COMING NEXT MONTH
Next month’s SOTA News will have a new feature containing some interesting (hopefully) SOTA statistics. If readers’ feedback is positive it may become a regular feature of SOTA News.
24 in 24
The plans for this event are growing by the day and we are pleased to say that three people have now put their names forward to become the 5th team member. All of these names have been put forward to the team, who will decide on who is to be selected, well before the event. If anyone else would like to be considered, please email me QTHr on QRZ.com.
There seems to be some concerns over the operation style of this event, so let us spell it out to all and sundry. This event will be done 100% correctly and if anyone doubts that, then please feel free to jump in your car and follow the team throughout the whole of the challenge. It has also been mentioned about the use of club call signs. Although perfectly SOTA legal, the use of club call signs will not be an option for this team and we are now considering the possibility of adding a 6th member to the team, so that we will carry our own 4 chasers for each summit. The team will still do it’s best to try and take a few chasers from outside of the team if possible, but please bear with us, as speed is essential to success.
Alder Hey Hospital has now been officially approached by Barry M3PXW and they will soon be issuing Barry with all of the paperwork concerning the details required for the charity event to be held, with the Hospital as the sole benefactor of all monies raised, they are also issuing him with letters of authority for the event. The Sota News Team will scan these letters and display them on this bulletin as soon as we get them.
Planning is still ongoing and we will keep you all very well informed of any new developments.
SOTA MILESTONES FOR THIS EDITION
1,000 points (Shack Sloth)
10,000 points (Supersloth)
Roy G4SSH (Roy’s 10,000 points are all CW)
1,000 Unique summits chased
1,000 points (Mountain Goat)
Tom M1EYP, as expected, successfully achieved the following personal goals on 1/10/07
100th personal activation of “The Cloud” G/SP-015
500th SOTA activation.
Jordan M3TMX has completed chasing all of the 17 summits in the G/SP region.
John M0JDK/P and Steve 2E0KPO/P managed to activate all 5 of the G/TW region summits in a day on 13/10/07. This was an amazing achievement considering the distances involved and not forgetting the fact that it’s dark at 17:30utc at this time of the year. The duo then decided to activate 3 NP and 2 SP summits for another 5 in a day outing and were successful yet again in their quest. Well done to both of them, what on Earth will they get up to next?
All of the above, are the milestones and personal achievements which I knew of personally, or were sent to me by email prior to posting the news. Apologies to all participants who have achieved a SOTA milestone but are not mentioned.
SOTA MEETS JOTA
The weekend of 21st and 22nd of October marked the 50th anniversary of JOTA (Jamboree on the air) where amateurs set up special events stations with Scout groups both at home and overseas. This year’s event was again a massive success with numerous stations in operation. Quite a few of the JOTA stations were manned by SOTA regulars who selflessly gave up their time to help the young people to make contacts via amateur radio with other groups around the world. It was very pleasing to hear so many SOTA chasers and activators taking the time to call into these special events stations and spend some time chatting to the Scouts and cubs. A good time was enjoyed by all concerned. Congratulations to the JOTA movement and well done to all concerned, maybe a few new amateur licensees will emerge after their experience of our hobby and who knows, maybe some potential new SOTA activators and chasers also.
ONE MAN AND HIS RADIO GO MAD IN THE LAKE DISTRICT
By Glyn GM4CFS
The last time that I had been to the Lake District to walk the Fells was in my late teens/early twenties when, as a Venture Scout, we would select a different National Park each weekend and head off in the Unit van with a pair of boots, a tent and a ‘Party Seven’ (big tin of beer for those too young to remember). So when the chance came up for me to spend a week alone in the lakes I jumped at the opportunity. Having dropped the XYL and boys off at her Sisters in Southport, I retraced my tracks and headed for Windermere and a B&B that would be my home for the week. I had planned about 15 different hills and depending on the weather and the state of my legs would select a hill or two on a daily basis.
