SOTA Activation Reports 2009 (3)

SOTA Activation Reports 2009
Activation reports previously submitted to the Summits On The Air Reflector


 12th May 2009 GW/NW-076 Mynydd y Cwm

The English man who…


The Englishman who went up a hill and came down a mountain was a bit of a twee romantic comedy staring Hugh Grant. From what I can remember the best bit was when a mechanic is asked about a broken part he has removed from a car, and replies "I don't know what you call it in English, but in Welsh we call it a bethyngalw." Bethyngalw is the Welsh equivalent of an English "thingamajig". Fortunately I had a native Welsh speaker on hand to explain the joke to me at the time.

The recent promotion of GW/NW-076 Mynydd y Cwm to Marilyn status seemed a little like the plot of the afore mentioned cinematic fiction, and laughable enough to be almost comical. It was also somewhat amusing to hear people getting emotional about the fate of G/SP-016 Raw Head which had been demoted to sub-Marilyn status, even if I did feel a bit the same way myself. Well “never look a gift horse in the mouth” as they say, Mynydd y Cwm is only about 20 minutes away off the A55 and I could consider it as one of my local summits and less than a mile from where my XYL Helen GW7AAU works.

Try as I might I could not persuade Helen to come with me and mount a midnight raid on the first day of inclusion as a SOTA summit, but it is probably a good job as it might have been a bit crowded with Barry 2E0PXW and if the car hadn’t broken down on route Mike GW0DSP alerted for that night. I was however determined to get out and do it as soon as possible. Roger MW0IDX was alerted to do it on the Sunday and there were many SOTA points to be grabbed during the International SOTA weekend so I stayed in and had an enjoyable chasing session. The weather over the next few days was mediocre to say the least and then I was back in to work. My first chance would have been Monday 11th May but the glorious sunshine took me by surprise, as the weather forecast I had seen had been gloomy. I must be more prepared so I can be more spontaneous in future. Looking at the weather forecast Tuesday 12th May looked like it might be a good one and I made my mind up to give it a go.

Although I prepared everything the night before I left packing the rucksack until the morning of the activation, just in case the forecasters were wrong. They were not wrong and it was glorious sunshine, so ten minutes after I had dropped off the daughter at school and handed over the granddaughter to her mother I was packing everything into the car.
 

 

Helen had warned me over GB3CR 70cms repeater that there was an RTA on the A55 half an hour earlier, but it was clear and I sailed along without any problems. The route to the summit took me off the A55 just before Rhuallt Hill and down the old Rhuallt Hill to Rhuallt itself. Normally when I go this way it is on some errand or other for Helen and I turn left down the B5429 and head for Tremeirchion but today at the cross roads I turned right pasted the Smithy Arms and headed up the narrow bumpy road towards Cwm. I took the first road that I saw on the left, which was marked with a sign ‘Not suitable for wide vehicles’, a good job I left the Humvee at home then! There is a bit of a crest and then a junction I drove straight on here and eventually I came to the small car park on my left that I had seen in Roger MW0IDX’s video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r599uXBLb64 . It is probably, no scratch that, it is definitely not the way to navigate up around a summit but I did everything from memory after watching Roger’s video and looking at it on Google Earth. Thanks for that Roger!

First issue of the day was my camera. I had given the batteries out of my compact camera to my daughter when hers failed. Fortunately I had just grabbed the camera bag and had the digital SLR but that meant even more weight to hump up the summit and despite Rogers’s video I wasn’t totally sure just how far it was. Thank goodness it was as gentle a walk as it looked.

I booted up and as in the video I crossed the style and followed the path until I came to a fork at which point I turned up the left arm of the fork walking slightly up hill until just before a water tank on a trailer. I then followed a track on the right through the woods up to a small stone kern at the summit. This track looks a bit indistinct in places at the moment but I suspect that after hoards of SOTA activators and hill baggers have ticked this one of their list it will be easily recognised.
At the summit I unpacked the handheld and called Helen who had taken her dual band handheld to work and had it on her desk. She was first in the log and I was bang on my alerted time, which pleased me. I thought later that I missed the chance to work her on 70cms, which was a pity. Although Helen was only a mile or so away she had to lean out of her office window to escape the QRM from the computers then it was the expected 5/9.

