Never missing a chance to get up to some higher ground, I made a weekend camping trip over to Wales to get those distances that only a mountain can give CB radio. Breaking out the old Harvard 410T handheld for only the second time this year with maybe not the best weather over last weekend, but was spared actual rain and instead subjected to lots (and lots) of mist and low cloud 🙂
My chosen high ground spot was the mountain directly above Pontypool and Cwmbran (my home town). Its easily accessible from the Pontypool side, even though this does involve about a 2 hour hike to reach the top of the mountain.
On a good day you have a great view over the river Severn estuary, clear line of sight down south and a pretty good clear path up towards the North of the UK. Unfortunately I couldn’t even see Cwmbran (only a few miles away) but thankfully the crappy weather doesn’t alter the way CB radio works (much).
From this point its easy to make strong contacts (even with a 4 Watt handheld CB) into Bristol, the Midlands and down into Somerset.
Its amazing what a good bit of height can do when listening to the CB bands and hearing activity on a large number of the 40 UK CB channels makes we wish I could build a house on this very spot!
Instead of putting a call out straight away I always take an hour or so just listening to the various conversations going on.
The forecast had it bang on and although the mountain was covered in thick rolling mist there wasn’t a single drop of rain all night. This made the trip for me as my first thoughts when seeing the weather over the mountain was that I’d be operating from inside the tent.
As you can imagine this is less than ideal when dealing with the monster telescopic antenna fitted to the Harvard 410T 🙂
Had plenty of contacts across Bristol, a solid signal down into Swindon and various points around the Avon county. Strangely missing was any decent QSO’s toward the North?, my only thought here was I had pitched the tent slightly on the south side of the hill (best spot I could find) and this was enough to mute North bound transmissions.
One big change since my last visit here was the lack of “radio hash” from the communications tower located at this spot. Usually you couldn’t get too near it with almost any sort of radio without getting chronic interference.
Had a good look to see if some antennas had been removed but don’t remember what was up there last time I visited (its been a long while).
Well Worth the Effort
Dragging enough gear for an overnight camp up mountains can bit a difficult but throw in the weight of a bunch or hobby radios (CB, scanner and shortwave) and the burden more than doubles.
Still got to say that I’ve had very few high ground trips where I haven’t considered all the work worth the effort 🙂