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Dominic Smith

This content is archived. It is kept for historical reference only. It was last modified in December 2011. It will not be updated.

SOTA Activations in Snowdonia, 2011

General Information

We activated Y Lliwedd (GW/NW-008) and Snowdon (GW/NW-001).

This activation is a Cambridge University Wireless Society DXpedition.


Tom M0TOC, Martin G3ZAY, Jordan M0SKI and Dom M0BLF went to Snowdonia in August for a weekend of SOTA activities. It was not the most successful trip ever! Martin, Jordan and I left Cambridge on the evening of Friday 5th August, to drive to M0TOC's QTH in Chesterfield. We left from there the following morning with a large amount of Tom's luggage and his bike on the roof of Martin's car, because the secondary purpose of this trip was to transport Tom to his summer job working on the Ffestiniog railway.

Once in Wales, and having set up the tents we'd be camping in, we decided to climb Y Lliwedd before heading to Snowdon. As we climbed Y Lliwedd, however, the weather became steadily worse, and by the time we were on top of the mountain it was raining steadily with very poor visibility. We managed to set up a station, however, and (operating the radios inside our rucksacks), we all managed to make the requisite number of QSOs to count as a SOTA activation. Just before we had reached the top of Y Lliwedd, however, Jordan's walking boot had started to fall apart, meaning that some emergency surgery with electrical tape was required. Despite this, and the conditions, we elected to continue to Snowdon.

By the time we arrived on the summit, we were so wet and cold from the wind that none of us could face operating a 2m handheld, let alone putting up the fibreglass pole for the 40m dipole! We instead headed straight for the café on the summit, for probably the most welcome hot chocolate ever. Once we were relatively comfortable, we started to head down the mountain slowly, with regular pauses for further patching of Jordan's shoe, since the water was not helping the tape to hold it together. It did the job, however, as the sole only completely detached from the rest of the boot a few hundred yards from the car-park at the bottom of the mountain, where Martin (who had sensibly stayed below) met us.

The following morning, we were woken at about 7am by loud talking from the people in the tent next to ours. It was apparent that they were cooking breakfast. A few minutes later, a distinct 'whoosh' could be heard, followed by shouts of 'Get the gas canisters out' and 'Don't use my shoe, I've only got one', amongst several expletives. Sure enough, they had been frying in their tent, and, as one of them later remarked 'Our seven-man tent has just become a five-man tent'. Fortunately no-one was hurt and they managed to put out the fire quickly (doubtless helped by the fact that the canvas was rather damp from the rain).

Following this excitement, before we said goodbye to Tom at lunchtime, we tried to activate a small hill just outside Porthmadog. Unfortunately, this time it was our navigation that failed us, and we ended up on the wrong hill, which was not quite high enough for SOTA. Feeling luck wasn't on our side, we returned to Cambridge early.

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