After giving Helen her chaser point I set up the dipole. I think it was Barry 2E0PXW had said to me “You should have no problems, there are loads of trees for dipoles.” He was not kidding, the whole summit is wooded and as I did my best Stan Laurel impression I managed to get the HF dipole wrapped around a good proportion of them plus getting the wire caught in brambles and the like. Just when I thought I was finished as I walked back to the rig the mast collapsed and I had to start again untangling the wire from both tree branches and undergrowth. It was nearly 40 minutes after arriving on the summit that I finally got going.



Frank G4RMD answered my CQ call on FE 5.3985 and his excellent signal gave me hope that the sixty metres band was working for a change. Frank spotted me and a run of eleven more contacts ensued, most of which where strong solid signals. QSB seemed to be minimal although still evident. At 1038 UTC I QSYed to 3.666 and was once again spotted by Frank and later by Barry 2E0PXW which brought another eleven contacts. My next QSY was to 7.118 but despite a fresh battery and winding the power up on the 857 from 20 to 100watts I heard no one coming back to my calls. As always I moved down to 7.090 next and get the same reply, just the hiss of static. When I got home I realised I had not been spotted on 40 metres and should self spotted from the mobile.

After getting no reply on forty metres I lowered the mast to set up the four metre antenna but called on the Wouxun to complete silence. The end fed half wave antenna had worked better at home than the Watson end fed half wave I have up, but I drew a blank.

My next QSY had been intended to be to 144ssb where I intended to use up the rest of the juice in the two slabs by running the full 50 watts but I found that I did not have the N-type to Pl259 adapter on the rig. The missing adapter is still puzzling me as I have three and only one is in use. Both my 857s have one and they are usually left on the rigs, but at the moment neither of them are where they should be.

I had earlier hung the 2m J-pole from a tree and then stood on the coax breaking the antenna at the join between the matching section and the vertical element. I put out a call on 2m FM on the rubber duck. I got Charlie G0PZO at 5/9 each way but although he spotted me I got no further calls. I had to do a running repair on the j-pole using teeth and a penknife. I had no way to check the SWR but I threw caution to the wind and worked a handful of stations. I spoke to Mike G4BLH and we both called each other on 4m but silence both ends had me doubting the antenna. Someone, possibly Mike, told me that Carolyn GW6WRW was spotted on 60m working from GW/NW-008 Y Lliwed and down came the mast again and the coax was reconnected. As I went to take out the 5mHz links in the dipole I heard Nick M0RAR calling on S20 from G/WB-010 The Wrekin and got a nice summit to summit contact. Nick was quite chatty and me being me I was equally verbose but eventually we said our 73s. I was just about to get up and tackle those links when Roger M0IDX who was mobile called me. It was nice to get Roger and return the favour as he had given me the chaser point when he activated the hill.

Eventually I pulled the links and called on 5.3985 thinking that I might have missed the chance of a S2S with Carolyn. There she was, but who else was calling? It turned out to be G0CQK on G/DC-005 Christ Cross and after a little confusion I worked Jim and then QSYed up to 5.4035 and got my third S2S with Carolyn. I then moved down the band to 5.3665 and called CQ. I had to go here as 5.3715 was in use and there was also a CW QSO on 5.2595 making five out of seven channel in use at the same time. It has been a while since I heard 5mHz so busy.


I never expected to get any calls this far away from Fox Echo and having worked a good few chasers already but Helen M0YHB came back to my CQ and subsequently spotted me. Roger GM4OWG/P came back to me from what he said was a rare WAB square and was followed by Jon GM3JIJ from Stornoway Isle of Lewis to make contact 35.