Day 1 Sunday 7th Oct - Stony Cove Pike LD-018
Target for today was Stony Cove Pike LD-018 and possibly Red Screes LD-017. Arrived at the Kirkstone Pass Car Park at about 0915 and was met with massing crowds getting ready for a Fell Running Race. Spotted the RAYNET caravan so went to have a chat - should have saved my breath!! Got booted up and set off up the track to the left of the Pub. Easy pull up onto St Ravens Craig then a long steady slog up the side of Stony Cove Pike in cloud and some drizzle. Unfortunately progress was frequently interrupted by the Fell Runners demanding I “stand aside” - extreme fitness doesn’t come with manners obviously. On reaching the large plateau of a summit I moved away from the cairn and put out a quick call on S20 with the handie and logged 9 QSOs in quick succession including the first S2S with a RAYNET operator on Helvellyn. Using the handie proved very valuable because it allowed me to access the tracks the Fell Runners and casual walkers were taking across the plateau. By this time I realised that there were in fact two separate Fell Races each criss-crossing the summit in different directions! A re-location to the side of the summit allowed for the safe erection of the aerials and I opened up on 5Mhz to the sound Don (RQL) quickly followed by Inky for the next S2S on SP-012. 7 QSO’s later I QSY’d to 7-SSB for 8 QSO’s then to 2-FM for a further 5 QSO’s including a S2S with Rob on Coniston Old Man. A solitary QSO on 7-CW brought another S2S with DL4FCH/P. The outcome of all this activity and the delays caused by the races was that I had over run my schedule for the second hill. But then I wasn’t in a race and there would always be another day for Red Screes - in fact another 4 days to do the hill.
QSO’s 145-fm 15
Day 2 Monday 8th Oct - Pike of Blisco LD-024
Woke up this morning to low cloud/fog drizzle with occasional heavy down pours. Decided to head for Wrynose Pass to see what the hill looked like but on arrival at 0930 I found that I couldn’t even see 100 metres up the approach track let alone any of the hills around the pass. I departed the area for coffee in Grassmere hoping for an improvement in the weather. Returned to Wrynose Pass at 1200 noon and could see all the way up the valley towards the summit of Pike of Blisco but the weather was still threatening heavy rain. Made the decision based on the risk of rain and the good performance on 2m yesterday to make this a VHF only activation. This was against my own better judgement but the conditions dictated the decision - IDIOT (have made a note never to listen to my own best reason in future). Excellent walk in to the Red Tarn where there is supposed to be a track leading up to the summit. Unable to find the track, but in good visibility, I just made a b-line for the summit across the grassy slopes. Eventually I intercepted the path which took me through the boulders and onto the summit. By this time visibility was down to 20 feet! Put out call on S20 - nothing, another call - nothing then another and another - oh s**t should have brought HF! Found two guys chatting on the Lancaster repeater so called them just to make sure the rig was working OK - it was so returned to S20 for CQ and got Dave G6CRV - hooray contact at last this was followed by Dave G6LKB and Nigel 2E0NHM who tried to get me in QSO with Mike (DSP) but to no avail. Still needing one more to qualify the hill Dave (LKB) came to the rescue offering a QSO with Marjorie M3ULV who I believe is also Mrs LKB. At last the hill was qualified but continued calling just in case anyone else was around. However, there were no further calls and it had started raining very heavily so decided to get off the hill a quickly as possible. By the time I had got back to the car the weather was worse than when I had turned back first thing this morning - it was almost like being at home in GM land.
