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The Islands

The Islands



Ramsey Island lies half a mile from the St David's Peninsula, the most westerly point of Wales.  This magnificent island is dominated by the rocky peaks of Carnllundain and Carnsgubor, whilst the two small islands, Ynys Cantwr and Ynys Bery lie to the south.

Photograph by Janet Baxter.

Owned and managed by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) the island provides a home for nesting chough, peregrine falcons and several species of seabirds. Its vegetation includes important stretches of heathland and maritime grassland which are among the few truly unmodified semi-natural habitats in Britain. Little surprise that associated with these habitats are many species of plant and invertebrate that are national rarities. The breeding colony of grey seals is the largest in south west Britain, with up to 300 seal pups being born each year at the back of the cave systems and on the small beaches around the shore. It is an island rich in legend dating back to the establishment of early Christian cells or chapels, first in AD 186 by Devanus or St Tyfanog as he was also known, and later by St Justinian. The existence of Bronze Age cairns and probable iron Age field systems dates the influence of farming back some 5000 years


OS Grid reference is SM703238 WAB Area SM72
Lat:    51:51:55N
Long: -5:20:03W
Loc:     IO71HU

As far as we are aware this island has never been officially activated, that is with the permission of the RSPB and the Warden. We will be on the island for a total of 4 nights, with emphasis on the IOTA contest. We will be using both club calls MC0SHL and in the contest on air as MW9W. Equipment, food and power all has to be shipped across to the island, and we would be grateful of any donations of small generators (diesel preferably) that we could utilise for this period.

Reconnaissance Mission to Ramsey Island

For some time now, members of the Strumble Head DX & Contest Group have been looking into operating an Amateur Radio Station from one of the Wales Coastal Islands off the Coast of St David’s Bay. In the summer of 2008 Rob MW0RLJ made a telephone calls to the Ranger on Ramsey Island EU-124 to set up a meeting between the Ranger and the SHDXCG to discuss operating from the Island.

So on the 14th August 2008 Rob MW0RLJ, Anthony MW0JZE and Tim M0URX drove to coastal town of St David to cross over to Ramsey Island on a short 10 minute boat journey. We were met by Greg the Park Ranger where he invited us into the house for a cup of tea. We discussed with Greg our plans to operate our Amateur Radio equipment from the Island during the “Islands On The Air” contest in July 2009. We showed Greg a slide show of our previous Amateur Radio activities to give him an idea of what this entailed.

Pictured below is the harbour. Long way to haul the gear. Also the RSPB house above the harbour.

harbour rspb_house__harbour_below

Greg said “Let’s take you on a walk around the Island” he took us to some barns that have been converted to lodging rooms for the volunteers that come to work on the island and said “Would this be what you are looking for?” “Absolutely perfect” we replied. barns_for_use_mc0shlThere is an enclosed courtyard where we could install our antenna system and put our generators away from the wildlife. There is no electricity or running water on the Island so we would have to bring everything we need for a four day operation from the mainland.

Greg continued to explain that we would also need written permission from the Welsh National Parks and also from the RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) who own the Island and this could take some time. Greg would contact the RSPB and Rob said he would contact the National Parks. Now as Rob’s farmland is also in the National Parks and the coastal paths cross through his land, Rob has a good working relationship with National Parks and this should just be a formality. We continued to walk across the Island and Greg pointed out some of the Bird wildlife on the Island.


beachGreg said that they would not ask for a fee for letting us stay on the Island but instead asked if all team members would sign up as members of the RSPB when we arrived on the Island in 2009. We agreed this was an excellent idea and we would also put a link on our website to promote the RSPB through Amateur Radio media. We would like to thank Greg for his interest and help since our meeting and look forward to planning this activity. 

We left Ramsey that day very enthusiastic for what could be a very interesting and enjoyable operation for the forthcoming IOTA weekend 2009.