Looking back I worked Stornaway in the Outer Hebrides, a couple of stations in Devon and Cornwall, Dublin and the East coast of England so all points of the compass. It was great to 5mHz working back to near its full potential for NVIS. There were some notable callsigns missing from the log and Quentin GW3BV has already said he couldn’t hear me so it was not perfect for everyone, but great for me.

I would have liked to go back onto 2m and made a few more CQ calls but I had intended to pack up and leave the summit at 1200 UTC and it was 35 minutes later than that when I strapped on the rucksack.

The descent, what descent? The walk back to the car took 15 minutes but half of that was used up by me taking photographs of the route and even leaving that aside I was travelling slowly due to being about on the limit of what I could carry. I arrived back home in time to have a long cold drink and then do the school run.

Even with a few disappointments, as described above, it was a mighty fine day. The sun shone and the trees kept me out of the wind. All in all this is a summit that I can recommend for those passing on business or in search of grander hills who just want to do a flying visit and those that find they cannot manage the bigger summits. I have a feeling I will be back on this hill soon, probably with Helen and hopefully we can make it in to a few log books on 2m SSB and 4m FM then. I did try 23cms as well but an antenna would need to be raised above the tree line to stand any chance.


This report first appeared on the SOTAwatch reflector and includes photographs that are available at http://www.flickr.com/photos/gw7aav/collections/

My photographs from Myndd y Cwm are here...
http://www.flickr.com/photos/gw7aav/sets/72157618319871493/
Viewed in order they give an idea of the route to the summit for those of you who cannot watch MW0IDX's video on YouTube because you don't have broadband or have it blocked at work.

Rogers video can be found here - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r599uXBLb64


Log

Date:12/May/2009 Summit:GW/NW-076 (Mynydd y Cwm) Call Used:GW7AAV/P Points: 1 Bonus: 0

Time

Call

Band

Mode

 Notes

09:35z

GW7AAU/P

144MHz

FM

 

10:13z

G3RMD

5MHz

SSB

 

10:17z

G4ZRP

5MHz

SSB

 

10:19z

G0TRB

5MHz

SSB

 

10:21z

G4OBK

5MHz

SSB

 

10:23z

G7OEM

5MHz

SSB

 

10:27z

G0RQL

5MHz

SSB

 

10:29z

G0ELJ

5MHz

SSB

 

10:30z

G6SFP

5MHz

SSB

 

10:31z

G4ELZ

5MHz

SSB

 

10:32z

G4YTD

5MHz

SSB

 

10:34z

M6MZX

5MHz

SSB

 

10:35z

EI7CC

5MHz

SSB

 

10:38z

G3RMD

3.5MHz

SSB

 

10:39z

G4GRG

3.5MHz

SSB

 

10:41z

G0TRB

3.5MHz

SSB

 

10:42z

G4BLH

3.5MHz

SSB

 

10:43z

G4ELZ

3.5MHz

SSB

 

10:43z

G4RQJ

3.5MHz

SSB

 

10:45z

G3OHC

3.5MHz

SSB

 

10:47z

G0RQL

3.5MHz

SSB

 

10:48z

2E0PXW

3.5MHz

SSB

 

10:49z

GB1WAB

3.5MHz

SSB

 

10:50z

G4NVV

3.5MHz

SSB

 

11:15z

G0PZO

144MHz

FM

 

11:28z

M0TXR

144MHz

FM

 

11:34z

M0GNA

144MHz

FM

 

11:37z

G4BLH

144MHz

FM

 

11:41z

M0RAR/P

144MHz

FM

S2S G/WB-010 The Wrekin

11:47z

MW0IDX/M

144MHz

FM

 

11:52z

GW6WRW/P

5MHz

FM

S2S GW/NW-008 Y Lliwedd

11:57z

G0CQK/P

5MHz

FM

S2S G/DC-005 Christ Cross

12:04z

M0YHB

5MHz

FM

 

12:06z

GM4OWG/P

5MHz

FM

 

12:08z

GM3JIJ

5MHz

FM

 


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