QSO’s 145-fm 4
Day 3 Tuesday 9th Oct - Red Screes LD-017
Last night I had planned on doing Dale Head and Robinson today. However, when waking up and checking the weather forecast the plan was quickly changed. There had been a front moving through the UK overnight bringing a band of heavy rain which was supposed to be clear by the morning. By 0900 it was still raining so a drive to Ambleside instead to do some retail therapy (who said women are the only ones who can do RT). By 1100 the sun had started to break through so off to the Kirkstone Pass car cark and got ready for Red Screes. This is a very short walk but a very steep climb all the way to the summit. It reminded me of reaching the end of the runway on re-heat and pulling the stick back and going vertical to 2500 feet, except this time I had no re-heat nor the comfort of the cockpit to see me to height, just some rapidly tiring legs. The summit was reached in just under an hour and the station set up on 5 Mhz. GW4BVE started the ball rolling this time with 10 QSOs on this band before QSYing to 7 Mhz - but just one QSO on SSB with MM0USU/P on Shetland and 2 on CW. Band conditions appeared poor today. A quick move to 2m secured a further 7 QSOs before going QRT. The descent was fairly straight forward, arriving back at the car in 35 mins. The footpath to the summit from the pass car park is well maintained over the majority of the route and the few rock scrambles make this relatively easy hill worth while. Overall an easy day out for 6 points!!!
QSO’s 145-fm 7
Day 4 Wednesday 10th Oct - Dale Head LD-020 & Robinson LD-021
Took an hour and a half to drive from Windermere to the car park at Honiston Slate Mine - road works and ‘Sunday afternoon’ drivers! Made good time up the relatively gentle slope to the summit of Dale Head where for the first time this week I was presented with fantastic panoramic views of the fells. Fired up on 5 Mhz with the usual crowd then QSY’d to 7 ssb but no takers. I finished on 7 cw with a good smattering of UK and European QSO’s. It was now time to quickly pack the kit and set off for Robinson. An interesting ridge walk but on a sunny windless afternoon no major problems and I managed to get to the summit of Robinson in just over the hour, set everything up turned on to 5 Mhz and heard GW4TJE/P working through the usual pile-up. Tried calling several times before I realised that the FT817 was not transmitting! The TX LED was going on but there was no power output - oh s**t was said for the second time this week. It then took a further hour to qualify the hill on the VHF Handie. First call on S20 brought in G4WHA but then silence. Eventually I heard Ian GW8OGI/P calling so managed to squeeze a S2S with him but so as not to be beaten I was forced to ‘break’ in on a couple of QSO’s to get the pre-requisite number of QSO’s having already over run my timing schedule. Fortunately I had allowed myself plenty of leeway with regard to time and sunset, so wasn’t too worried on this occasion. A good steady pace saw me back at the car in just under 2 hours then a nice hour and a half drive back to the hotel. A long day and hard work radio wise but worth it for the scenery alone.
LD-021 145-fm 4
Day 5 Thursday 11th Oct
And on the fifth day my legs do say unto me - “give it a break” and to add pressure to the argument the great fun police on high hath sent the cloud base to 200 ft and with it rain and pestilence - or was that apathy? And so it was that I donned knotted handkerchief, rolled up the trousers legs bought an ice cream and became a tourist for the day.
Day 6 Friday 12th Oct - Gummers How LD-050
Time had come to pack the bags and head for Southport to collect the family, however, not before a quick activation of Gummers How. Due to the time constraint and the fact that the HF was phutt this was to be a VHF only activation with the handie. I had the SOTA Beam in the back of the car but no BNC/SMA converter. I parked up at the Gummers How car park in thick fog and set off up the road towards the clearly marked gate and footpath. An easy walk of about 20 minutes brought me to the summit trig point which was about all that could be seen. First call brought back Sue G1OHH followed by Nick G0HIK who spotted me. Over the next 17 minutes I made 6 further QSO’s including GW0DSP and GW7AAV in CQ. Having worked Steve, I made a few more calls but with no further takers so made my way back to car to start the journey home.
QSO’s 145-fm 8
Overall an excellent week was had in one of my favourite parts of Britain. It was nice to be able to get back on the Fells after a 30 year break. For someone who is in their 50’s, weighs in at 17 stone and only returned to Hill Walking this May after long illness, to have completed 6 fells in the week was, for me, a great achievement. I have already started to plan the next week away to the Lake District.
Total QSO’s for the week
145-fm 38 5-ssb 27 7-ssb 9 7-cw 11 Total 85 QSO's
73 Glyn GM4CFS
2 WELSH SUMMITS GO TON UP
Two Welsh summits have reached their 100th activations in October. GW/NW-042 Moel Y Gamlin’s 100th activation was by Barry MW3PXW/P on the evening of 1/10/07. (See Hill of the Month).
GW/NW-062 Hope Mountain’s 100th activation was achieved by Mick 2W0HJD/P on his recent North Wales raid, his activation took place on the afternoon of 22/10/07 accompanied by Mike GW0DSP/P. Mick activated on 2m, 80m-ssb and 40m-ssb and Mike GW0DSP/P operated on 60m and 40m-cw. This summit was a unique for Mick. You see, I do allow others on my Hill, sometimes, hi.
RARE GW/NW SUMMIT
Which GW/NW summit has not been activated since March 2005?
Answer: Foel Cae’rberllan GW/NW-057, which was last activated by Carl GW0TQM/P on 28th March 2005. About time it was activated again.
As reported last month, John GW4BVE had to shorten his expedition in the Moelwyns with Frank G3RMD due to a torn soleus muscle, however The SOTA News team are pleased to report that John is now well on the mend and decided to tackle a “small one” because of activation withdrawal symptoms. John managed to successfully ascend and activate GW/NW-059 Allt Y Main on 5/10/07 and the torn muscle stood up to the test. John’s Brother-in-law Mike acted as a sherpa for John to lighten the load on his injured leg muscle. Following this trial run, on 19/10/07 John returned to “normal” activating when he successfully tackled GW/NW-019 Yr Aran with Frank GW3RMD/P. John is now back in full swing.
Clive M1YAM was following doctors orders very similar to John’s and is also well on the road to recovery after injuring his ankle while making a hasty descent of Cruachan Charna, GM/WS-347 in order to make it in time for the ferry boat. The SOTA News Team are pleased to say that Clive is also on the mend and it was great to hear him out activating G/NP-026 Kidson on 13/10/07.
I’m sure the SOTA News Team speak for all SOTA participants when we say we are very pleased to here that you are both well on the mend and we wish you both a very warm welcome back to activating. You were both missed during your short absence.
Dave M0DFA/G6DTN is taking a rest from serious activating. He has a health problem and is currently undergoing tests. The SOTA News team wish him a speedy recovery and a welcome return to activating in the near future. The SOTA News team also have it on good authority that Dave is planning to use his rest time to improve his CW speed and to start chasing on HF-CW.
EU NEWS SNIPPETS
From Peter ON3WAB
OQ1C (Dan ex on4on) has joined the Belgian SOTA rankings. Dan was the first to activate Kemmelberg ON-008 and is a well known award hunter and contester.
Super Sunday. 7th October was a super Sunday for me. A total of 14 uniques and 113 points were collected. I also added 21 points to my Sota SWL-log. I sometimes wonder how the activators pick me out of the ever increasing pile-up, especially during the weekends.
73, de Peter, ON3WAB
UK NVIS PROPAGATION by John GW4BVE
In last month’s SOTA News the question “When will solar cycle 24 start?” was posed Well the answer is ‘not yet’. The sun is still total spotless and very quiet. This could be considered to be bad news but read on as it has been a good month for NVIS propagation in the UK.
We rolled into October with mid-day (utc) F layer critical frequency (FoF2) figures around the September mean for the first 5 days of the month. However, after that propagation got better and better with the mid-day utc FoF2 significantly above our 5MHz channels every day for the rest of the month. The mean mid-day FoF2 for the whole month was 5.9MHz, 800KHz higher than last month. What a difference that made to 5MHz inter-G QRP communications. The low geomagnetic activity meant that signals were strong and background noise levels were low. A side effect of poor 5MHz UK propagation over the last few months is that the less enthusiast non-SOTA users gave up and moved their nets to 80m. Their mistake was not maintaining their frequency agility as mentioned last month and failing to return to 5MHz when conditions improved. It was their loss and our gain as there were always free channels for SOTA activators to use, which is just as well as occasionally there were 3 channels occupied with SOTA. On the 21st Stuart G4MJG, Rob G4RQJ, Ron GW4EVX, and Ian GW8OGI were all operating from summits on 5MHz simultaneously.
Of course 80m will still support SOTA activations with the reduced winter levels of D layer absorption. For a quick activation on one HF band it is probably the most reliable band for inter-G contacts and of course it has the advantage of allowing contacts with the foundation and intermediate level licensees. Expect 15-20 contacts for a weekday 5 watt activation on 80m and many more at weekend.
Returning to 5MHz, those early evening activators need to watch out for very rapid drops in the F2 critical frequency at or soon after dusk… The path can fail very suddenly – within the time of one normal over - as the FoF2 drops. Like most things ionospheric the time of the rapid drop FoF2 occurs is variable and not predictable. Sometimes inter-G paths are available hours after dark and sometimes they close much earlier.
Traditionally for the VHF types we have come to the end of the sporadic E season, but sporadic E WAS affecting HF propagation during the month of October. Sporadic E was visible on the Chilton ionograms on quite a few days of the month, for example the extraordinary mode E layer critical frequency was a 6MHz at mid-day utc on the 28th, which would have supported all but the shortest inter-G contacts on 7MHz. Although off-topic for this report, which focuses on UK NVIS propagation, EU sporadic E contacts are still occasionally possible on 28MHz. On the Saturday morning of the CQ WW SSB contest at the end of the month the 28MHz band was full of European stations. OK they were all using high gain antennas and a kilowatt or so, but they were very very strong. It might still be worth trying 28MHz from summits, but remember sporadic E is just what it says on the box – sporadic.
Apart from the E layer propagation 7MHz has been supporting inter-G propagation via F layer on the longer paths. For example on 30th October, with the extraordinary mode F2 critical frequency at 6.6MHz, Roger GM4OWG/P on GM/SI-093 was 55 into Welshpool. The path length was 356Km. This frequency is obviously of most use to the GM activators who are further away from the main centres of chaser activity in England and Connahs Quay – oops sorry Wales.
John GW4BVE would like to know if this feature is interesting for SOTA people. Is it too technical or too simplistic? Do you want any other aspects of inter-G propagation covered? He would also like to receive news of your experiences working inter-G SOTA contact on HF.
Gerald G4OIG has bought a new (used!!) 23cm /P rig although he has yet to be heard from the summits on the band. Unlike most of the other 23cm activators, who use the Icom IC T81E, Gerald’s rig is a Standard. Ian GW8OGI has activated three summits on 23cm in the last month. He worked GW4BVE from Cadair Idris on 29th September when Ian used his bi-quad and John used his corner reflector thingy. Both antennas were handheld and trials with vertical and horizontal polarisation yielded exactly same signal strength. On 10th October Ian worked Mike G4BLH in Nelson from Y Lliwedd GW/NW-008 and on 17th October he again worked GW4BVE, this time from Gyrn Moelfre GW/NW-049 with John sitting in his shack with a rubber duck on his handheld.
One interesting statistic is that the only 23cm contacts from summits in 2007 have been from the UK – very strange with all the 23m equipment available in DL.
During October one 5MHz SOTA activator was called by a chaser who holds a Foundation class licence, which was embarrassing for the activator, put the chaser at risk of losing his licence and risked the reputation of the SOTA programme. Unfortunately Foundation and Intermediate class licensees cannot currently obtain a Notice of Variation to their licence to authorise use of the UK 5MHz frequencies. The incident was probably only an error of judgement on the part the chaser involved, but the SOTA News team ask that everyone ensure they only transmit on frequencies that they are licensed to use.
SIGNAL REPORT QSP PROBLEMS AGAIN
October saw a couple of instances of “helpful” stations QSPing reports to chasers who were struggling to receive their reports from an activator. PLEASE be aware that you are NOT helping the chaser who is struggling, on the contrary, you are in fact doing just the opposite and making the contact null and void. In one of the cases which I heard on air, the chaser had the presence of mind to ask the activator to give him another differing report, which the activator agreed to instantly and the contact and points were saved. So in future, if you hear someone struggling to get his/her report, please refrain from calling out the report given and give them a chance to make a good contact.
SOTA CW REPORT by Roy G4SSH
There were some interesting and disturbing developments on the SOTA CW bands during the month of October. The seasonal improvement in HF propagation continued during the month and quite few enthusiastic CW newcomers to SOTA arrived on the bands. These included Bernd DL4CW (who puts a beautiful signal into the UK on 10118 KHz - thanks for using this band Bernd ) Peter DL4FCH, Jirka OK2BDF, Kurt OK8DCF, Dieter OE6WTD, Robby using DK0CEU and Fried DL8DXL. Some of these new ops have already done expeditions of 2 or 3 SOTA’s in one day.
The number of chasers also increased during the month, with some familiar DX callsigns joining in. One reason for this being that without large antenna arrays DX is hard to come by at the sunspot minimum and SOTA chasing offers a new and exciting challenge. SOTA activations are now being regularly tipped off on the DX Cluster, which is encouraging many new operators to join in for the first time; unfortunately this is creating problems for activators as distant stations join in the pile up to make contact without any real interest in chasing SOTA stations.
As a direct result of the above, CW pile-up’s on 7032 KHz are now becoming almost unmanageable, especially at weekends, when a SOTA spot is attracting around 30 regular chasers and the DX cluster doubles this number. An activation on 40m is now often taking at least one hour to clear. This is becoming too much for some activators who are going QRT or QSY’ing to SSB after half a dozen contacts. This creates further problems as chasers become desperate to make the QSO before the activator closes down. It is also often impossible to read the callsign sent by the activator due to undisciplined calling of stations using high power, and one or two regular activators have resorted to repeating the callsign called at the end of the over instead of just a “BK”. Attempts by activators to control the pile-up by calling “/P only pse” are being ignored in the feeding-frenzy of chasers. These huge pile-ups are beginning to attract the idiots, with jamming, pirating of callsigns and false signal reports adding to the confusion.
Early in the month Klaus DF2GN travelled across the border to Switzerland, to activate SH-002 and SH-001 on two consecutive days. On the first day, using 3 watts QRP to a 2 x 26.6m doublet with the feed point at 8m, Klaus called CQ once on 40m and was hit with a pile-up of chasers which lasted 1 hour 10 minutes, with calls from 66 stations in 16 DXCC countries. ( 61 CW, 5 SSB ). On the second day Klaus attempted to reduce the pile-up to more manageable proportions by deliberately halving the height of the antenna feed point to 4m in order to reduce the audibility of his signals and concentrate on his EU target audience. This time he worked 74 stations in 21 DXCC countries! ( 63 CW, 11 SSB ). This is the first time I have known a SOTA activator deliberately downgrade his equipment in an attempt to reduce callers to more manageable proportions. Klaus was active again on the 26th October, using a 2 x 18.5m dipole with the feed point at 6m. This time he managed 109 QSO’s in 13 DXCC countries (92 CW & 17 SSB). This is the first time Klaus has exceeded 100 contacts on a single activation.
On Sunday 14th October there were 36 CW spots, with more than 100 CW chaser points on offer. This resulted in 3 or 4 SOTA stations active at the same time between 7033 and 7031 KHz, causing great confusion. RTTY stations are also regularly creeping down towards 7030 KHz, especially at weekends, totally swamping any QRP activators.
Dan DH8DX made many chasers very happy during an October break in Austria by activating no less than seven ten-point SOTA’s in 5 days. Many thanks Dan, your lightweight home-brew CW monobander rig did a great job.
As expected, the CQ world-wide SSB contest just about wiped out the 40m CW band over the weekend of the 27-28th October, but a combined operation by DH8DX, DL4ALI and LX1NO on a Thuringian tour delighted the chasers by beating the odds. Whilst Dan and Steffen operated on 10117 KHz, Norby (with his huge signal) managed to find gaps in contest stations between 7026 and 7033 KHz and so ensured that most chasers copied at least one of them. On the second day they repeated the operation from the Czech Republic. Many thanks - this was very much appreciated.
