WB Report

Hi all
First, apologies to anyone waiting for us on HF from these summits. It soon became obvious that we were not going to get round all four tops if we did not move quickly.The lanes in between the summits are harder to navigate than the high Lakeland fells hihi.
We started on Pole Bank, a really short walk in from SO 414939, Just as well as we forgot the camera and Audrey ran back to the car for it. Used the 4ele beam and had a few minutes of panic before the contacts started! Got caught up in several conversations with the many walkers passing through so were already falling behind time but on to Stiperstones.
Here the large car park at SO 369976 was almost full, the brief appearance of summer having brought out the crowds but we found a spot and were soon on the summit. Audrey climbed to the trig on the rocks while I set up the antenna. Again vhf contacts were quite sparse, I blame lunch and Lewis Hamilton :wink: but we qualified the summit and were soon off to Titterstone Clee.
Not sure what we expected as we pulled into the parking area at SO 592775 Titterstone Clee seemed to be a cross between a country park and the set of Mad Max with radar and a couple of quarries thrown in. We soon reached the top via the path between the quarries, the start of which is marked but obscured, just after the hairpin bend in the road. We had decided that the 4element beam was not the weapon of choice for these hills with chasers all around, unlike home where basically you beam south and shout (apologies to Penrith, Workington etc) so used the quarter wave telescopic whip on the FT817. This also prevented problems with the 4x4s, motor bikes, day trippers etc. The ploy worked well and we soon racked up a fair number of contacts, ssb being achieved by holding the rig horizontal and spinning round for max signal.
By now we were running quite late so off to Brown Clee. Here we became tangled in the lanes but eventually found a sign for the Shropshire Way. We parked but a native told us we should park at the church where there was more space. Not wishing to be difficult we did just that, finding that this added a good half hour to the walk! Other kind residents were surprised that we were ascending so late and even offered us a map but we thanked them and assured them that we were well equipped and experienced. The best parking spot seems to be close to the phone box at SO 585869. Once on the top we set off with just the quarter wave and after a slow start soon collected everyone around who wanted the summit, even worked a GD station in Port Erin which is quite a fair haul. The sun set as we descended and we reached the car in near darkness. The lanes were no fun in the dark, we were supposed to be going out for dinner but it was well past 8 o’clock as we finally rolled into Church Stretton chip shop. Us northern lads know how to treat a lady :wink:
Telford rally was a pleasure and nice to meet a lot of interested people.
Thanks everyone for the spots and for being there
Rob and Audrey

In reply to G4RQJ:
Corndon Hill GW/MW-013

Another Friday off work meant SOTA time and I left 0800 from Wolverhampton for Corndon Hill GW/MW-013. Usual parking spot by the brown stone circle sign.
I was walking by 0930 and fitted my in-step crampons [Grivel Spiders] for the first time at the foot of the slope. There was good crisp snow 2 inches deep all the way to the summit. The spiders were very good and I got good traction. I sent a spot SMS and called CQ on 144-SSB. G8ZVZ Ian Collins answered the call and there were then four further callers on the band. I was monitoring 70.45 FM on the Wouxun KG699 and heard voices on 4FM. Crikey! life on 4. G6NWT Bill Taylor in Telford answered and I had a total of 6 contacts on 4FM. The first QSO’s on the band from this summit too. The furthest was MW0RHD Bob Hughes-Burton in Pwllheli. I had a chat in Welsh with MW1FGQ John over in Flintshire. Returning to 2m SSB I found Brian G8ADD waiting followed by two contacts on 2m FM. I packed up at 1130 and descended in my spikes without a slip.

G/WB-005 Long Mynd - Pole Bank
Today there was the question of how to get as close as possible to the summit without a car crash. I went to the southern end of the Mynd and “turned” off the A489 signposted to Asterton. Actually one needs to perform a 330 degree turn off a county A road to get onto this minor road so ingenuity was needed! The sun had done its magic and I made it to the end of the road in the hamlet of Medlicott. I found some grass between gateways at SO399947 by Lower House Farm to park on and set off up the byway past Medlicott cottage to Pole Bank. Passing through the beautiful snow-clad scenery, the byway lead onto National Trust land. I arrived at the summit to find many people walking and mountain biking rather than the deserted top I’d expected. I strapped the antenna to the trig point and hid from the wind in the lee of the column. I sent a spot SMS from my prepared draft and called CQ on 144-ssb. Roger G0TRB [without whom no Midlands activation is complete] answered the call. I had six further stations call me on 2m ssb and 4 more on 2m FM. I decided that 4m FM wasn’t sustainable from a time point of view. By 1445 I was descending the byway back to Medlicott. No hopping out of the car and walking 30 yards to the AZ today folks. I set off towards Craven Arms in the car thinking I’d get to Titterstone Clee hill in good time. Wrong.

