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Y Lliwedd..a North Wales activation

The forecast was for a nice day so I headed up to North Wales for GW/NW-008 Y Lliwedd for 8 SOTA points. With a cuckoo calling I set off from the carpark at Nantgwynant SH627506 towards the summit. £6 to park for the day…toilet facilities available. I’d started from home at 5:30am and arrived just after 8:15am so with the carpark filling up quickly I made my way up via the Watkin path.

My GPS route

Getting busy

Pleasant walk towards the mines and Gladstone Rock

Evidence of the old mine workings ahead

Heading up Cwm Llan for the Gladstone Rock

Gladstone Rock with Yr Aran to the right GW/NW-019

Heading into the clouds and …

…leaving the mines below

It was a great walk but all the surrounding summits were shrouded with low cloud. There were many making the trek up the path but most socially distanced conversations ended with the fact that they were going up to Snowdon GW/NW-001…nobody going my way.

Distance to the summit was just over 4 miles the worst section being the scramble from Bwlch Ciliau to the West Peak at 898m and I had to do it in the mist!

View at Bwlch Ciliau…turn East here for Y Lliwedd

Y Lliwedd in the cloud…long way to go…it’s up there somewhere

One of the easy bits…

Seated on summit…no view…and then…

…a view with my ascent route below

The office ready to activate the summit

Looking towards East peak…
Yaesu FT2 / Slim Jim / 4m Decathalon pole

Neil MW0WBG/P was first in the log with an s2s from Moel Gyw then I was delighted to hear Viki MW6BWA/P calling from Waun Fach quickly followed by Rod MW0JLA/P…how about that for timing…thanks everyone…26 contacts in my 2m-fm log so thanks to all the chasers and activators. It was a great activation marred only by some de-sensing on the FT2 which didn’t help with a smooth activation and pile-up. I think I was so high that I was getting other unrelated stations mixing with my chasers…I think I should have used the FT270 … anyway job done and I hope everyone that wanted Y Lliwedd made my log?

Heading down…along with others

Clear view of Snowdon now

Snowdon and a queue for the top???

Llyn Llydaw below

Yr Aran GW/NW-019 and my ascent and now descent route below

Towards Moelwyn Mawr GW/NW-016 and my car park in the valley below

My Blog https://gw4vpx.blogspot.com/ for this activation is up but it’ll probably be the last entry I put in there as I’m finding keeping it updated too time consuming and over the last year there have been less visits to the site. There are now other simpler and more instant communication media available which I participate in and excellent information available on other sites including the SOTA website and SOTA mapping. The Blog was started by my good friend and one time fellow activator Steve MW0BBU. We notched up over 60,000 hits between us but it’s time to move on. Thanks to everyone for their support.

73 Allan GW4VPX


Hi Allan, great report with photos, thanks.

73 de Geoff vk3sq

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Great report, thanks Allan.

Unfortunately I was in work when I got the notification you were up Y Lliwedd, and I certainly couldn’t reach your from Chester city centre with a handheld! I’m very new to SOTA and radio in general, so just wanted to ask about your set up. I don’t see any guy lines on the pole, I’m assuming its just wedged in the rocks? And how does de sensing due to distant stations manifest itself? Are your chasers just coming through quieter, or is there noisy interference? I’m just trying to learn as much practical information as I can before I go activating.

Thanks again!

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Tony, welcome aboard. In the top right of the window you’ll see a magnifying glass icon. It’s next to the hamburger icon and your avatar. That magnifying glass is the search icon and you can use that to scan the last 14 years of messages. You’ll find a wealth of reports, ideas and methods people use for their SOTA activations. In fact the sheer amount available maybe a little overwhelming at first but I’m sure you’ll find lots of helpful information.

De-sensing is probably not the best expression. 2m conditions have been subject to enhancement recently and it was most likely co-channel interference. i.e. people normally far enough apart that their transmissions do not interfere with each other when using the same frequency were audible at Allan’s elevated QTH. Sometime careful use of the squelch and RF gain can reduce the effect.


Hi Tony

Thanks for listening for me and sorry you didn’t make my log.

You are right with regards to my set up for this activation. The 4m fibreglass pole is normally held by three guy lines. For this activation I just sat down, clipped on the Slim Jim, pushed up the sections and wedged it between my rucksack and a well shaped rock. If needed I could have held on to it as it is light and manageable with the Slim Jim even in very windy conditions and good for quick activations.

