What is that pole for; are you going fishing.?

I survived today (just), thank you for your concern Karl it was certainly justified. One of the toughest activation’s yet, pure wild; but fun at the same time. As some activators have said recently this is one of the most stunning times of the year.

I thought I would attempt Crib Goch to start with. I began climbing up the first face when I approached another climber with crampons. I watched him reach the top of a gully and then with horror as he slipped and regained grip about 1/2 way down. Not for me. I retreated to the PYG track to continue a far safer route.

I must have seen near 100 people going up today, most mountaineering enthusiasts. The common question that I am now beginning to get almost all the time is “What is that pole for”. I am sure other activators have the same question upon the start of a conversation about SOTA.

Conditions on the summit where pretty tough, shelter on Snowdon is good. The pole came back to haunt me and as a result had caused a huge delay. Firstly snow had compressed in the telescopic sections seizing the assembly further down. The pole would stand and suddenly fall as the snow shrunk. In the end I worked with the antenna on the ground with around 50W of RF (See video). I am sorry I had to pull the plug, I was a little scared as darkness fell, but the head torch is fantastic.

The decent was interesting, The multitude of walkers had polished the surface of the snow to such an extent that it was impossible to walk down. It was now dark, foggy and cold. Concentration came at premium, but I got down eventually.

That concludes the end of 2014’s activations. Thank you to all the chasers. I will be moving across the country to Cambridge shortly to start a new job, hopefully I will still remain active despite the long journeys back home. The extra time will allow me to work on the second version of my Homebrew radio.
SOTA is such a wonderful hobby, the health benefits from all the walking alone are worth the trouble. Never mind the immense amount of satisfaction one gets from mixing it with radio :smile:.

You may need to rotate it.



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Crib Goch in winter <<< shudder >>>

Brilliant adventure in summer though

As for the pole question? I have been known to make up stories such as I’m going fly-fishing, been told there are 2lb bluebottles up here


That is brilliant. Explaining what SOTA is takes far too long. One chap even thought it was a shovel !


Good luck with the new job young man. You need not despair too much when you live in the flatlands. For a start you can look forward to SOTA activation trips, you can plan them down to the minutiae ready for when you get near some lumps. Secondly, you can get out and do portable activating for this WAB trig award. You can look at doing trig to trigs and for a real challenge, you can aim for trig to trig completes where you’ve had a trig to trig at both trigs. Don’t forget that when you get time to bump you licence up to full you can get the Eurostar into France/Belgium easily and activate a few summits across the Channel.

Also some microspikes are worth investing in for the icy paths. The Grivel Spider is a lightweight and cheap instep crampon that can make a massive difference on icy ground and massively lighter to carry all through the winter instead of full crampons.

HNY 2015

I’m glad you made it home in one piece!
A wise decision to go the safer route :smile:

As for the pole questions - yes it gets a bit boring after a while…

The strangest one I had recently was when ascending GW/SW-004 earlier this year.
I meet someone coming down who (as usual) said,
“that looks like a fishing pole. are you going fishing?”
I was about to reply with my stock answer about fishing for radio waves, when I noticed that he too had a fishing pole sticking out of his back pack!

I turned out that it was Dominik (sometimes known as Lionel :smile:) HB9CZF, descending from his activation.
He left me a few fish to catch :fish:
Stay safe.


Oh, I don’t know, there is a lovely gully goes up between the main face and the Crazy Pinnacle - pity its only in condition once in a blue moon! Incidentally, a nice summer variation is the north ridge to the summit of Crib Goch to lengthen the scramble - and if you are really into such things you can start it from the West Gully of the nose of Dinas Mot and scramble through the broken rocks above - terrific in a hard winter!


PS The usual question that I get when somebody notices the pole is “have you caught anything?” and my usual answer is “Yes, you!”


When you hear of recent story’s of people whom have lost there lives on summits, one does get a little concerned about the activators and where you are is a big one for sure seen from your short clip.

Still reckon when out on summits in this time of year find a buddy to go with or better still tell some one where ya going what your doing and a general return time so if you no return, somebody can raise the alarm.

Now referring to the fishing pole and peeps asking, still remember being on Mersea island in Essex with me 3EL beam and Antron 99 and peeps coming up to car "wot ya doing like ".

Well one day, one got a little cocky, in fact was talking to a gent in Germany who’s name just happen to be Michael and when next person stuck there head in the car asking i replied " Michael Binlarden " one is talking too and said asked to Michael say hi, he did, should seen there faces .

Your bound to get peoples asking

Anyways Johnathan glad your home and safe and any one going up these summits BE CARFULL and pre-plan a little more prior no doubt those already in the know will know this but end of day BE CAREFUL UP THERE.

