SOTA Special Hill

Can we have a special hill added for this year’s anniversary?
I’m thinking Cefn Du above Waunfawr. It’s where Marconi did early SOTA with a number of 400’ masts. It’s part of our radio heritage. I’d suggest a locator GW/ NW-Marconi or GW/NW-SOTA20

Is this possible?



Ok. Love the lack of ambiguity :wink:


No, it’s not possible.

There, an unambiguous answer!. You want more detail? OK …

SOTA lists a number of summits all of which qualify for inclusion because they have objective criteria. That is they have either 100m prominence in some limited cases or generally 150m prominence. We have for 20 years stuck to the requirement that summits are listed because they have prominence.

We have been asked or it has been suggested that we remove summits if there are access reasons. Well no, we list summits with prominence. There are loads of access issues. But access issues change and we’d be forever tweaking the list to add and remove summits.

We list on prominence. As soon as we have special reasons then every man and his dog will have some really good special reason why his summit should be added. Adding one opens the flood gates.

So no, you can’t have a non-prominent summit adding even if it’s for a good reason and only for a short time.

What you can do is get yourself a special event call (such as GB20SOTA though Roger MW0IDX has that for the moment) and get the location set to Cefn Du. As long as your location is open to the public you can get your special call. Then for 28 days you can setup and operate GB20SOTA to commemorate 20 years of SOTA from another radio historic site. You can chase with GB20SOTA and see if you can get the activators to look for you, see how many associations you chase, see how many points you can get in 28 days. As your are a chaser you can setup a big station and use generators etc. You can do all that without having the rules of SOTA changed or have us SOTA IT people figure out if GW/NW-SOTA20 would work under the software we have. (It wont!).

There’s lots you can do that doesn’t involve any rule changes that may have unintended long term consequences.

Or in one word, no. :wink:


:joy: Thanks for the suggestion of a “special event”. Much better approach, less messy for everyone. Maybe for July as that was when, 1914, the site first operated.

400” masts, lots of them. Makes a garden dipole look a bit limp😉

Hi Iolo.
I presume you know about the regular (most years) Marconi Day special events featuring the Waunfawr site.

What you can do from Cefn Du is a WAB trig point activation. It’s TP2075.

To use it for SOTA you’d have to take inspiration from: ¼ Kilometer Wire Antenna - Thats not an antenna, THIS is an antenna! :slight_smile: activating from Moel Eilio. But I make it about 2½km, so that would be outdoing even Marconi! :smiley:

I must go exploring there some time. I wonder if there are any traces of the narrow guage railway to the masts. Perhaps it was just for construction and all is long gone. Also the ROC site down the lane.


What I’ve been able to find about the station shows it broke every SOTA rule. It certainly wasn’t powered from batteries or renewable sources… Countless big triodes each using big power. I don’t think Marconi ever saw the point of QRP. When Marconi set up a transmitting site another coal mine was dug and another power station built.

Interesting bit of history and any form of commemoration other than SOTA activation would good.


Hi, The radio station was, for a while, a climbing wall and I used to go there regularly as an obsessive whispy rock climber. Every so often the place would be taken over by Radio Hams to celebrate Marconi. We’d be fascinated by all their kit, hear about the history, be in awe of the engineering but drift back to our gymnastics. I’m amused how I am now seeing Marconi’s feat in a different light.

Thanks for the tip about the trig point. I’m starting to see there are plenty of options. Being recently licensed, I think I’ll catch up with the next Marconi day (as well as join my local club) to develop the social side that Covid stalled.

Today I’m going exploring to see the mast & stay foundations, try to grasp the scale of the place and also see whether there are any traces of the railway. If we get any decent photos I’ll try to post them here.


It was, I think, powered by the hydro plant at Yr Wyddfa / Snowdon which is still running today. That was also intended to run the local narrow gauge railway, but it didn’t go quite to plan.

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As Andy has mentioned, apply for a ses Callsign.

Best to register for an online account with Ofcom and apply via their portal.

I like the idea of activating Cefn Du from Moel Eilio :slight_smile:

Oh that’s interesting Simon. My mindset was Wales, Coal. I cannot find reference to hydro power in the area earlier than 1960 but that’s not to say hydro electricity wasn’t there from the 1880’s. The current hydro plant is of 1980s era construction. Google shows money making info first and the rest later, maybe. Not what it was.


Pop “Cwm Dyli” into Wikipedia for a good overview. First opened in 1906 to supply a quarry. Has also featured in 007 movies.

It’s this one Ron:

Going off topic to railway history…

Visitors to the area will soon find one of the relics of the PBSSR, namely the “bridge to nowhere” crossing the road south of Beddgelert. Because the proposed electric locos had higher tractive effort than steam locos the route took a steeper gradient. After the enterprise collapsed and was subsequently taken up again by the Welsh Highland Railway various deviations were made to ease the gradient, but traces of PBSSR construction can still be spotted.

There are many micro-hydro schemes in the area including a very obvious one alongside the Watkin Path ascending GW/NW-001. But the biggest facilities are those for stored power, namely at Dinorwig and Ffestiniog. A similar facility has been proposed at Cefn Du.


Thanks Simon. Excellent reading. Glad it’s still making electric power.

A private branch railway line built near here about the same time is now streets, a linear park and a narrow railway bridge underpass where the train briefly ran under another line. We forget how many good schemes fail because of cost over runs.

I hope a commemorative radio exercise is mounted.