The GW SOTA S2S and hog roast day June 2024 - PLEASE READ (Part 2)

No, I was trying when you were on FM.

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Another busy weekend. 5am get-up Saturday, picked Jimmy M0HGY from his flat and drove across to Powys.

Breakfast at Morrisons in Newtown and then onto Garreg-hir GW/MW-017.

A gorgeous little hill. Like a curving ridge walk in miniature.

We bumped into Andy G6PJZ and Deborah already activating up there. “Gentlemen’s agreements” were easily arranged, with Andy vacating 2m once Jimmy was set up, and, later, I took a break from 10m to give Andy some time on the band.

I made 81 contacts from the summit, of which 35 were summit-to-summit.

2m FM: 36 QSOs (30 S2S)

10m SSB: 9 QSOs (4 S2S)

10m CW: 3 QSOs

10m FT8: 32 QSOs

10m SSTV: 1 QSO (S2S)

2024 Jun 08 MW-017 08

2024 Jun 08 MW-017 09

2024 Jun 08 MW-017 10

2024 Jun 08 MW-017 11

2024 Jun 08 MW-017 12

Jimmy made 43 QSOs - all 2m FM except for a S2S on 10m SSTV. 30 of his 2m FM contacts were S2S.

Next it was over to the SOTA Hog Roast event, superbly organised by Ben GW4BML.

It was a fantastic afternoon with around 60 SOTA enthusiasts in attendance - and the food was excellent!

Good speeches and presentations by Allan GW4VPX, Ben Yaesu Man GW4BML, Roger MW0IDX and Richard G3CWI.

Also celebrating two of the participants who actually achieved their Mountain Goat status that morning - Dave M0JKS and Gillian M0OVW.

Before heading home to Macclesfield, Jimmy and I nipped up to the easy summit of Long Mountain-Beacon Ring GW/MW-026. We set up by the trig point in the centre of the wood if only to get some shade from the blistering sun!

I made six contacts:

10m CW: 1 QSO

10m FT8: 5 QSOs

Jimmy made five contacts, one on 2m FM, the rest on 10m FT8.

Onto Sunday morning, and a quick trip out to The Cloud G/SP-015. I didn’t have much time to spare and made just two QSOs:

10m FT8: 2 QSOs

That was because it was time to hit the road to Lytham St Annes for a gig playing for Tony Christie. Marianne and Liam joined me for the trip out and we met for Sunday dinner after soundcheck.

The show was great with Tony in excellent voice. Marianne was impressed! It’s a gig I love to do whenever I get a call to dep in - all great songs, and a top notch band to play them with.

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Not quite an exciting weeking for me as Tom had performing with Tony Christie and the band. Here is my report of the weekend pasted from my blog

Saturday 8th June 2024 GW/NW-031

Over the weekend of 8/9th June I attended the SOTA Wales Hog Roast for the first time, and what an excellent event this turned out to be. Leaving my home QTH at 5.30am I drove to the Rhug Estate Farm Shop near Ruthin, for a comfort break and to boost my EV battery, before proceeding to the parking place for GW/NW-031 - the cattle grid at Bwlch y Groes SH 913233:


I departed on the 2.25 mile walk (535 feet ascent) to the summit just after 10am local time. After following the fence all the way I reached the operating point at a fence corner in 94 minutes. Parts of the route were through peat hags which slowed my progress, but it wasn’t as wet underfoot as I thought it may have been. A light shower passed over briefly on the walk. I was monitoring 145.500 MHZ as I walked. There was a lot of activity from fellow activators on summits in the GW/NW and GW/MW area. Arriving at the summit I had carried the following equipment:

Elecraft KX3 with 4 AH battery

Yaesu FT4X & Yaesu FT65 with RH-770 extendable whip

6m SOTA Beams Tactical Mini Pole

Off centre fed dipole for 20m & 10m fed with 10m RG-174U

My operating plan was to capture as many S2S and 2m contacts as I could with the handheld first, before erecting the pole and OCFD dipole - which was the antennas first time out. I’d built it specifically for the SOTA 2024 10m Challenge. The first two stations worked were GW Hog Roast Organiser Ben GW4BML/P on GW/NW-033 Tarren y Gesail (A summit I have yet to visit), followed by Richard G3CWI, operating GB4HOG from the event site. Many S2S contacts followed before I went over to the 10m band. There was a little patchy sporadic E around and these ground wave GW weekend stations, all worked on 10m:

11:20 OK8MA/P JAREK 10m CW OK/ZL-078

11:21 MW5OTA/P TONY 10m CW GW/NW-007

11:29 G7ADF/P IAN 10m SSB G/WB-005

11:38 GW5OLD/P TIM 10m SSB GW/NW-021

12:13 MW1EYP/P TOM 10m SSB GW/MW-017


I went QRT at 12:15z as I realised it would take me over an hour to get back to the car then probably another hour to reach the Hog Roast site 1.5 miles south of Llanfair Caereinion. I’d spent just over two hours on the summit and the walk back to the car took 72 minutes. I reached the Hog Roast site at 16:15 local and was welcomed by Allan GW4VPX, a longtime friend. There was plenty of hot food left and I was hungry, tucking into the grub which was pork, stuffing and apple sauce on a large barm cake and also some lovely small jacket potatoes in butter. Several cups of tea followed (The urn was boiling away when I got there) and I finished off with some the nicest chocolate brownies I had ever tasted. There must have been around 50 activators present with family and dogs and we had a great social event, including several presentations of Mountain Goat and other awards. The raffle was held and a substantial sum of money was raised to support the SOTA organisation.

