Skip to content

SOTA week – Brecon Beacons 2nd-5th July 2019

Club members (2E0MXA and M0VVA) traveled to the Brecon Beacons to attempt to activate three summits, in better conditions than our May activations.

Planned 3rd July activations: Pen y Fan and Waun Rydd
Planned 4th July activation: Fan Brycheiniog

Equipment used:
Xiegu G90 transceiver (20W) HF
Kenwood TH-D74 handheld (5W) VHF FM
Baofeng GT-5 handheld (5W) VHF FM
SOTAbeams 40/30/20 trapped dipole
10m SOTAbeams mast

3rd July am – GW/SW-001 Pen y Fan

Pen y Fan is the highest peak in the Brecon Beacons, completely accessible, not steep at all – a huge difference to our previous activity in Snowdonia and the ascent of Y Garn. The weather was fabulous, starting out at 0900, we took the direct route up Pen y Fan after heeding the advice from G0POT’s YouTube video. It was remarkable to see workers at the top of the summit fixing the path with the aid of deliveries of stone by helicopter! We were told to set up the equipment on the south side of the peak to keep away from any down-draft from the helicopters repetitive deliveries. The shelter was made, 10m SOTA pole raised with the trapped dipole – only for us to be told to move further away! Thankfully, one pass of the helicopter proved to the “official” that we were in no risk of being blown away and we continued our mission.
Apart from the folk repairing the path, the summit was pretty much empty of people. 2E0MXA started off the activation on 2m FM with his Baofeng HT and managed his 4 contacts, whilst M0VVA managed a small pile-up on 20m SSB before switching also to 2m FM. Within minutes of setting up and starting our activations, the crowds descended (or ascended) and the summit became bedlam – we decided to pack up and move on rather than getting in people’s way.
A great start to our SOTA trip.

Thanks to the following chasers for QSOs made:

3rd July pm – GW/SW-005 Fan Fawr

Originally we had planned to move around the ridge, following the line around Cribyn, Fan y Big and over to GW/SW-004 Waun Rydd. Based upon advice given by some local chases (thanks) and the visual from atop Pen y Fan, we decided to revise our plan and attempt the opposite hill, Fan Fawr.
The ascent of Fan Fawr is continuous but gentle. Parking next to the dam of the Beacons Reservoir, a brief stroll south down the A4059 took us to the start of the sheep trail heading up Fan Fawr. The trail is not well defined at all but carefully tracking the colour variations in the grasses the path generally used by the local mutton can be followed. The main difference between this peak and the previous is the lack of human life – not one homo sapien was passed during ascent, activation or descent.
Upon reaching the summit and taking the obligatory photographs, the site was set up and activation began. M0VVA and 2E0MXA switched rolls, M0VVA starting on 2m FM using his Kenwood TH-D74 and 2E0MXA on 20m SSB using the Xiegu G90. This time, 2E0MXA worked the first mini pile-up (his first) and did well to get 7 contacts on 20m. M0VVA then, after only a single contact on 2m, switch to HF gaining four contacts on 20m and six contacts on 40m. Another terrific SOTA activation and a great sense of achievement for the two of us.

Thanks to the following chasers for QSOs made:

4th July – GW/SW-013 Tor y Foel

The intention for 4th July was to activate GW/SW-003 Fan Brycheiniog. We departed our guest house early to get a good start at this long, shallow ascent. Unfortunately, after driving to the start of the OS Maps defined path, we found there was no-where to park. Even after driving around the area for 30 minutes there was no suitable parking spot to be found – hardly useful for walkers in the Beacons. We decided to make other plans and drove up towards the town of Brecon and looked to activate GW/SW-013.

GW/SW-013 Tor y Foel and surroundings

This 2 point summit is easy to access, a good road takes you up around the back of Pen y Fan and to halfway up this 551m summit. A short walk takes you to the top which greats you with views out to the Welsh Borders and Herefordshire. We decided to take the easy option of leaving the HF equipment in the car and just working VHF FM. Surprisingly, 2E0MXA with his Baofeng GT5 HT made a summit-to-summit contact with GW4HKV on GW/NW-002 Carnedd Llewelyn – VHF FM, HT-to-HT, North to South Wales – we could barely believe it! We continued to call CQ on the calling frequency but with minimal luck, both of us achieving only 2 contacts and therefore not able to consider the summit activated. It was disappointing but good fun.

Thanks to the following chasers/s2s activators for contacts made:
2m: GW4HKV, 2W0LPU

Leave a Reply