G/WB-004 Titterstone Clee Hill

Normally delays don’t occur in Craven Arms. Today they had a traffic jam. When I reached the head of the queue the police constable said the A49 towards Ludlow was closed at Onerbury. The detour took a good deal of time partly due to reversing on minor roads back to the last gateway for the posh cars to get by. I finally got to the Titterstone Clee summit / Dhustone turn and went up the hill steadily. I did try to get to the quarry car park but slid backwards down hill on the packed ice and parked as best I could. Spiders on and go for the summit plateau! I found a handy sign post beside the radar domes and set up the station. I called CQ on 144-ssb at 1717 in the dusk and again Ian G8ZVZ was the first in the log. 4 further callers on the band followed [including Walt G3NYY making 3/3 of my activations chased]. I switched to 2m FM and spoke with James M6PCG in Cannock and happily my activation partner Geoff 2E0BTR mobile on his way to the shopping. Thanks for ringing home for me Geoff to say I was homebound with a flat phone battery.

A great adventure and a reward of 15 activator points. The pictures of the landscape taken on my phone are regrettably rubbish so no illustrations today. Thank you to all callers especially Roger G0TRB and Stewart G0LGS for the spots.
I hope to be out next Friday looking for 6 or more points to get the first 100. I’m off to California for work purposes 1-12 March with a walk with Stuart KI6J agreed provisionally to jolly things along. I hope to do a Lake District summit with parents and family in tow on 20 March. Baystones perhaps? Then it’s my operation on 31 March. Perhaps I’ll get some titanium souvenirs…

Best wishes

David 2E0DAI

In reply to 2E0DAI:

Hi David,

I tried 4m FM from my Wouxun handheld today on Callow Hill and View Edge and felt that the rubber duck antenna let me down! Im not using the factory supplied one, instead a sandpiper alternative!

What antenna system do you use? I was thinking about taking a magmount pl259 base and making a coupler which has 3 radials for the ground plane, then basically putting a 1/4 wave whip on the end of it all!!

Has anyone any other plans or ideas for 4 fm portable antennas?


In reply to 2E0XTL:
This one works very well.


Roger G4OWG

In reply to 2E0XTL:

Seems we missed one another on 2m SSB by a gnat’s whisker today Matt. Hopefully manage it next time.

73, Gerald

In reply to G4OWG:
That’s the one! I highly recommend the Summitbase pattern antenna. I place a chocolate block connector in at the feed point so I can solder the bare ends and get everything neatly joined up. It fell apart before when I tried to strip ribbon feeder in the middle.
The factory supplied antenna is little better than a dummy load.

In reply to 2E0DAI:

Many thanks for the six points on Friday, David.

Have a great time in San Diego! It’s my favourite place in Southern California. If you have time left after work and hill-walking, Sea World is well worth a visit. Also a drive up the coastal highway #101 as far as Oceanside, passing La Jolla, Cardiff State Beach and Encinitas … and a visit to the Wild Animal Park at Escondido.


Walt (G3NYY)

In reply to 2E0XTL:

Has anyone any other plans or ideas for 4 fm portable antennas?

Hi Matt,

I think the roll up slimjim is probably the best way to go. I started out my activating career using one on 2m FM with a little handheld and it worked what seemed like miracles. If you want something “set top”, take a look at this one:


I’ll be QRV on 4m before too long, Wouxun on its way. We should try and get a sched going one day when I’m back in the shire.


Dave M(W)0MYA.

In reply to 2E0XTL:

Has anyone any other plans or ideas for 4 fm portable antennas?

Forget using ‘rubber duck’ antennas on low band (eg 4m) equipment, they are little better than a dummy load. Whip antennas mounted on small HP’s like the Wouxun or Icom IC-E90 are an improvement on the RD, (but do even better mounted on a length of metal pole attached to a rucksack) but if attached directly to the HP put far too much strain on the connector and will eventually lead to catastrophic failure. The Jpole/slim Jim design is lightweight, rolls up easily and gives you gain as well. I hook mine onto the top of the fishing pole with a loop in a cable tie and hold it in place part way down with a re-useable cable tie. Tried to avoid using ‘adapters’ eg BNC to SMA between the rig and antenna coax. I have learned to my cost that they vary greatly in reliability. Use a short length of patch lead instead (Garex can supply them).