I left the site at 18:45 to drive up to The Old New Inn at Llanfyllin where I was staying the night.

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Sunday 9th June 2024 GW/NW-012

After a good breakfast at the pub in Llanfyllin I drove north along the B4391 towards Bala. My planned route up to Cadair Berwyn used a track provided by Richard @M1HAX which I took from SOTAMaps tracks page. It is one of longer routes up to GW/NW-012 but after the previous days peat hag walk it was a straightforward case of putting one leg in front of the other and walking the 4.2 miles each way to the summit. As I parked alongside the B4391 there was a large coach moving off with a Birmingham phone number. All was revealed later when I caught up with the members of Sutton Coldfield Hill Walking Club, who I was told run a monthly coach trip to various places concentrating on walking to high places. There were four led walks arranged that day in the area. I went ahead and by the time I reached the summit I met another two of the four groups of walkers!


The boggier sections of the route had been boarded out and I reached the summit shelter in 144 minutes - the ascent was 1237 feet and the distance 4.15 miles. With my present state of health and fitness level I was satisfied with that. Again my plan was to operate on 2m FM and on 10 metres. The path to the West Midlands was very good on VHF - I think the furthest I worked with the FT-65 handheld and RH-770 whip was Kidderminster. The weather wasn’t being kind now though - it was cold with a strong wind from the north with squally rain. The high walled shelter saved the worst from getting soaked as the rain was coming sideways. There was the frame of an old chair inside the shelter weighted down by large stones - I was able to truss my 6m pole to it securely and peg out the OCFD 20m dipole. Thankfully, I wasn’t disturbed by any visitors during my activation on the double topped summit.

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© Crown copyright OS (Memory Map 2024 1:25000)


The 10 Metre band was really dissapointing compared to Saturday. I did however work two stations to secure the Challenge multiplier for the summit and one new chaser, and one new S2S summit also. I worked Mike Carter, M6MPC who’s callsign belied his level of CW skill using a bug key. Mike is a retired Merchant Navy Radio Officer. His biography is extensive on QRZ.COM. The reading of part of it led me to believe that he is rather anti DATA modes / FT8, which is a shame. There is too much of that in the hobby in my opinion. Mike lives near Glossop. I was very relieved to get the QSO though, and followed this up with an SSB QSO with Herbert OE9HRV/P on OE/OO-139, who’s signal came up sufficiently enough for him to hear my 8 watts. I heard plenty of LU and PY stations in a CW Contest, however my puny QRP signal was insufficient to reach them. After spending an hour operating I was cold and decided to pack up.

The completion of GW/NW-012 leaves me with 23 summits to complete out of the 159 in Wales. I hope to continue and complete them all if I can…

The walk back to the car took me 134 minutes, and I was glad of the flask of tea waiting for me. The drive home took me via the Runcorn Toll Bridge (£2 one way - pay online before midnight same day or face a fine). The Satnav presumably using its traffic management brain to reroute me to the best route. I’ll never know if it was worth the £2 or not! I stopped for a meal and to fast charge my car at the McDonalds in Whitefield on the north side of Manchester. 48 kWh was extracted in 31 minutes.

I got home around 8,30pm after an excellent weekend - a big thanks to GW4BML and his team for organising a fabulous GW Hog Roast event.

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Excellent report Phil. I’d argue that your summits vs my summits conclude that you had a much more exciting weekend than I did!

Great to catch up with your at the Hog Roast. I agree, it was a superb event.

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[quote=“M1EYP, post:64, topic:35463”] I agree, it was a superb event.
[/quote]

Despite the hobby being about remote communication, we do like to get together. :smile:

Myself and Roger were reminiscing about the old Welsh camping weekend of years gone by (Llyn Peninsula and Bala), could you imagine trying to organise a camp site with the numbers that now attend. How many would have room for 50 tents?

Richard said it in his speech when he mentioned that when creating SOTA it would be a niche part of the hobby with about 12 participants. I think the guess was a little off :smile:

Ian.

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Nice write up Phil. I really like that longer route up Cadair Berwyn GW/NW-012. The road access and parking is quite decent and it is quiet. An excellent choice on sunny summer days when the hordes descend on Tanypistyll clogging up it’s long single track road.

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I agree. I did that route up Cadair Berwyn the day before Phil; and although it is longer and boggier than the route up from the waterwall, parking was easy and the route much quieter. Not sure I would want to do it in winter though.

Dave

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Potentially a good time to do it - if it’s very cold and the ground is frozen. This route was my first ever for Cadair Berwyn back in 2004. I was very nervous reading reports of the path by the vertical edge!

http://tomread.co.uk/cadair_berwyn_2005.htm

Since then I’ve realised it’s simple to step a few yards away from the edge, and I’ve gone up from the waterfall. Usually up that way and along the ridge to the summit, and descending down to Llyn Lluncaws to take the path on the other side of the valley back to the cafe. I’ve enjoyed overnighting on that summit a few times, and prebook secure car parking in the campsite at the cafe when doing so.

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