Over the years I have used an FT270(2m-fm) which has given me loyal service but now recently relegated to ‘back up’ as I need 70cms occasionally for s2s and I was expecting one from Viki MW6BWA on Waun Fach.

It’s happened twice now with the FT2 where I have found a dead quiet frequency, started the pile-up and the noise builds up. It sounds like other qso’s going on and generally noisy making it difficult to copy what might be a weak chasers.

On Tuesday the chasers were brilliant and when asked to standby they did whilst I called in a station but this underlying noise would be there. The noise level was about S3/4…maybe it was just varying conditions or when I called ‘is this freq in use’ no answer… maybe a qso was in progress? It’s one of the disadvantages of being so high…you hear everything😁

I should really have changed to the FT270 to compare but in the heat of a pile-up you battle on😁 I’ve had real de-sensing with the FT2 before when on a summit with Comms towers and strong stations have told me that chasers were calling but I wasn’t hearing them. A quick change to the FT270 changed that. The Sotabeams filter has now changed that problem…didn’t have it with me on Tuesday🙁

Next time I’ll be a little more prepared to experiment but when the pile-up starts…:grin:

Hope this helps. Catch you soon hopefully.

73 Allan GW4VPX

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Good to work you Allan. I have you in my log slightly later than you have me in your log.

Thanks for making my log once again John. Don’t worry about the time as there is a built in tolerance… we are well within that says he not knowing what it is :grinning: …looking forward to the next time.

73 Allan

Great to work you S2S on 008 and NW014 Moel Hebog two days earlier


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Thanks Neil.

Nice surprise when I heard you on Tuesday. Let’s hope we have many more this year.

73 Stay safe


Yes, I’ve experienced issues on several summits in the area (e.g. Yr Aran, Moel Hebog) with various different radios. Intermittent increase in noise levels, chasers at lower signal strength than they should be. The classic signs. But then it goes clear and stays clear for ages. So whatever it is doesn’t have a heavy duty cycle I suppose. All fixed with the bandpass anyway.

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Many congrats Allan and thanks for the great photos. That one is still on the list and it looks as if I might find mist an advantage on the ridge with my bad head for heights!! Looks quite tricky and you certainly had the best weather with dry rocks and presumably little wind. You were gong so well I’m surprised you didn’t knock of yr Aran on the way down! :wink:

Thanks for the 2x s2s. Your timing was superb as we had just reached the top of Waun Fach (GW/SW-002) and spoken to a guy beside a tent (safety cover for some expedition) and told him we were hoping to talk to a friend up on the ridge near Snowdon but had to go and set up a dipole. We turned away and walked about 10 steps when your voice came bounding in on the VX7R with a stick aerial… Needed the dipole might foot!! We QSYd to 145.450 and I obviously managed to quell all the other callers with my determined ‘summit to summit’ response and a couple of minutes later we had both made the contact and we hadn’t even finished ‘discussing’ where we were going to set up! Quite a bit later you came back, sounding rather indignant that we were now a clear 59 (the dipole was up by then) on 2m so we then recorded 55/55 on 70cm. Many thanks for taking/using the radio which also works on 70cm as I really do enjoy chalking up 70cm contacts (especially as some people still seem to think that 70cm is a pretty useless band.) On that day we didn’t get as many 2m contacts as I expected but that might have been because we were on the North side to increase the chances of talking to you, instead of on the east where the take-off is better and more people are listening. Hence it was it 9 contacts on each of 2m and 70cm (not always the same people) before we headed back down to Talgarth Common. A somewhat easier descent than yours!! Keep up the good work.
73 Viki M6BWA


Hi Viki

Impeccable timing or sixth sense :grin:. Great to get you both in the log on 2m and 70cms. At that time I wasn’t relishing hanging around as it was nippy in the misty conditions…I’d already put several layers on before starting but there you were and mission accomplished.

I think that it would have been an easier ascent if I could have seen where I was going and could have avoided quite a few hands on moments.

No, Yr Aran was not on the agenda as Val and I did that many years ago…Y Lliwedd was enough for these ageing legs :grin:.

Maybe Greigiau Gleision on Sunday as I slowly start to complete those summits to the North East of Snowdon.

73 & 88 till our next encounter :grin: