I’ve been to Sifnos several times before, but this was the first trip with a radio, a recently acquired Elecraft KX3. As soon as I realised that SV/AG-028 had zero activations, I knew I had to do it.
Sifnos has a good network of well signposted paths that are also on the Terrain Cartography 304 map. The route to Prophitis Ilias uses paths 6 and 6B. Path 6 traces a route all the way around Prophitis Ilias from Apollonia whilst 6B is an offshoot that goes to the top. We got a taxi to where the path crosses the road that bypasses Apollonia, just outside of Katavati. From there it is a climb of 480m over a distance of 3.5km. My estimate for walking time was just under two hours with stops.
My wife and I started at just on 10:00 local. In retrospect, this was far too late as the air temperature was already 28C. The path is well made for most of the way, but quite steep in places. It’s also on the south side of the mountain so in full sun the whole way. There’s no shade. It was very hard walking in the heat but we got to the top eventually. The monastery was open and there was a tap!
I left my wife in the shade and walked on to the actual summit a 100m beyond the monastery and marked with a concrete marker bollard. I bungied the mast to the marker and ran the 20m EFHW to a low wall on the north side so I could set up my operating position the other side of the wall in a bit of shade. I was on the air at 09:00 UTC calling CQ SOTA.
SV2OXS came back on the second call. Christos gave me 58 with some QSB. He then spotted me on the cluster and away we went.
I had operated 31 stations by 09:51 when I had to stop because of the heat and the flies. Apart from having to use PTT instead of VOX and jogging the dial once, all went well. The KX3 performed superbly.
I put everything away and headed back to the monastery to cool down and re-hydrate. There were several other walkers about, but none of them went past the monastery.
After a suitable recovery period we headed down the same path. This time we walked on to Apollonia and a nice little bar we know very well
Thanks to all those who helped me activate this summit. Oh, did I say it’s my first SOTA activation? In fact, it’s my first SOTA anything !