Mynydd Machen 2018

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GW/SW-030 – Mynydd Machen

A trip over to South Wales for work offered the opportunity to bag a few of the lower Welsh one pointers.  There is a good approach to Mynydd Machen from the North West along the service track for the radio tower located on the summit.  I parked the car on the road ST 215 907 where there is just room to squeeze one car onto the verge.  The track has a gate but it doesn’t look like it is used and whilst I was there a dog walker turned up and drove straight up the track to park about half way along.  The first 300m or so of the track are in good condition and there are plenty of spots along the verge where you could leave a car.  Beyond this the track is a bit rougher but still passable all the way to the top.

At the top there is a trig point located a reasonable distance from the radio tower but close enough so that I was still getting de-sense on the radio.

As I arrived at the summit I could hear people on the calling channel just using the Nagoya on the HT.  Whilst stood there I made five contacts, including two summit to summits before I had even taken off my rucksack, so with this one in the bag I decided to press onto the next one rather than stopping to set up properly.

Journey Details

Date – 30th August 2018

Postcode – NP11 7PS

Parking – ST 215 907

Radio – Kenwood TH-D74

Antenna – Nagoya NA771

Band – 144 FM

Contacts – 5

SOTA points – 1

Group – Myself

GW/SW-030 Log

Walking Route Summary

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Mynydd y Lan 2018

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GW/SW-024 – Mynydd y Lan

A short drive from Mynydd Machen got me to Mynydd y Lan.  There are a number of possible approaches to this summit.  I opted to come in from the North West as there appeared on the map to be a track most of the way.

There is room on the verge to park one car at ST 194 932.  The track is not as well defined as the map would suggest but it is there if you look carefully, at least as far as the farm at Ton-eithin.  Beyond this, once onto the access land, the whole area was covered in fern obscuring any track.  Fortunately there are sheep there doing a good job of keeping a path open through the ferns so I was able to follow their path around to the summit.

The top is very flat and open with no immediately obvious summit at the point indicated by the SOTA database.  This point is some 200m South of the point indicated on the map, it’s all in the activation zone so I guess it doesn’t really matter where you choose.  I managed to find a marker stone about 50m E of the SOTA point and 150m SSE from the map summit mark.  I don’t know what the stone is there for but it seemed a reasonable spot to operate from and should be easily found again.  There are radio towers both to the North and to the South of the summit but they are far enough away to not be a problem.  I set up the station, the stone made a good anchor for the antenna pole.  I soon had enough contacts in the log including MW6BWA again summit to summit and also MW0JLA summit to summit.  I also managed to log Alan GW6VPX again on his way back down Pen y Fan.  The return to the car is uneventful, just follow the same route back again.

GW/SW-024 Log

Journey Details

Date – 30th August 2018

Postcode – NP11 7BB

Parking – ST 194 932

Radio – Kenwood TH-D74 + 50W PA

Antenna – 2 ele yagi

Band – 144 FM

Contacts – 5

SOTA points – 1

Group – Myself

Walking Route Summary

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Mynydd Twyn-glas 2018

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GW/SW-019 – Mynydd Twyn-glas

Another short drive got me to the parking for Mynydd Twyn-glas at ST 236 980.  There is plenty of room here for half a dozen cars and a good track directly to the summit.  The track heads off to the East ascending gently, past the radio towers and onto the trig point just beyond.  It is an uneventful walk along a very obvious track.

The radio towers are far enough away from the trig point to not cause any problems.  Arriving at the summit I soon set up the station and managed six contacts.

Whilst there if the weather is clear it is worth enjoying the superb views out across the Severn estuary.

The return to the car was about as eventful as the walk in, which was welcome after successfully activating three summits in an afternoon.

GW/SW-019 Log

Journey Details

Date – 30th August 2018

Postcode – NP11 5AY

Parking – ST 236 980

Radio – Kenwood TH-D74 + 50W PA

Antenna – 2 ele yagi

Band – 144 FM

Contacts – 6

SOTA points – 1

Group – Myself

Walking Route Summary

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Brown Willy 2018

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G/DC-002 – The Long Way Round

On the Sunday I decided to have a go at Brown Willy up on Bodmin Moor.  Initially I planned to tackle it from the South following G4OBKs 2015 route.  I plugged the postcode into the satnav and set off to find the parking spot.  As soon as I got away from the coast and gained some height around St Austel I was into thick fog.  Approaching the parking spot from the South West the postcode I had took me along the A30, straight past the planned start and onto the next turning beyond.

