A Raid on 5 Welsh SOTA Summits in One Day

TP0735 - Mynydd Maen at Sunset

TP0735 – Mynydd Maen at Sunset

On Saturday 17th of October I drove from my home QTH in Hertfordshire to the south of Wales for some Summits On The Air fun. This year I’ve been to GW/SW quite a bit and have activated all the large summits in the Brecon Beacons. This trip was focused on the smaller 1 point summits south of the Beacons, which is why I could do 5 in one day.  I had previously had summit to summit (S2S) contacts with activators on 4 of these summits, so by the end of the day I would have another 4 SOTA Completes (both activated and chased).

I planned my trip around Phil G4OBK’s itinerary, he of course managed 8, while I started late, with a hangover and wasn’t as quick 😉

Equipment for the day was a Yaesu FT-270 handheld (with spare battery) and a SOTABeams 2m Dipole.

GW/SW-037 – Craig yr Allt – 274m, 1 point (SOTA Complete)

Latitude: 51 33 25 N, Longitude: 3 15 7 W
Grid Reference: ST133850, QTH Locator: IO81IN
Parking: N51:33:36, W3:14:20 – There is just room to park a car at the entrance to the waymarked footpath on the lane at grid reference ST12998509.
Walking: Turn right off the main path and climb the well used path to the summit.
Trig: None
WAB: ST18
A rare bit of sunshine for the day

A rare bit of sunshine for the day

This was the first summit of the day and I was keen to get this done quickly, despite the 3 hour drive already done.  The walk was nice enough to the summit, with good views around the local area. It is quite easy to see Garth Hill (GW/SW-034) from here and the VHF takeoff is quite good.

 I mounted the 2m vertical dipole in my rucksack as there’s no trig point up here. Within minutes I was away on 2m FM. I spotted myself on the SOTA cluster site via SMS and soon had a number of stations in the log. Don G0RQL was the first chaser in the log. Soon enough I had 5 stations in the log.
About to setup on the summit

About to set up on the summit

Time Call Band Mode
09:37z 2W1IBN 144MHz FM
09:39z G0RQL 144MHz FM
09:41z M6EUW 144MHz FM
09:43z 2E0LBF 144MHz FM
09:45z M6SXP 144MHz FM

GW/SW-034 – Garth Hill – 307m, 1 point (SOTA Complete)

Latitude: 51 32 35 N, Longitude: 3 17 41 W
Grid Reference: ST103835, QTH Locator: IO81IN
Nearest Postcode: CF15 9NS
Parking: N51:32:24, W3:17:30 – There’s some roadside parking before some cottages on Heol Goch, using a road that runs along the southern flank of Garth Hill.
Walk: A public right of way leads into the access land to join the Ridgeway Walk.
Trig: TP3324 – Garth
WAB: ST18
Probably the 1st Burial Mound I've Activated!

Probably the 1st Burial Mound I’ve Activated!

The was my favourite summit of the day, the walk up is quite easy and the summit very popular. The view from the top is pretty decent with good views all around, I can imagine it being stunning on a sunny day.

Due to the amount of people at the summit I setup my 2m MFD dipole away from the trig point, lodged once again in my rucksack. The QSOs were quite slow from up here, it took a while to get 4 stations in the log, but soon enough I got the 4th in the log.
Lots of interest was directed towards what I was doing, in fact I had a YL runner enquire as to what I was doing, this was the third positive enquiry from a YL I’d had in one week, so maybe SOTA activators are the new football players?
The 2m Dipole Ready for Mounting in the Rucksack

The 2m Dipole Ready for Mounting in the Rucksack

Also a WAB Trigpoint (TP3324)

Also a WAB Trigpoint (TP3324)

Time Call Band Mode
10:44z 2E0WSR 144MHz FM
10:46z MW6XRA 144MHz FM
10:52z GW0IRT 144MHz FM
11:06z GW0WLQ 144MHz FM

 

GW/SW-027 – Mynydd y Glyn – 381m, 1 point (SOTA Complete)

Latitude: 51 35 48 N, Longitude: 3 23 56 W
Grid Reference: ST032896, QTH Locator: IO81HO
Nearest Post Code: CF37 1QB
Parking: N51:35:24, W3:22:56 – I parked at the road end to Cefn-coed Farm. This is the nearest start to the path leading through the farm.
Walk: This took longer than expected, about 40 minutes and got lost a few times because of non-existent paths!
Trig: TP5050 – Mynydd-Y-Glyn
WAB: ST08
The Summit of Mynydd y Glyn Looming Up

The Summit of Mynydd y Glyn Looming Up

The walk for this one was a lot further than I had originally thought. I parked at the start of the farm track near Cefn-coed Farm. My main problem with this walk was the lack of distinct path once you pass Langton Court Farm. A number of times I got lost as the alleged paths on the GPS were indistinct and very rarely walked on it would seem. In the end I found my way to the top of Mynydd y Glyr which has a trig point and some kind of strange wind measurement device (which insisted on beeping every 30 seconds!).