The 80m band is giving excellent propagation at the bottom of the sunspot cycle as winter approaches. Some regular CW activators are already using this band which gives a welcome relief to the heavily saturated and noisy 40m band. John G4YSS has been heard practising for the return of winter bonus on 3.725 KHz from LD-001,using the familiar club call GX0OOO/P.
SOTA Flickr GROUP
There are now around 2700 photos on the SOTA Flickr group. Most, but not all, of the photos relate to summit activations which is natural. Any photos relating to SOTA are welcome including photographs of interesting equipment/antennas, SOTA personalities and chaser shacks.
People who submit photos can expect them to receive around 30-50 views within a few days – there are plenty of SOTA people interested in seeing your material.
Photos can be viewed at:
or by clicking the Photos link at the top of Sotawatch pages.
Flickr PHOTO OF THE MONTH
Nobody has entered their favourite photo this month, so The SOTA News Team has chosen one. It was a very difficult decision because of the high quality of the photos on the Flickr site. In the end and after a lot of thought, we have chosen this photo from Dan, DH8DX, which in our opinion, shows us what the spirit of SOTA is all about and the lengths to which some activators are prepared to go to, to bring the summits into our shacks back home. On top of that, just look at the background scenery, simply breathtaking.
HIll OF THE MONTH
Moel-Y-Gamlin GW/NW-042 ( 578 Metres, 2 PTS )
from Barry M3PXW
This is now officially the third most activated summit in the GW/NW region, so I have put it forward as Hill of the month. Situated on the top of the Horseshoe pass above the town of Llangollen, this is a nice comfy summit in my opinion, although it can be a desolate place in the winter months. It can be activated as part of a pair, with Cyrn-Y-Brain GW/NW-043, at 565 Metres and also 2pts, which is directly opposite, on the Ponderosa Café side of the road. The café/restaurant is a welcome sight after the final descent and serves good food and hot and cold beverages. There is plenty to see and do in nearby Llangollen which is just a few miles away at the bottom of The Horseshoe Pass. The Sun Inn, a 12th century drovers Inn at Rhewl, on the Llangollen side of the Horseshoe Pass serves very good home cooked food and has a fair selection of real ales. Below is my activation report for the 100th activation of this summit.
Being new to SOTA, I haven’t managed too many activations as yet, but like a few others I have done some repeat activations of my local GW/NW summits, the main ones being NW-051 and NW-042. Moel Y Gamlin offers very easy access at night and I have done a few “night raids” on this summit lately. I couldn’t believe my luck when Mick 2E0HJD informed me that NW-042 stood at 99 activations and offered me the chance of making a little piece of SOTA history. I made plans hastily, and last night 1/10/07 headed for the Ponderosa Café, the parking spot for NW-042/-043, on the top of the Horseshoe Pass. Mike GW0DSP was back home after an activation of his local hill and offered to come with me for company, you can’t be to careful on these summits in the dark wintry nights and it was reassuring to have someone down at the parking spot, just in case of problems, thanks Mike.
The ascent in very high wind was nothing spectacular and the summit was reached in good time, mainly due to the fact that I only had my Yaesu VX-7 and log book to carry. I made my first contact with Mike back at the car, then ten other contacts followed in quick succession. After the ten contacts things went quiet and the clag started to hit the summit so I made a sharp exit, hi. The descent from the summit was faster than usual as I jogged most of the way down, they don’t call me the whippet for no reason.
My special thanks to Mick 2E0HJD for the spots and for bringing to my attention the chance to do the 100th activation of this popular summit, it’s nice to be a M3 making a little piece of SOTA history, also thanks to Mike GW0DSP for his company.
73 Barry M3PXW
Thankfully, none reported from last month.
That’s it for another month. Your feedback, whether good or bad, is always very welcome so that we can do our best to improve the news for you and include any other topics at your request.
Thank you on behalf of the Sota News Team.
Mike GW0DSP (Editor)