As this was beyond the edge of my map I struggled to find the correct parking and start but eventually found what I thought must be it.  I parked the car and prepared to kit up for the days walk but immediately realised that I had forgotten to load my walking boots. Doh..

I set off anyway in my trainers but pretty soon realised things were not right.  Fortunately I soon came across a path closure notice with a location map and from this I worked out that I was definitely in the wrong place.  At this point I got the message that this was not to be so turned around and headed back to the car.  Fortunately I had also brought maps and a postcode for the Northerly approach as an alternative option so I plugged this into the satnav which said it was only about five miles away, I decided having got this far I may as well at least have a look at it. Shortly after I started driving the satnav changed it’s mind and told me it was actually about 20 miles away.  Ah well, at least the scenery would be pleasant if only the fog would lift!

Parking on the Northern approach is great.  There is a proper car park with room for about 50 cars located at SX 138 819.  From here there is a good track for a little way and on a clear day I think it would be possible to follow the track all the way to the summit, but with the thick fog I was unable to see where the track led at each twist and turn and as the track is not marked on the map I was forced to navigate by compass alone.

I took a fairly straight line towards the summit which was a mistake.  Reaching the river at SX 153 806 it was easy enough to cross but the ground on the other side is very difficult.  There is a proper crossing a little to the South which is what I should have headed for.  From that crossing there is a good path up to the summit which I followed on the way back down.

Reaching the summit eventually, still in thick fog, the wind was strong over the summit making setup difficult.  The aerial ended up pointing down under more than to the North East where I wanted it.

It took me a while to get the contacts, radio amateurs are sparse down in these parts, but I did eventually get the four I needed before packing up and returning to the car. On the return journey I followed the track down to the river crossing and managed to pick out the path back to the car park in the fog, a much easier route than the one I came in on.

It’s when you have a day like this that the planning and preparation pays off, and being willing to say no and turn back shows it’s importance.  The hill will still be there for another attempt on another day, make sure you are as well.  Be safe!

Journey Details

Date – 19th August 2018

Postcode – PL32 9QG

Parking – SX 138 819

Radio – Kenwood TH-D74 + 50W PA on 2m

Antenna – 2 ele yagi

Band – 144 FM

Contacts – 4

SOTA points – 1

Group – Myself

G/DC-002 Log

Walking Route Summary

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High Willhays 2018

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G/DC-001 – Devon High Point

After Christ Cross in the morning we wound our way along the minor roads onto Dartmoor for the main dish of the day, High Willhays.

Following M0BLF’s excellent instructions from his blog, we arrived at the parking spot without any problems (although his coordinates are slightly out, the parking is at SX 590 912).  With the extra height gained we were walking in cloud but there is a clear track all the way up so navigation was not a problem.  The cloud did lift later in the day for the return to the car.

I set the station up on the pile of rocks on the top of the Tor and soon enough had four contacts, although again once I had the four required there was no-one else waiting to claim the points so we packed up and headed back down to the car.  By this time the cloud had lifted a bit and we enjoyed a few glimpses into the distance.

Journey Details

Date – 18th August 2018

Postcode – EX20 1QP

Parking – SX 590 912

Radio – Kenwood TH-D74 + 50W PA on 2m

Antenna – 2 ele yagi

Band – 144 FM

Contacts – 4

SOTA points – 4

Group – Myself, Belinda & Jacob

G/DC-001 Log

Walking Route Summary

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Christ Cross 2018

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G/DC-005 – Passing Pleasure

A family holiday down to Cornwall afforded the opportunity to bag a few new summits.  We stayed the night in Cullompton which meant we could avoid the Saturday morning traffic on the M5 and get an early start onto our first summit at Christ Cross.

There is space for one car on the side of the road at SS 965 050 just South of the junction.  It’s a short walk up the track to the summit.  There is no right of way over the track so you may need to seek permission for access.

There is plenty of room beside the radio mast to set up the antenna and if it’s a clear day there is a great view to enjoy whilst setting up.

We soon had four contacts in the log to qualify the summit, the fourth contact was remarkably into France with Alain down in Brittany.  Having made the contact Belinda took the opportunity to have a QSO with Alain as part of her Foundation training practical.  After this high point I called a few more times but was unable to raise any further contacts to we packed up and headed off to the next summit.

Journey Details

Date – 18th August 2018

Postcode – EX5 4HF or EX5 4LY

Parking – SS 965 050

Radio – Kenwood TH-D74 + 50W PA on 2m

Antenna – 2 ele yagi

Band – 144 FM

Contacts – 4

SOTA points – 1

Group – Myself, Belinda & Jacob

G/DC-005 Log

Walking Route Summary

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