Mike G4BLH

Hi David,

Enjoy your trip to W6. I assume you won’t be activating any SOTA summits as you have got an intermediate licence.

Jimmy M3EYP

In reply to M3EYP:
That too is my assumption, Jimmy. Stuart KI6J and I have agreed to go for a hill walk which should be a highlight of the trip and a break from my dear colleagues in our UK work party. I imagine I’ll be a SWL on a summit in W6 on 6th March. It’s all good practice for when I can have a W6/M0xxx/P call.
I’m being taken to the Palomar amateur radio club on 3 March and will have the SOTA presentation slides on a memory stick just in case. They’re having a talk on recycling a radio telescope for EME operation and have organised a lift for me.
Talking of intermediate licences, Jimmy, any progress on 2E0EYP?

In reply to 2E0DAI:

for when I can have a W6/M0xxx/P call.

I spent a vast of amount of time trying to explain what on Earth W6/MM0FMF/P meant when I was there. Calls like that are not a common event on the repeaters in SoCal.

Visit the Palomar Observatory if you get the chance, it’s wonderous. The drive up from the desert onto the mountain top is unlike anything you’ll find in the UK. Also the Leathernecks Aviation Museum on the edge of Miramar Air Base is a fantastic place to spend an hour or two.


Hi David,

I’m not planning to do the intermediate licence yet. I thinking of doing the intermediate course once I’ve completed my 6th form studies which will be nearly 2 years from now. I think 2E0EYP is still available and I hope it will be when I’ve done the intermediate course.

Jimmy M3EYP

In reply to MM0FMF:

I spent a vast of amount of time trying to explain what on Earth
W6/MM0FMF/P meant when I was there. Calls like that are not a common
event on the repeaters in SoCal.

I must confess that, when I was there, I bent the rules slightly and signed “G3NYY portable W6”. Nobody had any difficulty in understanding what that meant! That is the syntax they are used to over there.

Much less straightforward are the rules governing the use of repeaters with integral phone patch facilities! I was not aware that the phone patch must be used for STRICTLY social calls only, and I was reprimanded by a repeater keeper for trying to make a local hotel booking through the phone patch!

73 de G3NYY

In reply to G3NYY:

I never thought of twisting about like that! (Oo-er matron!) The bigger problem though was the MM bit. Perhaps not too many MM calls are heard on HF out in W6, well especially with the way the sun has been over the last few years.

I’m not a big repeater user but what was pleasant was the amazingly warm reception I got on the air from people out there. I shudder to think what any visting amateurs would think if they fired up a repeater in the Central Belt and were greeted by some of the mouth breathers that inhabit them. C’est la vie.


In reply to MM0FMF:

I never thought of twisting about like that! (Oo-er matron!) The
bigger problem though was the MM bit. Perhaps not too many MM calls
are heard on HF out in W6, well especially with the way the sun has
been over the last few years.

They tend to think MM means Maritime Mobile!

I’m not a big repeater user but what was pleasant was the amazingly
warm reception I got on the air from people out there. I shudder to
think what any visting amateurs would think if they fired up a
repeater in the Central Belt and were greeted by some of the mouth
breathers that inhabit them. C’est la vie.

There was a famous occasion in the 1970s when King Hussein of Jordan was staying at Claridges and he made the mistake of putting out a call via GB3LO. He only did it once!


Walt (G3NYY)

In reply to 2E0XTL:

Hi Matt,

I can only echo the comments already made about the 70MHz J-Pole design on the Summitsbase website. Regarding the supplied rubber duck, I have been impressed by it’s performance over short range, but unless the summit you are activating is within 10Km of 4m equipped stations that just happen to be monitoring 70.450MHz forget it!

I have also used a quarter wave whip mounted on the radio, this is a big improvement on the supplied rubber duck, but still depends on line of sight with well equipped stations.

I was always put off building Slim Jim’s as to me being from an electrical background, it always seemed wrong to connect the inner to the outer of the coax, albeit via a quarter wave stub. But of course that is the point, RF energy is slightly different to 415V 3 phase mains!

I did not have any of the 300Ohm slotted ribbon feeder so I popped down to the electronics retailer with a name like a fictional holiday camp(Hi-De-Hi) & bought several metres of their translucent non-slotted 300Ohm feeder.

The very first model I built to the exact dimensions on the Summitsbase website worked first time, & I was so impressed by the J-Pole idea that after scaling the dimensions for 6m & 2m, I made J-Poles for those bands as well. They also worked first time & are all still in use today.

I feed mine with RG58 coax, but you can use thinner & lighter types if you wish.