I quickly setup the 2m dipole in the middle of the trig and before long I was up and running on 2m FM simplex. To be honest the going was quite slow but I managed to pick up GB1OSG (a JOTA station) where there was an abundance of ops willing to work me under their personal call signs. This included Sue M6LNN who had just recently passed her test, which was a highlight of this activation.
Before long I had 7 contacts and I was happy to leave this summit. Quite a lot of effort to get to this summit, not sure I’ll come back here. I would have struggled without the JOTA ops on 2m FM.
WAB Trigpoint TP5050 Also Acts as a Useful Antenna Support

WAB Trigpoint TP5050 Also Acts as a Useful Antenna Support

Time Call Band Mode
13:01z 2E0TOP 144MHz FM
13:10z GB1OSG 144MHz FM
13:10z G7NVZ 144MHz FM
13:15z M0ZMB 144MHz FM
13:21z G0JMD 144MHz FM
13:25z M6LNN 144MHz FM
13:28z GW6OVD 144MHz FM

 

GW/SW-025 – Cefn Eglwysilan – 382m, 1 point (SOTA Complete)

Latitude: 51 36 21 N, Longitude: 3 18 19 W
Grid Reference: ST097905, QTH Locator: IO81IO
Nearest Post Code: CF37 5LJ
Parking: N51:36:14, W3:18:22 – Eglwyslian Road runs across the  flank of the hill at 327m
Walk: 15 minutes – short but steep 55m climb up to the summit, there’s probably an official path that has less of an incline!
Trig: TP5015 – Mynydd Eglwysilan
WAB: ST09
View from Summit onto Pontypridd

View from Summit onto Pontypridd

On arrival at the summit I was happy to find a trig point in which I could again support my 2m dipole. The views onto the Bristol channel from up here are pretty darn good and the cloud broke several times to reveal ribbons of silver sunlight.

After spotting myself I had the minimum 4 contacts within 14 minutes and worked another 2 for the heck of it. It was quite windy on this summit and the 2m dipole fell out of the trig twice, once landing on my head mid QSO!
Again Using a Trigpoint (TP5015) to Support the 2m Dipole

Again Using a Trigpoint (TP5015) to Support the 2m Dipole

Time Call Band Mode
15:04z M6EUW 144MHz FM
15:15z M6IOK 144MHz FM
15:16z M6KBC 144MHz FM
15:18z GW6OVK 144MHz FM
15:23z M3MMZ 144MHz FM
15:24z GW0IRT 144MHz FM

GW/SW-019 – Mynydd Twyn-glas (472m, 1 point)

Latitude: 51 40 26 N, Longitude: 3 4 22 W
Grid Reference: ST259978, QTH Locator: IO81LQ
Nearest Post Code: NP11 5AY
Parking: Designated parking spaces at N51:40:25, W3:06:22 – There is plenty of parking over the cattle grid near some sheepfolds
Walk: A track follows pylon lines almost to the summit trig point – 1.5 miles each way
Trig: TP0735 – Mynydd Maen
WAB: ST29
I chose Mynydd Twyn-glas as my last summit of the day, because it was on my way home and offered the best chance of a half decent walk. I arrived around 5:30pm which gave me very little chance of finishing this summit in the light. Based on other reports I wasn’t too concerned with walking back from this summit in the dark. In fact the path is almost a straight line from the parking spot right to the summit, there’s a very obvious gravel track which you just follow in parallel with some pylons that lead almost all the way to the summit. I packed a head torch just in case!
View Looking Back Towards the Parking Spot

View Looking Back Towards the Parking Spot

I might have to make this a quick activation!

I might have to make this a quick activation!

By the time I arrived at the trigpoint the sun was setting and I quickly setup the dipole for an evening activation. Once again I had a good view onto the Bristol channel from up here.
I managed to get Don G0RQL in the log again after my initial contact with him on my first summit of the day. The calls did not come thick and fast though and I was soon scanning the the 2m FM channels to check for others. Soon enough I got the 4 contacts I needed and packed up.
Surprisingly I didn’t need my headtorch for the walk back and had just enough twilight to walk back to the car easily enough. The path really is simple!
TP0735 - Mynydd Maen at Sunset

TP0735 – Mynydd Maen at Sunset

Walking Back Following the Pylons

Walking Back Following the Pylons

Just Enough Light Left to Walk Back Without a Headtorch!

Just Enough Light Left to Walk Back Without a Headtorch!

Time Call Band Mode
17:04z G0RQL 144MHz FM
17:07z 2E0PGS 144MHz FM
17:16z M6FKV/P 144MHz FM
17:22z MW6LGA/P 144MHz FM

 

Conclusion

Despite not managing to activate the 7 summits I had planned (I skipped 2 summits: GW/SW-030 – Mynydd Machen and GW/SW-024 – Mynydd y Lan), I enjoyed this day of activating in the beautiful South of Wales. These are very much pimples compared to the Brecon Beacons but it offered an interesting day out to play on 2m, resulted in 4 SOTA completes and got me a bit closer to to activating all of the SOTA summits in GW/SW.

The long drive home saw me listening to drum & bass at unsafe levels and also colliding with a pigeon at 70MPH (the car was fine, not sure about the pigeon). I left the house at 6am and got back at 10pm, quite a long day!

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