SOTA - Summits On The Air

Summits on the air is a scheme where some radio amateurs (activators) climb a designated SOTA summit and operate, usually QRP radios, from the top thus gain points as a 'mountain goat'! Other amateurs (Shack Sloths) stay at home and work the various summits and gain points from doing so gaining rewards and certificates in the process

Over the weekend of Sept' 31st/1st October 2019, myself and Steve 2E0MMY took the weekend to activate two summits in the Brecon Beacons in the south of Wales. This was our first SOTA activation and was something we had been talking about doing for too long a time. We decided to leave our home QTHes around 10am for the 3 hour drive to Wales. We arrived around 1pm and had a very nice pub lunch before ascending our first summit.

As you may be aware, the various summits are gived varying point scores according to the difficulty of the ascent, so our first summit was just a 2 pointer saving the 8 pointer for the Sunday. We found a very nice B&B in the village of XxX, which was a real blessing. Originally we were thinking of camping overnight, but getting old and soft the creature comforts and good pub food were a good choice!

Primerily I operated with my call as GW0OIK/P and Steve taking a few contacts under his call 2W0MMY/P. We worked an almost equal number of SSB and CW contacts.


Radio - Yeasu FT-817
Paddle - Home built CW Bug (see projects page for details)
Aerial - Home built linked dipole (covers all bands from 6m to 60m - except 12m!)
7m fibre glass flag pole
Two end aerial support poles - 6ft Plastic garden canes from Wilkinsons garden department
Beach tent - very handy to be protected from the wind let alone the rain (which we thankfully didn't get)

Summit One

31/8/19 - Tor-Y-Foel (GW/SW-013) 2 points

Tor-Y-Foel is a fairly easy summit to climb too with a major amount of the height being gained by driving to a carpark. From the car park it is about a 30 minute walk to the summit which is reasonably easy going with an obvious path to follow.

We were on the air for about three hours which was made very easy and comfortable with the beach tent. I think without it, even though the wind was not that cold, we would have been a lot shorter time on the summit.

We worked 14 stations on 20, 30 and 40m in our time on the summit covering Sweden, Austria, Spain, Germany, Hungry and Finland.

Summit Two

1/9/19 - Pen-Y-Fan (GW/SW-001)

On the Sunday we climbed Pen-Y-Fan, which being an 8 point summit was a more challenging summit. Having said that it has a really well made path up and is extremly popular with hundreds of people walking to the summit in the time we were there. We worked soley on the 20 and 40m bands and operated for about two hours, working 29 contacts two of which were summit to summit (SP9MA/P & SV2/YU1CA/P). Again we worked mainly European stations with station from the Netherlands, Poland, Hungry, Czeck, Spain, Germand, Itally, Belgium, Poland and Greece.

One of the operators we contacted was Ed DD5LP who is one of the presenters on the ICQ podcast. I had a very nice email correspondence with him and my thanks for the mention on episode 305.