Coity Mountain – SOTA – GW/SW-012

So I decided to take a trek up Coity Mountain (north of ‘The British’) GW/SW-012 on Saturday the 12th March. I wanted to activate this summit before the SOTA bonus season ran out on the 15th.

I drove up the Abertillery/Cwmtillery side of the mountain and followed the sat nav all the way to the reservoir. I carried on over the cattle grid and headed up eventually reaching a fork in the road. To the left a gate to the small reservoir header, and to the right, a rather poor track. I headed up this track about 100 yards in the Landrover but stopped before it changed to rocks. I reversed down this track at the end of the day.


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So everything in hand, ruck sack, provisions, fibreglass mast and the 2m handy, I started walking up to the summit and following my nose. The first 50% of the walk wasn’t too bad with existing rocky tracks to follow, however this soon changed. There were no foot paths/tracks to follow in the direction of Coity summit, so I followed my nose. Care was taken over the heather as there were a number of bogs and crevasses on route. One of these crevasses approximated 5ft deep and 1ft wide, so easily missable in the heather covering everything. The fibreglass pole proved to be very handy at ‘prodding’ out the floor. It was a slog over this terrain, something like 45 minutes to get from car to summit.

I eventually reached the summit, and found a concrete reference point in the floor on a small tump there. I got set up and started making contacts. I recorded some footage, of which you can see here :

A good number of stations were worked, including a number of summit to summit (S2S) contacts. GW4VPX/P, MW0XOT/M, G0LGS/M, GW4BLE, G0LGS/P, GW0JTU/M, G0NUN, MW0JLA/P, G6OVD/P, 2W0IWM/P, G4ZWY, MW0JCQ/P including Viki MW6BWA and Rod MW0JLA.

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I had a nice couple of hours up there, some baked beans and a cuppa. I decamped around 4pm and headed down. Thanks to everyone for all the contacts. A most enjoyable afternoon.


1st SOTA Activation – GW/SW-033

Recently I have been thinking about trying to activate a local SOTA (Summits On The Air) point and decided to take a trip out yesterday afternoon (Saturday) to Wentwood, a local SOTA point, reference GW/SW-033. I figured I would keep it simple to start with, and a local easy to reach summit was in order.

I made my way there, taking a short cut along a forest track, no problem for my landrover.


The SOTA point is some 100 meters from a commercial mast, which proved to be a bit of a problem as I will mention in a while. I parked up and walked the 10 mins or so to the OS trig point. Just follow the track that runs along side the mast, and then about 100m beyond that, on the left.

walk1 walk2

I found the trig point, partially covered in felled wood from previous forestry commission work. I managed to uncover the information plaque and get a picture.

gw-sw-033_trig trig

You can see the mast in the distance, approximately 100m or so. It proved to be a complete nightmare, totally swamping the front end of the Yaesu FT1XD 5w handy that I had taken with me. I set up the antenna, a home brew slim jim from 450 ladder line, slung from the branch of a tree.

slimj mast2

A very simple setup, a soft pad to sit on, supplies in the rucksack, the handy at 5 watts, the slim jim and a log book. I sat down and turned the radio on, and listened to a number of qso’s around the 2m band. Annoyingly signals would be 5/9 and then totally get destroyed by the mast. Initially I thought it was a connection problem, as things were so severe, but quickly came to realise it was the mast causing the havoc. Un-deterred, I decided to put a call out on 145.500 @5w FM, CQ SOTA, cq sota…….  To my amazement, people came back to me instantly and we headed to 145.475.


Working conditions were very bad, it was taking a good while to get all the information required from each station. Their signals would be 5/9 one second and gone the next, QRM from the mast was so bad that it was obvious that as soon as I had enough contacts in the log I would be heading down. You need four report exchanges with different stations to receive the points for the summit, but just one contact to activate it.  I am starting to find that locally all the high points have these QRM generators, such a shame.

Stations worked, G4ENZ, M0JCE, GW0AVW, M6AIX, G0LGS, G8CKK, MW0ECX/p and G3VM.

MW0ECX/p was especially gratifying as Neil was on another summit, so it was a summit to summit contact. He was working from GW/SW-012, the Coity Mountain, north of ‘The British’.

I only made one call on 145.500 in the end, and stations kept calling in on 145.475. Many thanks to the stations that did call, and it was a success. I have my first SOTA point, a long way to go until the mountain goat award (1000 points).

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In the end, I spent about 35 minutes on air, and decided to head down. The QRM made it a very difficult activation on 2M FM, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. The next mountain will be Machen Mountain (GW/SW-030), which is another simple summit to reach again, however it does suffer from local QRM as well from the masts there. I will probably take a HF rig next time as well.

All the best 73, and as they say….. onwards and upwards 🙂