Its a great hobby just not worth dying for

Happy new year folks it a coming
2015 Sota


You are never alone on Snowdon! In fact even in winter that summit can get quite crowded. That said, there are some well-known accident black spots there, in particular the drop down off the main summit towards y Lliwedd has seen a number of fatalities, but these black spots are well-known and an experienced climber will pay attention. So yes, if you are inexperienced a companion is a good idea, but if you are experienced then going it alone is OK.


I have properly edited my pictures on flickr of my day on Crib Goch and Snowdon here: Snowdon, via Crib Goch; 23rd July 2008 | Flickr


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Hi Jonathan.

I’m glad you made it back. I was looking out for a possible S-to-S from Cleeve Hill (just did 2m in the end - almost a mistake!) but was down before you. So you thought better of doing Y Lliwedd as well :wink:

Well done wrt the placement.

73, Simon

Thanks Andy.I have passed at the start of December, the test is pretty easy if you have an EE background. I have decided to take a mentors callsign - GW2HFR. Waiting on Ofcom at the moment …

Sometimes you can pre-plan all you want down to the last minute, you end up getting frustrated, especially when you miss s2s opportunities. You will learn this as you Activate Karl. Take for example parking. I wanted to park at Pen-y-Pass. But despite getting there in the early morning the car park was full, so I had to park much further down the valley adding to the walk. As Brian said, you are never alone on such a popular mountain. 1 and 2 pointers are generally relaxed and can be accurately timed. Some 4 pointers and up get tricky.

Activating with others is good fun. But sometimes you will find it takes your concentration away from your own safety, i.e when your Father doesn’t wear any gloves…
The biggest thing I learned yesterday, is how much quicker I would have been with crampons.
Time isn’t an issue usually, weather and conditions on the other hand are.

I decided almost immediately after the alert that Y Lilwedd was going to be too much :smiley:
Its like climbing it twice in those conditions !

I am sorry about the 2m calling. I was on the cheap HT, as I was walking up I worked a local station in Llanberis. If I had actually used the 290 and the Slim JIM I am sure we could have worked each other. It was taking for ever to sort out the blasted pole. I couldn’t even hear Alan GW4VPX who is usually strong on the HT. I wanted to give some HF chasers a chance this time. I am just amazed that the antenna worked on ground with snow packed around it.

Thanks, I just wish it wasn’t so flat. As Dad says you can stand on a beer crate and see most of England. Andy makes it sound better though.

Those conditions are fantastic. Wish that was yesterday :smile:


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“that pole’s for fishing mate?” Was the question up Swyre Head a couple of days ago.

“No,” I replied, “it’s my radio mast for my amateur radio”

“No need to take the effin p* mate… jeez… I ask him about his fishing and he gets all sarcastic”.

Sometimes you just can’t win! :smile:

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Hi Jonathan

I’m glad you made it down safely yesterday after your activation - we were all quite concerned. Thanks for the contacts both yesterday and on Monday when I was on Great Rhos.

Good luck in getting Nye’s old callsign. I think he would be really chuffed that his callsign was being used by such an enthusiastic and fanatical radio amateur. I used to speak to Nye on a regular basis especially in the language of heaven :smile:

Take care and HNY - Blwyddyn Newydd Dda

Allan GW4VPX

Got your email Allan thank you, Yes there certainly could have been better days to go up. But it was good fun in the end.

Yes Nye was responsible for getting many people in the North interested from an early age, his health declined when I was young. GW6NSG took charge of the call after he went SK, who has encouraged me from the very beginning, supplying me with endless components to build things with.

Its amazing to hear of people who knew him.

HNY !,

Blwyddyn newydd dda i bawb.


I live in Phoenix Arizona, smack dab in the middle of the Sonoran Desert…average annual rainfall of about 7 inches a year, with temperatures in the summer of over 115 degrees F.

When activating I carry a 14 ft Crappie Pole called the “Black Widow.” It is fairly large in diameter, Black in color, and apparently looks like a shotgun…at least that is what two different people I encountered this summer told me.

When I told one of the hikers that it was actually a Fishing Pole he hesitated, smiled, and said to me ‘Well, good look with that fella .’

I mumbled “Sand Sharks” and we both had a good laugh.


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Just few days ago, I was thinking what other activators respond to that common question, I am glad somebody posted it to the refector. :slight_smile:

I usually tell people there is a hidden lake on the very top of the hill.

Once an older man asked me: Where are you going with that antenna? I was completely shocked, finally somebody knew what the pole was meant for!

We once got told by someone that appeared to have something to do with the land-owner (at Bredon Hill G/CE-003) tell us that we couldn’t go fishing on the estate land surely she must have known that was totally impractical anyway !