Snowdon- First day of SOTA
2nd March 2002

For the launch of SOTA I thought I'd try NW-001. The weather was fairly good leaving home but as I approached Llanberis it became apparent that the weather on the mountain was going to be poor.

After a quarter hour wait to get into the car park at Pen y Pass. Snow was falling and the Snowdon was shrouded in cloud, the warden at the rescue centre said conditions at the top were icy and grim.

As I started along the Pyg Track I wondered if I would make it to the top, I didn't have crampons but a thick layer of snow provided plenty of grip.

Nonetheless I made quick progress up the track, there were plenty of others on the mountain, and it was convinient to ask about conditions up ahead. Visibility was down to about 30 yards due to blizzard conditions, and this continued all the way to the top.

After quickly eating lunch I set up my dipole across the end of the railway track at the cafe (all of which were closed) and sat against the track wall. Getting the equipment out I glanced at the thermometer which read -4 degrees and dropping,  with the wind chill making it feel it colder still.

I unpacked my GQ20 (20m band, 5w CW only radio) and managed to contact Syd G4XUH, but it soon became apparent that there was a loose connection inside my transceiver, this was later traced to a broken connection on the audio mod that I did for the rig. Two more contacts followed with difficulty and by then I became very cold and thought it wise to move and try for a fourth contact on 2m just below the summit out of the cold wind.

It was not my day, the dipole I had brought for 2m had broken at the center connection so I just used the simple rubber duck antenna. No one was heard on 2m but I made contact with Jenny MW0BET who I'd just worked on the summit using 20m CW and asked her to give a call on 2m to find somebody, anybody!

Eventually, Ross MW0BYT picked up her calls and he swung his beam around to Snowdon, he was only in Bangor so there was a good chance he'd hear me. Well he was a good 59 with me but no copy from his side.

So in a last ditched attempt to get my fourth contact I connected up the dipole and held the centre connection together, and to my relief got a 56 report. With four contacts made I scurried down the mountain completing my first day of SOTA.


Roger  MW0IDX

Poor visibility ascending
Dipole for 20m can just be seen across the railway track