Unless you intend working SSB or CW from a summit (Not many people do) where horizontal polarisation is preferred, you really cannot beat a J-Pole for a lightweight, compact & very effective antenna for 4m. When vertically polarised it has a lower radiation angle than a dipole & is much easier to mount on a fishing pole.

Some photos of my 70MHz J-Pole in use are on my Flickr site:

Have fun with the band & 73,

Mark G0VOF

In reply to G0VOF:

Many Thanks for all the suggestions!! I think i will try a 300ohm ladder feed jpole system!!

Matt 2e0xtl

In reply to 2E0DAI:
Hello all,
It’s Welsh Borders 5 pointer season at present. My family and I went for a walk up Brown Clee Hill so I could activate G/WB-002 this morning. For a change we thought we’d try the western flank of the hill. We found a a single parking space at SO584871 and walked past the metal public phone on the road signed to Cockshutford. The bridleway begins at SO585869. We should have taken the right hand fork in the path. In any event the western side of the summit is a peat bog in which our Pete got very wet feet. The wind on the summit was ferocious and I ducked behind the base of the toposcope mound. My initial call on 4m FM was answered by Matt 2E0XTL and a QSO with Ron M1DQG followed. I found no more callers on 4m and set up the beam on 2m ssb where I had a S2S with my activation buddy Geoff 2W0BTR on Gwaunceste Hill GW/MW-010. After a quick QSO with Bill G4WSB, I moved to 144.290 MHz where Stewart G0LGS found me and placed a spot for me. 4 further stations called before the run of QSOs dried up.
I decided to take the plunge and send a self-spot for 144.060 cw. I wonder what it’s like to try a cw activation instead of in the on-air TDARS class? I keyed my CQ SOTA and got a reply straightaway. Snag - paddle and keyer with me attached can send quicker than I can receive. I would like to thank Reg G3WPF for his patience and skill in dealing with frozen headed me. He must have sent his callsign 20 times. Finally it sank in and I sent RST and SOTA ref and Reg sent 559 back. By now I was getting really cold. The next caller was a weak signal sending quite quick for my plodding 5wpm brain. I tried to get a better beam heading after each QRZ? but then the shivering started. I couldn’t hold any concentration for longer so pushed the off button and sent a self spot QRT apology. Sorry to anyone I let down. I ran about a bit and warmed up before organising the family and heading off the hill on a SW bearing to pass through the field gate and down the tractor track onto the bridleway back to the car.

G/WB-005 Long Mynd
We drove over to Church Stretton and made our way up Shropshire’s Alpine pass the Burway to Pole Bank. I set up near the trig point. 50 mile all round visibility made the radio shack very attractive. On switching the 817 onto 144.300, I found Roger G0TRB contacting Simon M0TGT/P on the Cloud G/SP-015. I piped in and we all QSY’ed to a frequency for S2S and working Roger. I had a second S2S with Geoff Passey 2W0BTR/P on GW/MW-009 and we chatted about his forthcoming Mountain Goat activation and how he’s amassed 75 or so points since 1 January 2011. I moved to my own frequency and had a run of 11 further contacts ending with a cw reply to my voice QRZ. “Please send your call again while I get my paddle ready”. Fortunately I’m very familiar with the call M0PNN because it belongs to Paul who is one of my cw tutors. We completed a cw qso or at least I picked out the necessary parts for the log]. Paul switched to voice after I sent SK and said some nice things. There was a lovely sunset behind me and I packed up and returned to Ann-Charlotte and the Nintendo DS playing sons sheltering in the car.

Black ice was forming on all hard surfaces so we drove gingerly back to Church Stretton. We were delighted to find Acorns Wholefood Cafe open at 1640 - it’s opposite Barclay’s Bank. The upstairs cafe does superb hot chocolate and cakes. My piece of Parkin was delicious. I regret I didn’t try any soup HI. The proprietor said she stays open till 5pm because as a walker she hates finding shut cafes or ones that won’t let you in after 4pm. It’s my top tip, living so far from Lymm Truck Stop as I do ;¬D , and maybe one could arrange to meet Mountain Goat Peter M0COP of Church Stretton there for a chat too.

Conclusion - CW is very hard. I’ll keep trying. I hope to get across to Titterstone Clee Hill for next Saturday’s 2E0BTR Mountain Goat party. Thank you to all callers.
David M0YDH

In reply to M0YDH:

Hi David,

Nice report and well done on the CW. I missed you today as I was grandson sitting. Next time you’re near Church Stretton drop me an e-mail (see qrz.com)and we can meet for a hot chocolate. I still have a long way to go to get my Mountain Goat by the way.

Pete, M0COP